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Life After Waldorf ~ A Support Group

post #1 of 1181
Thread Starter 
Welcome.

Here we are. We are a group of women who have been together for 18 months sharing our stories, our pain, and our quest for healing ourselves and our children.

Here is the link to our former thread called "A Safe, Healthy Haven: Waldorf Questioners/Concerns Thread":
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=368640

Today, we begin anew, in a new sub-forum.

I, for one, like the "Personal Growth" subforum because it makes me feel safe and that this is a protected space for healing, not defending, ourselves.

Welcome to all newcomers, male or female, who need to be here, as well.

Let me state clear as day, that this thread belongs to all of us, though I tend to be on here a lot because I need to share my story, make sense of what happened to me and my child, help others, and heal.

I will post my story soon.

Smiles and peace,

Beansavi (aka Beth)

***PS Out of respect and liability issues, do not mention school names or personal history of other members they have not shared themselves. Thank you.
post #2 of 1181
Hi Beth,

I'm glad to see you here bc I am here so often

DS has been having major problems with reading, and he is very angry at us for sending him to a Waldorf school up to 3rd grade when we were pushed out due to a financial ais issue. I have so much more to say, but have to go right now.

The reason we are not still going started with an extremely abusive incident relating to the "financial assistance" comittee, which was comprised of our peers, other parents who were now privy to our personal, personal info. I was humiliated when our private info. was reviewed, it was not good at the time...We got a nasty letter stating that we would get a small amout of aid that year, but no other years bc DH (at the time) wasn't making enough money to support his family : (you should've seen the nasty, patronizing letter...from another parent) gtg for now, but I'll be back.

anyone else have an issue with the financial aid committee? I haven't done our story justice bc I'mm in such a hurry.

((((Beth))))
post #3 of 1181
Wow, interesting timing on the appearance of this thread. I have been thinking whether to look into Montessori or Waldorf for my DD (who is still just an infant, but it's never too early to prepare, I say).

I am interested to know that one needs support after Waldorf! :

I will be watching the thread. It is particularly problematic that they revealed personal financial information broadly like that. :
post #4 of 1181
Hi, I will be reading here and listening and learning. Thanks Beth.
post #5 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amris View Post
Wow, interesting timing on the appearance of this thread. I have been thinking whether to look into Montessori or Waldorf for my DD (who is still just an infant, but it's never too early to prepare, I say).

I am interested to know that one needs support after Waldorf! :

I will be watching the thread. It is particularly problematic that they revealed personal financial information broadly like that. :
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMUM View Post
Hi, I will be reading here and listening and learning. Thanks Beth.

Eeep! Umm, yeah...and my boy's six, so I was seriously considering starting in the fall... Funny, I've been real slow getting off the ground with this...maybe I will find out why...
post #6 of 1181
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedK View Post
Hi Beth,

I'm glad to see you here bc I am here so often

DS has been having major problems with reading, and he is very angry at us for sending him to a Waldorf school up to 3rd grade when we were pushed out due to a financial ais issue. I have so much more to say, but have to go right now.

The reason we are not still going started with an extremely abusive incident relating to the "financial assistance" comittee, which was comprised of our peers, other parents who were now privy to our personal, personal info. I was humiliated when our private info. was reviewed, it was not good at the time...We got a nasty letter stating that we would get a small amout of aid that year, but no other years bc DH (at the time) wasn't making enough money to support his family : (you should've seen the nasty, patronizing letter...from another parent) gtg for now, but I'll be back.

anyone else have an issue with the financial aid committee? I haven't done our story justice bc I'mm in such a hurry.

((((Beth))))
Hi my beloved BelovedK. I am always so impressed by your integroty, bravery, and honesty in reference to what happened to you guys. Many squeezie higs to ya'!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amris View Post
Wow, interesting timing on the appearance of this thread. I have been thinking whether to look into Montessori or Waldorf for my DD (who is still just an infant, but it's never too early to prepare, I say).

I am interested to know that one needs support after Waldorf! :

I will be watching the thread. It is particularly problematic that they revealed personal financial information broadly like that. :
Hi Amris. To say there are many of us who need support after leaving or being thrown out of Waldorf is an understatement. It is my hope to find some personal healing through sharing with others, to help others heal, tto, and to shed some light on this widely unknown aspect of Waldorf. Welcome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SMUM View Post
Hi, I will be reading here and listening and learning. Thanks Beth.
Thank to you, SMUM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WoadAbode View Post
Eeep! Umm, yeah...and my boy's six, so I was seriously considering starting in the fall... Funny, I've been real slow getting off the ground with this...maybe I will find out why...
HI Woadie, Welcome. Here is the link to the original thread that birthed (naturally, I might add ) this thread.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=368640
post #7 of 1181
We were squeezed out....we simply weren't allowed in. It has certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.
post #8 of 1181
I am here to show my fullest support and camaraderie! Have a busy day today but I'll be back regularly.
post #9 of 1181
Subbing, as I am just starting to look into schooling options for DD.

