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How do SAHM families afford Waldorf?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just an innocent question, not meant to pry into folks money situations specifically.
how does the average family send one (or more!) kids to Waldorf school? Do both parents have to work? Do ne or both parents have really well paying jobs? Just wondering because if we sent our son to Waldorf (which we really want to) it would be like another house payment every month.

How do you all swing it?
post #2 of 22
Well, our tuition is more like a car payment, we have one child in K. By the time we have 2 kids in school it'll be a small house payment

Dh was talking to someone from CA and his tuition was about 2 1/2 times what ours is!
post #3 of 22
Some folks get grandparents to chip in...being independently wealthy doesn't hurt either.

post #4 of 22
I just think that some people have a whole lot more money than we do. We have been able to swing part-time private preschool, full-day kindergarten tuition, etc., but if we were to go with full time private school (Waldorf or other), it would be about $12,000/yr for our two children -- this is for 9 months worth of school.

But, then again, one of the moms in my older dd's kindergarten class told me that she was able to volunteer all the time in the class despite having a younger child at home b/c she had a full-time nanny at home (she's a SAHM)! There are just some people out there who are well off. Unfortunately, we are not among them. Oh well. From what I have seen, most Waldorf school and other private schools where we live do not offer scholarships b/c they are struggling with finances as well.
post #5 of 22

Be sure and ask at the school before you give up. Every waldorf school I've been involved with had financial aid available, sometimes more, sometimes less. This included schools that were struggling with finances, because, frankly, I've never known a waldorf school that wasn't struggling.

Good luck,
post #6 of 22
Good question!

My parents sent three kids to Waldorf with the help of grandparents. (And also, back in the 70's, I don't think tuition was as high relative to income as it is now). This is not a route I would choose. I agree that there are a lot of very wealthy folks who send their kids to Waldorf. It's not an option for us. We would rather put any extra $$ into our kids' college fund. 'Cause if we sent them to private school, there wouldn't be anything left for college!

Waldorf school can be nice, but there are a lot of "waldorf-y" things parents can provide without sacrificing every last cent.
post #7 of 22
In our family, my wife wanted waldorf education for our three girls (then aged 6, 5, and 2) so badly ten years ago that she committed to making whatever money was necessary, at least at first. She re-started her massage practice (after years of dormancy), which allowed her to work nights and weekends, and began providing childcare for friends and friends-of-friends.

Now a waldorf school teaching assistant, she tells young families with "sticker shock" her story to help them see what might be possible.

post #8 of 22
We have moved and the waldorf school here is totally and completely out of our range. Even if I worked full time I couldn't make enough to pay 2x 12,000 plus after-care. So I stay home and now the babies go to public school.
If I had to do it over we would have stayed where waldorf was cheaper.
post #9 of 22
At our school, I know parents:
who have help from grandparents or other family members
one Dh works 80 hrs/wk so his 3 kids can attend & wife stay home
some families do get financial aid, up to 50% of grades tuition only
some have become teachers and therefore get tuition remission only pay 10%
some families have 'simplified' their lives so they could afford Waldorf w/o FA
some families have one parent making A LOT of money
some families use HELOCs (home equity line of credit) to pay tuition
some families have sold their homes & moved into less expensive housing
some families use saving
we even have a few (about 10) single moms on one income
some families take it one month at a time
many families drive late model cars

There are some people super passionate about Waldorf and will do anything to make sure their children get a Waldorf education. At our school, you do not have many wealthy people sending their kids there, it is more a middle class group. We have maybe 5 very wealthy families, and every Waldorf school need those! We are in one of the wealthiest counties in the USA, but most wealthly people are not attracted to Waldorf. The schools in the towns surrounding our school also have very good reputations and rank high in state testing (this does not matter to Waldorf parents but it does to most mainstream folks). The real estate taxes in these surrounding towns are also very high, so people paying for private schools around here want to see strong academic cirriculums early that rank high. People talk Harvard and Yale about kindergarteners.
post #10 of 22
I have wondered this often-- not just about Waldorf but ANY private school.

As pps said, there really are people out there who make a lot of money (with just one salary). At the same time, there are people that are naturally VERY frugal, so that even with a relatively low income, they have a lot of disposable income. I fit into neither category! :LOL

If I went back to work, we could afford private schooling, but that's about it. When I do go back (it will be when both children are in school full-time) I think I'd rather use the money for things like looooong trips. Traveling changed my life, and that's what I'd rather give to my children.

