Life After Waldorf ~ A Support Group - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome.

Here we are. We are a group of women who have been together for 18 months sharing our stories, our pain, and our quest for healing ourselves and our children.

Here is the link to our former thread called "A Safe, Healthy Haven: Waldorf Questioners/Concerns Thread":
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=368640

Today, we begin anew, in a new sub-forum.

I, for one, like the "Personal Growth" subforum because it makes me feel safe and that this is a protected space for healing, not defending, ourselves.

Welcome to all newcomers, male or female, who need to be here, as well.

Let me state clear as day, that this thread belongs to all of us, though I tend to be on here a lot because I need to share my story, make sense of what happened to me and my child, help others, and heal.

I will post my story soon.

Smiles and peace,

Beansavi (aka Beth)

***PS Out of respect and liability issues, do not mention school names or personal history of other members they have not shared themselves. Thank you.
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#2 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 07:01 AM
 
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Hi Beth,

I'm glad to see you here bc I am here so often

DS has been having major problems with reading, and he is very angry at us for sending him to a Waldorf school up to 3rd grade when we were pushed out due to a financial ais issue. I have so much more to say, but have to go right now.

The reason we are not still going started with an extremely abusive incident relating to the "financial assistance" comittee, which was comprised of our peers, other parents who were now privy to our personal, personal info. I was humiliated when our private info. was reviewed, it was not good at the time...We got a nasty letter stating that we would get a small amout of aid that year, but no other years bc DH (at the time) wasn't making enough money to support his family : (you should've seen the nasty, patronizing letter...from another parent) gtg for now, but I'll be back.

anyone else have an issue with the financial aid committee? I haven't done our story justice bc I'mm in such a hurry.

((((Beth))))

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#3 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 08:45 AM
 
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Wow, interesting timing on the appearance of this thread. I have been thinking whether to look into Montessori or Waldorf for my DD (who is still just an infant, but it's never too early to prepare, I say).

I am interested to know that one needs support after Waldorf! :

I will be watching the thread. It is particularly problematic that they revealed personal financial information broadly like that. :
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#4 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 10:01 AM
 
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Hi, I will be reading here and listening and learning. Thanks Beth.
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#5 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 10:09 AM
 
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Wow, interesting timing on the appearance of this thread. I have been thinking whether to look into Montessori or Waldorf for my DD (who is still just an infant, but it's never too early to prepare, I say).

I am interested to know that one needs support after Waldorf! :

I will be watching the thread. It is particularly problematic that they revealed personal financial information broadly like that. :
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Hi, I will be reading here and listening and learning. Thanks Beth.

Eeep! Umm, yeah...and my boy's six, so I was seriously considering starting in the fall... Funny, I've been real slow getting off the ground with this...maybe I will find out why...
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#6 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Beth,

I'm glad to see you here bc I am here so often

DS has been having major problems with reading, and he is very angry at us for sending him to a Waldorf school up to 3rd grade when we were pushed out due to a financial ais issue. I have so much more to say, but have to go right now.

The reason we are not still going started with an extremely abusive incident relating to the "financial assistance" comittee, which was comprised of our peers, other parents who were now privy to our personal, personal info. I was humiliated when our private info. was reviewed, it was not good at the time...We got a nasty letter stating that we would get a small amout of aid that year, but no other years bc DH (at the time) wasn't making enough money to support his family : (you should've seen the nasty, patronizing letter...from another parent) gtg for now, but I'll be back.

anyone else have an issue with the financial aid committee? I haven't done our story justice bc I'mm in such a hurry.

((((Beth))))
Hi my beloved BelovedK. I am always so impressed by your integroty, bravery, and honesty in reference to what happened to you guys. Many squeezie higs to ya'!
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Wow, interesting timing on the appearance of this thread. I have been thinking whether to look into Montessori or Waldorf for my DD (who is still just an infant, but it's never too early to prepare, I say).