Also, I really respect Beansavi and what you have to say. I appreciate how respectful and tolerant you are in your threads and posts. It's been eye opening to say the least.

There is a Waldorf school a few miles from our house and I always wonder what it's like.
post #10 of 1181
The school we were a part of treated our family poorly, but it is nothing compared with how they (the financial ass. committee) treated friends of mine.

(that is meant to be an abbreviation, but I kinda like how it looks, haha)


They were reprimanded for the fact that the hubby didn't keep a job and therefore couldn't support his family. They were very young parents and I think that came into play.

One of the older anthroposophists on the commitee, who doesn't have children in the schol had no idea the letters went out, the letter composer and decision maker : made that decision on her own apparantly... I think it was just a few that knew 'the letters' went out and when I tried to nicely talk to the woman about it, she never returned my call and soon thereafter, she moved away...She was blessed to be a SAHM with a DH whio could comfortably support her and the family.

I never had a chance to talk to her, but let me tell you what I did do I composed a letter of my own and sent it to about 25 people inviting them to my home for a forum discussion about the role of financial aid and the need to reframe the entire concept so that everyone would be respected and have their needs met, including the teachers who need to be compensated for their hard, hard work. The long range solution is something called 'threefolding' which is when the school supports the community and the community supports the school...It has been so long since I've thought of that that I'm having a time thinking of how to explain it well.

I seated the older gentleman (who had no clue) across the room so he could observe.

I put one of the biggest activist/supporter of fairness in the community, next to one of the highest members of the Financial A.commitee(who was also one of those 'in the know')

.on the other side of him I seated another activist/supporter (by activist/supporter, I mean the people who were very angry about how we had been treated)

I created an interesting sandwich dynamic By the end of the evening, the poor guy who was seated by me was apologizing to me about his treatment of my friends...apologizing!!! I was pretty exacting in deciding who I would invite to the little event. It was a success and I could've taken it farther if i wanted to form my own comittee, etc. etc. I didn't.

I soon received another dreaded letter labeled CONFIDENTIAL. It told me that if I continued to share my story with others then I would be not able to send my DS the next year

Need I say more?

I should also say that I think Waldorf education is beautiful and there is so much that I believe in and love about it...I just think that the individual schools can become like huge, dysfunctional families and each should be judged on a case by case basis...I do think that the way they are structured, there is much room for dysfunction (for lack of a better word)
post #11 of 1181
Will be watching as well, would love to sent E in a few years, he just turned 2. But seeing as there is not one here really looking at... I guess I will have to see what happens
post #12 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedK View Post
I should also say that I think Waldorf education is beautiful and there is so much that I believe in and love about it...I just think that the individual schools can become like huge, dysfunctional families and each should be judged on a case by case basis...I do think that the way they are structured, there is much room for dysfunction (for lack of a better word)


I agree with every word of this, BelovedK. For me, it is exclusively about the formal school aspect. We have been Waldorf-influenced unschoolers at home for years, now, and I'm thankful for that. I am also thankful not to be part of a Waldorf school anymore for exactly the reasons you pointed out.
post #13 of 1181

Waldorf/Money

Affording Waldorf as single parent over the long haul is nearly impossible. There are some schools that are working harder to change thier financial structuring to become more inclusive of lower income households and single parent headed households, but it seems a low priority for most schools overall. Rarely have I heard of a Waldorf school whose administration and board care enough to remedy the exclusion of single parent families/low income families of color.

The most difficult refelctive peice for me in leaving Waldorf is a prickly awareness that there is true "community" only for a chosen group of families. The rest are often left to struggle and wonder in the periphery what it takes to feel "in community". For many families I have listened to and shared with, there comes a time when an unexpected awareness of thier exclusion floors them. It is loaded with shame and judgment. Feelings of disillusionment abound. How is this good for families? Waldorf educators and anthroposophists strive toward a higher consciousness in human relationships, but somehow fail to see the walls they create socially in the wider community. I see that striving toward higher consciousness as a very good thing that may scatter some hopeful seeds for a distant future, but I have also come to realize that there an awful lot of wheels spinning in one place as whole groups of children pass by, many sorely needing a more whole way of becoming educated.
post #14 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by browneyedsol View Post