HOWEVER, I am lucky that I am pretty much guaranteed a spot for my kids in a magnet school that I attended and is one of the best in the city. If that weren't an option, I'd be really torn.
post #11 of 22
Our Waldorf tuition is a second mortgage payment. What is hard is that I pay that plus daycare for summer and breaks. Both dh and I work and it is struggle but it is what we have decided is best for our children. I am not happy about the tuition but I don't see an alternative.
post #12 of 22
We are a one-income Waldorf family, and we are lucky enough to receive financial aid. We pay 50% tuition, half of that is from a state funded program for low income families that want to send their children to private school, half is tuition adjustment from our school. We've been able to swing it with only one child, but next year dd#2 will be attending kindergarten, which doesn't qualify for any aid, only a 20% sibling discount. So, we'll pay a couple hundred more next year.

My fear is that the following year we'll make just slightly more to qualify for aid. I don't know how we'll be able to swing full tuition. And then five years down the road ds will be in school. We're taking it year by year. Our school is not the most expensive out there, but we're not able to provide as much financial aid as other schools. I have a friend whose dd is in a different private school, very popular in our city, and their financial aid package is fantastic, because their school is so solid, and their population is much wealthier.

I would definately consider working at the school in some capacity, although our teachers' discount isn't as high as other schools (10-25%) Interestingly, our school raised tuition for, among other reasons, to help increase financial aid. So, my tuition increased to help provide assistance to me!! Hmmm, gotta wonder...

We've chosen not to ask for help from our parents, although I guess if it came down to it, we would. Our school is still less than ten years old, so we're still figuring out how to make it all possible. I have nothing but appreciation for the board of trustees and how much work they put in to try and do what's best for everyone. That's one tough job!

post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input! It was as I figured, we all do all sorts of things to do what we need to do for our kids.
post #14 of 22
If you are going to SAH and send your kids to private school and you are not rich you are going to have to get creative. Ask grandparents, garage sales, work from home.

We homeschool. I am using a Waldorf approach. ONE of the many reasons is because it doesn't make sense to us for me to work in order to pay for school. By the time you figure in the all the costs it would mean that I went to work to pay someone else to educate my children.
post #15 of 22
Our school does not have many wealthy families. Finiacial aid helps a lot. Usually you get a small discount for more than 1 child attending. Some of my friends have chosen to homeschool until grade 1 or 2.
My one friend actually moved to an area that had Waldorf charter schools because she was so dedicated and she exhausted all other options - they now love where they live and are glad they did it.
We moved to a smaller and cheaper house, my dh drives a company car, we simplified greatly and thrift for lots...but we also get some help from grandparents which helps a great deal.
But so many in our school do not get any help and manage to do it. I think in our area it is low cost of living and lower tutition. And a lot of SAHM/D go back to work when their kids are a bit older.

Hope this helps!
post #16 of 22
My oldest daughter is in waldorf kindergarten. I used to live in Orange County, CA and I know that the tuition here in Oregon is about half of what it was in California... and then we are also on the tuition assistance program and that brought tuition down another 40%.. plus my parents are helping to pay it...
Our school has tuition assistance in order to make the school affordable for all so that it's not only those well off families who are able to attend.
I don't believe the socal waldorfs I looked into had tuition assistance programs.
Also the way tuition assistance works is that my payment is always the same no matter how many kids I have there.
My dd got accepted to a charter school for next year though, Family school in Eugene. So we won't have to pay tuition next year. I really like this school, it's not Waldorf but it has a great alternative approach.
post #17 of 22

socal waldorf schools

Actually,Orange county Waldorf school has an excellent tuition adjustment program. They meet with families in need of assistance individually to assess their financial particulars and then both the parents and comittee work to find an agreeable tuition amount.
I am understanding that most waldorf schools have some kind of program, as it is the goal of Waldorf education to be accessible to all.
post #18 of 22
I know we could not afford the Waldorf school and we live only two or three blocks from one. Even with the 50% off IF we recieved financial aid. Instead we will be driving 30 mins so my son can attend a Circle school which is way more financially feasible. I find it frustrating that a school that would embrace the attachment parenting lifestyle makes it nearly impossible for simply living, attached parents to got to this institution without sacrificing somewhere.
post #19 of 22
Waldorf tution here is over 1/3 of our gross income. We could afford it, but we'd have to be homeless to do it. Plus the Waldorf school is about 30 miles away, in the opposite direction that dh works, and we only have one car and no public transport.

Dd will be going to a school closer to dh's work.
post #20 of 22
sorry if a little off-topic but allyouneedisLUV do I know you? I live in long beach and my older child(dd) goes to oc waldorf playgroup. we just had our interview for 3day kindergarten which is not included in the financial aid. I am a sahm and I think we are just going to go into more debt for her to attend kindergarten and then apply for aid in 1st. grade. I just got so excited when I saw your bio and you have an older girl and infant son (mine was born at home too!) and you live in the same town. My name is Crystal .
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