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Life After Waldorf ~ A Support Group - Page 51

post #1001 of 1181
Hi Kitty's Mama,
First let me say that I have never sent my child to a Waldorf school. This thread did help validate some of what I was feeling about Waldorf but the main reason I decided not to go the Waldorf route is exactly what you said, some of my experiences in investigating the possibility left me feeling creeped out.

There were to many red flags for me to ignore. When I mentioned the things that made me feel uncomfortable about Waldorf many Mama's agreed with me yet they still went the Waldorf route. Not all but a few are struggling now, they are in, they feel uncomfortable but they don't know how to get out. I keep sending them the link to this thread.

The natural toys and the pastel colors, the round walls are all very inviting and do feel so very good. But if you have been creeped out in the past what does it matter how it all looks on the outside.
This is your childs mind you are talking about. Your child is going to be steeped in Anthroposophy. Have you researched Anthro enough to know if this is what you want your child living day in and day out?

Just my own thoughts, and observations, hope it can help in some way
post #1002 of 1181
I've never seen or encountered prejudice against families with gay parents in Waldorf. I'd say that most Waldorf parents are politically liberal, and I'd expect it to be a comfortable place. However, all the parents I knew were in heterosexual relationships.

One thought is that kindergarten isn't a bad place to start if you want to give W a try and get to know the community. If your child is already reading and writing, s/he will be ready for a public school first grade if Waldorf isn't a good fit. It sounds like you are going into it with open eyes, and you will know if it is right for your child or not.
post #1003 of 1181
Hi Kittysmama. Given that this is a support thread for those of us who are or have recovered from our experiences with waldorf, you can probably imagine the general sentiment about giving it a try. I would just say that it's important to pay attention to your gut level feelings. If something doesn't feel right to you, it probably isn't.
post #1004 of 1181
Thanks to everyone for your posts. Upon further reading we have decided not to send the girls to Waldorf school.

Today I received an invitation to a parent study group on the "occult science" which underlies the Waldorf educational philosophy. Wow. Think we will pass. What a confirmation of our decision. I don't think I have ever typed that word before and it's not something we want our children exposed to, never mind steeped in.

DD tends to be quite anxious and imaginative as it is, thank you for helping us aviod what could have been quite a big mistake.

I wish all of you well on your journies of healing.
post #1005 of 1181
You are welcome, and best wishes as you go forward.
post #1006 of 1181
All I have to say is... Holy Crap.

I was all very open to Waldorf. DH had more experiences with it as a child (his beloved summer camp was held at a Waldorf school, but it was not Waldorf, but quite a few teachers were part of the camp and students went to the camp, so it had a "Waldorf-ey feeling" but did not adhere to the tennents- he loved the camp). His first statement was "It is a cult." I laughed at him and told him he was being rediculus. My dh is a very thoughtful and supportive husband and father and when I said I wanted to think of visiting the local school, I saw him tense up. A bit of reading into it made me think it was not going to work. We are Jewish, we want being Jewish to be easy and organic for our kids and the Christian underpinnings made us both uncomfortable. We had/have other options, so we moved on.

But, I couldn't really let it go until now. The ideas of no media, natural play things, etc. I felt like... I guess I wanted it to be this little hippie utopia and I wanted to pretend like the other stuff didn't matter so much.

But holy crap. I had no idea. The teeth falling out indicating it is time to read? The angel brain? Talking to the dead? No black crayons? Physical traits being keys to past lives? And these themes of secrecy and belonging and branding people and bullying (which is probably different from school to school, but there is too much here to be a coincidence)?

Wow. Ok, Waldorf is truly and finally off our list. I'm all for play and arts and less on academics and more on a depth and richness of life... but this is just creepy. And... sounds like a cult.

Thank you, everyone, for your honesty. And hugs and warmth as you forge a new way ahead.
post #1007 of 1181
Besides the aesthetics, what appealed to you about Waldorf? I've been lurking (and sometimes posting in the Waldorf forum because I've been trying to see why people like the philosophy besides the pretty toys. But all I've seen for actual "why we're doing Waldorf" threads is "and the classroom was so pretty" and "I found this gorgeous XYZ"

Also, in the earlier safe haven thread, Beansavi asked (back in 2005 (around post #40)) whether Waldorf attracted people who feel a need to get into positions of power and control others. Could the aesthetics have anything to do with that? Causing it to attract people who are fixated on image as well as those who think it will be good for their children?

Finally, if Steiner tied learning to read with losing teeth, which happens at different times for different children, then why does it seem like even not particularly strict Waldorf schools are obsessed with not starting reading until age 7?
post #1008 of 1181
This is a big thread, so I'm not sure how often people check it for individual responses. But... I'm really hoping I can find some support here.

We're pulling our daughter, age 5, out of Waldorf kindergarten, even though it means we're going to love over 2 grand in tuition by not giving sufficient notice. She hates it there. She loves her friends, but hates going to school. This isn't like her at all - she's been enrolled in a preschool since she was two, and she always loved going to "school" until this fall, when she started Waldorf.

