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#1 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 05:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've enrolled my kids in a Waldorf School for the fall. My 3yr old will go three mornings a week and my 5 1/2yr old will go 5 full days (Kindergarten). Both have been at home thus far. I've sent in the deposit and we are enrolled and now I'm having all kinds of anxiety.

Is the 3 year old too young? I feel like he's ready where-as my other son wasn't at that age. But, I'm having second thoughts.

As for my 5 1/2 yr old, he's very into letters, numbers and he's very mature. Due to when his birthday falls, he'll be one of the oldest in the kindergarten. I'm worried about him being bored and turned off to school when he is so enthusiastic about it.

Can anyone help me chill out?

Thanks.
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#2 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 10:20 AM
 
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How about trying to meet with some other parents, particularly parents with children who have been in the school for a few years? It would be nice to be able to talk over your concerns with real live people, rather than online.

Your 5 1/2 year old may love the waldorf kindergarten, but I would say that it depends a lot on the teacher and the choice of activities. My granddaughter will be going into a waldorf kindergarten aged almost 6. She is very much into letters and numbers and she is incredibly bright. She is aware that she won't be having "lessons" in reading until first grade and quite okay with it. She has certainly enjoyed her first two years in the waldorf nursery school (I think she started at 4, my daughter began at 3 because I was a single, working mom).

I don't think waldorf schools are a perfect fit for all children and all families nor do I think that all waldorf schools are perfectly run, nor that all waldorf teachers are excellent teachers: you need to check out the school and the teacher and make sure you have confidence in what they do and how they do it.

Nana

Waldorf student 64-66, waldorf parent 70-80 and 82-85, waldorf school staff member 99-2002 and also a waldorf sibling for several years (my younger sister and brother both attended).
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#3 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 11:44 AM
 
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Hi Mijumom,
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
I've enrolled my kids in a Waldorf School for the fall. My 3yr old will go three mornings a week and my 5 1/2yr old will go 5 full days (Kindergarten). Both have been at home thus far. I've sent in the deposit and we are enrolled and now I'm having all kinds of anxiety.
Some anxiety, of course, is normal. I assume your children HAVE to go somewhere - that is, you are going back to work or something.
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Is the 3 year old too young? I feel like he's ready where-as my other son wasn't at that age. But, I'm having second thoughts.
Personally, I think 3 years old is too young. But you know your child. Is he bored at home? Does he need socialization?
Quote:
As for my 5 1/2 yr old, he's very into letters, numbers and he's very mature. Due to when his birthday falls, he'll be one of the oldest in the kindergarten. I'm worried about him being bored and turned off to school when he is so enthusiastic about it.
When my middle son was enrolled in kindergarten, the school had an evaluator look at him. They determined he was ready for first grade - the youngest in his class. By the 2nd grade, it was clear he was too young and too stressed. He had to repeat the 2nd grade - now the oldest in his class. Being the oldest in the class gave him some confidence - while being the youngest was stressful. With regard to your son's love for letters and numbers, attention on this is likely to be discouraged in the kindergarten. Children, of course, have a natural curiosity for these things and it may be something you want to continue at home.
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Can anyone help me chill out?
I don't know if I can help you chill out, but I agree with Nana (Deborah), the success or failure of your children's Waldorf experience is going to depend greatly on the particular school and the individual teachers. Be absolutely sure of your ability to support them. Meet with them and ask lots of questions - AND be sure they answer them to your complete satisfaction. Also, I would suggest standing outside the school and ask parents who pass by about their experience. Of course everyone who still has their children there will relate a positive experience, but still, ask lots of questions. When you hear them say "like any school, this one has its problems" - ask about the particular problems in detail.

Please don't make the mistake of entering Waldorf education without knowing what you are getting into. If you are having anxiety now, it shows that you are a concerned parent - not someone who is looking for a place to drop off their kids. Nobody should go into Waldorf education luke-warm. It hurts Waldorf as much as it hurts parents and kids. You need to be 100% behind it (in my opinion) - you need to be absolutely sure you understand the teaching methods, AND at least generally understand the philosophy that drives Waldorf (anthroposophy). You should be sure you are completely behind the program before sending your kids. Generally speaking, Waldorf kindergarten teachers don't take constructive criticism well.

Good luck.

Pete
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#4 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 11:55 AM
 
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Oh, two more things:

1) I just noticed you are in Southern California, as I am. I know the Waldorf schools here pretty well and if you want to write me privately, I may be able to help you gain some insight about a particular teacher or school.

2) My background - 3 kids in Waldorf school their entire lives. Oldest is 17 - started at 3-1/2 (too young - hindsight). I studied Anthroposophy for 12 years. My ex wife is currently a Waldorf teacher who went to Waldorf school as a child and is an Anthroposophist.
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#5 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your responses. I have been looking at Waldorf for a long time and I have a pretty good understanding of most of it and I know more than a few people that have kids at this school. I LOVE organic vege food, holistic leanings, wooden toys, no media, art, the campus...I feel we fit in there as a family as well (homebirth, breastfed, non-circed, vegetarian). What I have issues with are really more the unknown variables, just a sense that there's a lot I just don't "get" yet. And looking at anthroposophy doesn't really help too much because I guess the mystery for me is, how much anthro goes into the education. Sometimes I read about things that parents I know have never actually experienced. It seems there is some consciousness that evolution and reinterpretation are neceessary in a modern society. I guess that's one issue. I really want to feel that my children's teachers understand the world they live in for better or worse. That modern culture for better or worse is what they live in. And I am all for limiting exposure etc. but I have seen some sort of duality in some kids (Waldorf self/"Real world" self). I want the teahcers to deal with my child's reality even while my child is encouraged to live in the imaginary.