Transferring a child from Waldorf education into the mainstream after a child knowing only Waldorf can be very rocky. Behavior and academic performance valued in Waldorf are not necessarily valued in the mainstream, and the academics lag behind in the early grades. This is one reason that Waldorf schools need to be more honest about what they can offer lower income parents over the long haul. I certainly would have appreciated knowing that half way through my son's journey, his education in Waldorf would no longer be accessible. I would have made a different choice, though I was very serious about my commitment to Waldorf at the time. When schools are not clear and honest about financial issues such as this, they are not setting up children for a life long love of learning as is frequently advertised. They are quite possibly setting a child up for academic frustration and, in some cases, failure.
.
(bolding mine)

This has been a HUGE issue for us. For several reasons I cannot homeschool and my DS is having SUCH a hard time merging into the mainstream...My parents are even paying for him to go to a small private school and I realize how lucky I am. The prices at Waldorf were definately not accessable to us and we were told that we could only get assistance for 2 years, that's all

When I watch him struggling to keep up with his classmates, I wish I had made other choices, but I didn't know. When the school started (I was a part of the creation of the school, even when DS was a baby) it was affordable. I knew it would go up, but i thought that there would always be a way.

I realize that the economics of Waldorf schools is a complex subject and I want the teachers to get paid well, and I never tried to take advantage.

I guess my biggest issue was how it was handled and now several other of my peers now know ALL of my private info. I don't think that the tuition assistance committee should be comprised of other parents (based on my experience)
post #15 of 1181
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by browneyedsol View Post
Presently, the most difficult refelctive peice for me in leaving Waldorf is the prickly awareness that there is real "community" only for a chosen group of families. The rest are often left to struggle and wonder in the periphery what it takes to feel "in community".

For many families I have listened to and shared with, there comes a time when an unexpected awareness of thier exclusion floors them. It is loaded with shame and judgment. Feelings of disillusionment abound. How is this good for families? Waldorf education and anthropsosophy strive toward a higher consciousness in human interactions, but somehow fail to see the walls they create socially.

I see that striving toward higher consciousness as a very good thing that may scatter some hopeful seeds for a distant future, but I have also come to realize that there an awful lot of wheels spinning in one place as whole groups of children pass by, many sorely needing a more whole way of becoming educated.
This is very well-said, browneyed. Thank you for that. I have to say I completely agree with you on this, and it is my experience, too. We were completely "floored" (as you put it) that I helped found the school, taught at the school (while having a KG there and a 6 mo daughter, still nursing all night), studied Anthroposophy every Thursday night, went to teacher training 3,000 miles away all summer... and still my family and I were insulted, embarassed publicly, "punished" (their word!) and shunned after I brought up my issues to them.

I will talk more about ds's molestation and the ramifications later.
post #16 of 1181
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedK View Post
(bolding mine)



I realize that the economics of Waldorf schools is a complex subject and I want the teachers to get paid well, and I never tried to take advantage.

I guess my biggest issue was how it was handled and now several other of my peers now know ALL of my private info. I don't think that the tuition assistance committee should be comprised of other parents (based on my experience)
Beloved, your needing financial aid does not in any way mean you would be taking food out of the teachers' mouths!

I have heard that excuse used by a Financial Aid committee, while simultaneously planning farm trips, Olymics in another state, and hiring a Eurythmy teacher.

Waldorf shcools need to grow on the inside before they try to look advanced on the outside. You are not at fault for their short-sightedness. Is that a word?
post #17 of 1181
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamastePlatypus View Post
Will be watching as well, would love to sent E in a few years, he just turned 2. But seeing as there is not one here really looking at... I guess I will have to see what happens
Hi Namaste... welcome!



Quote:
Originally Posted by MsChatsAlot View Post
We were squeezed out....we simply weren't allowed in. It has certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.
If you feel like sharing the details, this is the place. I, for one, am here for you if you need me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by May May View Post
I am here to show my fullest support and camaraderie! Have a busy day today but I'll be back regularly.
Thank you, as always!



Quote:
Originally Posted by devster4fun View Post
Subbing, as I am just starting to look into schooling options for DD.

Also, I really respect Beansavi and what you have to say. I appreciate how respectful and tolerant you are in your threads and posts. It's been eye opening to say the least.

There is a Waldorf school a few miles from our house and I always wonder what it's like.
Thank you so much for saying that. I have been feeling pretty low this past week about all this stuff.
post #18 of 1181
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to share...

As I sat here upset that others judge me without having ever even heard the sound of my voice, and the judgement I received from Waldorf... I came across this:

Though it is human to evaluate people we encounter based on first impressions, the conclusions we come to are seldom unaffected by our own fears and our own preconceptions. Additionally, our judgments are frequently incomplete.

At the heart of the tendency to categorize and criticize, we often find insecurity. Overcoming our need to set ourselves apart from what we fear is a matter of understanding the root of judgment and then reaffirming our commitment to tolerance.

YEAH!
post #19 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by browneyedsol View Post
Unfortunately, a limited understanding of diversity seems to prevail in Waldorf schools.

This is my experience and opinion, as well.





