Waldorf when your child is in public school? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 02-01-2010, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Is it possible to be "Waldorfy" at home, and raise your kids in a Waldorf" type of way, when they go to public school?

Here's the scoop:
For the last 2 years we homeschooled, using Waldorf type lessons (Christopherus, Enki, Oak Meadow, etc.) It was great, in many ways, and we enjoyed it. The Waldorf-ness is what was the best, but being all together 24/7 and homeschooling just wasn't the most healthy thing for our family.

So, this year we tried sending DS 7 to public school (we don't have a Waldorf school anywhere close by, it's like at least 1 hr. away). But anyway, he is doing very well, loves going to school, and I am much more mentally/emotionally healthy as a mama.

I feel very guilty admitting that, but it's true.

But as I sit here looking back at our curriculum, what jumps out at me is that I miss the warmth that is Waldorf, in our home! I miss the hands on arts and crafts, the festivals, the stories. It has all fallen by the way side; just stopped. But I'd like to bring it back again in some way if possible. I just don't know quite how to work it in to our new busy schedules.

DS gets home at 3:00, and there is about 30 minutes of homework. He kind of wants to just veg. out after that.

However, DD 3 and DS 5 months is still home with me. Maybe I could do more stuff with them? It's hard though with a 3 year old to do the same kinds of things. Maybe I just need more ideas for smaller children...

Okay, so what do ya'll think?
Thanks!

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#2 of 23 Old 02-01-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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Is it possible to be "Waldorfy" at home, and raise your kids in a Waldorf" type of way, when they go to public school?
i sure hope so because that's our plan starting this fall!!!

we've just recently made the decision that we will not be sending our dd to waldorf school (we have a beautiful one just minutes away but we just can't manage the tuition payments) so this fall she is going to start public school kindergarten.

since coming to terms with the fact that she is not going to be in a waldorf program next year (she has been for the past 3 years), i'm finding myself wanting our home to be even more waldorfy -- sort of as a couterbalance to what she'll be experiencing out in the world.

we're reducing the number of movies we watch (not that we watched all that many to begin with) and very seriously considering unplugging the tv altogether.

i'm trying to get more organized with waldorfy art projects that i can have out waiting for the kids when they come home from school -- sanding blocks, beeswax, wet felting etc.

we're also connecting with other waldorf-inspired families for weekly potlucks and are looking at ways we might celebrate festivals together or maybe get a little handwork group going.

Quote:
So, this year we tried sending DS 7 to public school (we don't have a Waldorf school anywhere close by, it's like at least 1 hr. away). But anyway, he is doing very well, loves going to school, and I am much more mentally/emotionally healthy as a mama.

I feel very guilty admitting that, but it's true.
let go of the guilt. really. sounds like you've made a great decision for your family.

i have seriously considering homeschooling our kids, but will not be doing so for the exact same reason -- we all do better when we have some time and space away from each other.
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#3 of 23 Old 02-02-2010, 12:31 AM
 
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We don't have a Waldorf school in our area, so we are looking at PS with a Montessori magnet program or center for inquiry program. My daughter is only three so we are just starting to look at schools, but I think you can do Waldorf still. It seems like you needed a breather, and now that you have cleared your mind, clear your guilt and celebrate. Candlemas is tomorrow start there, and have pancakes for dinner so that everyone can be included. We are doing our pancakes at dinner time because we have an odd schedule, and I wanted everyone to be included. We are doing sweet potato pancakes, but you could do potato since it will be more dinner-ish. Have dinner by candle light, and enjoy it. The little girl I baby sit for goes to public school, and I have found that if you don't push the homework right away give them a time to regain themselves do some waldorf then, and then do the homework. Have everyone help make a snack when he gets home. Our weekly rhythm we do painting, baking, crafting, nature day, modeling clay right after school then snack then homework then free play then we clean up read a story and then they have dinner and we go home to have our dinner.
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#4 of 23 Old 02-02-2010, 01:13 AM
 
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Eileen at Little Acorn had a great blog post on Waldorf "afterschooling." Let me go see if I can dig it up!