I do not HAVE to send my kids to school. My 5 1/2 year old has been begging to go. He is at an art camp 3 days a week right now (7 hour days) first time out and he is loving it. He's so adaptable and eager to make friends while very respectful and comfortable with adults. They are serving complete junk in the "food art" class. And when I say junk I mean twinkies and gummy bears. They must be sick in the head. But I'm letting him finish as he only has one week left and I don't want to ruin the experience his first time out. Really the food thing is my Biggest issue as far as schools go. Waldorf is really the only school that handles food the way I think it should be handled.

Anyway, it's funny because I almost (not quite)regret having kept my older one home so long, seeing how much he gets out of going to camp. He didn't want to separate and I found no reason to push (though a Waldorf teacher tried to convince me that the "tearing apart of the mother and child is necessary"). But, he must go now. He is so amped about school and particularly this school.

My little one wants to go to school with big brother. He has almost no separation issues and I think he will have a great time. Still, it's so hard to know until you're there and I'm commiting for the year. Maybe I should just discuss with them if there's away to be a little flexible.

To be quite honest, as heartbreaking it is to let my little one go, this parenting thing has been so much more challenging than I ever imagined. I simply was not raised in away that would teach me the skills that I would need to parent in the way that I feel is optimal (basically, I and my husband grew up in chaos) so while I have my ideal, I think having the school set the rythm and having my children out of my home for a bit will help me develop and learn the skills to create the kind of rythm and life I want for them. So, at least for now, Waldorf will be the best, most nurturing, closest to my idea of a calm, rythmic home that I can find.

A lot of my issues have to do with the sense of dogma I feel at the school, and I don't mind the esoteric. I just get the sense that they are projecting and reading so much into the children, much of it in a way I just won't be privy to because they are very subdued on the surface. I almost feel like I'm sending them to a religious school without knowing the religion (and like I said it's not quite anthroposophy in earnest, it's sort of an ambiguous mix).

I am comfortable with a play-based program, I just also like to allow my older one to pursue his interests. If I thought he was pre-occupied with academics and literal-mindedness than I would personally ease him back but I feel he he has a very healthy curiosity and I simply help him find answers to his questions. For example, he wanted to know how people discovered that the world was not flat. We went to the book store and found that it was Galileo who during a lunar eclipse recognized the shadow of the earth on the moon and determined it was round. Now that is MAGIC to me and not at all counter to using imagination, rather a bridge. I wouldn't want them to ignore the question or explain that a fairy figured it out. At least I would hope they would say "What do you think?" That would be more than enough for me. Maybe I will have to present this scenario to the teacher and see what she says. Do you have any thoughts about how they handled questions about "real" life. I love all of the fairy stuff but I also want him to feel that he can trust them to give him age appropriate straight answers (different for a mature 5 1/2 yr old than a 3 yr old).

Thanks for your help. I'm feeling calmer, though exhausted now.



*By the way "Pete", I probably know you. I'll pm you when I have the nerve to expose myself. Kind of dig the anonymity here when I want to be so honest.
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#6 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, last thing Pete. Is getting behind it 100% really realistic? I mean I'm sending my precious children off to a world I have never personally experienced, I'm going to have to gain confidence through experiencing it.
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#7 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, a couple more things. I have found it disconcerting just how controversial Waldorf is. Not that I'm afraid to be controversial (most of our parenting choices have been), I just don't understand all of the venom and fear. Could be fear of something really wonderful or, then again, maybe where there's smoke there's fire. Not sure why it's not just right for some and not for others. I mean people have lawsuits and make bizarre claims.

I just want to feel that my child has all options open to him (with regard to long term education). Also, it seems that the education is not developmental all children taught the same thing at the same time regardless of where they're at. I like a balance. If my child excels in one area, I don't want him bored and stifled while he may be behind in another.

I've been particularly bothered by the implications that the curriculum is off the wall. Astrology, etc. I guess I don't want to feel that I'm sending my kids down a path that will be so off the beaten path that somehow if they are more academically inclined they won't have access to the knowledge that could support college and careers in those fields.

I don't care if they go to college or are artists, whatever. I just don't want to feel that I limited them to my ideal and what feels comfortable to me. It just seems extreme sometimes. I'm rambling. I hope I make sense.