I am interested to know that one needs support after Waldorf! :

I will be watching the thread. It is particularly problematic that they revealed personal financial information broadly like that. :
Hi Amris. To say there are many of us who need support after leaving or being thrown out of Waldorf is an understatement. It is my hope to find some personal healing through sharing with others, to help others heal, tto, and to shed some light on this widely unknown aspect of Waldorf. Welcome.
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Hi, I will be reading here and listening and learning. Thanks Beth.
Thank to you, SMUM.
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Eeep! Umm, yeah...and my boy's six, so I was seriously considering starting in the fall... Funny, I've been real slow getting off the ground with this...maybe I will find out why...
HI Woadie, Welcome. Here is the link to the original thread that birthed (naturally, I might add ) this thread.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=368640
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#7 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 11:09 AM
 
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We were squeezed out....we simply weren't allowed in. It has certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.
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#8 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 02:18 PM
 
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I am here to show my fullest support and camaraderie! Have a busy day today but I'll be back regularly.
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#9 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 05:23 PM
 
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Subbing, as I am just starting to look into schooling options for DD.

Also, I really respect Beansavi and what you have to say. I appreciate how respectful and tolerant you are in your threads and posts. It's been eye opening to say the least.

There is a Waldorf school a few miles from our house and I always wonder what it's like.
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#10 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 09:29 PM
 
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The school we were a part of treated our family poorly, but it is nothing compared with how they (the financial ass. committee) treated friends of mine.

(that is meant to be an abbreviation, but I kinda like how it looks, haha)


They were reprimanded for the fact that the hubby didn't keep a job and therefore couldn't support his family. They were very young parents and I think that came into play.

One of the older anthroposophists on the commitee, who doesn't have children in the schol had no idea the letters went out, the letter composer and decision maker : made that decision on her own apparantly... I think it was just a few that knew 'the letters' went out and when I tried to nicely talk to the woman about it, she never returned my call and soon thereafter, she moved away...She was blessed to be a SAHM with a DH whio could comfortably support her and the family.

I never had a chance to talk to her, but let me tell you what I did do I composed a letter of my own and sent it to about 25 people inviting them to my home for a forum discussion about the role of financial aid and the need to reframe the entire concept so that everyone would be respected and have their needs met, including the teachers who need to be compensated for their hard, hard work. The long range solution is something called 'threefolding' which is when the school supports the community and the community supports the school...It has been so long since I've thought of that that I'm having a time thinking of how to explain it well.

I seated the older gentleman (who had no clue) across the room so he could observe.

I put one of the biggest activist/supporter of fairness in the community, next to one of the highest members of the Financial A.commitee(who was also one of those 'in the know')

.on the other side of him I seated another activist/supporter (by activist/supporter, I mean the people who were very angry about how we had been treated)

I created an interesting sandwich dynamic By the end of the evening, the poor guy who was seated by me was apologizing to me about his treatment of my friends...apologizing!!! I was pretty exacting in deciding who I would invite to the little event. It was a success and I could've taken it farther if i wanted to form my own comittee, etc. etc. I didn't.

I soon received another dreaded letter labeled CONFIDENTIAL. It told me that if I continued to share my story with others then I would be not able to send my DS the next year

Need I say more?

I should also say that I think Waldorf education is beautiful and there is so much that I believe in and love about it...I just think that the individual schools can become like huge, dysfunctional families and each should be judged on a case by case basis...I do think that the way they are structured, there is much room for dysfunction (for lack of a better word)

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#11 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 09:47 PM
 
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Will be watching as well, would love to sent E in a few years, he just turned 2. But seeing as there is not one here really looking at... I guess I will have to see what happens

Living DAIRY AND GLUTEN FREE for my SPD and Aspergers Little Man.
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#12 of 1196 Old 05-29-2007, 11:02 PM
 
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I should also say that I think Waldorf education is beautiful and there is so much that I believe in and love about it...I just think that the individual schools can become like huge, dysfunctional families and each should be judged on a case by case basis...I do think that the way they are structured, there is much room for dysfunction (for lack of a better word)


I agree with every word of this, BelovedK. For me, it is exclusively about the formal school aspect. We have been Waldorf-influenced unschoolers at home for years, now, and I'm thankful for that. I am also thankful not to be part of a Waldorf school anymore for exactly the reasons you pointed out.
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#13 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 01:28 AM
 
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Affording Waldorf as single parent over the long haul is nearly impossible. There are some schools that are working harder to change thier financial structuring to become more inclusive of lower income households and single parent headed households, but it seems a low priority for most schools overall. Rarely have I heard of a Waldorf school whose administration and board care enough to remedy the exclusion of single parent families/low income families of color.

