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#1 of 15 Old 01-21-2010, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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When dd was 3 and a half I enrolled her in 5 day Waldorf half days. She LOVED it although she was youngest in her class by FAR. We finished the year there.

Then we moved to a place where there was no Waldorf, so I sent her to the neighborhood Co-op preschool. The Co-op part means that the parents have to do A LOT of fundraisers to keep it affordable. It's a non-profit.

Initially, I was SO AGAINST this place. It was the exact opposite of Waldorf, i.e. promoting Kindergarten readiness. THe teacher is not gentle and rather inflexible. And they have homework. Plenty of it. If they do it, they get a STICKER. (Another thing I'm dead against---reward based learning)

However, dd LOVES it!! At the beginning of the year, she couldn;t spell her name. Now she writes her full name and reads small words. She is IN LOVE with reading!

She has a late August birthday. (I know that I only want her to go half day, so public school is out. It's not an option in VA) and I've really been struggling with the Kindergarten issue. We will be moving again this spring and she will be back in a Waldorf town, so that option will be available. But, I almost feel like putting her in Waldorf will be holding her back. My Waldorf teacher friends tell me it's about the emotional development, yada yada, and I agree. But, I know that Waldorf does not even start emphasizing algorhythmic (sp?) learning until first grade. Waldorf will not even consider her a first grader UNTIL SHE IS 7 Y.O.

Honestly, I don't know if it's fair to hold her back for 2 years! I know I can continue to teach her at home, but I don;t want her to be bored at school if she's really into reading and writing...

Any thoughts?

I cross posted this is the plain old school thread...

Finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel...:
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#2 of 15 Old 01-22-2010, 12:13 AM
 
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Personally, I don't think waldorf is for every child, so if your gut is saying no, then that should give you pause. I wouldn't give up on the waldorf option, but do more research and consider it carefully.

I haven't actually come across evidence that reading earlier gives any long-term advantages. The main point is to end up with people who can read, read well, read with comprehension and who enjoy reading.

I work at a public library. Most of the children who come in are beginning to read in kindergarten, but it is not uncommon for kids to be still reading the easy chapter books in 3rd or even 4th grade. The waldorf kids I know don't start actual reading until 2nd grade, but by 4th grade they all seem to be reading at or above grade level, so the delay doesn't end up being a delay, except for kids who are really precocious and would have been reading at 6th grade level aged 4.

What I saw with my granddaughter, is that she had a huge amount of time that she didn't have to invest in struggling with reading, time that she could spend on other stuff. Kindergarten, no time spent on reading, lots of time to play, do handwork, develop social skills, enjoy stories and poems and plays. First grade, time spent working on writing and exploring the alphabet with stories, lots of time to play, do handwork, enjoy stories, act in plays, work on arithmetic. Second grade, moved in a few months from basic reading to advanced reading with very little effort because she was totally ready. So in terms of hours spent working on reading, she probably got a huge bonus!

A lot depends on the teachers, though. For waldorf to keep bright children engaged, the teachers have to be very good and not all of them are.
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#3 of 15 Old 01-22-2010, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Deborah, I really appreciate how candid your answers are!

I WANT Waldorf to be right for dd, but at $8000.00 per year for Kindergarten, that's an expensive gamble! I want her to get the handwork and all of the other wonderful things that Waldorf offers. Honestly, we already bake bread together every few days and make soup from scratch at home. All things that Waldorf K does, too.

What I'm thinking of doing is putting her in Waldorf in First grade and either homeschooling next year or putting her in a half day program somewhere that's cheaper than Waldorf. I feel like, if I'm paying a ton of money for it, I don't want it to be something I'm already doing at home. But you, know, maybe my logic is all wrong....maybe I should want it to be exactly the way I would do it at home.

I would homeschool her, but I really don't have the temperment for that. Sending her to half day school next year is really for MY SAKE. I want a daily break!

I know... it's shameful! THanks again!

