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Here goes - thoughts and feelings on Waldorf and Anthroposophy and Anthroposophists - Page 3

post #41 of 156
"In our collaborated opinion, there is a difference between a Catholic school and a Waldorf school as in a Catholic school Catholicism is taught and in a Waldorf school anthroposophy is not taught, at least it should not be."

My understanding is that you are incorrect on that. I believe Catholic schools claim that the religion infuses all parts of the education, so even if you are not attending mass or catechism classes at the school, you are still obtaining a "Catholic" education. I believe Waldorf is the same -- you may not be attending classes on Anthro. and studying Rudolf Steiner's works, but the Antho. perspective infuses all parts of the education.

If they are claiming that eurymthy is for balance or movement, it sounds to me like a Catholic school claiming communion is "snack" or rosary is "meditation".
post #42 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
I did not want to get into a debate with quotes from Steiner as a) I really do not know much and have not read much and therefore could look really silly and b) That is not what I had had in mind when I opened this thread,
But, I do know enough to know that this quote is about initiates, not pupils in a waldorf school and from what I know of initiates - these are not anthroposophists per say, but people knowledgeable of spiritual matters - perhaps a wacky idea, but not one unique to anthroposophy... point being this quote being applied to pupils in a Waldorf school is not correct. Again, this is not something that I know a whole lot about, so I could stand corrected, but again, I think this is a digression from the original intent of the post, so I would prefer to leave Steiner quotes out of the discussion
I care that people are making a fully informed decision - isn't that what MDC and all of us are interested in? So sorry, you can't shut me up

To leave quotes from Steiner out of a discussion is absurd IMHO. Steiner is the founder of the philosophy that determines how and why *everything* is done in a Waldorf school. Teachers are required to read his writings - not because they are only for the initiated, but because they are supposed to understand why they are teaching what they are in the way that they are. It's necessary for the teachers to be somewhat initiated in order to teach. That should tell us something.

To many teachers, Waldorf education is the first step in initiation to anthroposophy. Waldorf is initiation. Waldorf education is supposed to prepare students anthroposophically so they will evolve to their highest potential. Tho some of the anthroposophical ways are meant for more initiated folks, this fact is not very hidden. A simple reading of books like Rainbow Bridge and Child's First Teacher reveal a good bit of anthroposophical reasoning - re the child's reincarnation, the process of reincarnation, and their need to evolve to their highest potential in each life.

I find it ironic that I am quoting the actual founder of anthroposophy and people are having a problem with it when the original question was about Waldorf and anthroposophy. People keep brushing off what I'm saying - heck, not what I'm saying, but what Steiner is saying. I just don't understand this.

Like I said previously, I live near a *huge* Waldorf school and the largest anthroposophical community in the US. Let me explain how things work there... The point of the school is to indoctrinate people in anthroposophy. They hold Sunday services - ie church, ie religion classes - for the children to attend. While these are not mandatory, attending does def up ones status in the school and community.

I understand that some of the smaller Waldorf schools are not so much like this, but those that are truest to Steiner's vision, that follow anthroposophy the most closely do hope for the school to initiate the students (and the parents) slowly but surely.

The truth is that you really can't separate Waldorf, anthroposophy and Steiner. Some are ok with this either because they like anthroposophy or because they don't agree with it but don't think it's a big deal either way. However, to ignore the truth is to set oneself up for disappointment with the system and maybe even for a lot of hurt - that is what this thread is about. I hope that by hammering the true nature of things which it seems people would prefer to ignore, some people will be saved from being hurt by a system of which they are unaware. Either people will say "Hey, this is what's happeing and that's ok. I like the way they do things and if they are doing it for some philosophical reason that I don't believe in that's fine with me" or they will say "Wait, I don't agree with this and am not sure I want my kid involved in it". Either way, people's eyes are opened. They have full disclosure and understanding. LIke pp's have said, that is what is often lacking, often purposely lacking, in Waldorf education - not because Waldorf wants to hurt anyone, but because they believe that's what is best.
post #43 of 156
Attached mama, if you'd like to talk about Steiner quotes maybe you could start another thread? We can't disregard the OP.
post #44 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl View Post
Attached mama, if you'd like to talk about Steiner quotes maybe you could start another thread? We can't disregard the OP.
Well, as I said, I fail to see how there can be a discussion of "thoughts and feelings on Waldorf and Anthroposophy and Anthropsophists" without Steiner being involved in it. I am not interested in discussing Steiner quotes, only in giving my "thoughts and feelings" which happened to include all of ONE whole quote. There was another poster on here who appreciated what I had to say.

However, since it seems many people, including the OP, want to disregard this quote by the founder of anthroposophy as somehow irrelevant, I'll just back out of the discussion. Obviously my input is not appreciated. Just realize that by disregarding certain people's "thoughts and feelings" you are creating a rather limited discussion.

I don't want to leave with hard feelings, because I frequent the Waldorf board and enjoy it. While my "thoughts and feelings" not being accepted in this discussion is a bit saddening, I'll just move on and hopefully we can still enjoy discussing other aspects of Waldorf.
post #45 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
Waldorf can be very enticing with its child centred approach and seemingly liberal ideas, making it very frustrating when questions are met with dogma and suddenly a liberal 'paradise' becomes a horrid trap of limited thinking.

