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Help, anxiety attack about school... - Page 2

post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
With regard to biodynamic food-sure it bothers me but not as much some nitwit handing my kid gummy-worms (gelatin) and twinkies (who knows what's in there).
I agree. I ate biodynamic food for years - still do. But not for vegetarian reasons. I didn't say there was anything wrong with biodynamic food (maybe you read something into my statement). It's just not vegetarian, and they aren't clear about it.
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I can honestly say that health-wise Waldorf is light years ahead of other schools and my vegetarian child can bring his own lunch and fit right in without being exposed to all kinds of commercial crap (can I say that?)
Again, I agree.
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Pete- We have different philosophies. I'm way more into the "how" than the "what" as far as my kids education goes. Everything is changing.
And that's OK. But the dark truth is that the "how" is also imbued with all kinds of Anthroposophical stuff. You don't have to take my word for it - and please don't. I'm not asking you to - I'm just asking you to find out for yourself. Look at it objectively - that's all I'm trying to say.
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It's so off topic to attack my beliefs about genetics etc. Science and western medicine are so fallible (it usually just takes 20 years to acknowledge). I don't have faith in a "cure" for AIDS, diabetes, cancer etc. I think it's a pipe dream that makes people a ton of money and does nothing to address what's causing all of this illness. So, I'm just saying that your argument doesn't move me.
I don't feel I'm attacking your views, just asking you to question them. I don't believe in limiting what children are allowed to learn. You, apparently, see nothing wrong with this. That's OK if you feel sure about it. Remember, I asked that you be 100% sure. If you are, Waldorf is for you.
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I came here feeling freaked out about some aspects of Waldorf, that certainly isn't the one.
OK.
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That said, I don't want it being off the deep end as far as content but I doubt so many students would go on to great colleges if they weren't learning anything relevant. How do they pull that off.
Really? - they go on to great colleges, or is the statement you are hearing "they are accepted" at great colleges. Many Waldorf students are accepted into college but choose not to go (burned out). Many others go to college and drop out in their first year because they can't keep up. A particularly bright student might be accepted into four great colleges but only attends one. All four of them are listed when they read off the colleges the graduating class was accepted to. But, again, please don't take my word for it.
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BTW, your tone feels very aggressive, sorry if mine is too. I just don't like feeling judged, especially in this forum.
I'm sorry if my tone feels agressive. I acknowledge that this may be my fault. I don't intend to be agressive toward you. I am sometimes frustrated by the uphill battle I have just asking people to look objectively at Waldorf. With regard to feeling judged, please know two things - 1) I am not judging you at all, and don't want to. All I have asked is that you are sure Waldorf is for you before putting your kids there. 2) If anyone will be judged by my comments, it will be me. Just watch and see.

Warmly,

Pete
post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom

But I think a lot of folks do enroll their children in Waldorf schools without doing any research. I know WC blame the schools, but if a parent is sucked in by the color of the walls and doesn't do further research, it's not the fault of the schools. It's the fault of the families who avert their eyes from the school libraries and don't attend the book dscussions with a critical eye.
I agree--but also don't think it's fair to solely blame parents. I think that some Waldorf schools are also disingenuous about the way they describe themselves and their methods. I have encountered some schools that, IMO, downplay to a misleading degree the role anthroposophy plays in the classroom when parents try to do the very research you recommend.

Yes, parents should use a critical eye. But schools should use an honest voice, too.

