Life After Waldorf ~ A Support Group - Page 41 - Mothering Forums

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#1201 of 1207 Old 11-10-2014, 09:25 AM
 
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MissyHabs- get to the single parenting forum. This is definitely an issue that'll do better there.

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#1202 of 1207 Old 04-19-2016, 07:16 AM
 
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Hello, I'm hoping that someone might still be visiting this thread still. A long shot, given the long time since a post, but I wanted to try nonetheless.

We are trying to decide whether to pull my nearly 7 year old son from his Waldorf kindergarten immediately or at the end of the school year in June. I will provide a little background and the situation. I'm hoping for some insight from others who have left Waldorf.

Over the past six years, both of my kids attended a Waldorf preschool/kindergarten, and we loved the peacefulness and beauty. I got more involved with the school, Waldorf community, and even with the anthroposophical study group a few years ago. I found that the study group was too intense for me, but we were still committed to Waldorf education. Our older son (now 9) attended first grade at the sister Waldorf initiative school, but we moved him to public school after one year because he has Aspergers and ADHD, and is extremely gifted. He has thrived in public school, but we felt this was because he needed better order, clearer behavioral expectations and supports, as well as more advanced academics.

We decided to keep our younger son in Waldorf school, and planned to continue to the sister school. The kindergarten convinced us that (for many reasons) he should have an extra year of kindergarten because he has a late-May birthday, and would not be six and a half at the beginning of this school year. So here we are, a month shy of 7, and he can barely read or do math. He hates writing numbers and letters and I am not sure that he can write all of his letters and numbers though he can recognize them.

Due to many factors, I have very recently become totally disillusioned with Waldorf education and very uncomfortable with its methods and philosophy (my husband was never really fully on board). We decided that we wanted our son in a more traditional academic school. After his shadow day, the teacher expressed that whole our son is very bright, and a joy to be around, he is far far behind and not ready for first grade. She is willing to work with him over the summer, and offered us the option of another kindergarten year next year (I feel that he is just too old for that to be reasonable). She also suggested that he could come join the kindergarten class there for the last 6 weeks of this year. She feels that with that and tutoring, he would likely be in pretty good shape for first grade.

I am inclined to bolt from Waldorf this instant, and change him over now. However, I also am concerned about abruptly changing schools. There are also the "end of year" and graduation traditions (crossing the bridge ceremony at the end of K) that I think are sweet, and even though based on philosophy I do not believe, might give him closure and a feeling of moving on. I don't know if he would be allowed to come back for graduation of we leave, but can't imagine they would not allow it.

Do any of you have experiences with either leaving Waldorf abruptly, or with remaining in the school for a while after you have determined that you need to leave? My fear is that if we don't leave now, his transition will be messed up because we are neglecting to give him the chance to prepare for first grade in a regular K class. I have become very uncomfortable with Waldorf, and have already felt the glares of the core Waldorf community as it has become more apparent that we will not be returning next year for sure. I feel like we need to go, make a break. But we have so many friends in the community (many are also uncomfortable), and my son has close friends at school that he has been with for years.

Any thoughts you have are welcome. I have appreciated reading through this forum as I have worked through my personal feelings of loss, fear, anger, and shame with leaving Waldorf. Thank you for sharing your stories and being willing to discuss these issues. It's really hard, and I feel like something I thought was a healthy philosophical basis for my parenting has turned against me. Thank you.
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#1203 of 1207 Old 04-19-2016, 09:01 AM
 
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I don't see a lot of value in 6 weeks of kindergarten. By the time he's adjusted, summer will have started.

At the same time, you really shouldn't send him to first grade unprepared. It'll be very difficult and possibly make him decide he isn't good enough.

I would consider asking the new kindergarten teacher if there's a way to meld kindergarten and first so he can skip to second at the end of next year.

For encouraging reading/writing, you could read to him every day at home, maybe encourage him to make up stories and either have him write them down or even you write them down for him. Have him help you with cooking for math o talk to him about when you use it.
Right now I think the focus needs to be on establishing a desire to learn more than the specific skills.

That is a really rough situation and I'm sorry you have to face it.
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#1204 of 1207 Old 04-20-2016, 11:07 AM
 
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So, next year, your son will be 7 turning 8, and the right age to be in Grade 2, correct? And as far as you know, he doesn't have any development delays or learning disabilities, and should be capable of being with his age group?

If so, the most important thing is to begin getting him some tutoring so that he can catch up. It probably doesn't matter what kindergarten he is in for the next six weeks, but won't it be fun that he can begin learning!

Is there any possibility of getting him into his Grade 2 class by next fall? He has four months starting now. If you can get some tutoring or some tutoring programs going, and go through some homeschooling workbooks with him yourselves, perhaps he can be caught up in time.
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#1205 of 1207 Old 04-21-2016, 07:24 AM
 
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Thank you all so much for your replies.

Yes, he should technically be heading to second grade next year, but since he has a late May birthday and is a little small for his age, I am comfortable with his entering first grade next year. He doesn't have any identified developmental delays, but we are not ruling out the possibility of some learning differences (like perhaps dyslexia or a visual-processing difference). He was born with bilateral cataracts, and while all of the surgeries have been incredibly successful and he has no notable vision impairments as a result, the reality that he does have some vision differences is certainly something to which we remain quite open. He also shows a few signs of some subtle motor skills delays, mostly related to how he is able (or rather not quite able) to manage handwriting and drawing in a sustained way. We are definitely watching that as well, and plan to use some OT skills we have learned to help develop those skills, calling in help if things are not improving! Right now the main thing that holds him back is not reading, writing, or doing math.