Quote:
Originally Posted by browneyedsol View Post
Presently, the most difficult refelctive peice for me in leaving Waldorf is the prickly awareness that there is real "community" only for a chosen group of families. The rest are often left to struggle and wonder in the periphery what it takes to feel "in community". For many families I have listened to and shared with, there comes a time when an unexpected awareness of thier exclusion floors them. It is loaded with shame and judgment. Feelings of disillusionment abound. How is this good for families? Waldorf education and anthropsosophy strive toward a higher consciousness in human interactions, but somehow fail to see the walls they create socially. I see that striving toward higher consciousness as a very good thing that may scatter some hopeful seeds for a distant future, but I have also come to realize that there an awful lot of wheels spinning in one place as whole groups of children pass by, many sorely needing a more whole way of becoming educated.


Oh my goodness this was so well-articulated that I want to quote it a second time after you, beansavi! Browneyedsol, I couldn't agree more with what you've said so well, here. Further, I want to note an interesting phenomenon that occurred in my experience at our Waldorf school ~


I had watched the first few classes of children at our school grow up. By the time they were teens, I noticed that they had several behavioral patterns that were alarming to say the least and very surprising for all that Anthroposophy had touted as its effects.

These children were incessantly and intensely cruel toward the younger children at the school, they were frequently seen rolling their eyes at the adults in the community (both faculty and parents) and they were behaving in ways that were not reflecting absorption of the values that Waldorf espouses - in fact, the ways in which they were behaving were typical of children who've been overcontrolled for too long and were angry.

To me, this all speaks of other kinds of lessons well-learned such as "Do as I say, not as I do" i.e. teaching noble ethics such as the idea of reverence for all beings and yet having some severe blind spots in reality that result in very strange behavioral double standards that do not reflect any such concept (and, in fact, reflect the extreme opposite - apathy for all/other beings).

Back then, still being the mother of younger children, I thought that this was 'normal' and that I should just chalk it all up to 'teenage rebellion' and hormones, etc. Now I know otherwise. In fact, I am grateful to know dozens of teens and young adults who are kind, thoughtful people and, interestingly, none of them have ever been involved in Waldorf. The fact that ALL of the older children I observed at the Waldorf school behaved this way to varying degrees is quite striking to me and definitely not possible to write off as a nuance of personality.

In fact, I believe that it is the result of highly-coercive/authoritarian/paternalistic rearing and educating that utilizes varying types of force and shaming as effective tools. That style of rearing/educating is reflected in other schools of thought than just Anthroposophy, to be sure, but the interesting thing to note here is that Anthroposophy promotes itself as being a most natural, healthy, loving, supportive, nurturing and evolved method. To me, it is most influenced by the very prevalant (and therefore nearly invisible) anglo-Christian dogma-as-default.

And, to clarify my stance ~ I would have felt totally ok and respectful of the situation had these aspects been clearly expressed, especially when I and others asked pointed questions regarding these matters. That way, I could have made an educated decision about whether Waldorf was right for my family or not early on instead of many years into our community and educational experience. Instead, I experienced a pattern of avoidance to answer, answers that resembled fluttering butterflies that were 'beating around the bush' and, at best, fancy answers that felt like they had been heavily-scented with artificial floral constituents from some PR rhetoric manual. THAT is my point of contention about all of this. My opinion is that the facts of their beliefs and agenda need to be made waaaay more clear and especially not hidden for fear of "people misunderstanding their meaning" as if parents should routinely be distrusted to think intelligently for themselves and make their own educated decisions about what is best for their family and children.
post #20 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi View Post
Beloved, your needing financial aid does not in any way mean you would be taking food out of the teachers' mouths!

I have heard that excuse used by a Financial Aid committee, while simultaneously planning farm trips, Olymics in another state, and hiring a Eurythmy teacher.
If there was anything that solidified my opinion that our local school had a greater ability to offer a further reaching tuition assistance program, it was my first attendance at the annual fund raising dinner. There were obscene amounts of money flying around at that fundraiser. I was very happy to see such generous support for the school. However, it was painful to realize how much I had sacrificed to afford tuition over the years when it was clear much more tuition aid could have been offered to single parent headed families like mine. For years I felt guilty for any thoughts or feelings I had about situations in the school that I found unfair (usually socially exclusive situations) and I worried that speaking about such concerns would come across as irreverent and ungrateful. There was a very present and rigid unspoken rule that I should simply count my blessings for being able to have my children enrolled at all, and that my thanks should be to zip my lip or suffer the consequences of being banished from an education I felt was very right for my children.

The unsavory air at the fundraiser helped me to accept the fact that Waldorf and social exclusion co-exist too comfortably, and it helped me realize how much of a disservice I would do to myself and my children in attempting to stay in "community" struggling.
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