I'd love your thoughts.
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#8 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 05:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mijumom
Thanks for your responses. I have been looking at Waldorf for a long time and I have a pretty good understanding of most of it and I know more than a few people that have kids at this school. I LOVE organic vege food, holistic leanings, wooden toys, no media, art, the campus...I feel we fit in there as a family as well (homebirth, breastfed, non-circed, vegetarian).
OK, but everything isn't always as it seems. You do know, for example, that the Waldorf variety of organic food, Biodynamic, is actually made using animal products, right?
Quote:
What I have issues with are really more the unknown variables, just a sense that there's a lot I just don't "get" yet. And looking at anthroposophy doesn't really help too much because I guess the mystery for me is, how much anthro goes into the education.
When you ask about this, is the answer - "none", or is the answer "we don't *teach* anthroposophy here"? You must suspect, of course, that the teachers are taught anthroposophy (if they aren't already anthroposophists) and will use anthroposophy in dealing with children, in everything from seating arrangments to how and when to break up a fight.
Quote:
Sometimes I read about things that parents I know have never actually experienced. It seems there is some consciousness that evolution and reinterpretation are neceessary in a modern society. I guess that's one issue.
LOL! Yes, Waldorf does have a bit if a medieval feel doesn't it?
Quote:
I really want to feel that my children's teachers understand the world they live in for better or worse. That modern culture for better or worse is what they live in. And I am all for limiting exposure etc. but I have seen some sort of duality in some kids (Waldorf self/"Real world" self). I want the teahcers to deal with my child's reality even while my child is encouraged to live in the imaginary.
And when you say "I want", are you asking for confirmation that this is possible? This is why I am suggesting that you need to understand and be behind this system completely. What you "want" really has almost nothing to do with what you will get - and I'm not being silly here. There is very little (if any) room for, or consideration of, parent input in many Waldorf schools. One parent I know decided the classroom could benefit from new carpet, and purchased it herself with the help of the teacher and had it installed herself, and it was beautiful. The school scolded her for it.
Quote:
I do not HAVE to send my kids to school. My 5 1/2 year old has been begging to go. He is at an art camp 3 days a week right now (7 hour days) first time out and he is loving it. He's so adaptable and eager to make friends while very respectful and comfortable with adults. They are serving complete junk in the "food art" class. And when I say junk I mean twinkies and gummy bears. They must be sick in the head. But I'm letting him finish as he only has one week left and I don't want to ruin the experience his first time out. Really the food thing is my Biggest issue as far as schools go. Waldorf is really the only school that handles food the way I think it should be handled.
Yes, nutrition is very important. Waldorf schools tend to pay far more attention to it than most schools, and this is an area where they are excelling. Your son sounds like he's ready for school.
Quote:
Anyway, it's funny because I almost (not quite)regret having kept my older one home so long, seeing how much he gets out of going to camp. He didn't want to separate and I found no reason to push (though a Waldorf teacher tried to convince me that the "tearing apart of the mother and child is necessary"). But, he must go now. He is so amped about school and particularly this school.
OK, but he's 5-1/2. You want to please him, of course, but still it's your decision.
Quote:
My little one wants to go to school with big brother. He has almost no separation issues and I think he will have a great time. Still, it's so hard to know until you're there and I'm commiting for the year. Maybe I should just discuss with them if there's away to be a little flexible.
Sometimes the nurseries are a little more flexible. Your little one knows he won't really be with his brother right?
Quote:
To be quite honest, as heartbreaking it is to let my little one go, this parenting thing has been so much more challenging than I ever imagined. I simply was not raised in away that would teach me the skills that I would need to parent in the way that I feel is optimal (basically, I and my husband grew up in chaos) so while I have my ideal, I think having the school set the rythm and having my children out of my home for a bit will help me develop and learn the skills to create the kind of rythm and life I want for them. So, at least for now, Waldorf will be the best, most nurturing, closest to my idea of a calm, rythmic home that I can find.
This is a trap people fall into (myself included). We tend to think that by comparison our own childhood was not as good as what we can imagine a Waldorf childhood might be. Having pretty much raised my kids now, I realize that as I child I did a LOT more exciting stuff than my kids have ever done. When I was young, we were kids - we did all the things normal kids (in those days) did (perhaps they still do these things somewhere). We roamed the streets until dark, raised birds that had fallen out of nests, or caught lizzards or butterflies to examine them, bolted wheels onto anything that would roll and went tearing down the street. My kids, by comparison, have led too structured, too safe, too sterile a life. I tell them jokingly, that I will have no respect for them if they leave childhood without ever having broken a window. From a parenting standpoint, what parent hasn't made mistakes? And who says a structured, sanitized life is unquestionably the best way to raise children. If you love your kids, and are willing to do what is best for THEM, you already have all the skills you need for raising them.
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A lot of my issues have to do with the sense of dogma I feel at the school, and I don't mind the esoteric. I just get the sense that they are projecting and reading so much into the children, much of it in a way I just won't be privy to because they are very subdued on the surface. I almost feel like I'm sending them to a religious school without knowing the religion (and like I said it's not quite anthroposophy in earnest, it's sort of an ambiguous mix).
Well, that's because you ARE sending them to a religious school without knowing the religion. And yes, they will project things onto your child. They will determine his temperment, for example, and treat him accordingly. At some events, the pentathalon in the 5th grade, for example, the children will be separated into teams according to their temperments. All the cholerics will be together. If your child is a phlegmatic, for example, he will participate with other phlegmatics and even get to take home a teeshirt that identifies him as the slow, overweight, lumbering child he has been determined to be. This must be good for the child.
Quote:
I am comfortable with a play-based program, I just also like to allow my older one to pursue his interests. If I thought he was pre-occupied with academics and literal-mindedness than I would personally ease him back but I feel he he has a very healthy curiosity and I simply help him find answers to his questions. For example, he wanted to know how people discovered that the world was not flat. We went to the book store and found that it was Galileo who during a lunar eclipse recognized the shadow of the earth on the moon and determined it was round. Now that is MAGIC to me and not at all counter to using imagination, rather a bridge. I wouldn't want them to ignore the question or explain that a fairy figured it out.
They would be more likely to ignore the question than to provide the fairy answer, I think.
Quote:
At least I would hope they would say "What do you think?"
I wouldn't hold my breath for this response. More likely they would change the subject.
Quote:
That would be more than enough for me. Maybe I will have to present this scenario to the teacher and see what she says. Do you have any thoughts about how they handled questions about "real" life. I love all of the fairy stuff but I also want him to feel that he can trust them to give him age appropriate straight answers (different for a mature 5 1/2 yr old than a 3 yr old).
Again, don't expect a lot of answers. It will, of course, vary with the school and the individual teacher, but if you expect them to field questions like, "Why are my eyes brown and Billy's eyes blue?" with any real world age appropriate response, you are hoping against hope. Chances are, you child will get a "Because God made them that way" response or the question will be ignored or diverted.
Quote:
Thanks for your help. I'm feeling calmer, though exhausted now.
Any time.
Quote:
Oh, last thing Pete. Is getting behind it 100% really realistic? I mean I'm sending my precious children off to a world I have never personally experienced, I'm going to have to gain confidence through experiencing it.
Yes, I think you really, really have to get behind it 100% because it is different, and I'll guarantee it's going to be different in year five, and different in year ten, than you are expecting it to be at year one. And remember, your children WILL be behind in some areas of academics for much of their grade school time. It's not so easy to pull them out of Waldorf and put them somewhere else. Some kids end up falling back at least one grade. Please, educate yourself before, not during this process.
Quote:
*By the way "Pete", I probably know you. I'll pm you when I have the nerve to expose myself. Kind of dig the anonymity here when I want to be so honest.
It's absolutely fine to be anonymous. I have started a Waldorf mail list and actually suggest anonymity for the very same reasons. People don't always feel comfortable when they know they might have to answer for what they have said (or asked). It's OK.
Quote:
Oh, a couple more things. I have found it disconcerting just how controversial Waldorf is. Not that I'm afraid to be controversial (most of our parenting choices have been), I just don't understand all of the venom and fear. Could be fear of something really wonderful or, then again, maybe where there's smoke there's fire. Not sure why it's not just right for some and not for others. I mean people have lawsuits and make bizarre claims.
Everyone goes into Waldorf with different expectations. When those expectations aren't met, different people handle it differently. For me, I think the best thing is to complain (sometimes loudly, sometimes publicly) when I'm not getting an appropriate response from the school. For example, on my kid's last camping trip, the inexperience of the staff on the trip set up a situation in which several children hitchhiked from the beach to their campsite (a 4 mile trip) on a public street. They were unsupervised and THEY GOT INTO CARS WITH STRANGERS. The school has brushed this incident under the rug. Does a parent have the right to expect that this sort of thing will not happen during a camping trip? Of course. If the school doesn't acknowledge their responsibility to keep children safe during camping trips, then sometimes a lawsuit is an appropriate wake-up call. Yes, sometimes, where there's smoke, there's fire - and it isn't us in the fire, it's our kids.
Quote:
I just want to feel that my child has all options open to him (with regard to long term education). Also, it seems that the education is not developmental all children taught the same thing at the same time regardless of where they're at. I like a balance. If my child excels in one area, I don't want him bored and stifled while he may be behind in another.

I've been particularly bothered by the implications that the curriculum is off the wall. Astrology, etc. I guess I don't want to feel that I'm sending my kids down a path that will be so off the beaten path that somehow if they are more academically inclined they won't have access to the knowledge that could support college and careers in those fields.
Of course there is very little, if any, attempt to implement advanced placement or anything like this. What would you say to a child who is a senior in the high school and gets A's on his tests but is so bored with his classes that he intentionally fails? Can he be blamed when exciting, cutting-edge fields like genetics are taught through Mendellian genetics (Gregor Johann Mendel - 1822-1884 - Mendel was a monk who died without even realizing he had made any discoveries about genetics) - or modern science takes a back seat to Goethean science (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - 1749-1832 - primarily known for his poetry - you may recognize the association with the word Goetheanum - the Steiner built Anthroposophical headquarters building.)? Waldorf's disassociation from modern ideas continues all the way through the high school science curriculum. Doesn't this seem strange? Is a child who has learned about Mendel's observations of pea pods ready to tackle ideas like the human genome, genetic engineering and cloning? Or is that child better suited to become an artist or a chef? If your intention is not to limit your children's choices, then at the very least you must either verify or confute what I have said here.

Sorry, I didn't mean to make you more anxious.

Blessings,
Pete
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#9 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 07:04 PM
 
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[/QUOTE] Sorry, I didn't mean to make you more anxious.

Blessings,
Pete[/QUOTE]

:

Oh but I think you did.
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#10 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 08:05 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Pete]OK, but everything isn't always as it seems. You do know, for example, that the Waldorf variety of organic food, Biodynamic, is actually made using animal products, right? [/QUOTE=Pete)

HUH???
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#11 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 08:31 PM
 
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Sorry, I didn't mean to make you more anxious.

Blessings,
Pete[/QUOTE]

:

Oh but I think you did.[/QUOTE]

Well, I was going for more cautious.

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#12 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 08:37 PM
 
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[QUOTE=wondermama]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
OK, but everything isn't always as it seems. You do know, for example, that the Waldorf variety of organic food, Biodynamic, is actually made using animal products, right? [/QUOTE=Pete)

HUH???
Does this require an explanation?

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#13 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 08:37 PM
 
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Biodynamic isn't about being vegetarian, though. And vegetarianism isn't part of Waldorf . So I'm kind of scratching my head wondering why this is an issue?

Check out www.waldorfcritics.com if you want to delve deeper into why people drop these obvious little bombs. (Just cutting to the chase, Pete. I hope you don't mind).

Waldorf isn't all things to all people, and there is a spiritual component to Waldorf philiosophy that you may or may not agree with. But vegetarianism isn't a part of Waldorf. In fact, a lot of folks who are into Waldorf are also into Noursihing Traditions, which you can also read about in the MCD nutiition forums.
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#14 of 49 Old 07-17-2005, 10:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is the hardest part about exploring Waldorf education. So stressful, so emotionally charged. So in the end, I'm back where I started trying to go with what I know over all of the claims I've heard. Still makes me wary why so many people would have so much negative to say about it.

I'm overwhelmed. Going to take it all in. Meditate.

I am so not into genetics, cloning, gmo's etc., the idea of my children being exposed to those concepts scares me more than a bit of beef in the soil...

I'll have to think about all of this. I'm pretty much modern hippy but definitely not into the man knows more than God conventional mentality (and I'm not religious, just a bit of a purist).

My brain hurts, have to let it go for the night.

Thanks.
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#15 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 04:03 AM
 
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[QUOTE=wondermama]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
OK, but everything isn't always as it seems. You do know, for example, that the Waldorf variety of organic food, Biodynamic, is actually made using animal products, right? [/QUOTE=Pete)

HUH???
I assume this was stated because the OP said:

Quote:
..I feel we fit in there as a family as well (homebirth, breastfed, non-circed, vegetarian).
A strict vegetarian would likely have some discomfort with biodynamic farming, as animal parts are used in some of the processes. I find that some vegetarians are unaware of this. I know I certainly was.
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#16 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 12:24 PM
 
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Biodynamic isn't about being vegetarian, though. And vegetarianism isn't part of Waldorf . So I'm kind of scratching my head wondering why this is an issue?

Check out www.waldorfcritics.com if you want to delve deeper into why people drop these obvious little bombs. (Just cutting to the chase, Pete. I hope you don't mind).
No, I don't mind at all. I may cut to the chase myself from time to time. Here's the quote from the post I replied to:
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Originally Posted by mijumom
Thanks for your responses. I have been looking at Waldorf for a long time and I have a pretty good understanding of most of it and I know more than a few people that have kids at this school. I LOVE organic vege food, holistic leanings, wooden toys, no media, art, the campus...I feel we fit in there as a family as well (homebirth, breastfed, non-circed, vegetarian).
Mijumom was describing Waldorf things she likes and included vegetarian and vege food in that description. Neither Waldorf nor the Biodynamic movement goes to any effort to point out that BD food is made with animal products. BD food is distributed, however, to Waldorf families who are vegetarian and vegan - and sold at school events. I understand Waldorf philosophy isn't about being vegetarian, but people who have made that life choice deserve not to be deceived by promoters of "organic" foods.
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Waldorf isn't all things to all people, and there is a spiritual component to Waldorf philiosophy that you may or may not agree with. But vegetarianism isn't a part of Waldorf. In fact, a lot of folks who are into Waldorf are also into Noursihing Traditions, which you can also read about in the MCD nutiition forums.
Not the point at all here. The point is about honesty and that has become a huge controversy in Waldorf. The Biodynamic thing was just one example I provided to point out how everything is not as it seems. There are many others. Would you like to hear them?