It just hasn't been what I expected. At all. I was in love with the idea of Waldorf, the natural toys, the beautiful schoolroom, the "relaxed" atmosphere... we had toured several public schools before we toured the local Waldorf, and the difference was astounding. At the public schools, the kids ran wild and had to start reading and writing at age 4. At the Waldorf school, the children were quiet, sat neatly, made nice drawings, and didn't have to worry about reading and writing. I feel like this should have been my first clue, but it wasn't.

My daughter already knew how to write her letters and read some words when we enrolled her at the Waldorf school. Her teachers at her previous school always told me how bright, well-mannered, and delightful she was! But now she ignores her Waldorf teacher, won't stay in her seat, and is bored by the day-to-day activities. I have to meet with her teachers on a regular basis to discuss her bad behavior. I get the feeling they think she's a bit dumb.

What drove it home for me was a picture she made at school recently. All the other students had drawn their families, or fun things they like to do. My daughter's was just a scribble... I asked her what it was and she said, "Nothing. I was just making it look crazy." This wouldn't be so unusual, except that her drawings have always been so intricate and detailed. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it just seemed so apt... that's how she feels here. Minimized and crazy. She has to fit in this little box: always be still, always be quiet, have little to stimulate you (she does like the cooking projects they do, but she really misses the reading and writing from her old school. We do it at home now).

It's funny - now I can't WAIT for her to be in one of those public schools where the children run wild. It's where she needs to be. So I found a place for her and we're pulling her out at the beginning of next term, lost tuition money be damned.

Does this make sense to anyone? Has anyone's wonderfully bright, happy child been made miserable by Waldorf? It isn't the most extreme kind of abuse, but I feel it would crush her if she were left in this environment.

Thanks for listening.
post #1009 of 1181
Oh dear, I just posted in another thread that I'd never heard of anyone with problems at the preschool/kindergarten level.

Sounds like it was a horrible fit for your dd. My guess is that any inflexible school that's a mismatch for a child will be a horrible mistake. Thank goodness your dd has a parent who is smart enough to see that the school doesn't work for her and is willing to move on.

One small suggestion, be prepared to give her some time not going to school so she can recover. If she's pushing to go to a "school like my old school" or something, go for it, but don't push her into it.
post #1010 of 1181
Thanks, sapphire. The school system here has month-long breaks between terms, so she'll have some time to decompress before starting at the new school.

It's so ironic... I pulled her out of her the first public school we tried here after only three days because I didn't want her to have to go start formal learning at such a young age. Ever since then, she mentions that school almost daily. "Why can't I go there? I want to go back there."

Ah, well. I tried to give her what I thought she needed... at least we're not too stubborn and willing to try something new. I'm still annoyed, though, in another respect: the school wasn't forthcoming at all about how they really are. They portray themselves as the most child-centric option available, but that hasn't been my experience at all.
post #1011 of 1181
Hi everyone:

I am new to this blog, and I'm wondering if you have found any reading material which could help upon leaving a Waldorf school. It seems that so much is tied up with the school. Not only are people leaving an education, but depending on how deeply they were involved, it could also be starting over a whole new way of life, leaving a deep support system where friends were like family, a drop in income, etc. I am hoping that there may be some sort of healing "blue print," something along the lines of Kubler-Ross' stages of grief, which could give people an idea of whats to come and how to heal. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
post #1012 of 1181
What a great idea! A hanbook/survival guide. I wonder if Bean would be up to that????
post #1013 of 1181
I don't think Beansavi is around any more. So it would have to be up to the rest of you!
post #1014 of 1181
Drat, just lost my post.

Just want to say welcome, soulcakes, and hopefully your dd will thrive in her next school. I know mine did, so keep hope!

There are some web resources for getting out and moving on. This thread is important to that end. Hopefully it can validate concerns and experiences and let you know that you aren't crazy, or too lazy to investigate waldorf/steiner, or any of the multitude of things that are said about those of us who experience difficulty. Most of us who have posted here have many years of experience. Take comfort that life (and your family) moves forward.
post #1015 of 1181
Hi karne, and thanks for the welcome!

Not to be daft, but where could I find the web resources you speak of? My googling skills may be insufficient - can't seem to locate any. Help would be greatly appreciated!
post #1016 of 1181
I remember stumbling upon something that spoke directly to the skills that my elementary aged children would not have received in waldorf, but would be the norm in other educational systems, and how that might be addressed. That was a big factor for us, but I don't remember the site. We also made use of the knowledge other schools in our area had about kids who transferred from waldorf, and what they usually needed remedial help with so that we could begin to look ahead a bit and prepare both the children and ourselves.
post #1017 of 1181
Hi, SoulCakes. Thank you for sharing your story. We had a similar experience with a Waldorf preschool. Fortunately, we were only at that school for a few months.

I was *shocked* when the teacher approached me with her concerns about DS' behavior. I had never known my son to misbehave; he was truly a "golden child." And the things he was doing weren't terrible; just things like not sitting still and quiet during circle time and getting rambunctious. He was bored silly. The teacher would ask me with mock concern if he "liked to watch a lot of TV." She was trying to make me feel like there was something wrong with him and that my parenting was to blame. The next year he went to public Kindergarten and we have gotten nothing but positive feedback on his behavior since. He was also identified as gifted by his K teacher even though they don't test until 2nd grade.