Flowers, fairies, gardens, and rainbows-- Seasons of Joy: 10 weeks of crafts, handwork, painting, coloring, circle time, fairy tales, and more!
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#5 of 23 Old 02-02-2010, 01:15 AM
 
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Found it!
http://eileensplace.blogspot.com/201...schooling.html

Flowers, fairies, gardens, and rainbows-- Seasons of Joy: 10 weeks of crafts, handwork, painting, coloring, circle time, fairy tales, and more!
Check out the blog for family fun, homeschooling, books, simple living, and 6 fabulous children, including twin toddlers

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#6 of 23 Old 02-02-2010, 02:12 PM
 
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Eileen's post is awesome! I just wanted to add, I think kids are really tired after such a long day, so to think of warming and soothing things - warming foods, being outside in nature, storytelling of the stories that the child would get in the Waldorf curriculum for that age (ie, seven year old fairy tales and nature tales, eight year old stories of saints, heroes, animal tales, legends, tall tales), etc....Perhaps bringing in handwork or painting on the weekends when the kids are not so tired out...


Best of luck, you sound like a wonderful mother doing the best for your family!

Warmly,
Carrie
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#7 of 23 Old 02-02-2010, 05:27 PM
 
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Wow, that is a great link annettemarie! Thanks!
I think it is entirely possible to maintain a "waldorf lifestyle" when one's children go to a non-waldorf school. We are now involved in early childhood at our Waldorf school which involves one or two days a week. But it is just too far (at least 45 minutes) to drive for everyday schooling. Spending up to two hours in a car EVERY DAY is something I won't do to my children. And it's certainly not very "Waldorf" to sit in a car that long. So when the time comes we will choose a closer school and spend our afterschool, weekends, and summers incorporating Waldorf principles and enrichment. We farm, so therefore we live by the seasons, have no commercial television in the home, and most of our entertainment comes from doing things from scratch (cooking, sewing, woodworking, gardening, animal husbandry, etc). I am considering my children's future traditional schooling to be a supplement to what they learn at home; not the other way around.
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#8 of 23 Old 02-02-2010, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank-you so much mamas, I you all! This is exactly what I needed...a little pick me up and round of encouragement and support. I feel motivated to give it a go now!

And Annette, I just remembered that I have your entire set of Seasons of Joy in a big 3-ring binder, that I can use with my 3 year old. Yeah!

Amy ~ SAHM to DS (9) DD (5) and DS (2) And  expecting a  stork-girl.gif  late May 2012!


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#9 of 23 Old 02-02-2010, 09:57 PM
 
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Thank you for posting this question! It has been of great help to me as well. We are currently attending the parent and tot program but will not be returning to our Waldorf school because it is far and tuition is an issue for us. DD will be going to public school and I would love to continue our Waldorf lifestyle at home. Thank you for all the suggestions. Eileen's blog is fantastic.
Anne
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#10 of 23 Old 02-02-2010, 10:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
that was beautiful. thank you eileen for your heart-felt words. and thank you annette for linking to them!
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i think we already discussed this in another thread.

the answer is yes!

school --regardless of type-- is supplemental to home life! think of it like a language immersion school. at home, you speak english, and so the children know english and such. at school, they speak french, because it is a french immersion school. so, they know french and they know english.

so, really, they know steiner and they know mainstream and it's fine.
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#12 of 23 Old 02-02-2010, 11:33 PM
 
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school --regardless of type-- is supplemental to home life! think of it like a language immersion school. at home, you speak english, and so the children know english and such. at school, they speak french, because it is a french immersion school. so, they know french and they know english.

so, really, they know steiner and they know mainstream and it's fine.
love this. thank you!!!
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#13 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 01:55 AM
 
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Thank-you so much mamas, I you all! This is exactly what I needed...a little pick me up and round of encouragement and support. I feel motivated to give it a go now!

And Annette, I just remembered that I have your entire set of Seasons of Joy in a big 3-ring binder, that I can use with my 3 year old. Yeah!
Hi, Amy!

