waldorf-inspired mamas - what school would you choose? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i am having a lot of trouble making a decision on which school to send my dd to and i only have a few days. waldorf-inspired mamas please help me think this through. homeschooling is not an option so I am left with 2 choices. the first is public school and the second a project-based school 45 minutes+ away.

Last year, she was in a public kindergarten, so I envision more worksheets and dittos than last year that were done in school and set home for homework (which really bothers me immensely). Then, there is a quick schedule of the public that seems to have my deep thinker and doer frustrated. I was able to counterbalance this last year because she only went for 1/2 days.

The second is project-based. There will be more creativity, imagination and freedom in learning. There are centers set-up around the room allows children to do what interest them for however long they would like and a slower pace. There will be time in an art studio a few times a week and a second language. It is set in a beautiful environment, light, natural elements and outdoor play everyday.

I would choose the project-based school if it were not 45 minutes away. please help me think this through.
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#2 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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Oh, honey, I would absolutely pick the project-based school over public school any day! I would just get some good books on tape or pretty music CDs for the drive over and enjoy your time together. You honestly could not PAY me to send my child to our current public school system. I don't think 45 mins is too long a drive--not ideal but for a great school (if homeschooling weren't an option) I'd do it in a heartbeat.

ETA: Just saw you were in CT. Dh and I went to grad school at UCONN.

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#3 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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I'd choose the project-based school. 45 minutes is not ideal, but I would take it over the public school! I'd certainly not choose the public one seeing that it doesn't mesh well with your child!

Good luck mama!

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#4 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 11:20 PM
 
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OMG I was in the EXACT situation.
This great Waldorf School was exactly 45 minutes away.
Except I worked out of our house, my dh built me a beautiful massage clinic. My dh also had an office out of the house.
Anyway, we sold it and moved closer.
We are about 15 minutes away from the school, renting this house, we buy a lot about 8 houses away and are in the middle of building on it.
I hate driving.
Would it be possible to just move closer to the school.
I notice a lot of parents moved so they could be closer to this school, from all over the country.
Let us know what you decide!
Michele
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#5 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 12:08 AM
 
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I think 45 minutes in a car one way is too much for a child to have to deal with day in and day out in all honesty. My first thought was if there was any way you could move closer to the other school, too. How much earlier would she have to wake in the morning? Will she be able to forge deep connections with her classmates? While the public school definietly is not an ideal setting, there are many ways to supplement her education. You can do Waldorf inspired work at home on the weekends, it's been therapeutic for me to work alongside my son when we do our wet on wet watercolor painting days or when we bake bread together and sing lullabyes to the bread and cover it with a "blaneky" as it 'sleeps' (when the yeast is doing its thing). Are there opportunities to be a parent-helper in the public school? Can you join the PTA? I would look for ways to collaborate with the teacher a bit, perhaps make an effort to send in homemade items for the classroom? Any teacher would be grateful for donations to their classroom. Perhaps you can add a sense of wonder in the classroom for your daughter's sake. I guess my suggestion is to think creatively in order to allow the PS to work for you - especially if it means giving your child a more relaxing and slow start to the day and a place where she can forge more intimate connections with those in her direct community.
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#6 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 01:25 AM
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i think it depends, in part, on the culture of where you live, too. when we lived in PA, it was nothing to drive 45 minutes for any number of things--school, activities, restaurants, etc. so, the drive would not be a big deal for me, personally, and it isn't for other people either, from what i could tell. kimberton, where the waldorf school was, was a small town, too (and a very expensive area), so most of the students must have lived farther away. one of my friends, a graduate of that school, lived at least 30 minutes away, if not more, i don't remember how long the drive from her house to the school was.

but, if you live in an area where everyone does things close to where they live, then--yeah--you might want to keep her closer to home.
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#7 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 01:34 AM
 
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Do you have other kids? I ask because last year we sent DD to a preschool that was about 1/2 an hour each way. So an hour round trip. As a result, my poor younger child spent two hours a day in the car. DD really blossomed at the school, but I felt that it was deeply unfair to DS that most of his waking hours (he still took 2 naps a day then... but never napped in the car!) in the car. We are moving her to a school that is much closer this year.

That said, the project based school does sound very tempting, and in your shoes I would probably give it a try. Worst case scenario is that you spend a year in your car, it drives you crazy, and she goes to the public school next year with a great, enriching year under her belt.

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#8 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 02:11 AM
 
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Zoe, you used to live right by my grandmother's house! She lives in Pottstown

I agree w/ Zoe that it partly depends on why it takes 45 minutes to get there & also w/ Lach that younger kids are a huge factor. In Pittsburgh, it easily takes 30-45 minutes to get from one end of the city to the other. Geographically, it is a short distance, but b/c of traffic & lights, well.. Everyone is used to it, though. DH and I are not planning on our kids attending the Waldorf for actual school, but if they were, since we live in the city limits, they qualify for regular public school busing to the Waldorf. Is the school bus an option?