Got to go and bath my boy - but will share more later
This ties with questions someone raised earlier about why things are done the way they're done in Waldorf. I don't know how many of the supposed "Steiner said so's" are largely myth but a lot are. As much or more of what they do is simply tradition after the original school at Stuttgart, especially in the surface aspects. If I have questions about this or that in the classroom or with my children, I expect reasonable answers in English, not dogma. They can be anthroposophical reasons, but explain them in English please, and why they're appropriate in a given situation. If a teacher or school doesn't understand the hows or whys about the educational tools they're using, I don't care what they are, they need to put them away until they do. Robots don't make good educators.
post #46 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
Well, as I said, I fail to see how there can be a discussion of "thoughts and feelings on Waldorf and Anthroposophy and Anthropsophists" without Steiner being involved in it. I am not interested in discussing Steiner quotes, only in giving my "thoughts and feelings" which happened to include all of ONE whole quote. There was another poster on here who appreciated what I had to say.

However, since it seems many people, including the OP, want to disregard this quote by the founder of anthroposophy as somehow irrelevant, I'll just back out of the discussion. Obviously my input is not appreciated. Just realize that by disregarding certain people's "thoughts and feelings" you are creating a rather limited discussion.
Attached mama, I wasn't trying to dismiss you but just recommending continuing the discussion in another thread. I'll join you if you do. I just have to respect the OP, and with electronic messages easily misconstrued as it is, I thought it would be rude to you to leave the discussion dangling without another word about it. I'm sorry if I was still clumsy about it. In any thread at mothering, the OP does determine the course of the discussion.

(PS-if you do continue this elsewhere, I will join you but not sure how soon since I've got a houseful of company coming for the weekend! Bad timing for me to try to keep up with things on the 'puter.)
post #47 of 156
ok...so I am no expert but I think part of the problem facing Waldorf schools (in the UK anyway is that they are all predominantly small, independent schools and Waldorf-trained teachers are few and far between, therefore without the backing of the government Waldorf schools (as all independent schools) have to support themselves and fund themselves. Also a lot of people have not even heard of Waldorf, and if they have they view it as some kind of weird 'hippy' school....so therefore the amount of children attending Waldorf schools is very low compared to those at state schools. All these things combined are bound to effect the running of the school and would also IMO mean the school was more reliant on parents, which I personally don't view as a negative thing.

Yes, I do think some people walk into Waldorf and expect it to live up to their expectations which are not necessarily realistic, they expect the experience to be life-changing and are disappointed when it's not. They expect the school to be the solution to all their problems, to wave a magic wand so to speak without immersing themselves in the culture in any way.

Now I am not saying parents should be made to feel inadequate or change their lifestyle dramatically but I do think there are certain aspects of anthroposophy (sp?) that need to be embraced to fit with a Waldorf school, for instance parents can not expect their child to suddenly become your stereotype peaceful, calm, serene waldorf child if they are surrounded by noisy plastic toys, video games and junk food at home....KWIM?

Anyway thats just my two cents...also I do not think there is anything REALLY wrong with Anthroposophy ..sure there might be elements I disagree with but then I am sure that catholic parents who send their kids to catholic schools cannot claim they interpret every word of the bible literally.....?
post #48 of 156
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
The truth is that you really can't separate Waldorf, anthroposophy and Steiner. Some are ok with this either because they like anthroposophy or because they don't agree with it but don't think it's a big deal either way.
I would just like to say that this is something that I think we can agree on.

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However, to ignore the truth is to set oneself up for disappointment with the system and maybe even for a lot of hurt - that is what this thread is about. I hope that by hammering the true nature of things which it seems people would prefer to ignore, some people will be saved from being hurt by a system of which they are unaware.
If you are referring to world domination through a programme of initiation of pupils by teachers in Waldorf schools, then I guess we will have to disagree. I do not think you have your facts right with your interpretation of the one quote that you quoted. So I guess we will have to disagree.
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Either people will say "Hey, this is what's happeing and that's ok. I like the way they do things and if they are doing it for some philosophical reason that I don't believe in that's fine with me" or they will say "Wait, I don't agree with this and am not sure I want my kid involved in it". Either way, people's eyes are opened. They have full disclosure and understanding. LIke pp's have said, that is what is often lacking, often purposely lacking, in Waldorf education - not because Waldorf wants to hurt anyone, but because they believe that's what is best.
Again, we agree that there is an element of choosing to be bothered by the philosophical/spiritual/religious overtones or not, depending on your personal priorities. And that however it happens or doesn't - disclosure can be an issue in Waldorf schools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cat2116 View Post
ok...so I am no expert but I think part of the problem facing Waldorf schools (in the UK anyway is that they are all predominantly small, independent schools and Waldorf-trained teachers are few and far between, therefore without the backing of the government Waldorf schools (as all independent schools) have to support themselves and fund themselves. Also a lot of people have not even heard of Waldorf, and if they have they view it as some kind of weird 'hippy' school....so therefore the amount of children attending Waldorf schools is very low compared to those at state schools. All these things combined are bound to effect the running of the school and would also IMO mean the school was more reliant on parents, which I personally don't view as a negative thing.
I have a very limited experience of Waldorf in the UK, but have friends there and know that the schools are often small and self supporting. And I think that having parents be part of running the school has its pros and cons - as do most things. it can be very empowering and also very humiliating....
Thanks for stopping by

