Originally Posted by PiePie
reading You Are Your Child's First Teacher and hating it. not only is it super anti-working mom (very common in the AP/GD genre) but it is very anti-gifted child. I never thought Waldorf fit my disposition but this really takes the cake. I feel like I need to keep reading it because it's for my parenting book club.
Originally Posted by ~Shanna~
I completely forgot how anti-WOHM the book was. I am so sorry that I didn't warn you
: I noticed at the time and was a bit...surprised
. As for my self-centered reaction to it, I just couldn't get over how not-inspiration it was for such a great title. But how did you think it was anti-gifted child? I have some arm-chair opinions about this that are not at all well-researched or thought out...
As someone who knows "kids" ages 2-48 who are being/have been raised this way I think so much of it is where you come from with it, how you weave your own preferences, personality and pathologies in as a parent.
As far as the anti-giftedness, you'd have to be more specific. I didn't necessarily get that from that book but again, I guess it depends on what ideas you might already have as to the "right" way to support a gifted child..
I do strongly agree with the idea of not "teaching" reading to kids under seven (or maybe 5/6 or 8 depending on the kids). For some families this means largely eschewing the writing word, letters, etc. until school age. The adults have regular books, but all children's books are illustration only. The kids see the parents read, but aren't read to or with. Knowing people who have grown up this way in anthroposophical villages w/o TV, very little packaged stuff, etc. kids (including gifted children)can be perfectly content not to read until it gets taught in school. And then are perfectly competent readers, writers, etc. w/in a few years. It's really not a problem- unless of course you decide to move when the kids is 8 or 9. Generally, though kids with older siblings would end up reading a bit earlier.
I think one big problem is when a family is interested in Waldorf but not steeped in it, so the parents are doing mainstream stuff and then they are trying to force their children to be part of something that they aren't. So, at 5 or whatever the kids have friends who are learning to read at school and their parent is "not allowing" them to.
However, as someone who is not living an anthroposophical lifestyle by any means I fully expect that DS will be reading before he is seven. We do have blocks with letters on them but I never ever point that out to him. We also have ABC books, and he doesn't notice those either. We just go through and look for pictures of monkeys and airplanes and stuff. But I expect that at some point he will start asking what the letters are and I will certainly tell him. We do read lots of books w/ words together. But I won't send him to (or do at home) a program that actively works on letters, reading, or any academics until he is elementary aged.
So when he starts wanting to read I won't stop him at all! But I also don't plan to encourage it. Which will be hard since I was reading early and it will be tough not to expect that of him. But I really want it to be something that he just starts doing- like walking. And I don't believe that being gifted means that you should be pushed when you're young anymore than a non gifted kids. And I think this is some of what YAYTFT may have gotten into, that the academically gifted child may need to be gently steered towards more play. If they are a math savant, they don't need any encouragement to go and learn multiplication. In the interest of raising a good overall human, not just a math genius, what the parent needs to encourage are all the other things (art, movement, imaginative play, etc.)
YAYCFT definitely does show a preference for moms to stay home with kids especially when they are small. I thought there was a whole chapter though about the "best" (in the author's opinion) alternatives when mom is working. (Other caregiver in home, followed by mixed age home-based daycare.)
PiePie I'm going to really go out on a limb and say some more about specifics and am worried this won't come out right and offend you. It's not really personal to you though, I've been discussing it a lot with my brother who lives in Hell's Kitchen(we were having the what if we die and J comes to live with you conversation)
I really think that unless it was already your personal philosophy, that trying to take an anthroposophical approach to child rearing and especially the schooling aspect of it would be extremely difficult in the high-pressured NYC schooling environment. Of course it is possible to do differently, but everyone I know in the city with kids is very much taking the "hot house" approach to pre-school. Even if they don't think it is best they are too afraid not to. The Rudolph Steiner school does have a play-based preschool but not until age three. I'm guessing there are maybe some anthropop home daycares though? I mean you'd have to either really go with the Waldorf program or else not. As opposed to living in the country and being S/WAHM it is easier to do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. So, that we can have a seasonal nature table and wooden toys and still watch a video once in a while. And if I was working outside the home DS would be in a Waldorf-inspired home based play daycare) Whereas if we were in a different situation where DS was going to an academic preschool all day I wouldn't feel like having no-TV, dolls w/o expressions, etc. etc. at home could "undo" that.
Again, I feel bad that this isn't coming out right. I don't mean this in a "this way is better than that way" sense. BC there are sooo many things that DS misses out on with us living where we do- multiculturalism, museums, walking, etc. and I know we couldn't swing living in a more metropolitan environment unless both of us had careers.
And I also don't mean that b/c one lives in the city, WOHM, sends DC to academic preschool, etc. that they can't incorporate whatever Waldorf-type things they like into their lifestyle. But, no they aren't going to be fulfilling Steiner's ideals for early childhood. I also realize in many ways this sounds ridiculous, since the original Waldorf school was developed for the children of factory workers and this makes it seem like Waldorf is only for privileged suburbanites or something. And despite somewhat defending it here I really don't plan on sending J to the local Steiner School. I have issues with the conformity of it, that is is age-segregated after nursery and that there is a lot of sitting at desks.
Anyway, I found the book useful as a reminder of the importance of rhythm because that is MY weakest spot. It was helpful to see that the more I discipline myself the less I'll have to get into stuff with J.
Are the other parents in the book group mostly WOH? Sounds like you will be having an interesting discussion!