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#9 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 02:33 AM
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seriously, i lived in limerick.

and currently, we are a 10 minute bus ride to play group, and then a 15 minute walk to the steiner kindy nearest us, and apparently a 1 hr bus ride plus walk to the stiener school that is K-high school graduation.

i am thinking that, perhaps, we'll need to move closer to the school, but i would hate to be so far from work. it's a toss up.

i also don't want to own a car for the next 5 years or so.
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#10 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 04:28 AM
 
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i would pick the project based school

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#11 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 04:34 AM
 
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I would do the project based as well. We are transitioning from homeschooling to a Waldorf School and will be travelling a half hour each way. Totally worth it to us all! Quiet car time can be such a nice way to unwind. Especially for weirdo introverts like us.

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#12 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 10:24 AM
 
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I would pick the project based school in a heart beat in terms of actual schooling

but

I think you have to be realistic about the 45 minute car journey. So that is an hour and a half in the car for your DD a day. And that would be 3 hours a day for you....and I assuming your DS as well. That is a long time for you personally to be stuck in a car and would seem like a terribly long time for your DS.

I know from experience. I thought the 30 min walk each way to my DD state school (same as your public school i think) twice a day would be no big deal. I was wrong, it is time consuming, sometimes i resent it and it is tiring. I walk for two hours a day! and that block of time could be used for other stuff but at least i am outside and it is good exercise.

don't underestimate how this journey will impact on your day to day life.

So I'm going to vote for the public school. 100 %

You do more then enough wonderful stuff at home to balance out any negatives public school might bring. K is in a state school, she had reading homework in her first year, we just never did it, but that is another story! I still struggle with her being in school at all but I am kind of coming to terms with it.

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#13 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you everyone for your replies, it is such a difficult decision. just to clarify, i have to bring my dd to a bus stop 10 minutes away and then she will be on the bus for 45 minutes. the 45 minutes is long, but i wonder if it out ways a wonderful learning environment with a slower pace, doing work of her interest with art experiences allowing her to express herself, outdoor play, having involvement in her classroom and her being able to choose to continue her work on projects at home (or not) i envision maybe going to the library so she could get a book to learn more about, say butterflies (if that is what she has chosen her project to be about) or going outside to observe butterflies as "homework" last year, it was like pulling teeth to have her do homework.

to be honest, last year really took all the joy out of her learning and i feel the opportunity to bring that joy back. the possibilities of the project-based environment is making my heart leap with joy, but her 45 minute ride each way is making my stomach turn. (30 minutes would be ideal)
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#14 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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We are in a project based charter school and hating it. If you go to my post about what has been going on, you will see other peoples posts. Basically, a child cannot be grades on their own merits, but rather how everyone else did. One child often ends up doing all the work while the rest are either frustrated because they wanted to be involved too, or slacking. It is just so much worse at the high school level when the grades go on final transcripts for college.
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#15 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ourdayourjourney View Post
thank you everyone for your replies, it is such a difficult decision. just to clarify, i have to bring my dd to a bus stop 10 minutes away and then she will be on the bus for 45 minutes. the 45 minutes is long, but i wonder if it out ways a wonderful learning environment with a slower pace, doing work of her interest with art experiences allowing her to express herself, outdoor play, having involvement in her classroom and her being able to choose to continue her work on projects at home (or not) i envision maybe going to the library so she could get a book to learn more about, say butterflies (if that is what she has chosen her project to be about) or going outside to observe butterflies as "homework" last year, it was like pulling teeth to have her do homework.

to be honest, last year really took all the joy out of her learning and i feel the opportunity to bring that joy back. the possibilities of the project-based environment is making my heart leap with joy, but her 45 minute ride each way is making my stomach turn. (30 minutes would be ideal)

I understand better now. Well, I guess it's all relative. What is a typical journey for your family? For us it is a 5 min car trip into town so that journey twice a day would seem like along time to spend on a bus to my DD. What is you DD used to? Would she be happy doing that bus trip alone at her age? My DD wouldn't, but that is in her personality, i think it would make her feel quite 'alone' iykwim, she couldn't handle it and I wouldn't be able to handle it either.

Just so you know you're not alone, my DD hates to do homework too and it is something we are going to have to look at as we go into a new term and see how we can get it working.

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#16 of 19 Old 08-28-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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There are some school districts in my state (PA again, LOL!) where you spend 45 minutes on the bus. Is the bus just with other kids who are in the project-based school or is it a mix of public and private school kids? If it is a mix, will they all be (approximately) her age, or will they have high schoolers on the bus with the littles? I'd lean towards the project-based school IF I was comfortable with the bussing situation.

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#17 of 19 Old 08-29-2010, 05:57 AM
 
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growing up- everything was 0-45 minutes. my mom worked far away, my school was far, etc.

then in AZ, we lived only 10-15 miles from friends/activities, but it would sometimes take us 45 minutes to get cross town... i would hands down pick what you feel would be the best EDUCATION.. the rest will fall into place. drives can be fun...

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#18 of 19 Old 08-31-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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I agree with the pp. The 45 min bus ride is just a fraction of her day compared to the hours she will be spending in school. See if you can meditate on this at night and I know the right decision will be made clear. Also, could you try the project based school and if it doesn't work, enroll in public?

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#19 of 19 Old 08-31-2010, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you everyone for sharing your opinions and thoughts, which really helped me sort though all everything. i am one who usually lets my stress become unmanageable in deciding on big decisions. your responses helped me stay grounded. it can really be hard to make a change away from the norm and not fold under family pressure.

we are going with the project-based school and letting everything else just fall into place. i hope to share some of our experiences on my blog.
thank you again,
christine
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