The most difficult refelctive peice for me in leaving Waldorf is a prickly awareness that there is true "community" only for a chosen group of families. The rest are often left to struggle and wonder in the periphery what it takes to feel "in community". For many families I have listened to and shared with, there comes a time when an unexpected awareness of thier exclusion floors them. It is loaded with shame and judgment. Feelings of disillusionment abound. How is this good for families? Waldorf educators and anthroposophists strive toward a higher consciousness in human relationships, but somehow fail to see the walls they create socially in the wider community. I see that striving toward higher consciousness as a very good thing that may scatter some hopeful seeds for a distant future, but I have also come to realize that there an awful lot of wheels spinning in one place as whole groups of children pass by, many sorely needing a more whole way of becoming educated.
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#14 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 06:47 AM
 
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Transferring a child from Waldorf education into the mainstream after a child knowing only Waldorf can be very rocky. Behavior and academic performance valued in Waldorf are not necessarily valued in the mainstream, and the academics lag behind in the early grades. This is one reason that Waldorf schools need to be more honest about what they can offer lower income parents over the long haul. I certainly would have appreciated knowing that half way through my son's journey, his education in Waldorf would no longer be accessible. I would have made a different choice, though I was very serious about my commitment to Waldorf at the time. When schools are not clear and honest about financial issues such as this, they are not setting up children for a life long love of learning as is frequently advertised. They are quite possibly setting a child up for academic frustration and, in some cases, failure.
.
(bolding mine)

This has been a HUGE issue for us. For several reasons I cannot homeschool and my DS is having SUCH a hard time merging into the mainstream...My parents are even paying for him to go to a small private school and I realize how lucky I am. The prices at Waldorf were definately not accessable to us and we were told that we could only get assistance for 2 years, that's all

When I watch him struggling to keep up with his classmates, I wish I had made other choices, but I didn't know. When the school started (I was a part of the creation of the school, even when DS was a baby) it was affordable. I knew it would go up, but i thought that there would always be a way.

I realize that the economics of Waldorf schools is a complex subject and I want the teachers to get paid well, and I never tried to take advantage.

I guess my biggest issue was how it was handled and now several other of my peers now know ALL of my private info. I don't think that the tuition assistance committee should be comprised of other parents (based on my experience)

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#15 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Presently, the most difficult refelctive peice for me in leaving Waldorf is the prickly awareness that there is real "community" only for a chosen group of families. The rest are often left to struggle and wonder in the periphery what it takes to feel "in community".

For many families I have listened to and shared with, there comes a time when an unexpected awareness of thier exclusion floors them. It is loaded with shame and judgment. Feelings of disillusionment abound. How is this good for families? Waldorf education and anthropsosophy strive toward a higher consciousness in human interactions, but somehow fail to see the walls they create socially.

I see that striving toward higher consciousness as a very good thing that may scatter some hopeful seeds for a distant future, but I have also come to realize that there an awful lot of wheels spinning in one place as whole groups of children pass by, many sorely needing a more whole way of becoming educated.
This is very well-said, browneyed. Thank you for that. I have to say I completely agree with you on this, and it is my experience, too. We were completely "floored" (as you put it) that I helped found the school, taught at the school (while having a KG there and a 6 mo daughter, still nursing all night), studied Anthroposophy every Thursday night, went to teacher training 3,000 miles away all summer... and still my family and I were insulted, embarassed publicly, "punished" (their word!) and shunned after I brought up my issues to them.

I will talk more about ds's molestation and the ramifications later.
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#16 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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(bolding mine)



I realize that the economics of Waldorf schools is a complex subject and I want the teachers to get paid well, and I never tried to take advantage.

I guess my biggest issue was how it was handled and now several other of my peers now know ALL of my private info. I don't think that the tuition assistance committee should be comprised of other parents (based on my experience)
Beloved, your needing financial aid does not in any way mean you would be taking food out of the teachers' mouths!

I have heard that excuse used by a Financial Aid committee, while simultaneously planning farm trips, Olymics in another state, and hiring a Eurythmy teacher.

