waldorf inspired unschooling? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#31 of 44 Old 01-15-2011, 02:00 PM
 
kmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Sweden
Posts: 580
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 

" It sort of matches the maturation of the child with the evolution of humankind as a spiritual race."

(sorry I forget how to quote neatly...)

 

I'm not sure if I'm alone with this, but Steiner's idea of the evolution of mankind as a spiritual race sits so very wrong with me. Of course, he's not the 'inventor' of this idea at all, many many other philosophers defended this notion. It bothers me because it implies that we're always at an inferior evolutionary stage (yes, regardless of the fact that Steiner assures us that being say, colored, does not mean Africans are inferior per se, just further down the evolutionary scale), and that everything we do is infused with the need to devalue what we are doing now in favor of creating something more appropriate, more spiritual. I feels as if this denies our very physical beings, seperating the physical from the spiritual. Much like in Christianity and the other great world religions, which I also have a huge problem with.

 

On a more social level, I'm troubled by it because it runs along the same lines as the glorification of our scientific based culture, where progress is the only way to go. And all the history books with their straight timelines, "then we were apes and ignorant, now we're upright and advanced--meaning happy", "then we were hunter gatherers, now we're *all* farmers and the people behind us are all destined to be as technologically advanced as we are." As if we all follow(ed) the same evolutionary path.

 

Even though Waldorf education typically rejects techonological advancements, it's only for the purpose of educating children.
 

I'm put off by the medieval theme of Waldorf stories, crafts and what not. I don't feel comfortable presenting knights as heros to my children. Knights were part of a system that simply put, based itself on slavery, or call it feudalism if you will. Hero stories in authoritarian cultures have a specific function, which is to instill a sense of vulnerability in the population, instilling fear of the unknown, or the 'other' (and then being 'saved' by a powerful protector). Which is how you build a country, and then an empire, uniting people by creating a common enemy. the US, the European Union, Russia, China.

I'm wondering if in an egalitarian culture, would there be a need for hero stories?

Peppermint Poppies likes this.
kmamma is offline  
#32 of 44 Old 01-15-2011, 11:13 PM
 
moominmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: In the middle of nowhere, at the centre of everything.
Posts: 5,742
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmamma View Post
I'm put off by the medieval theme of Waldorf stories, crafts and what not. I don't feel comfortable presenting knights as heros to my children. Knights were part of a system that simply put, based itself on slavery, or call it feudalism if you will. 


Yes, I was thinking about this after posting about superheroes vs. knights as archetypal characters. I don't think that knights as heroes have anything more going for them than Flash Gordon. I don't like the fairly strict gender roles that tend to be played out in fairy tales. I don't like the classism inherent in the feudal system. I don't think that the honour and loyalty of the knightly tradition are inherently more moral and just than the themes played out amongst the superhero stories of the 1950s or 1970s. I think there's a lot of great stuff in fairy tales, but there's also a lot of feudal, authoritarian, classist/sexist baggage, and I'd rather my kids didn't get an exclusive diet of that stuff. I like that they mix it up with dinosaur play and superhero play and Harry Potter play and Greek mythology play and hospital ER play and all the rest. I think the imaginative distillations of this big mix of traditions are so cool. I can't imagine trying to limit my kids to medieval character play. 


Miranda

 

(who overheard this quip the other day while her 7-year-old was playing: "I shall pray to Applodox, the god of paradoxes, for release from this confusion!"  biglaugh.gif)


Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

moominmamma is online now  
#33 of 44 Old 01-16-2011, 10:06 PM
 
greenacresmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Northern Blue Ridge Mountains
Posts: 179
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow and whoa. Thank you so much you two! I think I understand this vey well.. It is why I cringe at most Disney movies and yes I don't like the gender stuff ( my son is a pink princess type! ) that is so very interesting! The waldorf school here in Hawaii is also very local cultural, celebrating and studying so many of the many ethnicities present. What I paid most attention to at the fair was the phenomenal art work the kids had, the puppet show and the crafts for sale. History was always something I was entirely pissed about in college.. It felt like I learned the truth then... Not sure but I want to teach cultures more than.. It just seemed like the sustainable culture was important at the school... The medieval focus is not my favorite... I guess in seriousness, but play it is fun... I think the age group I am in now is quite different; about fairies and nature... Babies!! ... Those are really personal to my kids because they beg me to go outside ( the baby brought me my shoes today and then took me to the back door 16 mon!!) the imagination that they have is about the land more so..hmmm. A lot of food for thought! I guess imagination studies nevr came my way, just lots of skill stuff from child development Psycology... Lots to think about. Any help with older kids? My 12 year old unschooling niece is into Egyptians and the 10 brother is into dragons.. Not waldorf at all!

I could never shove my kids into stuff..

I am however really proactive about family buying gifts and waldorf inspire helps a ton! The organic toys call my soul to give them beauty and the connection with the earth. Lots of plastic toys of a fav comic book, whatever,.. Gotta go

Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

greenacresmama is offline  
#34 of 44 Old 01-18-2011, 08:01 AM
 
Tumble Bumbles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 728
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I don't know how Waldorf can fit in with the unschooling philosophy, except if you're speaking purely of  enjoying the 'accessories' that accompany Waldorf. To me, the philosophies are completely contradictory. Unschooling says there is learning value in anything that children gravitate to and find pleasure in (including tv, comic books, hero play, plastic toys etc) and Waldorf says, no that's not true. Not only is there not learning value in some of those things, they are actually damaging to the child's very psyche and development.

 

I think the Waldorf philosophy at it's root is something I disagree with on so many levels, but one can get easily sucked into the beautiful wooden toys and all the accoutrement that makes it seem very attractive. I like some of the 'accessories' myself and have incorporated them into our life, leaving the actual Waldorf philosophy behind. I can't imagine it healthy for a child who adores Science at a time Steiner deems "wrong" to be denied the chance to explore that, or for a child who so loves the colors blue and purple at 4 to be told they can't have their room painted that color because Steiner says those colors aren't appropriate for a young child's room (must be orange or yellow, you know!) and all the other rules and regulations that come with following that particular philosophy.

 

I find the whole philosophy extremely off-putting and I don't know how it meshes with unschooling, when considering the philosophies in their truest forms.


Christ-centered loving wife & mama to 2 miracles! One & one . We live simply and mindfully. Expecting another blessing Feb 2015
Tumble Bumbles is offline  
#35 of 44 Old 01-19-2011, 07:37 AM
 
MammaG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 443
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I guess I would suggest that if the whole philosophy is something you completely disagree with, then perhaps a Waldorf-inspired unschooling thread might not be the best fit for you.

I find lots to take from both philosophies. We're not dogmatically Steiner (but I feel I need to be pretty well-versed in that precisely so that I can draw what I find fits and let go what does not). We're certainly not radical unschoolers (and there we have a philosophy that I completely disagree with...I think it is immensely harmful for emerging children). I do like a lot of what Holt has to say about protecting the curiosity and educational enthusiasm of children. I find this meshes well with the Steiner philosophy of protecting the childhood.

I also manage to walk a middle ground for my family where I take my very important role of mother as guide to introduce my children to what I think is best at the time, but stay open to listen to what inspires and speaks to my kids. Waldorf schooling can be just as rigid as public schooling, but Waldorf homeschooling is very flexible, I find. At it's heart is the idea of rhythm, not schedule. My 6 year old isn't ready for first grade reading, but my next child, carried by his older brother's first grade work next year, may be ready at an earlier age.

I think people get all caught up in "The Philosophy", when I think Waldorf, and Steiner, once you get down to brass tacks, is mostly about honoring the child's individuality and fostering his freedom.

As for the knights topic, we will have to disagree about that. If you are worried about bumping up against certain uglinesses in history, well, a lot will get left out. My kids are little children...some day we will learn all about feudalism and they can see for themselves what it looked like and what lessons can be applied to their circumstances. For now, this history is their very own history (my family tree traces back to knights accompanying William of Normandy to conquer England), and we take the magic of that misty distance in time to explore child-appropriate themes.

I continue this only because the knights came up again (busy knights!). My kids mostly play dinosaurs and families. Knights only really come up around Michaelmas.

I also want to speak about media. I actually came to Waldorf through unschooling. I knew I didn't want my kids in the public schools for lots of reasons, among them I wanted them to be free from peer pressure and the "Lord of the Flies" type scenarios on the playground until they were developmentally able to see that for what is was and be strong enough in their own skins to make decisions from inner as opposed to outer influences. It was a short step for me to also see TV in this regard. How can kids be truly unschooled in the sense I mean above, if they are so bombarded by so much media? I wanted them to follow their interests and passions umemcumbered by all that, from an inner place.

I have come to see that, in our family, if I want to really let my kids be free, unschooled, it needs to come from a place of having a strong commitment to a school of thought on child development. I use that to help them sort through the big wonderful world in a way that maximizes the chances that they will not only get what comes their way, but it vibrates Truth through their very beings because it came at the right time in the right way. If we start on a path of doing something at the 'Waldorf pace' and it just doesn't go well, we drop it and find something else, usually based on something the kids have led me to, because Steiner also said 'know your child, know him as your primary job, and guides him from that wisdom' (my paraphrase).

I really do find these philosophies compatible and beautiful and would truly like to find a space where both are welcome and there is support and discussion about how that works out for each family.

 

dogretro likes this.

Gwen , partner to D ; Mamma to T (6) , J (4) , and baby P
MammaG is offline  
#36 of 44 Old 01-19-2011, 08:47 AM
 
dogretro's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 1,781
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Well said, Gwen, & just the sort of boost I needed this morning!  I think I have been lingering too much around discussions of Waldorf criticisms and this has been no good for me.  I am really enjoying this thread, but it is not changing my mind :)


jumpers.gif

DD (4.25.08)  DD (4.23.10)  DD (10.13.12)

dogretro is offline  
#37 of 44 Old 01-19-2011, 11:26 AM
 
kmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Sweden
Posts: 580
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 

Quote:
 I guess I would suggest that if the whole philosophy is something you completely disagree with, then perhaps a Waldorf-inspired unschooling thread might not be the best fit for you.

 

 

I believe the OP asked for opinions on the combination of Waldorf and unschooling. That's why I've replied. Others who have seem to have quite a bit of ecperience with Waldorf, so I think everything is well.  
 

Although I disagree on the waldorf and unschooling compatability, I'm not in agreement at all with radical unschooling. For my family, it's very important to have a strong moral foundation and clear ideas about what material and influences available are appropriate for my children. I personally feel that not all unschooling is radical unschooling, so while I restrict my children's screen time, I feel I am very much aligned to the unschooling philosophical 'core'.

However, I'm not comfortable allowing someone else to decide what is a true understanding of the development of children. I think the healthiest way to raise a child is through following the guidance of your own culture/tribe, but since we are so far from the egalitarian nature of society that persisted for most of our history, I obviously have chosen to discard many of the the misinformed child rearing techniques of our western society. So i'm left to following my own intuition. Plus reading as much as I can about tribal child rearing, from egalitarian natured societies. So far, everything I've read seems to follow the ideas of unschooling and I assume this is where unschooling had its roots.

 

It is convenient to follow someone else, someone who has taken the effort to write a great deal about child development and various philosophical and scientific subjects, who helped start a school teaching his doctrines, etc. Our culture is so expert-based, most of us find it hard to trust ourselves on important topics, let alone question where the information is coming from. Personally I always make a moral assessment of the person disseminating a certain kind of information or idea. I look at him or her as a whole, not just bits and pieces of convictions, from which I can pick and choose what sounds good. Maybe I'm a moralist;), but not particularly ashamed if it.  

 

Quote:
 I think people get all caught up in "The Philosophy", when I think Waldorf, and Steiner, once you get down to brass tacks, is mostly about honoring the child's individuality and fostering his freedom.

 

 How could you not get caught up in Steiner's philosophy when taking a stand for or against waldorf? it's all philosophy, he was a thinking man. Steiner preached far more than honoring a child's individuality and freedom. I can't say I'm christian merely because I agree that we should treat each other with respect. And so I don't.

 

 

Quote:
 As for the knights topic, we will have to disagree about that. If you are worried about bumping up against certain uglinesses in history, well, a lot will get left out.

I think you misread what I wrote about this. I'm not worried about bumping up against certain issues, I simply don't want to use stories that glorify something I'm deadset against. Sure, I wouldn't mind bring the occasional knight book home, but my kid has never shown an interest in knight tradition. We discussed earlier in the thread that Waldorf teachers tend to favor knight-play, so that's what spurred me to comment.

We often bump into various uglinesses in history and take the opportunity to discuss them.

 

You could start a support thread for Waldorf inspired unschooling, you just state that you don't want opinions offered, only support. I think most people are pretty respectful, and besides they could always use this thread if they have an opinion to offer. I think there's room for everything. Just be clear with your intentions.

kmamma is offline  
#38 of 44 Old 01-19-2011, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
mommysherry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Ottawa, ON Canada
Posts: 21
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Wow!

What a discussion. I thank all of you for your input. I am learning a lot. I am far from the scholarly mother some of you seem to be!

I'm someone who takes a bit from here and a bit from there, as it resonates with me, in all areas of life. Even if I'm not so fond of the source, or know that there are some things about a philosophy which I do not support, I trust my inner voice when it comes to evaluating the content and seeing what works for me. From spirituality to homemaking to marriage to art, etc.

No surprise that this combination seems absolutely doable for us.

We have a waldorf inspired home, though I do not believe we are rigid with it. I love the waldorf 'stuff'. Toys, crafts, stories, songs, nature, nature, nature...... I believe that this is what attracts many parents to Waldorf. Then they get into it and find themselves saying 'anthro-what??????' Or maybe that was just me. lol

I also absolutely believe in holding space for my children, sharing meaningful celebration with them, doing meaningful work with them nearby or involved and rhythm has absolutely saved my sanity. I no longer waste energy trying to figure out what to do next and how to get done what needs doing. I flow into the next thing able to be fully present in what I'm doing and who I'm doing it with (mostly.....we all have our days). I have found the Parenting Passageway blog to be absolutely instrumental in helping me put this all together from a stay at home mom standpoint.

I believe that this really can work with unschooling. It's a matter of taking what makes sense and leaving the rest. Not following a curriculium is GREAT for that!! lol

Waldorf has helped me with my unschooling. Waldorf philosophy has helped me to stop treating my 4 year old as a little adult and honour her beautiful dream state. It has helped me to see the magic of childhood (I know that Waldorf isn't the only source of inspiration out there for this!). My childhood was very serious, I still struggle to 'know how' to play. I NEEDED to tap into something which could help me with this as my oldest was on the same path I was.

This has helped me to understand how to help her explore her interests. How to speak to her in a way that she can really grasp. We are very intellectual and I know that I often go over her head, but didn't know what else to do. What a relief (and a challenge) to try using less words. To use song and story or silence instead. To really feel as though I am finally figuring out how to engage my child instead of waiting for her to engage me!! I know that part of that is just plain knowing your child. I also know that I was operating under false pretences. I really didn't have a grasp on what was reasonable to expect from my children.

Obviously I needed a good dose of confidence. Finding both waldorf and unschooling (among other approaches which didn't seem quite right) was at first, very overwhelming. I spent a couple of years reading here and there about both, feeling entirely inadequate and overwhelmed. Once I did some work on my perfectionism and was able to recognize life as the process that it is, I was able to start really trying these things on. What fits, stays, for now anyway. lol Once I have more experience, and older and other children....well, we'll just keep on evolving. 


cosleeping, non vaxing, cloth diapering, peace loving, life learning, at home, single mama to two beautiful girls born Jan '06 and Nov '09

mommysherry is offline  
#39 of 44 Old 01-19-2011, 06:42 PM
 
greenacresmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Northern Blue Ridge Mountains
Posts: 179
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hey.. The "gotta go" was literal.. I had to go ;p. Typing in car at co-op baby is sleeping smile.gif.

The toys plastic, made cheaply and can break, are the things.. Just like all things in my life.. That I feel I need to move beyond. I got my son something plastic, two presents and that was all this Christmas.. The tv was my thing... I used it to buy time.. In a way I get totally how the media is not unschooling.. I can't feel like I want to say no to all forms, but my heart Is bursting for something else..nature nature nature is right! And family, friends and community.. Right now, this moment, the sun, the moon and stars on today.

This thread is full of love for me! I am so full of joy and awakening! I think it feels really off for an unschooler family to hold a stand against inspired anything.. Religion, family history, local culture.. I don't think it is a big deal to them (is it? I am new?) There is so much beauty coming from the waldorf classroom..

This is going to sound so bizarre. Let me remind you that I have a lot of biology/liberal arts, 4 years ( I just kept taking everything against advisement, but did have lots of biology).

I went outside naked a few nights ago at Midnight. My children are often fighting clothing and I am renting "babies" and I wanted to experience, just for a moment what it is like. I felt like an animal.. I thought of other animals... I got cold.. I put my hands in the dirt if my garden and smelled it.. Chewed some basil. I suddenly stood up. I had read something last year on the people that live the longest in the world. I think that this is where it is pulling me. Green life is like food for my old brain. There are not so many questions. People are more together. Life is in the moment and celebrated when we are connected to food. The use of plastics in toys office supplies, home decor.. Well it isn't a blood bag or needles for such, these things are just getting out of hand..in my attention..much like factory farming.

To end that story, I got my dh out of bed and brought him out, took off his clothes and told him, "we are alive!" because it is funny... In the whole life history time line.. Just like unschoing I guess.. We haven't been hustling off here to there.. And industry has been to blame for so Many hurtful things, good things too, but we are crying out for the industrailation peeps to calm down, reinvent, etc. but I can't help but foster a sense of frontier artist indepence because it is better air... Try working In a huge bank building.. The whole inside is a system that never sees sunlight..... My kids also need healthy food, organic supplies, music choices and inspiration... I could be called a nature unschooling mom.. But I love the Wadlorf types... Purist are even in Raw food, veganism, religions, etc... Cause I gotta say, the waldorf moms I have meet are in this whole humanity nature thing together.. Maybe the teachers are harder to befriend but an unschooling mom? Seriously? Makes mr want to bring up ground rules for gatherings.. But dude, if organic and nature was the theme? I am in!


Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

greenacresmama is offline  
#40 of 44 Old 01-19-2011, 06:45 PM
 
greenacresmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Northern Blue Ridge Mountains
Posts: 179
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 

Oh I just wanted to say I love his thread! Thank you OP!

Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

greenacresmama is offline  
#41 of 44 Old 01-20-2011, 05:56 AM
 
MammaG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 443
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Mommysherry, I think it can be done and done beautifully. What I love most about homeschooling is the dual freedom and responsibility to really take ownership of the choices we make for our kids. In my case, that makes me free to choose Waldorf, but not Waldorf immersion. I assume you are aware that there is a lot of negativity out there regarding Steiner. It's worth listening to some of that, and in my opinion, it's worth reading Steiner yourself (in your abundant free time?!), just so that you know the root of what you are doing....ditto with Holt.

I guess what it comes down to, for me, is that Steiner was just a man. A remarkably brilliant man who did a lot of really fine work and who's basic points I am in agreement with. He was also a product of his time and it was a pretty kooky time in some respects. Heaven knows what someone 100 years from now will think of Attachment Parenting, for instance. I think he had an unusually perceptive take on spirituality and how that is intertwined with personal development and education. I also think his ideas were growing and changing throughout his life and work, and I don't see a particular reason that that ought to stop with his death. I feel that we are inheritors of Steiners work, rather than disciples. That means that I am free to tweak whenever, wherever and however I want. I am prepared to give Steiner the graceful assumption that he was not right 100% of the time, just as I am prepared to live with, say Mark Twain (as the new Huck Finn is in the news at this moment) and his culturally influenced language. Or Shakespeare's antisemitism. Or Wagner's. Yes, we are not speaking of art, but of teaching, but I think the general idea holds.

Everyone has a line, right? One Mama really dislikes feudalism and it colours her way of seeing knight play. I'm not bothered by that, but I'm not coming from the same point of view. I see you wanting the influences of egalitarianism, Kmamma, and I can see how this might make your brand of unschooling really incompatible with Waldorf. Perhaps I misread the OP's questions, but I was working from the assumption that she was looking for feedback about meshing unschooling and Waldorf, and had certainly shown a real interest in Waldorf. With that assumption, I feel that a response of 'wow, I don't think those things are compatible' is wholly appropriate, but adding in 'and by the way, there is nothing at all about Waldorf that I agree with' is beside the point and sends the discussion into a place of debating Steiner instead of focusing on the question at hand. I apologise if I misunderstood the OP.


I have absolutely no experience of Waldorf schools, and given some of the things I've read, I'm not sure I would choose that route. I have no doubt that some people have had terribly scarring experiences there. But I choose to take the good and leave what I disagree with. Similarly with things like the knight play. I am the mamma. I am the filter. I am the gatekeeper. I want to protect my children's childhood and nurture spiritual and intellectual growth equally and this works for me. I have read lots about child development and for us, at this time, Steiner rings truest. That may change as we grow and learn. Everyone has to sit comfortably in their ideology and the choices they make. I certainly don't feel that I have let somebody else do all the work and thinking for me, but I have no problems acknowledging an influence I find remarkably inspiring.

Of course, if you were attempting to be both an unschooling purist and a Steiner purist, you would have a pretty tough time reconciling the two. In my opinion and experience you can met the two. I can see in the future that, while Waldorf is foremost for us now, maybe unschooling will come to the front later.

Mommysherry, as an aside, I have a Jan 06 baby and a Nov 09 baby, too! Also an Aug 04 little man who will be a first grader in the autumn. Many good wishes to you on your journey. I don't think you need to worry about where you are...the fact that you have found Carrie is a great thing....she is my #1 inspiration, followed closely by SouleMama. And, like you, what is most valuable to me are the insights into what is developmentally appropriate...the advice to stop talking and do more, to work alongside your children, and the wonderful visual of the incarnating child. It's much easier to be a patient Mamma with that in my mind.

ETA ugh, this sounds so defensive. And really disjointed. But I'm sick and don't really have the energy to go fix it, so I hope that the intent comes through. Maybe I ought to erase and just say...it can work! It works for us! Apologies....

Gwen , partner to D ; Mamma to T (6) , J (4) , and baby P
MammaG is offline  
#42 of 44 Old 01-20-2011, 11:17 AM
 
kmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Sweden
Posts: 580
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

As fascinating as meta-discussions may be, I will try my best to refrain from participating. As I have stated previously, I do understand the lure of waldorf for unschoolers, and my input is in regard of those facets of Waldorf I believe are incompatible with unschooling. I'll keep going with the flow and assume that if my comments are uninteresting, they will be ignored:).

 

Yes, of course, I do see that my version of unschooling is based perhaps on something that not all unschoolers share in. I had never stopped to ask that before, whether all unschoolers are united in their conviction of all humans as equal to one another, egalitarianism. Maybe Steiner and his fellow philosophers were right, we can only be free in a socialist system (with an emphasis on being governed by a distant authority).

 

While Holt was my gateway to unschooling, John Taylor Gatto makes for a far more fascinating read in my opinion and through his books, where egalitarian thoughts dominate with the ciriticism of 'education for domination', I have developed the assumption that unschooling is based on the rejection of compulsory government education in favor of a liberating one (not to be confused with a liberal education;)), on the parents' terms.

 

When I evaluate a system of education or a theory of child development, I can't help but look at the person or institution behind it. Just presenting my take on it all.

 

I stay away from glorification of knights for the same reason a Waldorf mother will shelter her children from the negative effects of TV. To me feudalism is violence and as with everything, it matters how each of us see the world, for it's the only way we can live a life of our own.

 

 

Quote:
 With that assumption, I feel that a response of 'wow, I don't think those things are compatible' is wholly appropriate, but adding in 'and by the way, there is nothing at all about Waldorf that I agree with' is beside the point and sends the discussion into a place of debating Steiner instead of focusing on the question at hand. I apologise if I misunderstood the OP.

 

 From the start I presented my agreement with Waldorf 'accoutrements' as compatible with unschooling, but did add that those accessories did not, imo, fall under the exclusive category of Waldorf, but simply 'natural living'.

I think if you open the thread to opinions, there's going to be discussions and debates. Just the flow of life, never know where one thing will lead you.

Debating Steiner, in my world, seems wholly appropriate in this context. As would debating Holt, or Gatto, or Sandra Dodd.

Oops, I guess after all, I did venture where I did not intend to:).

 

I could easily have been one of those mamas who happily combine peripherical waldorf practices with an unschooling philosophy were it not for my displeasure in maintaining routines, or 'rhythms'. Cause there are certainly a lot of overlap between my way of life and that of many waldorfers. It looked really sweet to me from the outside, but reading family centered books about waldorf i was put off on an energetical level. I could not help but look into the essence of anthroposophy, it seemed to color the work so strongly. I couldn't look past it as many other parents can. So I read some material about Steiner and that's when I developed the sentiments I have now. All the while, I have some great waldorfy friends who I admire.

 

In the end, all that matters is what inspires each family to be truly themselves and live life fully. I love the stories you have all shared here even if I may not share in the Waldorf attraction:).

kmamma is offline  
#43 of 44 Old 01-20-2011, 01:09 PM
 
Lillian J's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,050
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Quote:

Originally Posted by kmamma View Post

I think the outer expressions of current Waldorf 'trends' combine well with unschooling, just as it does with any other aspect of natural living, but on a philosophical level, I feel the two clash perfectly.


Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 


This is it for me too. We've used many of the trappings of Waldorf education ... art materials, stories, rhythms, etc., ... but have steered entirely clear of the philosophy. 

 

Furthermore Steiner's dogma on academics flew completely in the face of who my children turned out to be as learners and people. As kindergarteners my eldest was an advanced self-taught reader, and my next kid was a natural encyclopedia of science facts, my youngest a passionate and advanced mathematician. 

 

Miranda


I heartily agree. My son was in two years of Waldorf kindergarten (he started young, before he was five, and they like them to do two years in those cases). I observed and researched a lot during those years - so when we began homeschooling, I had some great little books on some of the hands-on methodology. We began with a little of that. It fortunately didn't take me long to realize that he didn't need me orchestrating his learning process in that way - he was a unique individual learner, as we all are, who had his own effective ways of absorbing things, and dragging it out into lessons was actually condescending. 

 

There's a lot to the whole Steiner world that most people aren't aware of, but it was just the softness and beauty of the classroom activity techniques I had been attracted to - and then it turned out that my son didn't need techniques. We continued using the beautiful, waxy, Lyra pencils for everything, but I got out of his way with my silly notions of lessons I thought would be good for him. We also enjoyed some math explorations that were suggested in one of the little guide books to math, but we didn't go on and on with it. We also used the cursive handwriting workbook some - The Write Approach - it was bone simple cursive lower case with print upper case - which is great, because then children can gradually elaborate on the capital letters to suit their own personalities, just as they eventually do with cursive ones anyway. But what also worked well was simply writing a bit in one color for him and letting him trace over it in another color - was beautiful and easy for him.

 

What I found, and this is something I checked out with a number of other parents I knew through the Waldorf community in my area, is that it was generally the parents who felt most drawn to the Waldorf atmosphere. The way I look at it, adults often have more of a drive to simplify and soften experiences that children would just as soon explore in a fuller and freer way of their own - children haven't yet been through the same stresses that may affect adults' attitudes. I remember talking with some parents I was friends with at our school who had come to the realization that their children weren't thriving there and they were in the process of moving on, and I mentioned, thinking I was merely stating the obvious, that I'd earlier noticed them looking longingly into the door of their children's beautiful classroom and imagining themselves in there healing their own educational wounds. Their mouths actually dropped open - they said they hadn't realized it was so obvious. I honestly had no idea until that moment that it hadn't been perfectly obvious to everyone. Don't get me wrong - it's a lot better than what's happening in a whole lot of classrooms where early formal studies are being drilled into children, but a lot more natural freedom can be offered in a home setting. The key is to make sure to let the child be at the center of it all rather than any philosophy or methodology being at the center. 

 

- Lillian

Lillian J is offline  
#44 of 44 Old 01-20-2011, 08:02 PM
 
greenacresmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Northern Blue Ridge Mountains
Posts: 179
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 

BTW: DH said I was nuts for making him naked (i brought out a blanket) and hurried back in to our home (we live in Hawaii BTW). We later talked and talked.. We actually really came together in such a magical place (I am sure it helped.. pretty much debated in the car until we got to the place and so many times after that night). Our thoughts came in harmony on the beach on the North Shore under a full moon, the moon was low in the sky and we could see the stars. We talked to our kids about the dangerous surf and where they could walk safely. They learned about that and how the tide comes up further sometimes, saw crabs. We cudddled in blankets and ate organic food from the co-op. It was beautiful. 
 
He began his debate saying things, oh, IDK, like, you are taking advantage of the world by picking and choosing materials and also not exposing them to all the great courses that they should practice to get into college at 20 and be in the ranks of men. I said a few things like nature is a powerful design and learning it is food for the soul, taught many scientist great things, etc. But we got to the beach and the helicopters were practicing night landings for a while.. I said that all of that stuff is important.. but.. I don't think I want to expect my children to solve all the world's problems by first learning and using systems. I wonder first if the lessons from using, loving and caring for nature (and also creating art and music in nature or about it, having a wholesome home, etc) ..... IS solving the world's problems. Creating easiness.. I know ECing was very easy for me and that is the kind of thing I want to improve upon. Also just being more human/alive/animal.. