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Life After Waldorf ~ A Support Group - Page 52

post #1021 of 1181
I think your dd has been used as an "intervention" for a troubled child, and that is very wrong. It was also very wrong of the teacher to be less than forthcoming about this.

I would take her out if you don't have plans to continue there. Some time at home may be healing, but if your dd doesn't enjoy homeschooling there is nothing wrong with having some visiting time with the local ps. If you are concerned about grade placement this would be a good thing to bring up with the ps staff. yes, your dd will need to be up to speed at some point with her peers academically if she's not there already. However, most kids coming out of waldorf need remediation to certain degrees, and kids learn quickly barring any LD's.

Good luck.
post #1022 of 1181
Wow! I thought this thread had disappeared! I could not find it. Hello everyone! Hello karne! Welcome maui513, SoulCakes, Parvaneh and saphire chan!
I don't have time to write much now, but I just wanted to say that about 5 years ago I took my son aged 6 almost 7 at the time, out of a Waldorf school in the middle of the year. It had gotten progressively worse. His behaviour became more and more wild. Finally I too thought I would just keep him until the end of the year so he could have closure. But it became impossible so I took him out way before the school year ended. DSs' behaviour immediately improved he seemed so much happier right away. After that I could not believe I had not taken him out before. It was hard at first because he had so much to catch up on, but I am happy to say he made it. You can read more about our story in the beginning of this thread as well as the previous thread. I have to go to bed but I wish everyone good luck!
post #1023 of 1181
Hi Jalilah! Nice to hear from another veteran! Love that our kids are flourishing now!
post #1024 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post
Hi Jalilah! Nice to hear from another veteran! Love that our kids are flourishing now!
Thanks karne. I am glad that your dc are thriving too! Yes I have missed this thread! I will try to check in more often. Even though we are so over our Waldorf experience, it still breaks my heart when I read about new families having experiences similar to our own. I know when we were having our problems the waldorf community basically made it seem like we and our child were the problem. They tend to do that. I think it is important to keep sharing our information with those who are going through what we went through.
post #1025 of 1181

new mexicans?

Just wanted to ask again if anyone here is from the Santa Fe NM area, please PM me. I'd like to hear about your experience. I have no agenda except to be better informed. Thanks!
post #1026 of 1181
[QUOTE=sapphire_chan;14819222]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"
?QUOTE]

In my case, sure, I loved the way the class rooms looked, but it was more than that. I was somewhat familiar with anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner’s' philosophy, from having lived in Germany for 15 years although I never actually read any of his works. I knew that it was spiritual and that it was partly Christian but also seemed to be influenced by Eastern as well as Pagan ideas, for example, he also believed in reincarnation and celebrating the seasons. This very much appealed to me.

I also was treated by doctors practicing Anthroposophical medicine while living in Berlin and was impressed that while they were trained MDs, their approach was holistic and they were very knowledgeable about Homeopathy.

I discovered many good products that were founded by Anthroposophs for example Weleda and Wala (Dr.Haushka) make skins products as well as medicine and Demeter a company that produces biodynamic products.

I made up mind back then that if I had children they would go to a Waldorf school. When our son was school age I had never heard any of the bad stories. I think a lot of the ideas sound good in theory but in practice they don’t work well.

From our experiences and learning other people’s stories, many of them startlingly similar, I would not recommend a Waldorf school to anyone.
post #1027 of 1181
Since Waldorf can clearly have very positive results (thanks Jalilah!), what causes it to be so easily twisted into something horrible? Is it the idea that "Waldorf can do no wrong" that seems to show up in most of the stories of people who have had these horrible experiences? A refusal to acknowledge that a problem could ever exist, leading to a refusal to see problems, leading to a failure to implement solutions?

What I've seen with a number of school styles is that people will say "I think this style is great because of XYZ, I think it could work for most families, but check it out and if it doesn't work for you, that's cool". With Waldorf, it seems that there's frequently a assertion that Waldorf is best for any student who fits with the Waldorf style, BUT (note the capital) any student could fit the Waldorf style if their family just tried hard enough.
post #1028 of 1181
[QUOTE=sapphire_chan;15313866]Since Waldorf can clearly have very positive results (thanks Jalilah!), what causes it to be so easily twisted into something horrible? Is it the idea that "Waldorf can do no wrong" that seems to show up in most of the stories of people who have had these horrible experiences? A refusal to acknowledge that a problem could ever exist, leading to a refusal to see problems, leading to a failure to implement solutions?