Waldorf shcools need to grow on the inside before they try to look advanced on the outside. You are not at fault for their short-sightedness. Is that a word?
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#17 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Will be watching as well, would love to sent E in a few years, he just turned 2. But seeing as there is not one here really looking at... I guess I will have to see what happens
Hi Namaste... welcome!



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We were squeezed out....we simply weren't allowed in. It has certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.
If you feel like sharing the details, this is the place. I, for one, am here for you if you need me.


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I am here to show my fullest support and camaraderie! Have a busy day today but I'll be back regularly.
Thank you, as always!



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Subbing, as I am just starting to look into schooling options for DD.

Also, I really respect Beansavi and what you have to say. I appreciate how respectful and tolerant you are in your threads and posts. It's been eye opening to say the least.

There is a Waldorf school a few miles from our house and I always wonder what it's like.
Thank you so much for saying that. I have been feeling pretty low this past week about all this stuff.
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#18 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As I sat here upset that others judge me without having ever even heard the sound of my voice, and the judgement I received from Waldorf... I came across this:

Though it is human to evaluate people we encounter based on first impressions, the conclusions we come to are seldom unaffected by our own fears and our own preconceptions. Additionally, our judgments are frequently incomplete.

At the heart of the tendency to categorize and criticize, we often find insecurity. Overcoming our need to set ourselves apart from what we fear is a matter of understanding the root of judgment and then reaffirming our commitment to tolerance.

YEAH!
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#19 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 11:41 AM
 
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Unfortunately, a limited understanding of diversity seems to prevail in Waldorf schools.

This is my experience and opinion, as well.





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Presently, the most difficult refelctive peice for me in leaving Waldorf is the prickly awareness that there is real "community" only for a chosen group of families. The rest are often left to struggle and wonder in the periphery what it takes to feel "in community". For many families I have listened to and shared with, there comes a time when an unexpected awareness of thier exclusion floors them. It is loaded with shame and judgment. Feelings of disillusionment abound. How is this good for families? Waldorf education and anthropsosophy strive toward a higher consciousness in human interactions, but somehow fail to see the walls they create socially. I see that striving toward higher consciousness as a very good thing that may scatter some hopeful seeds for a distant future, but I have also come to realize that there an awful lot of wheels spinning in one place as whole groups of children pass by, many sorely needing a more whole way of becoming educated.


Oh my goodness this was so well-articulated that I want to quote it a second time after you, beansavi! Browneyedsol, I couldn't agree more with what you've said so well, here. Further, I want to note an interesting phenomenon that occurred in my experience at our Waldorf school ~


I had watched the first few classes of children at our school grow up. By the time they were teens, I noticed that they had several behavioral patterns that were alarming to say the least and very surprising for all that Anthroposophy had touted as its effects.

These children were incessantly and intensely cruel toward the younger children at the school, they were frequently seen rolling their eyes at the adults in the community (both faculty and parents) and they were behaving in ways that were not reflecting absorption of the values that Waldorf espouses - in fact, the ways in which they were behaving were typical of children who've been overcontrolled for too long and were angry.

To me, this all speaks of other kinds of lessons well-learned such as "Do as I say, not as I do" i.e. teaching noble ethics such as the idea of reverence for all beings and yet having some severe blind spots in reality that result in very strange behavioral double standards that do not reflect any such concept (and, in fact, reflect the extreme opposite - apathy for all/other beings).

Back then, still being the mother of younger children, I thought that this was 'normal' and that I should just chalk it all up to 'teenage rebellion' and hormones, etc. Now I know otherwise. In fact, I am grateful to know dozens of teens and young adults who are kind, thoughtful people and, interestingly, none of them have ever been involved in Waldorf. The fact that ALL of the older children I observed at the Waldorf school behaved this way to varying degrees is quite striking to me and definitely not possible to write off as a nuance of personality.

In fact, I believe that it is the result of highly-coercive/authoritarian/paternalistic rearing and educating that utilizes varying types of force and shaming as effective tools. That style of rearing/educating is reflected in other schools of thought than just Anthroposophy, to be sure, but the interesting thing to note here is that Anthroposophy promotes itself as being a most natural, healthy, loving, supportive, nurturing and evolved method. To me, it is most influenced by the very prevalant (and therefore nearly invisible) anglo-Christian dogma-as-default.

And, to clarify my stance ~ I would have felt totally ok and respectful of the situation had these aspects been clearly expressed, especially when I and others asked pointed questions regarding these matters. That way, I could have made an educated decision about whether Waldorf was right for my family or not early on instead of many years into our community and educational experience. Instead, I experienced a pattern of avoidance to answer, answers that resembled fluttering butterflies that were 'beating around the bush' and, at best, fancy answers that felt like they had been heavily-scented with artificial floral constituents from some PR rhetoric manual. THAT is my point of contention about all of this. My opinion is that the facts of their beliefs and agenda need to be made waaaay more clear and especially not hidden for fear of "people misunderstanding their meaning" as if parents should routinely be distrusted to think intelligently for themselves and make their own educated decisions about what is best for their family and children.
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#20 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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Beloved, your needing financial aid does not in any way mean you would be taking food out of the teachers' mouths!

I have heard that excuse used by a Financial Aid committee, while simultaneously planning farm trips, Olymics in another state, and hiring a Eurythmy teacher.
If there was anything that solidified my opinion that our local school had a greater ability to offer a further reaching tuition assistance program, it was my first attendance at the annual fund raising dinner. There were obscene amounts of money flying around at that fundraiser. I was very happy to see such generous support for the school. However, it was painful to realize how much I had sacrificed to afford tuition over the years when it was clear much more tuition aid could have been offered to single parent headed families like mine. For years I felt guilty for any thoughts or feelings I had about situations in the school that I found unfair (usually socially exclusive situations) and I worried that speaking about such concerns would come across as irreverent and ungrateful. There was a very present and rigid unspoken rule that I should simply count my blessings for being able to have my children enrolled at all, and that my thanks should be to zip my lip or suffer the consequences of being banished from an education I felt was very right for my children.

The unsavory air at the fundraiser helped me to accept the fact that Waldorf and social exclusion co-exist too comfortably, and it helped me realize how much of a disservice I would do to myself and my children in attempting to stay in "community" struggling.
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#21 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 08:45 PM
 
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My son is developmentally behind. He is capable of learning, has no challenges in particular, just a year or so behind his chronological age, gets along with younger kids better, functions emotionally, spiritually, mentally & physically a little behind.

They refused to allow him to start a grade younger than his chronological age. Our Waldorf is very popular and she told me that they didn't have to take him because they have tons of normal kids would would fit in their program.

Our Waldorf is also very affluent. I was not encouraged because I am a single parent. 2 of us were on a tour together and only the other mother was introduced to the admissions director (and they knew nothing about my interest for my son to be placed in a lower grade at that point). All she knew was that I was a single parent.

I am grateful now, that they didn't choose us. While I see great value in what they do, if they are only taking affluent children, what kind of life experience will that provide my child anyway? If children are not allowed to go where they fit best, but forced into a grade with children that share the same birth year but nothing else, how effective is that anyway? Even the public school will let me put my son in a lower grade so he does better.

I was so excited and encouraged. The tour was wonderful, the school great, I really liked what they were teaching but after that, I was totally turned off.
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#22 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 09:31 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing your story MCA ,I'm happy that you found out it time (whew!)

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#23 of 1196 Old 05-30-2007, 11:18 PM
 
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Our Waldorf is very popular and she told me that they didn't have to take him because they have tons of normal kids would would fit in their program.


As the mom of a 3.5 year old who has a speech delay, may I say:


HOLY CRAP!





I would have been livid to have my child treated this way. I am so so so sorry!




- Kira

(who is reading and will post soon about my experience and perhaps a bit more on my experience trying to fit back in to the mainstream after my time as a Waldorf student.)
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#24 of 1196 Old 05-31-2007, 12:01 AM
 
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WOW is all I can say! No wonder this group was started.

What I am curious about am I reading into it wrong or do you have to give ALOT of personal info that an another private school might not ask for> If so what do they want/ need and why?

IS all of the dynamics the result of another private school gone upity or is this a waldorf thing? I am really wanting to hear more about this.

Living DAIRY AND GLUTEN FREE for my SPD and Aspergers Little Man.
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#25 of 1196 Old 05-31-2007, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by beansavi View Post
Welcome.