I want to stay out of this seemingly personal debate that is starting to develop here, but I also want to say that it's not just Waldorf Critics (the group) that has issues with Waldorf.
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
If anyone reads a word about biodynamic farming, and waldorf parent libraries have many books on biodynamic farming and anthroposophy. I have been to several Waldorf fairs in CA, RI and MA and they always have non vegetarian food choices. I think vegetarians are drawn to waldorf because of the importance the schools place on good nutrition.
I agree.
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It sounds like your divorce was pretty ugly and you fell taken by anthroposophy. You should have been reading the books in your parent library. It sounds like you weren't doing your research prior to enrollment.
I assume you are talking to me here. Before enrolling my first child, I was part of a Waldorf initiative - I helped found a Waldorf school and was on the school's board of directors. I was also in a Waldorf study group focused on "The Education of the Child". I studied every Waldorf book I could get my hands on. I have studied Steiner for 12 years, and was in study groups that covered "Reincarnation and Karma" and "Manifestations of Karma". It wasn't until the school my kids attended had obvious problems that required immediate attention and clear and deliberate coverups of the facts were discovered by parents that my view of Waldorf education went from supportive to critical.
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I know exactly what I can take about Waldorf and what I reject about waldorf.
Me too.
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But I think a lot of folks do enroll their children in Waldorf schools without doing any research. I know WC blame the schools, but if a parent is sucked in by the color of the walls and doesn't do further research, it's not the fault of the schools. It's the fault of the families who avert their eyes from the school libraries and don't attend the book dscussions with a critical eye.
I agree with this to some degree, but the schools themselves are complicit in this deception. Look at the school's websites, for example, and see how many give more than a casual mention to Anthroposophy. Only when one understands the philosophy thoroughly, is one able to see the extent to which it permeates Waldorf education. Absolutely, the parents have to shoulder some of the blame, but so do the schools. It isn't as if they exactly advertise that Anthroposophy is the basis for the education and curriculum.
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I also don't have any problem with people who believe in anthropospohy, just as I don't have a problem with people who believe Jesus Christ is God. I know WC is putting forth the notion of cult, but then we'll have to say that every religon is a cult. It's true some eople believe that, and they ought not to enroll their children in waldorf schools. Homeschool or stick to public schools. Waldorf wouldn't be so popular if public schools weren't so horrible.
I, for one, do not believe, and I have never said, that Anthroposophy is a cult. I think Anthroposophy is a very valid belief system - if I didn't, I wouldn't have studied it for 12 years. The cult-like stuff shows up in some Waldorf schools and not others. This is something I am positive of because I have experienced it myself and have read books about cult behavior. I'm not here to defend WC btw. I believe Waldorf schools are great, and they absolutely should exist for the people who want their kids there. I don't support the notion that they should hide their connections to Anthroposophy any more than I would support a school that is a Scientology school but doesn't acknowledge it. This is where I have a problem with Waldorf, and that's why I ask people to be clear about what they are signing up for. It is not a mainstream, wooden toy, healthy food school system. It is quite different, and when people don't know this and aren't told this, they enter with the wrong expectations. That's hurtful to everyone, the school, the parents and the children.
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Waldorf is imperfect, and so is every other belief system on the planet.
Well, Waldorf isn't a belief system, it is based on Anthroposophy which is a belief system. And yes, no belief system is perfect. And yes, no educational system is perfect. That doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to try to come closer to that desired perfection.
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Your anger is very controlled here, though. I'll give you that. You've trained well, young Jedi. You're straight from WC central casting, for sure. You don't want to get kicked off just yet--at least without helping us to see the light first.
It's not anger. It is a desire to accomplish some good. The beneficiary is Waldorf, ultimately, although I know it doesn't sound that way. I'm a participant at WC, sure, and on other lists. So are a lot of Waldorf supporters. I'm not a Waldorf basher (as I've been accused of being by one of the moderators here). I'm someone who is involved in Waldorf education that is willing to take a critical look at it - and to ask parents to do the same. There are a lot of people within the Waldorf movement who are asking for the same things I am asking for. Waldorf IS reforming, and many well-intentioned people are maligned for directing focus toward that reform. And, yes, I'll probably be kicked off this list for telling it like it is, but I don't know any other way to tell it.

Pete
post #24 of 49
For the record, my children are not enrolled in waldorf schools, so I have no reason to defend them. Two of them are hs'd , one is in public high school, and one attneds a Friends school.

"And, yes, I'll probably be kicked off this list for telling it like it is, but I don't know any other way to tell it".


You can only tell it from your own personal reality, not as 'it' is--as that is subjective. You only get kicked off the list if you cause trouble, which you're not as far as I can see.

I asked you in the other thread about whether you are a parent at Highland Hall by choice. I am still curious.