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#4 of 15 Old 01-22-2010, 01:08 AM
 
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Yes, the tuition is a huge challenge.

If the school is searching for children for the first grade, then you'll have no problem. If the first grade is going to be filled up, then the children who were in the kindergarten would probably have first dibs. One other thing to check out. With the economy down, it is unlikely they'll have an overloaded first grade though. I have known it to happen.

One school (this was many years ago), had a really wonderful experienced teacher coming up to take the first grade. They had been running three kindergartens and ended up with, I think, 35 children who wanted in. The teacher took 28, or something like that, I can't remember the actual numbers. It was a huge trauma and the school ended up being very careful about how many kids they had coming up to first grade age, and then they ran into the opposite problem after a few years and found themselves scrambling for enrollment.

This is a difficult universe, especially with people in it.
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#5 of 15 Old 01-22-2010, 12:09 PM
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i really love Deborah's answers. I probably can't add, but i'll just muse a bit.

foremost, real learning happens well outside of school. in my own schooling experience, i learned more outside of school than in, because my parents are very pro-learning. now, they hampered me in some ways--no gardening, no cooking from scratch, no handiwork, no handy-man type work because they felt that this work was "beneath my intellect." Nevertheless, they did encourage work in math, science, art, reading, and writing. so, i often was well ahead of my peers educationally speaking.

and, by age 10 or so, i was largely an autodidact anyway.

i bring this up to encourage you that no matter where you send her to school--waldorf or otherwise--the benefits of either kind of education can be enhanced in your home. If other-than-waldorf schooling is right for her, then you can encourage or bring in the waldorf "flavor" at home. If waldorf schooling is right for her, but she still loves and wants to read, etc, then you can do that in the home.

i often think of education not as the format of where they child will be truly educated, but a supplement to what we do at home, a supplement to the everyday, all year round, learning of the child, and in fact, everyone in the home. afterall, my DH and i are still learning. we study a lot, take classes, try new things. It's a constant process!

So ultimately, you can't go wrong really. Whatever you choose to do will work out, and you can always change as soon as something isn't working for you. Maybe waldorf works now, but not later or vice-versa. And your home life learning can adapt to meet the needs that aren't met in the educational setting. . . because after all, the educational setting is not designed to meet *all* educational needs, just be a starting point for learning.

Sounds like you have a very fun, vibrant child. What a great joy!
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#6 of 15 Old 01-23-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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we were in a similar situation.

we planned to homeschool. DD went to a "traditional" parent coop preschool for a short while. we then enrolled in a PS homeschool charter (classes 2x per week). all the while i was thinking we'd enter waldorf at grade 1 (why pay for Waldorf K?? lol).

after a few weeks at the PS charter, i realized it wasnt for us. yes, DD was excited to learn her letters and such but after sitting in class with her and the other children, i wasnt so certain it was best overall.

sooo, we pulled her out of the charter, and took a leap of faith that Waldorf K would be a good fit! best.choice.ever.

she is now in 1st grade. she is not bored or any of the things i also feared. i love the speed and style W teaches. i see that it benefits all the children and the teacher. we love the community and all the friends we have made - for DD and for our family.

i could write more and more but gotta head to a b-day party

education is always a tough decision - best wishes!
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#7 of 15 Old 01-25-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

i bring this up to encourage you that no matter where you send her to school--waldorf or otherwise--the benefits of either kind of education can be enhanced in your home. If other-than-waldorf schooling is right for her, then you can encourage or bring in the waldorf "flavor" at home. If waldorf schooling is right for her, but she still loves and wants to read, etc, then you can do that in the home.

i often think of education not as the format of where they child will be truly educated, but a supplement to what we do at home, a supplement to the everyday, all year round, learning of the child, and in fact, everyone in the home. afterall, my DH and i are still learning. we study a lot, take classes, try new things. It's a constant process!