We use SofJ right now and I really appreciate how loose it is--kind of like a pick and choose buffet. I don't know if you Facebook (I do) but Annette also has a FB group with ideas, which I've found helpful. Also, I've gotten great ideas from just checking out a couple of blogs every week, like Carrie's Parenting Passageway. I think you can easily do Waldorf at home--I think Waldorf is actually best when home-centered because it creates a rich, deep family life. Just take what things speak to you and use them and don't feel guilty about the rest. We love to do storytelling at dinner, where we each take a turn telling parts of a story that we're making up. I think there are definitely things you can do to make memories together, though, Waldorf or not, I just think Waldorf is sometimes more focused on these experiences so it's a bit easier to use as a crutch for ideas, if you know what I mean. Big hugs and best wishes!

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#14 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 09:53 AM
 
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So when the time comes we will choose a closer school and spend our afterschool, weekends, and summers incorporating Waldorf principles and enrichment. .................... I am considering my children's future traditional schooling to be a supplement to what they learn at home; not the other way around.

This is what we do right now. My little girls school is 15 mins walk away from us. It is a state school (The name for a non-paying school in the UK). I agonised about this before she started for about a year and a half and was very upset that we couldn't afford a Waldorf school. Well, it is working out absolutely beautifully. My daughter is so happy to go to school, she loves it, she is happy, she looks forward to going...and before school we have family breakfast, after school (get in the house at 3.30pm) I light candles in our living room, we might have stories, she might veg out in the cosy corner, she might potter around with free play. At 4.40pm both my little ones get up to the table ready for family dinner and look at books/draw/chatter until 5.00pm. This gives me 20 mins to be getting hot stuff from the oven/serving up/laying the table/make packed lunch for her for next day to store in fridge. That 20 minutes is precious to whip round getting lots of things done! A candle will be lit on the dinner table aswell which is so calming for the children (obviously this is constantly supervised, we have a large serving hatch from the kitchen which is fully open which looks right over dining room table!) Down from dinner table at 5.30pm and straight into bedtime routine which takes 1 hour, slow baths, into bedclothes, stories, two bedtime songs.

The weekends gives us more time for structured activies like painting or making things, woodland walks etc etc as do the holidays.

Two very important things in our family, practically all our food is cooked from scratch and the children are 99% TV free (We have a carefully chosen family move one time a week and that is that) I also only go on my laptop during my lunch time when my older girl is at school and my other little one is napping. I find this really helps our family life be what we want it to be.

I blog about being a Waldorf Inspired family, but I'm not sure if I am allowed to link to my own blog? Well, if you google MamaUK, my blog will come up!

So yes, I think it can definately, definately be done!

A UK Waldorf blogging mama!
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#15 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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Thank you mamaUK for the detailed peek into your daily rhythm! I have a pretty good handle on our home rhythm with our toddler (and soon a new babe!) but I enjoy seeing how it works with everyday school as part of the mix. Especially as it relates to an early bedtime which is so important to us as well. And your blog is beautiful! It is now added to my daily read! Now I just need to limit my internet time to once a day- I'm working on it! Thanks!
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Thank you mamaUK for the detailed peek into your daily rhythm! I have a pretty good handle on our home rhythm with our toddler (and soon a new babe!) but I enjoy seeing how it works with everyday school as part of the mix. Especially as it relates to an early bedtime which is so important to us as well. And your blog is beautiful! It is now added to my daily read! Now I just need to limit my internet time to once a day- I'm working on it! Thanks!

Wow! Congratulations on your coming-soon baby! Thank you so much for the kind words about my blog, i love writing it and taking photos :-) It's a record of what we do day to day (and very much a 'creative play' record which I enjoy looking back on myself). We love early bedtime around here too, I don't think I could personally function if the children weren't well rested and I didn't have evening time to myself LOL They are both in bed by 6.30 pm and i fall onto the sofa, exhausted! LOL I would love to do things in the evening like sewing, but right now I'm too tired!

A UK Waldorf blogging mama!
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#17 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 11:53 AM
 
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How about having rituals for your busy schedule....like a morning verse or song, breakfast together, verse to get coats on and out the door, bedtime ritual with a prayer or verse.