What I've seen with a number of school styles is that people will say "I think this style is great because of XYZ, I think it could work for most families, but check it out and if it doesn't work for you, that's cool". With Waldorf, it seems that there's frequently a assertion that Waldorf is best for any student who fits with the Waldorf style, BUT (note the capital) any student could fit the Waldorf style if their family just tried hard enough.[/QUOT

Yep,you put it perfectly.

Also Rudolph Steiner was born in the 1800s and had very interesting ideas for his time,but many of his followers consider him like a God and cling to his every word. IMO the waldorf system needs to be adapted for the time. They need to look critically at themselves and figure out what is not working and what needs to change.

I have not figured out however what exactly causes the frequent occurence of children,usually little boys, going totally wild in Waldorf schools. Boredom? not enough structure? I don't know.
post #1029 of 1181
Another point I thought of is Steiner was a philosopher,a mystic. He never had children himself, as far as I know, and his expereince with children was limited. I think many of his ideas about medicine and biodynamiic agraculture might be more right on than his ideas about children.
Many People have commented that Waldorf actually appeals more to the parents than the children and I agree with this. I think it is an adults' fantasy about what children would like.
post #1030 of 1181

Another Waldorf horror

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post
Many People have commented that Waldorf actually appeals more to the parents than the children and I agree with this. I think it is an adults' fantasy about what children would like.
Jalilah, I really like the adult fantasy bit....

We are currently struggling with our son and our choice to send the kids to a Waldorf school.

DS is 10 and in Class 4 at a Waldorf school. Everything was always "just fine" with our son. The only issue that was ever reported to us was that he is anxious and this was always just put down to a personallity trait.

In Class 2 we were told that he was doing well. They do an evaluation at this stage for the "extra lesson", but he apparently had a slight left right confusion and the extra lesson teacher recommended cranial sacral therapy and art therapy for his anxiety. We did the cranial, but as there was no art therapy available, we never did that.

He never did the Waldorf extra lesson as, although the therapist recommended it after the assessment, his teacher and the therapist let that slip through the cracks. We were never told.

Class 3 rolled by, my daugther statrted class 1, and we were still happy-chappies.

At the end of class 3 with my son's beautiful hand written report we got a slip of paper. They had done some evaluation on the children and reported:

DS reading ability was that of a child of 6 years and 9 months
His spelling needed improvement
His writing skills needed improvement

The teacher never approached me to discuss this and I had a set up a meeting with her to discuss it.

During our long holidays I sort of home schooled my son hoping to get him to catch up. That is when I realised:

DS could “read” certain books for instance “Aladdin” as he knew the story well and could very accurately guess the vocabulary of the story. He would also use the pictures in the book to track where he was in the story and so keep up the “reading” in context. If the same words are then individually taken out of context and written on a piece of paper he was unable to read them.

He was in actual fact only able to read monosyllabic words.

His spelling was horrific showing a total lack of understanding of basic phonics.

DS would write certain words without any vowels for instance “rftr” for “after”.

Some words would simply be a jumble of non-sensicle letters as though he started writing the word backwards and then in the middle of the word changed direction. A word that then should have had only 4 or 5 letters would have 7 or 8 letters.

We took hm to an educational psychologist for an evaluation and she found he had sensory integration disorder and had numerous learning disabilities, including discalcula.

The school disputes the findings as his maths is good, which we agree with. But in general the the school attitude has been very much teflon coated (i.e. this is really not our problem - we are not a remedial school.)

We have started OT and are about to start Speech Therapy for auditory processing problems, on a private basis, at a remedial school down the road from where we live and we plan to move DS there as soon as they have space for him.

I can not begin to describe the impact this is already having on our finances and is bound to have in the future. The cost of a private remedial school for DS will be what we pay for both kids now at Waldorf and we are facing mounting bills for the therapy (medical aid does pay some of it though.).

Our concern is now our DD. Are we in our right minds to leave her at a Waldorf school after this kind of experience? She is far behind mainstream kids, which will mean extra tuition if we decide to move her (i.e even more bills.)