So ultimately, you can't go wrong really. Whatever you choose to do will work out, and you can always change as soon as something isn't working for you. Maybe waldorf works now, but not later or vice-versa. And your home life learning can adapt to meet the needs that aren't met in the educational setting. . . because after all, the educational setting is not designed to meet *all* educational needs, just be a starting point for learning.

Sounds like you have a very fun, vibrant child. What a great joy!
I just wanted to say how much I agree with all of the above. My four and a half year old goes to a regular UK state school ( equivalent to the USA Public school I think?) I wanted her to go to the Local Waldorf school but we simply have no way of afforded it, especially as I am a full time stay at home mum. We very very nearly homeschooled, my DD just didn't want it. So off to school she went, and she loves it!!!! So much! She is reading whole sentences/writing sentences/starting to do maths and she adores it. It is fun to her, plain and simple. So at home, we live a Waldorf inspired life which I am sure is helping her grow into such a kind,loving little girl. I guess , what I'm saying it, regular school hasn't 'ruined' her b/c of what our home environment is like. (What I mean by 'ruin' is , in my opinion, all the not so good things that come with regular school, like materialism, reward learning... OMG, how much does my LO love it when she gets a sticker! LOL)

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#8 of 15 Old 01-25-2010, 10:14 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

i bring this up to encourage you that no matter where you send her to school--waldorf or otherwise--the benefits of either kind of education can be enhanced in your home. If other-than-waldorf schooling is right for her, then you can encourage or bring in the waldorf "flavor" at home. If waldorf schooling is right for her, but she still loves and wants to read, etc, then you can do that in the home.

i often think of education not as the format of where they child will be truly educated, but a supplement to what we do at home, a supplement to the everyday, all year round, learning of the child, and in fact, everyone in the home. afterall, my DH and i are still learning. we study a lot, take classes, try new things. It's a constant process!

So ultimately, you can't go wrong really. Whatever you choose to do will work out, and you can always change as soon as something isn't working for you. Maybe waldorf works now, but not later or vice-versa. And your home life learning can adapt to meet the needs that aren't met in the educational setting. . . because after all, the educational setting is not designed to meet *all* educational needs, just be a starting point for learning.

Sounds like you have a very fun, vibrant child. What a great joy!
I just wanted to say how much I agree with all of the above. My four and a half year old goes to a regular UK state school ( equivalent to the USA Public school I think?) I wanted her to go to the Local Waldorf school but we simply have no way of afforded it, especially as I am a full time stay at home mum. We very very nearly homeschooled, my DD just didn't want it. So off to school she went, and she loves it!!!! So much! She is reading whole sentences/writing sentences/starting to do maths and she adores it. It is fun to her, plain and simple. So at home, we live a Waldorf inspired life which I am sure is helping her grow into such a kind,loving little girl. I guess , what I'm saying it, regular school hasn't 'ruined' her b/c of what our home environment is like. (What I mean by 'ruin' is , in my opinion, all the not so good things that come with regular school, like materialism, reward learning... OMG, how much does my LO love it when she gets a sticker! LOL)

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#9 of 15 Old 01-25-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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I don't know how i posted that twice! Sorry!

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#10 of 15 Old 01-25-2010, 06:38 PM
 
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What excellent, excellent responses! I'd just like to add that you can always "try out" homeschooling that K year and change your mind, enrolling her in either program mid-year. As such, you'll have the chance to see if you like it and possibly avoid spending that 8K in tuition. As you know, Waldorf K is not very difficult to "do". Since it is meant to replicate a healthy home environment (which you already have), it does seem strange to me to send a child to K when mom is available at home. I never thought I'd want to homeschool and I adored the idea of having a break by sending my child to PS, but when I tried homeschooling, I feel in love.