Here we are. We are a group of women who have been together for 18 months sharing our stories, our pain, and our quest for healing ourselves and our children.

Today, we begin anew, in a new sub-forum.

Welcome to all newcomers, male or female, who need to be here, as well.

Let me state clear as day, that this thread belongs to all of us, though I tend to be on here a lot because I need to share my story, make sense of what happened tome and my child, help others, and heal.

I will post my story soon.

Smiles and peace,

Beansavi (aka Beth)
I do so hope the odd fellah might be allowed to post here too.
Congrats on your Renaissance Bean.
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#26 of 1196 Old 06-01-2007, 02:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NamastePlatypus View Post
WOW is all I can say! No wonder this group was started.

What I am curious about am I reading into it wrong or do you have to give ALOT of personal info that an another private school might not ask for> If so what do they want/ need and why?

IS all of the dynamics the result of another private school gone upity or is this a waldorf thing? I am really wanting to hear more about this.
Hello Namaste,
I have to be brief- gotta shoot off to work.
How would you (and others) feel about giving a writtten submission on your pregnancy, labour and delivery of your child?
This is the starting point of 'Individual Studies' carried out with your child as subject, at Waldorf Schools and Camphill villages.
This information is 'vital' to understanding the subject person. eg autism can frequently be attributed to induced labour.
Have to dash, but I can expand a bit more later if you are interested.
Max
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#27 of 1196 Old 06-01-2007, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by MHInstC View Post
I do so hope the odd fellah might be allowed to post here too.
Congrats on your Renaissance Bean.
Of course, fellahs are also Welcome!

I have so much to say about these great posts... but am in --nak-- mode and getting ready to take my eldest to the doc.

But I'll be back !

Smilies,
Bean
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#28 of 1196 Old 06-01-2007, 04:00 PM
 
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How about being close friends with a waldorf teacher.

Before she graduated from the program, she was our "nanny" and she is now married to my oldest and dearest friend. The first year she was teaching at Waldorf, she completely poo pooed ALL of our parenting skills. It was really strange, on the one hand she compliments us all the time on how well behaved and great our children are, and the next she is telling me how rewarding my oldest child's completed homework, or chores with video game time is destructive. She is now pregnant with their first child, and has told her husband that their child will not have the thomas trains stuff... too commercial, how leggos will not be allowed because they are evil plastic, and that they will not vax the kiddo. He is a family med doc, and that last one went over like a lead zeppelin. But also the rest are not sitting well with any of us. Leggos are plastic, but the small motor skills, the imagination used is important, not to mention they are fun! Thomas is fun imaginative play with problem solving. (have you ever tried to make a track?) There are countless other examples, these are just what pops into my mind now.

It is almost like she has been brain washed. Seriously, anything but the waldorf way is bad, modern education, modern technology is evil.

Her husband has been a video game FREAK!!! since the early 80's. I do not think it harmed him... he is a very warm and loving person, with a heck of a brain, and well... he made it through med school. He used VG as brain mushing, turning off stress when he needed too, and as a tool to talk to younger patients. HE HAS NOT PLAYED VGs in a year. Yet, when he is at my home, he seeks our oldest out to WATCH him play on his PSP.

Sorry, I am just venting and purging everything I want to say to her, but am afraid it will end our friendship. She has truly changed since becoming a waldorf teacher.
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#29 of 1196 Old 06-01-2007, 11:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi BoobyBunny (great username, btw ),

Yes, it does feel like brainwashing to be so extremely against basic things like leggos and Thomas the Tank Engine. What I was taught as a Waldorf teacher was that plastic is damaging to the spirit of an incarnating child. When you touch it, there is no reciprocal vibe, as in, it does not have any postivie energy, but is instead "dead".

I could even go along with this vibrational concept a bit, but I believe human beings (and their spirits) are not as wussy as Waldorf would want me to believe. I love my Fisher Price people (ahem, have I ever mentioned that?: ), and other items I had as a child that felt imbued with great energy simply because I was a happy person in a happy home with my grandmother, etc. etc.

After years of Waldorf from both a teacher's and parent's perspective, I now believe that it is the consistent energy of home and family that have the most influence on a child.