He also might have ADHD. I know that it can be a controversial diagnosis, but as an adult who has it, and who has a strong family history of it, I have seen/experienced how ignoring it can negatively impact kids (and adults). We are currently just watching things, and using positive behavioral supports, but he has not "grown out of" the problematic behaviors that we had hoped would fall away with time, so we continue to watch and wait with an eye toward finding positive solutions for him and our family.

I think we have decided that keeping him in his current kindergarten through the end of the year will be best. We spoke with him about how he would feel about starting the new school right away, and while he was kind of excited, he really was anxious about missing both his special school birthday celebration in May and the graduation. These are traditions he has been looking forward to for a very long time (this is his fourth year at the Waldorf preschool/K), so I think we have decided that the stress of pulling him is more than the six weeks he would gain in the traditional K class. We will be doing major tutoring through the summer, and hope that we get him on track for the beginning of the school year.

Again, thank you so much for your replies. And if anyone has any additional thoughts on how to make the transition out of Waldorf (both education and community) more peaceful for our family, I welcome any and all replies. I still think that the folks in the community are good people, and that they really do love and respect the world and children. I just can not continue to embrace the pedagogy and philosophy. As we leave, things have already become weird, and some of the core folks have told friends that they think we are leaving because we had bad experiences with the recently formed parents' association. They simply cannot understand that we would just not believe in Steiner or the philosophy anymore, or that the disfunction of the schools (largely because of the core folks' adherence to anthroposophy) is just too much for us anymore. I don't want to bad mouth the school, or alienate friends who are still there, but I also don't really want everyone to blame the parents' association for our departure, because that is not fair and not true. Did you feel like you had a responsibility to call out the problems when you left? How did you remain close with friends who remained? (Or did you?) It's all quite stressful and upsetting, and I am really hoping to make it all work for us, but fear that we will have to disappear from our circle of friends in the process. It's very upsetting. Thanks for reading all of my ramblings, I do appreciate it.
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#1206 of 1207 Old 04-27-2016, 07:28 PM
 
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Well, I feel like I've been hit on the head with several tons of bricks.

Spicyginger, I need to thank you.

I had subscribed to this thread four years ago or so, when I had a small baby and was informing myself about educational methods. I lurked for awhile and it was definitely this thread's influence that helped me to send my son (now 4) to a public kindergarten (here in Ontario, there is an extra earlier kindergarten year). He loves it and we love it. And he can READ. Ok, not very well, but he is only 4. And we are proud of him!

I never want him to feel like he should be ashamed for knowing things or wanting to learn things, no matter his age. Knowledge is a gift, and the human brain's capacity for knowledge and skill is a marvel.

I hadn't given the thread much thought for years, but since you posted in it, Spicyginger, and I was subscribed, what you wrote brought be back here. And I was compelled, for some reason, to read the WHOLE thread. And the WHOLE old closed thread. Oh, yes. It took me a whole week--over ten years of posts.

And I cried and cried. You see, this year, I have been experiencing workplace trauma--a hostile work environment. And I felt so alone, so angry and frustrated, so trapped, and so sad and confused. Also--very crazy. Because, the first "abusers" do, even in the workplace, is make you feel like you're getting upset over nothing, that all the things you're talking about never really happened, that there is no problem and that you are being DIFFICULT.

This thread is pretty dead now but it was extremely active for years, and included many brave stories from parents and teachers who were experiencing a hostile environment. And reading about other's experiences was so cathartic to me. I know it wasn't a *waldorf* problem exactly, but it validated my frustration and confusion and everything. I recognized so much in what everyone wrote.

The originator of the thread, Beansavi, isn't around anymore, but she is great. Very smart and extremely brave. She did a wonderful job of supporting other parents and making them feel heard for YEARS. Just reading the other parents' support of each other over the last decade was comforting to me.

Yeah, so, this is awkward. I am writing a thank you to nobody in a dead thread in what is pretty much a dead forum (sorry, Mothering). And I don't know why I wrote it but I did.

Spicyginger, I have a whole different perspective on your son's transition now. My main question for you is this: is he HAPPY where he is for now? Do you feel like his soul is being crushed--is he acting up in school, or afraid to go? Is he being bullied or hurt? Not just physically bullied, but emotionally--told he is dumb or no good or a troublemaker? If so, get him out NOW.

As some parent said at some point in the thread (it's all jumbled in my head) there is no need for closure for a student who is being mistreated. Those kids don't need closure, they need to be rescued. So if you feel your child is wilting at the school, don't wait for the next fairy festival--go now.

HOWEVER, if you kid seems basically fine and is not unhappy, then I don't see what difference 6 weeks will make in the grand scheme of things.
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#1207 of 1207 Old 04-28-2016, 05:14 PM
 
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There are lots of us still around MichelleZB! Nothing like before on Mothering, but a steady and loyal cadre!! I was the one who originally set up this thread for beansavi. It used to live in the Waldorf forum but things were way crazier in there then and it caused too much division and strife so we moved it over here (were you around then?) Maybe I should move it back and see how that goes.

I'm glad you've been reinforced and strengthened through your reading here.
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