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#11 of 15 Old 01-25-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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I just wanted to say how much I agree with all of the above. My four and a half year old goes to a regular UK state school ( equivalent to the USA Public school I think?) I wanted her to go to the Local Waldorf school but we simply have no way of afforded it, especially as I am a full time stay at home mum. We very very nearly homeschooled, my DD just didn't want it. So off to school she went, and she loves it!!!! So much! She is reading whole sentences/writing sentences/starting to do maths and she adores it. It is fun to her, plain and simple. So at home, we live a Waldorf inspired life which I am sure is helping her grow into such a kind,loving little girl. I guess , what I'm saying it, regular school hasn't 'ruined' her b/c of what our home environment is like. (What I mean by 'ruin' is , in my opinion, all the not so good things that come with regular school, like materialism, reward learning... OMG, how much does my LO love it when she gets a sticker! LOL)
this was very inspiring for me to read.

our children are both in a waldorf-inspired preschool now but we will be sending our dd to public kindergarten in the fall. it's taken me a long time to get over my heartbreak of not being able to send them to waldorf (we just can't swing it financially), but now that we've made the decision, i'm starting to get excited about her starting school.

she will have had 3 years of waldorf nursery, plus all that we do at home so i feel like she has a really good solid base to grow from.

we also held her out of kindergarten for an extra year so she will be 6 1/4 when she starts this fall, which i think will serve her very well!!
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#12 of 15 Old 01-26-2010, 10:58 AM
 
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this was very inspiring for me to read.

our children are both in a waldorf-inspired preschool now but we will be sending our dd to public kindergarten in the fall. it's taken me a long time to get over my heartbreak of not being able to send them to waldorf (we just can't swing it financially), but now that we've made the decision, i'm starting to get excited about her starting school.

she will have had 3 years of waldorf nursery, plus all that we do at home so i feel like she has a really good solid base to grow from.

we also held her out of kindergarten for an extra year so she will be 6 1/4 when she starts this fall, which i think will serve her very well!!
Oh, I am so so glad that my ramblings have helped someone...I just wanted to say that I too was heartbroken about the whole school thing, it was practically tearing me up inside but I have with time come to terms with it and am [I]happy[I] now with the situtation. After all, my little girl loves how she is being educated and is growing to have a love of learning so that makes me happy. Sometimes I still have a stab of yearning (is that how you spell that? LOL) to homeschool but this is what is right for my little girl right now.

It's sounds like you have given your little one an absolute fantastic start! I would love to know how she gets on this Autumn, would you let me know how she is getting on????

oh, and about getting excited about school, how much did I love buying the uniform...the little skirts and tops and cosy warm tights...and packing her lunch...it's so much fun LOL!

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#13 of 15 Old 01-28-2010, 10:41 PM
 
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I, too, have been having an internal struggle with not being able to offer my four daughters a true waldorf education. But there is no way I could afford it financially and while I have considered homeschooling very seriously... my work just does not allow me the time to home educate the girls the way I feel they deserve. So, for now - I have coined us "Waldorf Afterschoolers" My girls are going to a Christian school during the day and afterschool and on weekends we are sure to suppliment with the creative arts and holistic aspects that Waldorf education has to offer. I wish it was different - but I do the best with what I am given. I hope you can see the good in your current situation as well.
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#14 of 15 Old 01-28-2010, 11:54 PM
 
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"So, for now - I have coined us "Waldorf Afterschoolers"

hi eileen!!!

i *love* this!!!

i've been thinking a lot about how to label who we are (not that i like lables but sometimes they are helpful) and i think we are waldorf-inspired unschoolers who (starting this fall) supplement with public school!!!

~erin
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#15 of 15 Old 01-29-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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"So, for now - I have coined us "Waldorf Afterschoolers"

hi eileen!!!

i *love* this!!!

i've been thinking a lot about how to label who we are (not that i like lables but sometimes they are helpful) and i think we are waldorf-inspired unschoolers who (starting this fall) supplement with public school!!!

~erin
Oh, that's a great name, I LOVE it! Sometimes it's kind of nice to know that you a taking a similar journey to others and can help one another out...

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