I in particular love the school and get on very well with my daughter's teacher. But is the whole thing actually my fantasy ... maybe my kids actually need to learn to read and write more than play with beeswax and dance around a bon fire!
post #1031 of 1181
I am so saddened to read about you and your son’s Waldorf experiences Davidmama!

Another critic about Waldorf is that because they start so late with academics, children with learning difficulties often go undiagnosed missing the early intervention needed to help them.

I think your school is behaving really unprofessionally. If they say they are “not a remedial school” then they should have let you know this sooner. The thing is now you will never know for sure if your son just had a slight reading problem which could have been helped with early intervention, or if it is something more. A remedial school might not have been necessary. You might think now that your son’s teacher is nice, but believe me I think later on you are going to look back on her as being very irresponsible.

If I were you would take your daughter out right away.

For us we bit the bullet and put our son in a mainstream school when he was in 3rd grade. In Ontario, Canada there are public Catholic schools and our son goes to one. It is so much more professional than the Waldorf School was! He was horribly behind when he started. The school provided him with additional help and as well we sent him to an extra tutor 2 times a week. I am happy to say that now in grade 6 he is fully caught up and getting good grades but it was hard! and starting so behind in a new school really affected his self esteem. If I could do it all over again I never would have sent him to Waldorf.

In your case I would follow the Educational psychologist advice as to where to send your son to school.
I really wish you and your family the best of luck!
post #1032 of 1181

Waldorf as preschool?

I'm curious on veterans' take on Waldorf as a preschool option, knowing that I would send DD to a mainstream elementary school, for many of the reasons that are expressed in this thread. I do like the idea of Waldorf eduction, especially for little ones, but I worry about adjustment in an out of Waldorf/mainstream worlds. She is in a mainstream daycare right now, and is already learning letters, counting etc at age 2. Would Waldorf preschool set her up for a difficult time in mainstream kindergarten? At what age/grade do the differences in approach diverge the most?

Thanks!
post #1033 of 1181
MamaDavid, I too am so sorry to hear about your experience. If it's any comfort, I have been where you are. Many of us have. Has your ds had an eval for dyslexia? Your description matches many of the symptoms of dyslexia. As I learned later, most of this would have been picked up by a knowledgeable teacher very early on, but waldorf teachers really don't have any training in anything but waldorf methods.

Be glad you didn't waste any time or $$$$ on the "extra lesson" because it's more money and time down the drain. Utterly useless. I would also stay far away from any waldorf remedial "specialists". What is immediately helpful is a truly solid assessment of your son's strengths and weaknesses, and specific learning issues. It sounds like you've gone down that road and have a plan. Whatever you do, don't give up hope!

Yes, I would also say take your dd out, but that's just me. I would not leave a child in a system that has failed one of my other children is such a miserable fashion.

I would really encourage you to post in the Special Needs forum. I am not the only mom there dealing with LD's-you will get support, advice and encouragement.

Oh, and welcome to the thread!

Carriemama.....waldorf preschool is sweet and cute,and play based (but in a walorf-only method of play) and will not prepare your child for school, so you would need to take that into consideration. The hardest times to transfer are said to be the 2nd grade on because waldorf kids haven't been taught to read.
post #1034 of 1181

Thanks

Jalilah and Karne thanks so much for the support and encouragement.

I was really wondering about the "extra lesson". We did the cranial and I sat in on one session and being rather down to earth, I just thought I can not see how this will help my son deal with anxiety - quite frankly I can go tap him on the head for free at home! Now we know that he was not coping and hence the anxiety.

A friend of mine takes her kids for therapy with the extra lesson therapist and they do things because "the kids are not incarnated enough" and I just bite my tongue. What I actually want to say is "and you are paying money for THAT!"

It is good to have my suspicions confirmed.

I was wondering though how accurate these psychometric tests are on Waldorf kids. My children have never worked with printed work sheets in their lives and suddenly now at the age of 10, I subject my son to a barrage of tests in this very unfamiliar format.

When we got the results I felt like "Oh crumbs, what have I done. I should have kept this within Waldorf and gone to the extra lesson teacher." But then again, I might have been told that there is nothing wrong and I certainly knew that there was.

Jalilah, we are also thinking of Catholic School and there is a good one just down the road from us as well. Your possitive experience is making me think that I should approach them and test the waters. Maybe they will help with getting my daughter up to mainstream level.