Deborah-- this is a discussion. If you aren't interested in my thoughts, you can skip my posts. However, I won't be skipping Pete's as I am quite interested in this discussion.
post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
"And, yes, I'll probably be kicked off this list for telling it like it is, but I don't know any other way to tell it".

You can only tell it from your own personal reality, not as 'it' is--as that is subjective. You only get kicked off the list if you cause trouble, which you're not as far as I can see.
Yes, absolutely, "as it is FOR ME" or "as I SEE IT" or "ACCORDING TO MY EXPERIENCE" would have been better choices of words. Thanks. I'm not here to cause trouble - but I guess "trouble" is subjective.
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I asked you in the other thread about whether you are a parent at Highland Hall by choice. I am still curious.
I answered you there. OK?
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Deborah-- this is a discussion. If you aren't interested in my thoughts, you can skip my posts. However, I won't be skipping Pete's as I am quite interested in this discussion.
Thanks!

And Nana, sorry to hear about your back. Get well soon.

Pete
post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
Your anger is very controlled here, though. I'll give you that. You've trained well, young Jedi. You're straight from WC central casting, for sure. You don't want to get kicked off just yet--at least without helping us to see the light first.
for this post. Thanks, UUMom.


David
post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by canndw
for this post. Thanks, UUMom.


David
Hi David,

Good to see you here...

Again, we get into my pet peeve with Waldorf discussions - (as you know) the content of the posts is sacrificed for reflection on the personalities of the posters. Reflecting on my personality is against the rules here (I've recently been asked to review the rules, so I know). Why not address what is being said and not who is saying it?

Pete
post #28 of 49
Thread Starter 
Hi. Why must this digress so when I just wanted some objective opinions. Who cares if we don't all agree on every issue?
post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
Hi. Why must this digress so when I just wanted some objective opinions. Who cares if we don't all agree on every issue?
Good point.

As your original request, we sent our children to one year of pre-school and one year of 5 day kindergarten before the grades, so they were at least 4 (two were 5) when they started; they were at home before. I have heard a range of opinions on three-year-olds in the nursery programs; my wife assists with that class.

I would discuss with the kindergarten teacher your child's interest in academics, if you're concerned about it. An experienced teacher should have encountered this before, and should be able to describe what (if any) issues may occur.

David
post #30 of 49
Thread Starter 
David- Just wondering what your overall experience has been at the school.

BTW- I used to attend an acting class run by Scientologists (which I am not) and it was the best darn class I ever took and had the greatest impact on me as a person. Sure I never knew which parts were Scientology but it never mattered a bit because it worked whatever it was and I never became a Scientologist. I just wonder if there is a paralell.
post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
BTW- I used to attend an acting class run by Scientologists (which I am not) and it was the best darn class I ever took and had the greatest impact on me as a person. Sure I never knew which parts were Scientology but it never mattered a bit because it worked whatever it was and I never became a Scientologist. I just wonder if there is a paralell.
At the risk of helping this thread digress even further , do you believe that an adult taking an acting class run by Scientologists and not becoming a Scientologist is a suitable parallel for a child being exposed to Anthroposophy six hours a day, five days a week from, say, age 4 through age 18 (14 years)?

Pete
post #32 of 49
I actually would be interested in hearing about how your kids 'turned out' . I am not asking for personal information or anything. You posted earlier that your 17 yr old went through waldorf school. Is she (he? sorry, can't remember) doing well, having had this exposure that worries you so much?

You also mentioned in the other thread that you had a lot of legal issues stemming from Waldord. i am wondering if you wanted to withdraw the children from their school? (This actually might be too personal, so feel free to ignore). I ask because if you did want them out of the school and the courts said they could stay, the courts probably didn't find anthroposophy to be damaging to them.
post #33 of 49
Thread Starter 
Okay Pete, you do digress. I wasn't saying my acting class was the "same". I was illustrating that sometimes you can get a lot out of something without buying into every aspect. And I know enough people that have kids at Waldorf to know that they are having good experiences overall.

My sister went to Catholic High School to get a good education (she's Jewish). I don't think you have to subscribe to the whole doctrine to reap the benefits. I am simply trying to determine if the benefits that I want for my children are at Waldorf.