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#17 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 12:43 PM
 
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This is the hardest part about exploring Waldorf education. So stressful, so emotionally charged. So in the end, I'm back where I started trying to go with what I know over all of the claims I've heard. Still makes me wary why so many people would have so much negative to say about it.
Or why they would expend so much energy and time saying these things if they weren't true?
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I'm overwhelmed. Going to take it all in. Meditate.
I'm sorry if my comments have overwhelmed you. It is difficult to raise these questions without challenging your beliefs.
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I am so not into genetics, cloning, gmo's etc., the idea of my children being exposed to those concepts scares me more than a bit of beef in the soil...
Forgive me for saying so, and I'm sure I won't score any points with you, but shame on you. This is knowledge we are talking about. This is information. That an "educational" system would make a decision about what information high school students are allowed to have and dumb-down science classes to what was available in the 19th century is preposterous. And who is to say what an individual might do with this information. We could say, I don't want my child (in high school) exposed to information about AIDS, but who is to say that student isn't the one who will someday cure AIDS? What kind of head-in-the-sand thinking is this?
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I'll have to think about all of this. I'm pretty much modern hippy but definitely not into the man knows more than God conventional mentality (and I'm not religious, just a bit of a purist).
Trust me, you are not more non-conformist, non-establishment than I am. But my views are not going to be the views of my children. I'm adult enough to realize this. They will make their own decisions in life. It is my job to give them the tools to do this. Information is a tool that helps them make their decisions. Spirituality is another tool, to be sure. It doesn't make sense to force kids to use one tool when others are available. Let them have all the tools and they can decide which ones they need. If my kid knows all about cloning and decides to become a chef, what harm has been done? Maybe knowledge of genetically engineered products will even help him in this.

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#18 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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With regard to biodynamic food-sure it bothers me but not as much some nitwit handing my kid gummy-worms (gelatin) and twinkies (who knows what's in there).

I can honestly say that health-wise Waldorf is light years ahead of other schools and my vegetarian child can bring his own lunch and fit right in without being exposed to all kinds of commercial crap (can I say that?)

Pete- We have different philosophies. I'm way more into the "how" than the "what" as far as my kids education goes. Everything is changing.

It's so off topic to attack my beliefs about genetics etc. Science and western medicine are so fallible (it usually just takes 20 years to acknowledge). I don't have faith in a "cure" for AIDS, diabetes, cancer etc. I think it's a pipe dream that makes people a ton of money and does nothing to address what's causing all of this illness. So, I'm just saying that your argument doesn't move me.

I came here feeling freaked out about some aspects of Waldorf, that certainly isn't the one.

That said, I don't want it being off the deep end as far as content but I doubt so many students would go on to great colleges if they weren't learning anything relevant. How do they pull that off.

BTW, your tone feels very aggressive, sorry if mine is too. I just don't like feeling judged, especially in this forum.
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#19 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 01:43 PM
 
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If anyone reads a word about biodynamic farming, and waldorf parent libraries have many books on biodynamic farming and anthroposophy. I have been to several Waldorf fairs in CA, RI and MA and they always have non vegetarian food choices. I think vegetarians are drawn to waldorf because of the importance the schools place on good nutrition.

It sounds like your divorce was pretty ugly and you fell taken by anthroposophy. You should have been reading the books in your parent library. It sounds like you weren't doing your research prior to enrollment.

I know exactly what I can take about Waldorf and what I reject about waldorf.

But I think a lot of folks do enroll their children in Waldorf schools without doing any research. I know WC blame the schools, but if a parent is sucked in by the color of the walls and doesn't do further research, it's not the fault of the schools. It's the fault of the families who avert their eyes from the school libraries and don't attend the book dscussions with a critical eye.

I also don't have any problem with people who believe in anthropospohy, just as I don't have a problem with people who believe Jesus Christ is God. I know WC is putting forth the notion of cult, but then we'll have to say that every religon is a cult. It's true some eople believe that, and they ought not to enroll their children in waldorf schools. Homeschool or stick to public schools. Waldorf wouldn't be so popular if public schools weren't so horrible.

Waldorf is imperfect, and so is every other belief system on the planet.

Your anger is very controlled here, though. I'll give you that. You've trained well, young Jedi. You're straight from WC central casting, for sure. You don't want to get kicked off just yet--at least without helping us to see the light first.
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#20 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 02:07 PM
 
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A couple of quick comments. I don't like fighting so I'm not going to come in swinging to defend waldorf. I think polite disagreement is the best way to handle Pete, personally. If he is bugging you a lot, you can just skip his posts.

I hurt my back yesterday, so I'm going to cut way back on my online activities for a few days until I can get it back in order. If anyone has a question specifically for me, send me a pm. Sorry!

Nana
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#21 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 02:14 PM
 