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#18 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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Hi, everyone! I just found this post. I'm so happy that other mamas are being kind to themselves (and their children) by making the best decisions for THEIR family... there are so many different factors that go into choosing the best method of education for our families and no two families are alike. I would hope those choices do not exclude us from being part of the waldorf community and learning more about anthroposophy if we decided that was our path. I am hoping to plan out more specifically how to work rhythm, waldorf enrichment and community into our lives as my girls move through their schooling years. I'm glad there are others who will sharing a similar journey with us.
xoxo

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#19 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Eileen! thank-you again SO MUCH for your wonderful article! I printed it out to keep on hand for when I was being too hard on myself I hope that you continue to write, and keep us mamas in the loop as you discover new ways to be an "Afterschooler". I know I for one will be listening with open ears!

Amy ~ SAHM to DS (9) DD (5) and DS (2) And  expecting a  stork-girl.gif  late May 2012!


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#20 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
i think we already discussed this in another thread.

the answer is yes!

school --regardless of type-- is supplemental to home life! think of it like a language immersion school. at home, you speak english, and so the children know english and such. at school, they speak french, because it is a french immersion school. so, they know french and they know english.

so, really, they know steiner and they know mainstream and it's fine.
Zoebird, please keep talking! I'd love to hear more of your immersion theory

I think I'm having a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around how if they are in one world (videos in class, fast paced, plastic toys, commercialism, non-like minded with kids on the playground, etc.) how does he flow back and forth between that and a Waldorf environment here at home? Isn't in jerking him back and forth between two worlds? Thinking out loud here...Maybe not, maybe home is just a soft warm quiet spot for him to land on after a hectic day at school.


And I would love to read that other thread too if you can point me to it.

Amy ~ SAHM to DS (9) DD (5) and DS (2) And  expecting a  stork-girl.gif  late May 2012!


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#21 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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Children are very adaptable and are very accomplished at framing different rules, cultures, etc. in different situation. Children are often "jerked" back and forth between two worlds (although I think as parents, it's part of our job to make transitions as smooth and gentle as possible)-- kids learn there's one set of rules for home, one for Grandma's, one for daycare. I think kids have a much easier time adapting to these things than we adults do.

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#22 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 08:13 PM
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like annette said, i think that kids transition very easily from different 'cultures.' i find that they often have less 'culture shock' than adults do, or even older children do.


also, the home environment is the "first culture" or the overriding culture if you will. whatever you do at home is the real culture that the child relates to, and the other place is the "different" place. it is the second language.


a friend of ours sends his daughters to spanish immersion schools. there, everything is in spanish--everything. but at home, everything is in english, normal american culture, and wahtever that family's particular sub-cultures are (things like specialized dietary choices or religious affiliations etc). that is their culture, and the spanish school is their second culture.

truly, every family runs differently. even "mainstream" families run their own way, different from others. those families are those children's cultures, and school is secondary even if they are more close in cultural similarity.

i really don't see it as a big deal. yk? i dunno where the other thread is. . .
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#23 of 23 Old 02-03-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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Amy,

I think if your son is going to public non-Waldorf school, then no, he won't be living a pure Waldorf lifestyle. But, who cares? It sounds like this is the thing that works for your family, right now, and that is what matters.

We started out 2 falls ago homeschooling using Christopherus. Things were going great, but my son got into a charter school (non-Waldorf) and we decided to give it a try. It worked out well for all of us, at the time, and he continued the rest of the year there and started back there this fall. He's now back home, but that's not the point of this story

Now, we were never the purest of the pure Waldorf families, but I definitely did find it more difficult to provide a Waldorf childhood for him when he was at this school. Things like you talked about- computers, videos in school, friends whose families did not share the same philosophies, plus just the very busy nature of his days- were very different from our time homeschooling. I swear, I think he was the only child in his school without a Nintendo DS and he felt left out, and we heard about it. A lot. But it was overall a good experience.

We did try to maintain some Waldorf-y rhythms at home, but the fact was that he was at school more than he was home (awake anyway).

I am trying to type super-fast while the kids are brushing their teeth, so I hope I'm making sense. The most important thing is your happiness and your family's happiness, not some Waldorf ideal that is unreachable to all but a very few. Your son is happy, you are happy, that is what matters.

By all means, I would try to create a Waldorf-y homelife for your littler ones. That would be a great gift to all of you, I'd think. The key is simplicity, I think. Bake one day, garden one day, paint one day....

My time's up! Best of luck!

Chrissy, lucky mama to Noah (9), Lilah (6), Rowan (3) and Laney (1).
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