In my world, The Great Spirit is an artist and can manifest goodness and wholesomeness in an abundance of ways... not just in the form of "plant-based stained wooden toys from Germany".

KWIM?

I think I found my new siggie.
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#30 of 1196 Old 06-02-2007, 12:08 PM
 
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Hi ladies. I wanted to just pipe in here and say a few things.

First, my PC caveat: I know that all schools are different, all teachers are different and all families are different. What may work for some, might not work for others. People can have positive and negative experiences in the same environment, so much is variable based on family circumstance, personality and need. Some public schools are bad, some are good. Some private schools are bad, some are good. What might be bad for my family, might be good for another etc..

Our natural family style was/is very much an incorporation of both Waldorf and Reggio Emilia approaches. DP and I both have a love of natural toys and learning through experience. Waldorf crafts and toys where what we naturally went toward. Reggio environment is what we naturally created. We discovered both of these teaching methodologies when we started doing our school research and they both seemed to click with what we naturally did. When our DD was a toddler we started looking into private school options for her because _our_ local public school didn't seem like a good fit for our child.

We are fortunate to 1) have the option of sending our DD's to private school and 2) have a number of RE schools and a waldorf school to choose from. I am naturally skeptical. Because of that I tend to research _everything_, from both sides before making any decisions. I researched RE and WE methodology online before going to look at our local schools. I found tons of information on both styles of education, and was really surprised when I came open the obvious contrast that I couldn't find any anti-RE sites, but did find numerous WE ones. How odd that people can have such negative experiences with a specific teaching methodology that support sites are created around them. (I would like to note that there are many people out there who did not like Reggio either, but for reasons I could easily extrapolate: not enough formalised teaching, thought their kids weren't actually learning etc..)

Being a researcher, I naturally looked into the history of both methodologies. I looked into RE and had no bells of concern ring off. Looked into Steiner, and well, maybe I looked a little too much . I came out of my RE research with a few questions for the school we were considering (how do you incorporate traditional learning into your RE approach, how do you manage to take the RE philosophy through 5th grade when even the Italians who created it think it shouldn't be done). I came out of my WE research with pages of questions. FWIW, I was really surprised that a methodology that seemed so revolved around creativity and natural environments was also so structured in what the children were 'allowed' to do. My research left me confused by the dicotomy I saw it's own approach.

We visited both schools, with a wealth of knowledge in our minds. I understood that all schools do things differently, so I wanted to give our local schools a chance. Maybe our WE school wasn't strict Steiner and took the aspects I love and left the rest. Lots of bells and whistles went off for us. I didn't really care about the colors of the rooms, if they weren't touting to the kids why they were that way (which they didn't). I was surprised by the mess (not kids clutter), but gunk. I was saddened that they forced the kids to wear certain things: not letting them self regulate, but I know many parents like this. I was a little overwhelmed by the religious symbolism for pre-schoolers, but again, as long as they didn't teach religion I'd be ok. The contrast between the WE school (all artwork looked the same) and the RE ones (different mediums, all art unique) was huge. We listened for buzz words and heard a few that turned us off. Maybe we did too much research, maybe I'd read too much Steiner going into it that I extrapolated more then was intended. But when they did mention some labels (not something I'm into) and when I heard the word Karma we wrote it off. (Our DD was born with multiple craniofacial birth defects, and like I said, I had read Anthroposphy material and knew how Steiner would view our lovely DD. I was listening for these buzz words to see how much had made it's way back down to the teachers.)

So, we gave it a shot and a chance. Maybe others would have given it more, but after one tour we decided it wasn't for our DD. We opted for the RE school and have loved it.

Ok, I'm LOL right now. DH is really good with writing things and just getting to the point. I could have just written this:
I am so sad that so many of you had such negative experiences with one teaching methodolgy. I want you to know though that through the sharing of your experiences you can help others in getting educated and informed. That through your heartfelt words others can garner information to help them make informed decisions on their own. I am sorry for all that you went through, but I support your desire to heal and learn from your experiences. Through similiar websites we found when looking into WE we received a ton of information that helped us make our own informed and educated decision for our DD as to whether WE was right for her.

Someday I will learn to just get to the point.
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