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With regard to biodynamic food-sure it bothers me but not as much some nitwit handing my kid gummy-worms (gelatin) and twinkies (who knows what's in there).
I agree. I ate biodynamic food for years - still do. But not for vegetarian reasons. I didn't say there was anything wrong with biodynamic food (maybe you read something into my statement). It's just not vegetarian, and they aren't clear about it.
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I can honestly say that health-wise Waldorf is light years ahead of other schools and my vegetarian child can bring his own lunch and fit right in without being exposed to all kinds of commercial crap (can I say that?)
Again, I agree.
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Pete- We have different philosophies. I'm way more into the "how" than the "what" as far as my kids education goes. Everything is changing.
And that's OK. But the dark truth is that the "how" is also imbued with all kinds of Anthroposophical stuff. You don't have to take my word for it - and please don't. I'm not asking you to - I'm just asking you to find out for yourself. Look at it objectively - that's all I'm trying to say.
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It's so off topic to attack my beliefs about genetics etc. Science and western medicine are so fallible (it usually just takes 20 years to acknowledge). I don't have faith in a "cure" for AIDS, diabetes, cancer etc. I think it's a pipe dream that makes people a ton of money and does nothing to address what's causing all of this illness. So, I'm just saying that your argument doesn't move me.
I don't feel I'm attacking your views, just asking you to question them. I don't believe in limiting what children are allowed to learn. You, apparently, see nothing wrong with this. That's OK if you feel sure about it. Remember, I asked that you be 100% sure. If you are, Waldorf is for you.
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I came here feeling freaked out about some aspects of Waldorf, that certainly isn't the one.
OK.
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That said, I don't want it being off the deep end as far as content but I doubt so many students would go on to great colleges if they weren't learning anything relevant. How do they pull that off.
Really? - they go on to great colleges, or is the statement you are hearing "they are accepted" at great colleges. Many Waldorf students are accepted into college but choose not to go (burned out). Many others go to college and drop out in their first year because they can't keep up. A particularly bright student might be accepted into four great colleges but only attends one. All four of them are listed when they read off the colleges the graduating class was accepted to. But, again, please don't take my word for it.
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BTW, your tone feels very aggressive, sorry if mine is too. I just don't like feeling judged, especially in this forum.
I'm sorry if my tone feels agressive. I acknowledge that this may be my fault. I don't intend to be agressive toward you. I am sometimes frustrated by the uphill battle I have just asking people to look objectively at Waldorf. With regard to feeling judged, please know two things - 1) I am not judging you at all, and don't want to. All I have asked is that you are sure Waldorf is for you before putting your kids there. 2) If anyone will be judged by my comments, it will be me. Just watch and see.

Warmly,

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#22 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 02:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by UUMom

But I think a lot of folks do enroll their children in Waldorf schools without doing any research. I know WC blame the schools, but if a parent is sucked in by the color of the walls and doesn't do further research, it's not the fault of the schools. It's the fault of the families who avert their eyes from the school libraries and don't attend the book dscussions with a critical eye.
I agree--but also don't think it's fair to solely blame parents. I think that some Waldorf schools are also disingenuous about the way they describe themselves and their methods. I have encountered some schools that, IMO, downplay to a misleading degree the role anthroposophy plays in the classroom when parents try to do the very research you recommend.

Yes, parents should use a critical eye. But schools should use an honest voice, too.

I want to stay out of this seemingly personal debate that is starting to develop here, but I also want to say that it's not just Waldorf Critics (the group) that has issues with Waldorf.
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#23 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 02:42 PM
 
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If anyone reads a word about biodynamic farming, and waldorf parent libraries have many books on biodynamic farming and anthroposophy. I have been to several Waldorf fairs in CA, RI and MA and they always have non vegetarian food choices. I think vegetarians are drawn to waldorf because of the importance the schools place on good nutrition.
I agree.
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It sounds like your divorce was pretty ugly and you fell taken by anthroposophy. You should have been reading the books in your parent library. It sounds like you weren't doing your research prior to enrollment.
I assume you are talking to me here. Before enrolling my first child, I was part of a Waldorf initiative - I helped found a Waldorf school and was on the school's board of directors. I was also in a Waldorf study group focused on "The Education of the Child". I studied every Waldorf book I could get my hands on. I have studied Steiner for 12 years, and was in study groups that covered "Reincarnation and Karma" and "Manifestations of Karma". It wasn't until the school my kids attended had obvious problems that required immediate attention and clear and deliberate coverups of the facts were discovered by parents that my view of Waldorf education went from supportive to critical.
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I know exactly what I can take about Waldorf and what I reject about waldorf.
Me too.
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But I think a lot of folks do enroll their children in Waldorf schools without doing any research. I know WC blame the schools, but if a parent is sucked in by the color of the walls and doesn't do further research, it's not the fault of the schools. It's the fault of the families who avert their eyes from the school libraries and don't attend the book dscussions with a critical eye.
I agree with this to some degree, but the schools themselves are complicit in this deception. Look at the school's websites, for example, and see how many give more than a casual mention to Anthroposophy. Only when one understands the philosophy thoroughly, is one able to see the extent to which it permeates Waldorf education. Absolutely, the parents have to shoulder some of the blame, but so do the schools. It isn't as if they exactly advertise that Anthroposophy is the basis for the education and curriculum.
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I also don't have any problem with people who believe in anthropospohy, just as I don't have a problem with people who believe Jesus Christ is God. I know WC is putting forth the notion of cult, but then we'll have to say that every religon is a cult. It's true some eople believe that, and they ought not to enroll their children in waldorf schools. Homeschool or stick to public schools. Waldorf wouldn't be so popular if public schools weren't so horrible.
I, for one, do not believe, and I have never said, that Anthroposophy is a cult. I think Anthroposophy is a very valid belief system - if I didn't, I wouldn't have studied it for 12 years. The cult-like stuff shows up in some Waldorf schools and not others. This is something I am positive of because I have experienced it myself and have read books about cult behavior. I'm not here to defend WC btw. I believe Waldorf schools are great, and they absolutely should exist for the people who want their kids there. I don't support the notion that they should hide their connections to Anthroposophy any more than I would support a school that is a Scientology school but doesn't acknowledge it. This is where I have a problem with Waldorf, and that's why I ask people to be clear about what they are signing up for. It is not a mainstream, wooden toy, healthy food school system. It is quite different, and when people don't know this and aren't told this, they enter with the wrong expectations. That's hurtful to everyone, the school, the parents and the children.
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Waldorf is imperfect, and so is every other belief system on the planet.
Well, Waldorf isn't a belief system, it is based on Anthroposophy which is a belief system. And yes, no belief system is perfect. And yes, no educational system is perfect. That doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to try to come closer to that desired perfection.
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Your anger is very controlled here, though. I'll give you that. You've trained well, young Jedi. You're straight from WC central casting, for sure. You don't want to get kicked off just yet--at least without helping us to see the light first.
It's not anger. It is a desire to accomplish some good. The beneficiary is Waldorf, ultimately, although I know it doesn't sound that way. I'm a participant at WC, sure, and on other lists. So are a lot of Waldorf supporters. I'm not a Waldorf basher (as I've been accused of being by one of the moderators here). I'm someone who is involved in Waldorf education that is willing to take a critical look at it - and to ask parents to do the same. There are a lot of people within the Waldorf movement who are asking for the same things I am asking for. Waldorf IS reforming, and many well-intentioned people are maligned for directing focus toward that reform. And, yes, I'll probably be kicked off this list for telling it like it is, but I don't know any other way to tell it.