Karne, I will try the LD forum. It is amazing how just a bit of support can make one feel so much better. I think my son has dyslexia, but we haven't had any official diagnosis as yet. The educational psychologist found so many things wrong, that dyslexia almost seems like the least of our problems!

Carriemama - I am probably the last person who should be commenting and making recommendations, but the Waldorf nursery school (and our school has a Toddlers Group as well) are really very magical. They make the most beautiful crafts and the festivals are very sweet. In South Africa, the first official year of school is Grade 0 which is a compulsory year of pre-school. I don't know how your education system works. To get to my point - if I could do it over again I would move the kids to mainstream one year before Grade 1 . It will give them a year to catch up to the mainstream kids.
post #1035 of 1181
For Sapphire, I think part of the "danger" of Waldorf is that it is very "my way or the highway". Other educational schools of thought are flexible enough to incorporate other specialists, change with educational, medical or psychological research, and, at the very least have relationships with other organizations outside their circle. Even Montessori, which holds to the philosophies of one individual and still uses many tools developed 100 years ago, does not attempt to limit parents on seeking additional resources or shut the doors to the outside organizations that can shed light on issues kids have. With everyone in Waldorf only really talking to each other and "discouraging" outside oppinions, it can get twisted.
post #1036 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexsam View Post
For Sapphire, I think part of the "danger" of Waldorf is that it is very "my way or the highway". Other educational schools of thought are flexible enough to incorporate other specialists, change with educational, medical or psychological research, and, at the very least have relationships with other organizations outside their circle. Even Montessori, which holds to the philosophies of one individual and still uses many tools developed 100 years ago, does not attempt to limit parents on seeking additional resources or shut the doors to the outside organizations that can shed light on issues kids have. With everyone in Waldorf only really talking to each other and "discouraging" outside oppinions, it can get twisted.

Yes! What you say is so true and is IMO one of the more frightening aspects of Waldorf education. My own son has sensory processing disorder. The irony was that his teacher was the one who suggested he might have it, and gave me a copy of The Out of Sync Child to read. However when I did find an occupational therapist to work with him, the Waldorf teacher would not allow the OT in the classroom and even made fun of the advise she gave!
At best Waldorf education can be good for children with an artistic bend who have no learning differences, at worst it can be truly dangerous!
post #1037 of 1181
MamaDavid,

We did a Waldorf preschool and really enjoyed some of it. But as DS grew, I could easily see that the fairie stuff and karma didn't really fit him well. We left it and never looked back with an ounce of regret. We've been homeschooling ever since and the kids have both thrived!!

DS has an official DX of PDD-NOS, SPD, and something else I can't even remember because we just live our lives with it. You will find your way too!
post #1038 of 1181

X-posted from Waldorf

Hi all,

This is x-posted from Waldorf. I realize a lot of you all have very negative experiences. I'm basically looking for the good, the bad, and the ugly as the last thing we want is to put DS in *another* bad school situation!

-------------------------------------------
I'm just beginning to learn about Waldorf and look at it as a serious option for DS (read more below) However, what concerns me is how a typical Waldorf school would deal with a dyslexic kid. Anyone have experience? I'm hoping for some information/perspective/BTDT from you all. Obviously, we'll talk to the school itself, but I'd love some personal experience, anecdotes, or even some references to books, articles, etc.

DH and I are at the very very beginning of thinking about the local Waldorf school for DS (age 7.5; he'll be 8 in December). We live in Continental Europe, but his US equivalent grade is 2nd grade. He's been going to a very traditional school since pre-kindergarten, though they didn't start teaching kids to read til last year (1st grade), which is something I like about the system in the country in which we live.

Why are we thinking about moving to the Waldorf school? Because DS is having a really hard time socially at his current school. He's simply not made any friends, is picked on, called names, and sometimes bullied (yes, we've worked with the school and, no, I don't see it getting better). We think a complete change of scene might be better for him socially, as he's losing his self-confidence. He is social, has a best friend in the neighbor boy, and is a great kid. Just not sporty and somehow has become the magnet for being picked on by other kids at his current school.