Oh, and after his few months at Waldorf, he refused to draw anything except scribbles. The public K teacher let him write instead of draw when there was a drawing assignment. He's in third grade now and will draw a little when necessary but will never do it for fun. I don't really care if drawing is his thing or not but it is kind of sad because I have a drawing he did when he was 4, before he went into Waldorf, and it was pretty decent for a 4 year old!

I definitely think you're doing the right thing by yanking her sooner rather than later!
post #1018 of 1181
Hi all! I just discovered this thread and do not post much. I have a similar experience with Waldolf. My daughter has always been very outgoing, never needed "discipline" always thoughtful, bright, creative. I was set on homeschooling until we moved to an area with a Waldorf school. My husband and I were pulled in by all the...I guess no need to explain.
She was 5 when we enrolled her into K. Her teacher just loved her, comments about her untouched innocence...you just do not see these days. 3 weeks into the school my daughter began having problems. She wouldn't talk about school at all and didn't want to go. The school recc speech therapy and started it without my consent. I spoke with the speech therapist and she agreed my daughters vocabulary is far above her peers and she will grow out of any speech pronunciations she may have- however my daughter talked about the therapist and loves her so we continued to let her play games once a week with her. The 1st parent teacher conference went pretty well all things we expected to hear and the teacher raving about DD's amazing art work, detailed meadows,flowers,waterfalls, such a dreamy child. however we voiced concerns of sleep issues which arose and the lack of any talk/enjoyment about the school from my DD. As the weeks past my DD no longer wanted to go but did love her friends and teacher. Then my DD started being completely out of sorts(not acknowledging me, behavior issues towards her younger sister, not making eye contact) at pick up.
Onto 2nd parent teacher meeting and 1st grade evaluation. The things the teacher told us about our daughter were shocking to us and completely uncharacteristic, scribbles as art work, too tired for circle time. also a new recommendation- an Occupational therapist who by the way, works with in the school. The teacher stated our DD was grossly behind in motor skills. I left there and cried for 2 days. How could i not notice this? I thought she had regressed before my eyes during the winter and I didn't notice. I became quite observant and was pleasantly surprised with my test of DD skills. I pulled myself together, thought about it,spoke to people, researched and here I/we are. In the last 3 weeks my daughter has began talking about school and it is not good. She has been exposed to a student who has said things such as hmm not sure if i should write this stuff as it is very disturbing. i guess i can edit later or think of a better way to describe it but for now beat a dog to death with a stick, feed mermaids glass until their insides bleed, kill your mom, cut you, rip out your eyeballs if you aren't my friend,*tears* Me and 3 other mothers pieced things together by finally talking/meeting one another and held our children from school until this child was no longer enrolled in the school. 1 mother had been trying to work with the teacher since oct on these issues, the other mother had play dates with this child and noticed problems that she began discussing with the teacher after winter break. When DH and I went to the teacher she said that yes these things have been ongoing, she thought she was handling it fine, and our DD was his....ummm can't think of the term she used but at any rate my DD was the 1 who's cubby was beside his, her chair, she gave the teacher hope that this student could be helped by Waldorf methods and remain in the school. My DD took the role quite seriously trying to watch over and save this boy that she was terrified of. It has just been this week that she has gone back to school without him. She smiled at me at pick up today I however have lost all confidence with the school and I am making arrangements to enroll her into the local public K and paying the remaining tuition of course.
I would like your opinions....I am thinking that there is only 2.5 mnths of school left. She could stay and have closure. I could keep her at home/re connect with the local homeschool group or put her in the local public school and get their assessment. The local school said they will provide someone in the K class to help her daily transition. My DD wanted to go to school, she was not happy about the homeschooling we were doing...another reason we sought out the Waldorf method/school. I feel awful about this but I quit working on letter sounds/numbers/writing her name per her teachers advice. I know she is going to be behind at this stage of joining a K. My DD will turn 6 in May. She is strong,generally happy, smart, bright, outgoing, just plain sweet, and adjust/transitions well as far as moves..siblings. I am thinking that public K will give me an idea of what i need to work on to get her caught up and if she can be enrolled in Public school next yr at a K or 1st grade level?
post #1019 of 1181
Originally Posted by maui513 View Post
Hi all! I just discovered this thread and do not post much. I have a similar experience with Waldolf. My daughter has always been very outgoing, never needed "discipline" always thoughtful, bright, creative. I was set on homeschooling ... I am thinking that public K will give me an idea of what i need to work on to get her caught up and if she can be enrolled in Public school next yr at a K or 1st grade level?
Why not homeschooling?
sorry, missed the bit about contacting the local homeschool group.


1. Children in a bad situation do not need "closure"
2. Children who've been in a bad school situation generally do not function at their best when thrown right into a new form of education, no matter how awesome it is.

So pull her out now, and make no plans for her to do ANY "school" until at least next fall.

Give her a chance to get back to being "her" first.
post #1020 of 1181
Great Points! Thank you very much. It is hard for me to think clearly when it is my child.
The break will also give me time to get acquainted with a homeschool group.
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