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#24 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 03:15 PM
 
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For the record, my children are not enrolled in waldorf schools, so I have no reason to defend them. Two of them are hs'd , one is in public high school, and one attneds a Friends school.

"And, yes, I'll probably be kicked off this list for telling it like it is, but I don't know any other way to tell it".


You can only tell it from your own personal reality, not as 'it' is--as that is subjective. You only get kicked off the list if you cause trouble, which you're not as far as I can see.

I asked you in the other thread about whether you are a parent at Highland Hall by choice. I am still curious.

Deborah-- this is a discussion. If you aren't interested in my thoughts, you can skip my posts. However, I won't be skipping Pete's as I am quite interested in this discussion.
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#25 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 03:32 PM
 
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"And, yes, I'll probably be kicked off this list for telling it like it is, but I don't know any other way to tell it".

You can only tell it from your own personal reality, not as 'it' is--as that is subjective. You only get kicked off the list if you cause trouble, which you're not as far as I can see.
Yes, absolutely, "as it is FOR ME" or "as I SEE IT" or "ACCORDING TO MY EXPERIENCE" would have been better choices of words. Thanks. I'm not here to cause trouble - but I guess "trouble" is subjective.
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I asked you in the other thread about whether you are a parent at Highland Hall by choice. I am still curious.
I answered you there. OK?
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Deborah-- this is a discussion. If you aren't interested in my thoughts, you can skip my posts. However, I won't be skipping Pete's as I am quite interested in this discussion.
Thanks!

And Nana, sorry to hear about your back. Get well soon.

Pete
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#26 of 49 Old 07-18-2005, 11:48 PM
 
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Your anger is very controlled here, though. I'll give you that. You've trained well, young Jedi. You're straight from WC central casting, for sure. You don't want to get kicked off just yet--at least without helping us to see the light first.
for this post. Thanks, UUMom.


David
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#27 of 49 Old 07-19-2005, 01:40 PM
 
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for this post. Thanks, UUMom.


David
Hi David,

Good to see you here...

Again, we get into my pet peeve with Waldorf discussions - (as you know) the content of the posts is sacrificed for reflection on the personalities of the posters. Reflecting on my personality is against the rules here (I've recently been asked to review the rules, so I know). Why not address what is being said and not who is saying it?

Pete
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#28 of 49 Old 07-19-2005, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi. Why must this digress so when I just wanted some objective opinions. Who cares if we don't all agree on every issue?
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#29 of 49 Old 07-19-2005, 08:08 PM
 
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Hi. Why must this digress so when I just wanted some objective opinions. Who cares if we don't all agree on every issue?
Good point.

As your original request, we sent our children to one year of pre-school and one year of 5 day kindergarten before the grades, so they were at least 4 (two were 5) when they started; they were at home before. I have heard a range of opinions on three-year-olds in the nursery programs; my wife assists with that class.

I would discuss with the kindergarten teacher your child's interest in academics, if you're concerned about it. An experienced teacher should have encountered this before, and should be able to describe what (if any) issues may occur.

David
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#30 of 49 Old 07-20-2005, 12:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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David- Just wondering what your overall experience has been at the school.

BTW- I used to attend an acting class run by Scientologists (which I am not) and it was the best darn class I ever took and had the greatest impact on me as a person. Sure I never knew which parts were Scientology but it never mattered a bit because it worked whatever it was and I never became a Scientologist. I just wonder if there is a paralell.
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