Moreover, although DS seems to function well in the very "classical" traditional method of learning at his school, he has started saying that he feels like the school puts too much pressure on the kids, that he feels sorry for the kids in his class who can't do their math quickly enough, and that he wants to do more creative things (he's *extremely* creative, a 3D thinker, and wants and needs to work with his hands). All of which have slowly led me to the idea that the local Waldorf school might be a better fit (despite, to be honest, my initial dismissal of a lot of anthroposophic thought)

The problem: We're fairly sure DS is dyslexic.

Dyslexia runs very strongly in DH's family. DH, himself, is mildly dyslexic and we've started the process of getting outside assessments for DS. He's also working with the remedial teacher at his present school. He's not far behind the other kids . . .. just a bit below grade level and his reading comprehension is happily very good. However, he doesn't "automate" his reading well, according to the tests and school, and he's flunked the standardized speed reading tests (basically, how many words you can read out loud correctly in three minutes [i find it a stupid test, but it's not really my call. it's national]). Reading certainly isn't easy for him and, given the family history of dyslexia, we want to help him as much as possible because he does love learning and love books.

So . ... if you've made it through this long post, I thank you!
post #1039 of 1181
I'll be subbing to this thread and I am very interested in hearing the stories of other families. thank you for having me.
post #1040 of 1181


Hi Jalilah and others,

 

We have now been in a WS for many years now, and over the years have watched many families in the community leave silently, peacefully - or so it seems.  Several recent incidents have yanked my head out of the clouds and made me realize that this has probably not been the case each time.  It's such a devasting feeling knowing there probably has been so much pain and cruelty involved in these people's lives, and that I was ignorant of it.  I've been driven to learn more about the structure of the school and how decisions are made, and am flabbergasted by what I've discovered.  The three-fold administration is a joke, as is confidentiality and truthfulness.  I've watched as a quiet observer this year with more objective eyes, and I am heart-broken by what I've seen.  Within this time, a close friend was attacked because she gently and respectfully asked questions about an incident and strove to improve conditions, and in return blatant lies were spread about her and her children - via the teachers and their friend-parents.  There has been a tremendous amount of cover-up, restricted communications, and disrespectful behavior on the part of the school's adults.  In my eyes I see poor examples being set for the children re: how people work out their differences.  And that we are clearly not equals in the eyes of anthroposophists, for very esoteric reasons.

 

I know in my heart of hearts we will not be continuing next year.  Despite all that we love about our school, all the time, money and heart we have shared within the community, we cannot stay.  My DH and I are grieving over this already, but are optimistic and excited about other adventures in education which lie ahead.

 

I feel a strong pull to leave soon at mid year.  My dilemma is that my younger child is so happy with a wonderful new teacher (my older child claims indifference re: leaving) - and quite honestly, I'm concerned about a social backlash as we've been a long-term family.  This is because leaving mid-year is so much more visible (and therefore more likely to raise questions and thus misinterpretted explanations from the College) than leaving over the summer.  We also signed a tuition contract, and wonder whether we'll be held to the thousands of dollars left for the rest of the year's tuition. 

 

How did you go about "exiting" your school mid-year?  Did you find resistance and guilt/shame from the school?  Was there an expectation to pay the rest of the tuition due?  Did the school speak FOR you re: your reasons for leaving?  I hate the thought of some very wrong explanation being circulated for why we left, when in reality it was because we saw evil.  We received financial aid about 4 years ago when we were starting up a business and am honestly concerned about this "confidential" info being accessible and misused.  (One of the things we discovered this year is how lax the staff and College is with confidential information and paperwork).

 

Thank you in advance for your reply!  Blessings...

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by jalilah View Post

Wow! I thought this thread had disappeared! I could not find it. Hello everyone! Hello karne! Welcome maui513, SoulCakes, Parvaneh and saphire chan!
I don't have time to write much now, but I just wanted to say that about 5 years ago I took my son aged 6 almost 7 at the time, out of a Waldorf school in the middle of the year. It had gotten progressively worse. His behaviour became more and more wild. Finally I too thought I would just keep him until the end of the year so he could have closure. But it became impossible so I took him out way before the school year ended. DSs' behaviour immediately improved he seemed so much happier right away. After that I could not believe I had not taken him out before. It was hard at first because he had so much to catch up on, but I am happy to say he made it. You can read more about our story in the beginning of this thread as well as the previous thread. I have to go to bed but I wish everyone good luck!
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