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Life After Waldorf ~ A Support Group - Page 53

post #1041 of 1181

This thread and the closed thread have been very enlightening.


Edited by A_Random_Phrase - 12/7/10 at 4:04pm
post #1042 of 1181

Wow this thread is really freaking me out. My son is due to start at Waldorf tomorrow morning. I'm wondering if what has been said on this thread is true of all Waldorf schools? We live in a really great small community in Oregon; very hippy-esque; I've heard about half of the families at our school are on aid. I love the teacher that DS is about to start with, and really like the idea that they incorporate different views on religion in their studies.

 

Has anyone reading this thread had a good experience? Did it work well for your family for a period of time, and then just stop working? Or is it, as an organization, just inherently flawed?

 

Our entire family has already felt so welcomed and happy at this school...

 

*edit* I just want to say - I am NOT questioning the negitive aspect of anyone's experience, I'm just asking for more feedback. And hug.gif to those who had a hard time at WS's.

post #1043 of 1181

Marking- I hate to say it but I am not entirely surprised that this thread exists. My little one is too young for school just yet but we were thinking of sending him to the local Montessori school when we learned there was one very near to the house we just moved into.

 

A few months after moving, I met a few mothers of current students at the school at a birthday party of a common friend. I was terrified of them. One prefaced almost everything she said with "This might sound elitist but..." talking smack about folks of lower SES/ public school children and families/ her neighbors (and how her child would NEVER play with their children!) and so on and so on. It was when she started talking about children at the school that she believed to be special needs needing to be kicked out because they were ruining the atmosphere and compromising her sons education that I needed to remove myself from the conversation entirely as I felt I was going to be very ill. 

post #1044 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabyMae09 View Post

Wow this thread is really freaking me out. My son is due to start at Waldorf tomorrow morning. I'm wondering if what has been said on this thread is true of all Waldorf schools? We live in a really great small community in Oregon; very hippy-esque; I've heard about half of the families at our school are on aid. I love the teacher that DS is about to start with, and really like the idea that they incorporate different views on religion in their studies.

 

Has anyone reading this thread had a good experience? Did it work well for your family for a period of time, and then just stop working? Or is it, as an organization, just inherently flawed?

 

Our entire family has already felt so welcomed and happy at this school...

 

*edit* I just want to say - I am NOT questioning the negitive aspect of anyone's experience, I'm just asking for more feedback. And hug.gif to those who had a hard time at WS's.


There's a whole forum of people who find Waldorf works for them. Irl, I've met a couple of perfectly pleasant teens who went through Waldorf until highschool.

 

Near as I can tell, if you fit in Waldorf is great. It just starts being horrible if you suddenly don't fit in.

 

I'd add a clause to any contract that you have the right to a prorated refund if you need to pull your child out of the school for any reason at any time.

post #1045 of 1181

I'd like to jump in here, too.  I found this thread a few years ago when we needed to pull our son out of first grade in the middle of the year because things had gotten so unhealthy for him at the school.  But, we  were heartbroken as a family because this was the very place we had felt our children had been so well cared for and loved, like no other school we had visited.  I have NO REGRETS at having sent both of my children to Waldorf for their earliest education (nursery through kindergarten), but my son is one of those "out of the box" kinds of kids, and he was being punished and pathologized for his personality and ADD beginning in first grade.  Having said that, I also want to let you know that I have friends still at the school who feel very happy and believe their kids are thriving, especially since the teacher my first grader had left and has now been replaced with a talented teacher.  I think that, as with many disciplines, the teacher makes a huge difference.

In short, I'd trust your gut and your personal experience and your kid.  They'll all let you know what's right for your family.

Best of luck,

Lynn

post #1046 of 1181

  

 

 

 

Hi Spinningmama!   Sorry for not replying sooner but I do not go on this forum much anymore.

In a nutshell when I took my son out mid-year he was getting so wild and out of control that the teacher could not handle him and I had to pick him up at 10 in the morning every day.  Maybe they were happy when I took him out because they gave me my money back without a problem. At the time I still was not against the school so I was not confrontational with them and we left on friendly terms. It was only after we left that I began to question the Waldorf system because none of the other teachers my son has had since then have ever had any problem getting him to behave. And I mean NEVER. I am pretty sure if you leave midyear with the reason that you do not agree with their methods they probably won’t make it easy.

post #1047 of 1181

wow. just stumbled on this thread....I'm watching and listening with great curiosity. Thanks mamas for having the courage to speak. 

post #1048 of 1181



Hi Dariusmom,

In my opinion a Waldorf school is not the place to send a child with learning differences.

Many former Waldorf parents ahve complained that the bullying is not controlled. Some W teachers will not intervene because they believe in Karma and that the children getting bullied are living out some kind of karma. There are really better schools out there. Depending on where you live some of the Public schools have better resources for children with learning differences. I think even Montessori schools are better for that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DariusMom View Post

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 #1049 of 1181

I would also second IMO as well that a Waldorf school is not a good setting for a child with dyslexia. I have a DD who is dyslexic. Montessori would just depend on the particular child, DD1 would not function well there but she is severely dyslexic and needs more structure. We ended up at a "Christian" school (very odd choice for us considering we are atheists!) but they have a very electric approach, really bringing the best of waldorf and montessori together, and leaving out the things that can be troublesome. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post



Hi Dariusmom,

In my opinion a Waldorf school is not the place to send a child with learning differences.

Many former Waldorf parents ahve complained that the bullying is not controlled. Some W teachers will not intervene because they believe in Karma and that the children getting bullied are living out some kind of karma. There are really better schools out there. Depending on where you live some of the Public schools have better resources for children with learning differences. I think even Montessori schools are better for that.

post #1050 of 1181


Interesting Peony,

We ended up in a Catholic school. While I am born a Catholic, I am not very observant and  never in a million years would have considered sending DS to a Catholic school back then. For 6 years now he has been going to one and thriving!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peony View Post

I would also second IMO as well that a Waldorf school is not a good setting for a child with dyslexia. I have a DD who is dyslexic. Montessori would just depend on the particular child, DD1 would not function well there but she is severely dyslexic and needs more structure. We ended up at a "Christian" school (very odd choice for us considering we are atheists!) but they have a very electric approach, really bringing the best of waldorf and montessori together, and leaving out the things that can be troublesome. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post



Hi Dariusmom,

In my opinion a Waldorf school is not the place to send a child with learning differences.

Many former Waldorf parents ahve complained that the bullying is not controlled. Some W teachers will not intervene because they believe in Karma and that the children getting bullied are living out some kind of karma. There are really better schools out there. Depending on where you live some of the Public schools have better resources for children with learning differences. I think even Montessori schools are better for that.

post #1051 of 1181

Holy cow. I'm glad I found this thread from a reference in the education forum - I never look here.

 

We're just starting to think about preschool options for our toddler, and I had been pushing (against my husband's resistance) to check out the local Waldorf scene.

 

Thanks to everyone who bravely wrote their stories here. It's so helpful to see people speak the unvarnished truth.

post #1052 of 1181

I love the Waldorf aesthetic, and some of the values are very aligned with my own, however

 

I don't believe we'll be sending our LO to a Waldorf school because few scholarships are given out to our local Waldorf school. We'd be financially stretching to do it, and I want our child to be exposed to more kinds of people than just the upper middle class, especially when our child isn't really upper middle class themselves. Similarly, I am concerned that by staying with the same class for their whole life, our child will not be exposed to enough personalities, new people, change, or variety. I want them to meet people from all different backgrounds.

 

I've met some Waldorf kids who seemed really socially unprepared for life outside of Waldorf, and I don't want this to happen to my kids. For example, one kid would burst into operatic singing at inappropriate times, because at Waldorf this made him special and unique and talented, but in other crowds alienated people and came off as "show-offy".

 

I'm not sure I want to raise my kids with a philosophy based on any kind of "purity". I don't want them to be smug or see their way of living as superior to anyone else's.

post #1053 of 1181


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by imogenlily View Post

I love the Waldorf aesthetic, and some of the values are very aligned with my own, however

 

I don't believe we'll be sending our LO to a Waldorf school because few scholarships are given out to our local Waldorf school. We'd be financially stretching to do it, and I want our child to be exposed to more kinds of people than just the upper middle class, especially when our child isn't really upper middle class themselves. Similarly, I am concerned that by staying with the same class for their whole life, our child will not be exposed to enough personalities, new people, change, or variety. I want them to meet people from all different backgrounds.

 

I've met some Waldorf kids who seemed really socially unprepared for life outside of Waldorf, and I don't want this to happen to my kids. For example, one kid would burst into operatic singing at inappropriate times, because at Waldorf this made him special and unique and talented, but in other crowds alienated people and came off as "show-offy".

 

I'm not sure I want to raise my kids with a philosophy based on any kind of "purity". I don't want them to be smug or see their way of living as superior to anyone else's.



I think each Waldorf school must be different. I know at our Waldorf, about half of the families receive some sort of tuition adjustment. There's also a resource (put out by Waldorf) about how graduates from W. stand out in collage and how they go above and beyond, and so on.

 

Also, at the W. school in our town, there is a lot of social/racial/economic diversity. There are literally 5 different races represented in my son's class, and I know we span the income levels, too. There is a family who all has dreads, one whose dad is a bouncer, another family who has lived in various countries, and so on. It's actually really neat. I think the schools must just vary a lot!

 

I think the bottom line is that no system of education is perfect, and Waldorf works for some families and some kids better than others, just like anything else in life. And, since no school is the same, some are likely really poorly run, while others are great. Anyway, just wanted to offer that.

 

I still totally support those of you who've had a bad experience *hug*

post #1054 of 1181
Hello everyone,
I am new here, I have just finished the marathon read of both this and the earlier thread. Wow It feels like such a gift and a privilege to have been able to read all these stories from such brave people. We have been out of waldorf for 6months(after 10 years). It has been so helpful and supportive to read this thread. I had this big WOW moment a couple of nights ago when I was reading a post about discipline methods in waldorf, the name on the board and sending out of the room. I realized that this is also exactly how they treat "disobedient" (Question asking) adults. They name and shame, either with gossip or directly with letters sent out etc. And if that doesn't quiet the dissenter, eventfully you are squeezed out or suggested your child is not a fit, or bullied out or what ever. It seems like just the same thing to me. It's like there is no other way to work with problems. This seemed like a revelation to me the other night but maybe its old news to most people here. Reading these posts has really helped me see things as they are. It is bizarre how similar all these stories are, honestly some of the things I have read here I felt as though the words could have been my own. Thank you all so much for having the courage to say the truth I know how hard it is to even say anything slightly negative about waldorf ed. at first. I am finding it gets easer. Its great that this thread has been maintained as such a safe supportive place to grow. Hope this makes sense I am feeling a bit weird about this.
Seasons Greetings to everyone.
post #1055 of 1181

I'm still working my way through this whole thread, but just wanted to say thank you for putting it out there, thank you to everyone for sharing your stories! My LO is still a wee tiny baby, but education is something I'm already researching, this has given me a lot to think about!

post #1056 of 1181

 

 

 

Hello all,

 

I am new here, and I have been reading this thread for the past several days. 

 

My DD is currently in 5th grade at our local Waldorf School; one of the most established in the country.  We have decided (me and her) that next year, she will go to public school.  The reasons are "three-fold"- financial, educational and developmental.  I have to say that as negative and positive postings on this thread all rang some truth in my ears; Waldorf education is a very unique and wonderful way for human beings to learn about their world.  A world that is made up of people, animals, plants, minerals, energy, spirits and materials.  However, most Waldorf schools struggles with financial burden because it does not receive any funding and often carries greater administrative costs, and I think that prolonged financial struggle can contribute to enormous stress on the system as a whole. 

 

We are very happy with our school and I feel that this education has allow my DD a rare opportunity to own childhood memory filled with magic, music, art and festivals.  I know for sure if she was at another school, her dreamy temperament will be diagnosed with some form of learning disorder.  Now that she had officially cross the threshold of childhood she has emerged as an independent thinker, problem solver, rational and practical human being.  She still hates math, and she may never like it; but I didn't have to worry about her reading as she just woke up one day and became an avid reader on her own (promptly at the age of 9).  She has many flaws like forgetting homework, never pick up her clothes off the floor, things that her dad still do at the age of 55; but she trusts that the world is balanced on the good and the bad, the true and the untrue, and all the maybes in the middle.  At our Waldorf school there was a great emphasis on helping the parents to make ends meet, our financial aid process was discreet and generous. But there is weakness in parent communication which I attribute that to staff overload as it is a common theme at many Waldorf schools. I find it to be true that in a Waldorf school or community, an extending hand very rarely return empty.  I feel safe and secured and a general sense of well being whenever I’m on campus.  This experience has certainly added a few years to my life force; and I am just grateful that my daughter had this experience as her foundation to grow from.   

All that being said, I can totally understand how people on the outside will see this kind of education and its community as cult like.  It is really a preference in life style and some people take it more seriously than others.  But in a Waldorf environment, if anything does not harmonize with the other, it will suffer the sense of exclusion and rejection.  Is this cruel and inhumane?  One may incline to think that. But if you are drawn to it because of its harmonious ways, think about what makes harmony?   

 

I have been on the receiving end on both the positives and the negatives sides.  But I am thankful that our family were embraced by it for as long as we can keep up with it.  It is high maintenance if your family life style is not already in alignment with its principles, or at least close to it, or at least can tolerate it without too much stress.  Many Waldorf school takes the principles to the extreme end that it may appear dogmatic; but one would question if any public institution can sustain its principles without offending anyone. 

There are many things I wished can be different, and I hope this post will invite continue dialogue.

 

And if you have any insight about the transition from Waldorf school into public middle school I'd greatly appreciate it.  I am aware of the academic short falls and I am making plans to address those issues. 

 

Best to all,

post #1057 of 1181

   Welcome new mamas! I am happy if reading about our experiences with Waldorf in this thread has helped you and your family in anyway.

For those of you new to MDC I wish to point out that if you wish to read about positive Waldorf experiences, there is a Waldorf sub-forum in the Education forum devoted just to that. We used to be in that forum as well, but too often it was the case that if one of us wrote about our bad experiences, others would  reply saying things like “our Waldorf school is not like that” or “well, I never saw anything like that at our Waldorf school” and it would turn into a debate. We wanted to have a place where we could feel like we were not having our experiences questioned in any way. This is why we are now in   this forum.

Even though many years have passed and we are over our bad Waldorf experience, I feel it is important to let these experiences be known. I had not known about any of the bad things when I first put my son in Waldorf, and it would have been good if I had. I feel it is also important that there is a place where those who are having difficulties with Waldorf can go.

 As I said there are plenty of people out there with good experiences in Waldorf and they can be found in the Education forum.


Edited by raksmama - 1/8/11 at 1:38pm
post #1058 of 1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalilah View Post

   Welcome new mamas! I am happy if reading about our experiences with Waldorf in this thread has helped you and your family in anyway.

For those of you new to MDC I wish to point out that if you wish to read about positive Waldorf experiences, there is a Waldorf sub-forum in the Education forum devoted just to that. We used to be in that forum as well, but too often it was the case that if one of us wrote about our bad experiences, others would  reply saying things like “our Waldorf school is not like that” or “well, I never saw anything like that at our Waldorf school” and it would turn into a debate. We wanted to have a place where we could feel like we were not having our experiences questioned in any way. This is why we are now in   this forum.

Even though many years have passed and we are over our bad Waldorf experience, I feel it is important to let these experiences be known. I had not known about any of the bad things when I first put my son in Waldorf, and it would have been good if I had. I feel it is also important that there is a place where those who are having difficulties with Waldorf can go.

 As I said there are plenty of people out there with good experiences in Waldorf and they can be found in the Education forum.


Because of our transition out of Waldorf School I was hoping to find helpful diaglogue in this forum; and I have read both negative and positive experiences in this forum without objection.  So I thank you for pointing out the purpose of this forum.  The periodic reminder may be helpful for new comers like me.  As such, my post was not meant to question other's negative experiences. 

post #1059 of 1181

Hi Jalilah, and new posters.  Interesting conversations.  I want to reiterate that this forum exists for the support of those questioning and moving on from their waldorf experience.  It is a support thread.

 

Most of us here have had a long, but ultimately positive experience following our decisions to break with waldorf.  For our family, education and loving school really didn't begin until we left waldorf.  My children are happy and thriving.  Our communtiy life now involves being grounded within a real community, as opposed to an isolated group of people who did not want outside influences.  

 

Regarding leaving in middle school, I think that this may be easier than the elem grades because hopefully the academic lag won't be as great.  

post #1060 of 1181

thanks for this post! So It seems that Anthroposophy has not been discussed.  How does this affect the children and their education at Waldorf schools? Also is it true that most Waldorf teachers have no college experience, no prior elementary education background or an understanding of child development? It seems to me that Waldorf teachers must have a very narrow understanding of child development since  Waldorf teacher training includes only studies in Anthroposophy and Steiners view on incarnating souls, the teachers role in helping the child incarnate, karma and many other very odd religious Anthroposophical doctrines.  

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