It would be nice to know how your kids turned out or how they reflect on their educations.
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by UUMom
I actually would be interested in hearing about how your kids 'turned out' . I am not asking for personal information or anything. You posted earlier that your 17 yr old went through waldorf school. Is she (he? sorry, can't remember) doing well, having had this exposure that worries you so much?
Unfortunately, I don't hide who I am, so people know me by my first and last name and the school my kids attend. So naturally, I'm not going to go into detail about how my own kids have done at their school. Anything I say here could get back to them and I hope you understand my need to be sensitive to this. And while I understand the curiosity, I try to keep personal stuff out of my posts as much a possible.
Quote:
You also mentioned in the other thread that you had a lot of legal issues stemming from Waldord. i am wondering if you wanted to withdraw the children from their school? (This actually might be too personal, so feel free to ignore).
It's no secret that I have wanted to withdraw my kids from their particular school several times.
Quote:
I ask because if you did want them out of the school and the courts said they could stay, the courts probably didn't find anthroposophy to be damaging to them.
OK, more personal stuff - but I see that I will need to answer it - or leave the impression that the courts think Anthroposophy is OK. The case never ended up in trial. We settled out of court. I conceded to allowing the kids to stay in their current school as part of a settlement that granted me additional custody of them. I would have won in court, I am quite sure, but at what cost? A settlement was better for the kids - and the additional custody allows me to monitor and deal with what they are being exposed to at school and to supplement their education. And I am able to concentrate on bringing reform issues into focus at their school.

Pete
post #35 of 49
Thread Starter 
Could you just let me know a little more about what is so bad or scary about Waldorf. I believe you that you have had a bad experience, i just want to know what is so threatening that it could be worse than public school. When I went there were gang members, oercrowded classrooms and very scewed information being taught (especially history). We were always subject to the beliefs and personal baggage that each teacher brought to teaching. It was usually pretty bad. There was one teacher who's beliefs and personality were inspiring...ONE.
post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
Okay Pete, you do digress. I wasn't saying my acting class was the "same". I was illustrating that sometimes you can get a lot out of something without buying into every aspect. And I know enough people that have kids at Waldorf to know that they are having good experiences overall.
I still don't agree with your parallel/comparison/illustration. Children cannot discern what "buying into every aspect" means, nor do they have the where-with-all to understand the subtle nuances of what they are being exposed to. Of course they buy into every aspect. I know a lot of people that have kids at Waldorf who are having good experiences too. For many families, ignorance is bliss. Some people are content to see only the candy house. I was, unfortunately, too close to the philosophy to not see what was/is happening in Waldorf education.
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My sister went to Catholic High School to get a good education (she's Jewish).
Did she know it was a Catholic High School? Were they up front about the fact that it was Catholic?
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I don't think you have to subscribe to the whole doctrine to reap the benefits. I am simply trying to determine if the benefits that I want for my children are at Waldorf.
Nobody is suggesting one must be an Anthroposophist to reap the benefits of Waldorf, but I believe one should know that Waldorf education is based on Anthroposophy and what that *really* means and to what extent it is applied in the curriculum and in the way issues are dealt with. Isn't this part of making an informed decision?
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It would be nice to know how your kids turned out or how they reflect on their educations.
Please read my response to UUMOM - I'm not willing to publicly discuss how my kids turned out. Sorry. PM me if you want the details.

Pete
post #37 of 49
Thread Starter 
Okay so can you please summarize what Waldorf (anthroposophy) "really" mean to you.

That would truly be helpful.

I wasn't asking you to divulge personal info. You are willingly passionately participating in this didcussion and I want to understand what you feel they will do to my children. That is the point of this.
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
Could you just let me know a little more about what is so bad or scary about Waldorf. I believe you that you have had a bad experience, i just want to know what is so threatening that it could be worse than public school. When I went there were gang members, oercrowded classrooms and very scewed information being taught (especially history). We were always subject to the beliefs and personal baggage that each teacher brought to teaching. It was usually pretty bad. There was one teacher who's beliefs and personality were inspiring...ONE.
That sounds pretty bad. My public school education was much better (although, again, ignorance may have been bliss - this time my own ignorance). I graduated high school (Chatsworth, CA) in 1970. My education was very good, I think. There were a lot of activities - we went on field trips to see live performances/plays of Shakespeare and some more contemporary works. Little or no gang activity back then. But if the comparison is between Waldorf education and today's public education, I'm not sure I can make a case. If the comparison is Waldorf vs other alternatives, then there is room to question Waldorf.
I am reluctant to list everything that happened that was horrible in the years my kids attended Waldorf, and it would take a lot of time and space on this board - and I'm sure a lot of people already believe I'm here to bash Waldorf - so while the invitation is tempting, I'll just mention a few bullet points. If there is anything you would like me to go into detail about, please ask.

To get a feel for how and why these things can happen, one must understand that Waldorf teachers, unlike other school teachers, are bound by a religious philosophy and that part of that philosophy permits secrecy and hiding information from the public and from parents. So, when *things* happen in Waldorf schools, and they always do, there is a hive mentality among Waldorf teachers to white-wash or cover up incidents. This is insight that most people don't get so if it sounds too wierd to you I completely understand. Here are the bullet points of *some* of the incidents and crises I have personally witnessed or have had related to me first hand by the participants or victims:

- Children being mistreated, controlled, manipulated by teachers. Corporal punishment (cleaning restrooms).
- Children being sexually molested by a teenage son of a teacher and the school participating in a cover-up of the incidents (two separate) - and subsequent exposure of the cover-up.
- A teacher who dispensed medication to children it was not intended for in order to calm them down. A school cover-up of the incident - and subsequent exposure of the cover-up. A report to the police revealed that while this is a crime in public schools, this is not a crime in private schools.
- Teachers lying to parents and children.
- A teacher telling a child in a troubled family situation that she would like to adopt the child.
- A teacher wispering threats to a child.
- A teacher reading stories about rape, incest and mutilation on several occasions to 10 year old students.
- A teacher striking a child.
- A male teacher grabbing the buttocks of a 10th grade female student on a camping trip.
- Administrators interfering in legal actions.
- Administrators with control issues leading to parents being mistreated, ostricised or publicly ridiculed or defamed.
- Bullying (many times).
- Fist fights while teachers looked on.
- Students on a camping trip unsupervised on a public road who ended up hitchhiking to their campsite.
- Drugs and drug trafficing on campus.

I could be making all this up, of course, but if one looks at the rate at which people leave this particular Waldorf school (25% per year) it becomes obvious there is at least smoke and very likely fire here. Waldorf schools are not perfect, but they are especially imperfect because of the system in place that allows these types of incidents to be covered up or spun into acceptable gossip - or the people relating the incidents to be defamed or ridiculed. The system worked well for them, to some degree, but with the invention of the internet, word has been getting around and people in the US are discovering that the same things are happening in schools in Australia and in the Netherlands and Great Britain and everywhere. The advantage of other schools, even public schools, is that there IS accountability for the actions of the teachers. In Waldorf schools, there isn't. In public schools, teachers aren't bound by a religious belief system that endorses hiding the nature of the belief system from the public. In Waldorf schools, they are.

Pete
post #39 of 49
Thread Starter 
Thank you Pete. And no that's not too weird to me. It is direct and what I am looking for.

I do have a sense of the herd mentality and the secrecy and the issue of bullying which I have heard about from parents.

I think we are dealing with the same school and there have been recent events that coroborate what you are saying to some degree. Sometimes it feels like an ideally loving supportive familial community and sometimes it seems like sheep sticking their heads in the sand.

I think my children will do fine this year. The teachers we have are teachers that I know a lot about (through friends) and I will have to investigate your claims further. I do not think it is impossible that those things occured and it concerns me. I think there is a plus to the very close relationships the kids have with their teachers but I can also see how lines can be crossed (or blurred) without accountability.

Thanks.
post #40 of 49
and yet it is better for your children to attend this school? I would have gone to court.

Pete, you've totally lost me now.

Now I have trust issues.
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