Well, this is much more emotional than I thought it would be, for me that is... and I have been wondering why...
Why was I so bothered by the support after waldorf thread? What nerve was hit??? I guess I was struck by the viciousness (something that I now realise could be part of peoples very real feelings of disappointment, frustration, anger at a system that betrayed them) and coming from where I come from, I found it hard to believe that this could all be laid at the feet of Waldorf. My difficulty - my questions. I appreciate all those people who have posted honestly and brought their own stories and perspectives. I do feel like I am learning and gaining more insight into a side of my life that I have not explored too much until I became a mum. I hope the discussion is not over and that more people will feel comfortable to share their stories.
End of little monologue
post #49 of 156

An outside view of the inside

hmmmm
post #50 of 156
Ema, I'd like to say that I don't think you are nitpicking. I think that your question is an interesting one- why are some parents who have left Waldorf quite as bitter as they are. I am answering the question from my own experience and point of view. That you can see what I dislike about Waldorf doesn't concern you is clarifying. I do hope that the conversation that follows in some way helps you toward greater understanding of what you see in the support thread. Asking questions and challenging what I'm saying isn't nitpicking. I am very interested in figuring out why Waldorf works so well for some and so badly for others. This thread is really useful to that end.

I hear you on coming up against dogma, but it is just possible that you are dealing with people who also do not really know themselves and are relying on ideas they might not even understand themselves?

This is an ironic statement to me. I believe that you have just defined dogmatism!

Not everyone is able to communicate clearly and express themselves coherently and end up kinda falling onto "just because" as it is easier.... why am I questioning this? I guess it just doesn't seem to be such a threat to me to have people thinking they know stuff that I don't or being unable to explain exactly what it is they are doing.

If I believed that it were communicative incompetence, I would be less put off by it too. But it is not. In the culture of Waldorf, certain things are discussed with parents and others not, and for others there are palatable reasons to give and the true reasons are not discussed. I don't think that this is a conspiracy, I do not think Waldorf is a cult, I don't think that Waldorf teachers are brainwashed, but it is an environment that is completely unsuitable for my family. I understand that what bothers me doesn't bother you. I am participating to help you understand the bitterness that you see. I go into a school situation assuming that decisions are made using rationality. I assume that when I am told something about the nature of the curriculum I am being told the truth. (As in the Eurythmy example: I think that a pp's comparison to taking the Eucharist in a Catholic school is so fitting.)

I would be more inclined to worry if there was some sort of violence being directed at my child. I guess it could be argued that cultish experiences are a violence against the individual, and there are plenty of people who think anthroposophy is a cult - something I have yet to explore myself..


I think I am beginning to understand what sorts of stories have been difficult for you to come to terms with. I don't think that things like violence and abuse are more common that in other sorts of schools. What does seem to be different is the school's competence in dealing with these situations professionally. I don't think that it is something evil about Waldorf, just a natural outcome of a school being run as an oligarchy rather than with a formal administration. This is an area where Waldorf really does seem to be evolving. So perhaps the question to bring to the school is what protocol they have for dealing with a crisis. If you get a muddy answer that might be a red flag.

I also agree completely with Pyxie that the class teacher is EVERYTHING once your kids hits the grades. A great class teacher with whom your dc has a good relationship will most likely lead to a great experience.

In our family neither me nor my brother are anthroposophists - and we have both followed our own professional careers while harbouring mostly happy memories of our school days... so, are there wacky people out there? yes! Are there dogmatic schools/teachers? Yes. But I still believe that the dogma usually covers difficulties in communication and expression, not some sort of secret agenda

I agree with you that anthroposophy is not a cult for the reasons you describe. I don't think of it at all as a conspiracy. It is, however a doctrine based culture. Anthroposophists know what part of their belief system puts off others and they know what not to say to cause an argument or confusion with non-initiates. I don't think they intentionally lie or keep secrets. But there is no other school system (that I know of) that rests on a belief system that many of the prospective parents are unlikely to understand or even have heard of. I believe that this gives Waldorf a greater responsibility to tell parents what makes Waldorf schools different from progressive schools.

Pyxie, I respect you for what you have said about enduring some hardship with Waldorf without "going over to the support thread." I can't help but point out one big difference: Waldorf is a good fit for you and (if I remember correctly) what you know of anthroposophy jives with who you are. You haven't left Waldorf, rather you are so dedicated to it that you will homeschool if necessary. (I do completely understand that what you went through was really painful, and I do think it's great that you held on through it.) That means that you are not mourning the same loss and you don't have a need to move on like the participants on that thread are. What might help you and understand what that might be like, think of what it was like to break up with someone you really loved and how hard it was to recover from that. I think it is a similar grief process. When a friend breaks up with someone you don't say to them (I hope!) "you should have known more about that guy before you got involved with him!" Rather you listen and work to understand. Pardon the lecture, but it seems important to say.
post #51 of 156
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
My understanding is that you are incorrect on that. I believe Catholic schools claim that the religion infuses all parts of the education, so even if you are not attending mass or catechism classes at the school, you are still obtaining a "Catholic" education. I believe Waldorf is the same -- you may not be attending classes on Anthro. and studying Rudolf Steiner's works, but the Antho. perspective infuses all parts of the education.

If they are claiming that eurymthy is for balance or movement, it sounds to me like a Catholic school claiming communion is "snack" or rosary is "meditation".
I find this an interesting analogy. One that I will want to think about some more.
Not being a Catholic and never having thought about sending my DC to a Catholic school, this is highly theoretical. But, I am assuming that parents who choose to educate their children in a Catholic school would like their children to be exposed to Catholic values and grow up to be good Catholic members of society. I do not think parents send their children to Waldorf schools to become good Anthroposophical members of society. If this would be their motive they would be horribly disappointed as chances are their DC would not have any particular inclination to practice anthroposophy. However, they might have been educated to think freely and to question life and people and not rely on others to teach them what to think. At least, this is one of the benefits that are claimed by supporters of Waldorf education. So, in short I do not see the comparison as being 100% helpful in understanding the link between anthroposophy and the school. I am sure I will have someone point out the error in my thinking, but for now this makes sense to me

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl View Post
If I have questions about this or that in the classroom or with my children, I expect reasonable answers in English, not dogma. They can be anthroposophical reasons, but explain them in English please, and why they're appropriate in a given situation. If a teacher or school doesn't understand the hows or whys about the educational tools they're using, I don't care what they are, they need to put them away until they do. Robots don't make good educators.
Again, something I can relate to.
But I am guessing that just because a teacher cannot explain themselves does not mean they will shelve whatever it is they are doing. No one likes to be told what to do - especially not in an aggressive way (teachers having parents asking them to explain themselves in sometimes rather aggressive terms). And from what other people are posting it would seem that there are different parameters set at establishing what is a reasonable explanation or not.
I find your input on this thread very helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hgilbert View Post
hmmmm
Sorry you deleted your post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
Ema, I'd like to say that I don't think you are nitpicking. I think that your question is an interesting one- why are some parents who have left Waldorf quite as bitter as they are. I am answering the question from my own experience and point of view.
I think you have summed up the essence of the question very nicely.
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That you can see what I dislike about Waldorf doesn't concern you is clarifying. I do hope that the conversation that follows in some way helps you toward greater understanding of what you see in the support thread.
I feel a greater understanding of the negative experiences of others, but perhaps my understanding will not be yours. And I think that this is OK.
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Asking questions and challenging what I'm saying isn't nitpicking. I am very interested in figuring out why Waldorf works so well for some and so badly for others. This thread is really useful to that end.
Something is eluding me... I guess I feel like we both have the same intention to understand what can go wrong with Waldorf.But are perhaps emotionally invested on different sides of the spectrum of people who are touched by Waldorf. I think that the more people who post here the better our chances of getting a comprehensive answer.I do not want to get trapped in a mutual experience of each making our case.. if that makes sense. People who have posted here have definitely got me thinking, and this thread will definitely be archived on my computer for me to mull over. But I do not think that we are going to arrive at some sort of ah-ha moment where suddenly in all clicks into place and everyone can breath a sigh of relief and rest assured that they have the whole picture. Different people will relate to different things and be reassured and perturbed by different aspects to this discussion. I will say again, that my hope was to get as many people as possible involved who are happy to share their personal perspectives. I guess I am saying your perspective is that.. Yours. I do not think that you are going to be able to unravel the ultimate truth, but perhaps your ultimate truth.... my word - what a digression.... but it's been on my mind.


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This is an ironic statement to me. I believe that you have just defined dogmatism!
Ooops!

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If I believed that it were communicative incompetence, I would be less put off by it too. But it is not. In the culture of Waldorf, certain things are discussed with parents and others not, and for others there are palatable reasons to give and the true reasons are not discussed.
Again, we are coming back to the issue of truth and hidden agenda and non disclosure. Not adding anything new here as we have already established that in general this does not threaten me. Perhaps I am happy to go with it as I find it equally plausible that some sort of anthroposophical meaning has been attached to something rather than something being born out of anthroposophy, so to speak. Granted, eurythmy is a sticky issue here as to the best of my knowledge this is something only associated with anthroposophy (although when I learnt a bit about the traditional aspects of Traditional Indian (Hindu, although the dancer was Ghudjrathi - no idea how to spell that) dancing I was surprised to see similarities to some aspects of eurythmy - where the eyes are looking ie down, ahead or up. I cannot remember the reasons either movement gave for why they did what they did, but I remember being struck by the fact that they both ascribed significance to this). So, my point being that just because anthroposophists believe something, for me does not mean that it is so. Again, we've BTDT on this issue a couple of time already.
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I don't think that this is a conspiracy, I do not think Waldorf is a cult, I don't think that Waldorf teachers are brainwashed, but it is an environment that is completely unsuitable for my family. I understand that what bothers me doesn't bother you. I am participating to help you understand the bitterness that you see. I go into a school situation assuming that decisions are made using rationality. I assume that when I am told something about the nature of the curriculum I am being told the truth. (As in the Eurythmy example: I think that a pp's comparison to taking the Eucharist in a Catholic school is so fitting.)
I am understanding that the reason you have chosen not to educate your child in a Waldorf school is because decisions are made in an irrational way? And because teachers are not disclosing the truth as they see it?
I personally can understand that by not disclosing their perceived thruth, teachers are part of a situation that can be intimidating and frustrating and plain unacceptable for some people/parents. Would I go so far as to remove my child from the school? It would depend on so much more that whether the teachers were fully disclosing their beliefs or not.... again, this is a point we keep returning to.
Irrational decision making is something that I do not think can be pinned only on a Waldorf school. I think you would be hard pressed to find any situation where the reality on the ground was that each and every decision was made by each and every individual for only the purest rational reasons.

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So perhaps the question to bring to the school is what protocol they have for dealing with a crisis. If you get a muddy answer that might be a red flag.
A really good point. This would be a definite red flag if there were no protocol... although protocols often need crises to happen before they are developed.

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I also agree completely with Pyxie that the class teacher is EVERYTHING once your kids hits the grades. A great class teacher with whom your dc has a good relationship will most likely lead to a great experience.
Another good point

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I agree with you that anthroposophy is not a cult for the reasons you describe. I don't think of it at all as a conspiracy. It is, however a doctrine based culture.
I am going to have to think about this more... not sure what I understand by doctrine based culture

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Anthroposophists know what part of their belief system puts off others and they know what not to say to cause an argument or confusion with non-initiates.
I am sure there is truth in this, the part about choosing what to 'reveal' and what not to reveal so as to not cause an argument... and the reasons are problematic. Does this mean that in no way can my child benefit from being educated in a Waldorf school that I feel happy with in its ability to meet my child's developmental needs in a humane and sensitive way as well as be able to deal with real life crises adequately? I am not sure, but again, I think we are touching on the crux of the differences in what might bother us. I disagree with the use of 'non-initiates' to describe people who are not anthroposophists. I am only disagreeing as I know that neither of my parents consider themselves an initiate. I think this term is being pandered about without people knowing what it means to the anthroposophists themselves.
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I don't think they intentionally lie or keep secrets.
This might link in with a previous observation of a series of unhappy coincidences?

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But there is no other school system (that I know of) that rests on a belief system that many of the prospective parents are unlikely to understand or even have heard of. I believe that this gives Waldorf a greater responsibility to tell parents what makes Waldorf schools different from progressive schools.
I'm taking your word on this, never having investigated any school system and only knowing Waldorf.. It is also up to the parents to ask pertinent questions before enrolling if they are the kind of people who require a comprehensive why to every element within the syllabus and approach to teaching. Having no idea what it is like to find Waldorf as an adult, I can only assume that there is enough awareness out there that Waldorf is not a run of the mill school. People also have to take responsibility for their decisions... maybe a bit harsh... but I do not think I would choose a school without first researching it carefully. But then again I tend to not go with the crowd on many issues and generally like to make an informed decision (arg! I know this flies in the face of me being able to accept certain beliefs in Waldorf - I guess human beings just are not so easy to compartmentalise )
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That means that you are not mourning the same loss and you don't have a need to move on like the participants on that thread are. What might help you and understand what that might be like, think of what it was like to break up with someone you really loved and how hard it was to recover from that. I think it is a similar grief process. When a friend breaks up with someone you don't say to them (I hope!) "you should have known more about that guy before you got involved with him!" Rather you listen and work to understand. Pardon the lecture, but it seems important to say.
We come back to the idea that there is an element of falling in love with Waldorf and the hazards that can bring when the relationship breaks up... For me at least I think this is an important point. Relationships break up for many reasons and each person who has suffered a break up knows what it feels like, but the circumstances around each break up are highly individual.... could this be possible with people who have been so hurt by Waldorf? That each story is an individual story? Yes, each happened in the context of Waldorf, but each happened with a specific mix of parent/teacher/school... perhaps way too simplistic?
I think I am OK with accepting that people were hurt in a Waldorf setting. And I am also OK with admitting that there are problems with Waldorf schools - some that just cannot be gotten away from. But for me I am not sure that this would be reason enough not to look into Waldorf education as an option for my family. I am sure when the times comes we will be looking into other options as well, as we try to find the school best suited to our values and the school best able to meet our children's needs.

What a lot to write and read
post #52 of 156
Orangewallflower, and thank you for these posts Which I believe articulated many of my innermost sentiments. tell where you go and I will follow...
post #53 of 156

lets keep going...

one more thought..

Perhaps if the "tone" of our posts is to illuminate..not persuade...then we might be heard better? Many of us I think are already doing just that, and I find it very very comforting and helpful. Then readers can take from the posts the pieces that speak to them, disregard some things and ask for further explanation on others?
post #54 of 156
Ema,
If anything in my posts led you to believe that I have an opinion about what you should do for your family, I would like to assure you that I don't! Like I said from the beginning you have an extraordinary advantage in making this decision for your family being Waldorf educated yourself. I wish you all the best with your continued Waldorf journey.
post #55 of 156
I am delurking.

i am so very grateful for this thread!

I have always been drawn to waldorf, and when I saw the support thread, at first I was shocked, and then I realized that some of what people were upset with, I kinda was attracted to.

reading everything here has made me really think about everything on a different level.

(nak, be patient with me ...

I b elieve some walk away with a bitter taste fr so many reasons. But I think it can be translated to EVERY type of school that exists.

Some people come from public schools and say it was the most traumatizing experience of their lives.
Some walk away saying it was the best years of their lives.

My dh went to an episcopalian school and still talks of the amazing education he received and would send his children there. He is an ATHEIST. Always has been. He earned a great education and ignored what didnt feel right.

I am pagan, I have limited knowledge, but from my experience with catholic churches (through attending with my Xhusband) is that the rosary and communion are taught as "musts" in a long lists of "musts" to make you a good catholic that will get you in to heaven. Without being a good catholic you will go to hell.

Correct me if I am wrong, I am ignorant.

I would have a problem with anyone teaching my child that they need to conform or go to hell.

As far as I have read with waldorf, these are not things that are NOT taught to the children as "you must do this" things.

They are taught with the hopes that maybe the children will grow into anthroposophists, but if the children are unaware of that aspect and they walk away from the school calm, healthy, self aware, educated children- is it truly a harm to them?

I believe that there should be more honesty.

I also believe that waldorf schools have a lot of amazing child centered qualities and it would be a shame if parents of sensitive children who would flourish there turned away and put their beautiful souls into public school where they may not fit as well simply because the beliefs behind waldorf are in their eyes "crazy".


but i am a grown woman who believes in faeries, gnomes, etc and i understand first hand that when talking to people about my parenting style it is sometimes best to leave that bit out. Not to hide it, just because i know most people think that is loony.

I do not discount any beliefs. In my eyes it could all be true. Jesus, buddha, mohammed, etc. which is why i believe waldorf works for people like me. Not because the "whys" are unimportant, but because i believe there are a million paths to god and a million gods to greet us.

i would not stand for racist actions. it is unsettling to think that a person capable of beginning a school of thought like waldorf was also a racist. It is unsettling to me that george washington owned slaves.

but it is part of a dark history of a country i believe to be great with potential to be better.

sorry for jumping in, i hope i dont offend and dthat it makes sense. im typing one handed and have yet to eat- :
post #56 of 156
I didn't pull my kids because of the wacky beliefs. I got involved when my dc was in preschool and he went on to the first year of kindergarten. They were two great years and I have no regrets about the. I think that Waldorf does a great job with the little kids. I was lucky to get involved early, get involved with the community and school and do enough talking and observing to discover that the grades would be absolutely inappropriate not just for me but for my kids.

The grade school day is far too programmed. The only time they have a real choice of activity is recess. It's not that I think that kids should always get to choose, but it is an element of Montessori that I admire, and I like how our public schools incorporate "choice time" into the school days and the middle school has a full menu of electives.

My son also really responds to talking on a level that Waldorf would deem inappropriate. He does well with talking about choices in front of him and the sorts of outcomes that follow choices. He does well hearing how his choices affect others. Waldorf teachers are trained to work with the temperaments and they deem such communication developmentally inappropriate.

He is also an intellectual little guy and while I always work to challenge other parts of his personality, I celebrate this in him. He is going to think critically far before the Waldorf curriculum will meet him on that level. (Critical thinking is delayed until high school and even then is encouraged in stages: contrasting in 9th grade, comparing in 10th grade etc..) Parents of gifted children have told me that Waldorf was not a great choice for their kids in the end.

I also became aware that our school's language and music programs were abismal. Musically talented kids are frustrated with music class because they always have to be with the whole group. Language classes are a joke, and luckily our public schools have strong programs in both these areas.

One of my biggest issues is that Waldorf does not teach the Enlightment based scientific method. I think what they do (phenomenology) is great for the littler kids, but I want my son exposed to mainstream science by middle school for sure. I do see this overemphasized in public schools, but I'm willing to live with it.

I will miss the crafting being part of the day, but that is something that I am bringing into our family life and we are having a really good time with it.

I will also miss being a part of a community that is suspicious of "screen time." But I am realizing that I still get to decide that for my kids for several more years. Beyond that, it becomes an issue even in the Waldorf community. It will be something that we work on no matter where we are.

I didn't want to leave you with the mistaken impression that it is just the lack of disclosure that made our decision.
post #57 of 156
i understand completely what you are saying.

I do not know as much as anyone here-at all. I wash just a curious onlooker with an idea.

Ive always figured i would homeschool because NO school i have research really meshes with my dd1.

at 3 yrs she is unquenchable knowledge-wise. She desperately WANTS to learn EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. For this very reason, i couldnt see her meshing with waldorf past pre-k/K.

But i do have friends with children that THRIVE there. In the grades past K... so I keep an open mind.

thanks everyone for being so open.
post #58 of 156
"But, I am assuming that parents who choose to educate their children in a Catholic school would like their children to be exposed to Catholic values and grow up to be good Catholic members of society. I do not think parents send their children to Waldorf schools to become good Anthroposophical members of society. If this would be their motive they would be horribly disappointed as chances are their DC would not have any particular inclination to practice anthroposophy."

I think your assumptions are wrong. Parents may have many reasons to enroll in a Catholic or Anthro school other than the purpose of raising a Catholic/Anthro. kid -- unsafe public schools, more challenging curriculum, crafts and school appearance (for Waldorf).

For me, the key issue is the purpose of the school (not the purpose of the parents). I believe that Catholic schools intend to "raise" kids to be suited to be Catholics and that Waldorf schools intend to "raise" kids to be suited for Anthro. Each is indoctrinating for their own purposes. Your response seems to be -- that doesn't matter for Waldorf because they suck at the actual indoctrination portion of the agenda. For me, the purpose is sufficient, whether successfully achieved or not.

"However, they might have been educated to think freely and to question life and people and not rely on others to teach them what to think."

From my observations of Waldorf, while it may create views different from "mainstream" society, the participants within the system are very homogeneous. In other words, there is still groupthink, its just in a smaller societal group.
post #59 of 156
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleanniesky View Post
one more thought..

Perhaps if the "tone" of our posts is to illuminate..not persuade...then we might be heard better? Many of us I think are already doing just that, and I find it very very comforting and helpful. Then readers can take from the posts the pieces that speak to them, disregard some things and ask for further explanation on others?
A very helpful point. And good to keep reminding ourselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
Ema,
If anything in my posts led you to believe that I have an opinion about what you should do for your family, I would like to assure you that I don't! Like I said from the beginning you have an extraordinary advantage in making this decision for your family being Waldorf educated yourself. I wish you all the best with your continued Waldorf journey.
I think I did not fully appreciate what way you meant that I am at an advantage by being educated in a Waldorf school. I disagreed in part as I think that Waldorf schools can be very very different and I will need to look carefully into any school that I choose for my child. But in the sense that I have my own experience to draw on - yes I am sure this will be very helpful when the time comes to choose a school (or not - but I do not think I am cut out for home-schooling). I doubt there would be anything that would suddenly jump out at me and take me by surprise about Waldorf. Anthroposophists - well, that is another thing all together.... but they are people too, just like the best and the worst of us.
Somehow it gets my back up by being wished all the best on my continued Waldorf journey - I feel like it is a bit of a barb. Maybe I am being overly sensitive or it is pushing some age old button. I guess it leaves me feeling like there is some sort of anger directed towards me. Now I am sure that you are not angry at me. I am hoping you are not angry at anything that I am saying. I also know that you are being very scrupulous about not making this a personal attack kind of thing. But I can't help feeling like there have been little jabs from time to time. But most of all, I am finding your points very carefully thought out and and your intention very honest (as much as can be gleaned through cyberspace). And I really do appreciate having this forum and having your input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by inchijen View Post
I am delurking.
Yay, I really appreciate people stopping by with something constructive - thought provoking to add! Thank you
Quote:
I have always been drawn to waldorf, and when I saw the support thread, at first I was shocked, and then I realized that some of what people were upset with, I kinda was attracted to.
An interesting observation about you being drawn to what others are upset by. Hadn't thought of it this way before.

Quote:
I b elieve some walk away with a bitter taste fr so many reasons. But I think it can be translated to EVERY type of school that exists.
I agree. I think what has been great about this thread is trying to unravel just what these reasons can be. I had assumed that it was a human thing and not something inherent to Waldorf. So far this thread has focused more on the ideological sides of Waldorf and I feel less emphasis has been put on the practical running of the school, which I understand can offer it's own challenges, and be an important aspect towards making a parent justified in removing their child/ren from a school.... Perhaps it is easier to address the ideology as this is something inherent in each school and more personal stories of being frustrated by events in a school would be limited to an experience in that school and could not be generalised. I guess I am inviting people to share their personal stories beyond their sticky issues with the ideology or 'why' - no pressure though

Quote:
I would have a problem with anyone teaching my child that they need to conform or go to hell.
This to me is far more intimidating that teachers having their personal beliefs which they do not teach. I really would be very freaked out by this - another digression. I had a friend whose father was part of some Christian sect. To put a long story short her dad had no qualms telling me that I stink like dirty socks to God as I have not been baptised in their church. I suffered horrible nightmares about burning in hell. I would never want my child exposed to something like that. But that is my personal add on - not really connected to this thread (

Quote:
As far as I have read with waldorf, these are not things that are NOT taught to the children as "you must do this" things.
This was my experience, both at school and at home.
Quote:
They are taught with the hopes that maybe the children will grow into anthroposophists, but if the children are unaware of that aspect and they walk away from the school calm, healthy, self aware, educated children- is it truly a harm to them?
Not sure about the hopes to be anthroposophists - I have never actually asked this question. However, my parents very expressly have left me and my brother free to choose how to live our own lives - even though it resulted in both of us choosing not to remain in the community we were brought up in.
Quote:
I also believe that waldorf schools have a lot of amazing child centered qualities and it would be a shame if parents of sensitive children who would flourish there turned away and put their beautiful souls into public school where they may not fit as well simply because the beliefs behind waldorf are in their eyes "crazy".
I do not want to disrespect your view, but I would like to clarify that I am not inclined to think that Waldorf schools are for sensitive children. I also get very nervous with talk about "souls" - but that is just me. I know that this could be something important for other people - but not for me.

Quote:
I do not discount any beliefs. In my eyes it could all be true. Jesus, buddha, mohammed, etc. which is why i believe waldorf works for people like me. Not because the "whys" are unimportant, but because i believe there are a million paths to god and a million gods to greet us.
I think this is interesting from the point of view that you do have beliefs, even if they are liberal ones. I am sure there are families out there who expressly have no beliefs, and this seems to be a cause for clashes with Waldorf schools. DH does not want our DC saying any sort of verse at any time in his life - regardless of whether it is associated with any one religion or not. He is uncomfortable with any formalisation of something "spiritual". I personally do not have a problem with this. I would like our children to grow up with a respect for the earth and a sense of awe for the natural world.... as does DH. I guess I see verses that express gratitude and and respect towards the earth/world do not intimidate me - certainly not like saying some sort of religious prayer.... another digression. But I guess it grooves with what I am passionate about - a possible contributing factor to me being open to Waldorf education.
Quote:
i would not stand for racist actions. it is unsettling to think that a person capable of beginning a school of thought like waldorf was also a racist. It is unsettling to me that george washington owned slaves.

but it is part of a dark history of a country i believe to be great with potential to be better.
Again, another interesting analogy. Only as an adult was I made aware of Steiner's expression of racism. Another little story. I grew up in apartheid South Africa and Waldorf schools were one of the only schools (if not the only) where you found children of all races learning together. This was made possible by Waldorf being private and therefore not under the thumb of the government and their racist policy of keeping all the races apart in every single aspect of their lives. Anyway, I grew up in a multicultural environment at a time when my peers in public schools had only met and played with other Caucasian children. And this was possible because of my school environment. My point - Steiner may have harboured racist ideas and dressed them up with fancy words - but on the ground things can be very different.

Quote:
sorry for jumping in, i hope i dont offend and dthat it makes sense. im typing one handed and have yet to eat- :
Please don't apologize for jumping in! I think it is great and I certainly have not been offended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orangewallflower View Post
I didn't pull my kids because of the wacky beliefs.

I didn't want to leave you with the mistaken impression that it is just the lack of disclosure that made our decision.
Your whole post was very clarifying for me. I can definitely relate to the reasons you chose to leave being related to the approach. Perhaps after reading so much on what you think and why, hearing more of your personal story helps me to understand more about the background to you making the best decision for your family.
I would have to agree that in elementary school (just to make sure I am using the right term here - this is the age group of 6- 12? ) children are not consulted and given choices in the way that you are choosing to raise your family. A definite reason for a poor fit. I am sure you also would have had a really hard time trying to convince the teachers to be matching your sons academic needs if the teachers felt that this was not appropriate. Again, a poor match. All in all, I think I am clearer on why Waldorf would not suit you as a parent or your child, who sounds like a very bright and talented child. Not having a walking talking child yet - these are no doubt issues that I will be having to deal with much later. But you are definitely getting me thinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bczmama View Post
I think your assumptions are wrong. Parents may have many reasons to enroll in a Catholic or Anthro school other than the purpose of raising a Catholic/Anthro. kid -- unsafe public schools, more challenging curriculum, crafts and school appearance (for Waldorf).
OK

Quote:
For me, the key issue is the purpose of the school (not the purpose of the parents).
Important distinction.

Quote:
I believe that Catholic schools intend to "raise" kids to be suited to be Catholics and that Waldorf schools intend to "raise" kids to be suited for Anthro.
I am not sure that this is true. I do not think I was 'raised" to be suited to Anthroposophy. I think I was 'raised' to question life and to be making independent decisions - and decisions with integrity. Getting into morals can be a bit iffy - but I think there is an element of addressing moral decision making, not in the "thou shalt" kind of way, but in a personally reflective kind of way.. if that makes sense.
Perhaps I am practising Anthroposophy without realising it??
Quote:
Your response seems to be -- that doesn't matter for Waldorf because they suck at the actual indoctrination portion of the agenda.
I am not sure I was saying that Waldorf has a poor methodology of indoctrination, but rather that I am not sure that is the purpose of the school - to indoctrinate the pupils to be good anthroposophists

Quote:
For me, the purpose is sufficient, whether successfully achieved or not.
OK. Am I understanding you correctly by saying that because you believe that Waldorf schools have the purpose of indoctrinating the pupils to be Anthroposophists, you would choose not to enrol your child? If so, then I think this is a limited view of things as it addresses a very narrow aspect of the whole Waldorf experience. And I am questioning the indoctrination element altogether. The element of beliefs could be fundamentally unacceptable to some families and they would have to find a school that would meet their specific needs.

If you would like to share more about your personal experiences with Waldorf and more practical issues you have had difficulty with, it would help me understand more where you are coming from and perhaps broaden the discussion

Quote:
From my observations of Waldorf, while it may create views different from "mainstream" society, the participants within the system are very homogeneous. In other words, there is still groupthink, its just in a smaller societal group.
I find this interesting. And I am going to have to think about it (I am still thinking about the communion/eurythmy analogy and so far admit it has my attention in that it is very attention grabbing thing to say - controversial.). I know my brother was irritated in high school by the 'need to be different' and pupils each trying to be more different that the other and many of them ending up in tie dyes with long hair and kinda hippy looking. Basically becoming a homogeneous group with each individual thinking they are highly individual. However he chose not to.Today he is more inclined to be conservative in his approach to life, but he also questions things around him and prefers to make his own decisions and not have any authority making his decisions for him. (With regard to conformism - I was talking about adolescents who are sorting out their identities - not the whole Waldorf movement.)
post #60 of 156
For us, Waldorf was an attempt to compromise on my DSS's education -- between a mother who wanted to HS (on an extremely "relaxed" basis) and my DH's desire for an academically rigorous education for DSS (who is gifted, particularly in math, and loves science).

He got pulled when DH felt that his ex's home school efforts would be better for DSS than what Waldorf had to offer.

This was for a number of reasons (in large part because of an almost anti-intellectual attitude on the part of the teacher to DSS' interests, knowledge base and abilities) but also due to our concerns around Steiner and all the "oddities" of the beliefs about fairies, elves, eurymthy, the gauzy painting, the child taking time to incarnate, etc., etc.

We could not obtain enough knowledge about Anthro to feel comfortable that the purposes of these things were "healthy" and that Anthro itself was "healthy" for DSS to be involved with, even in a tangential way.

We would not knowingly enroll DSS in a Scientologist school, or a Jehovah Witness school because those philosophies don't jive with us, and felt we had (all unknowing) done the equivalent in enrolling DSS in Waldorf.
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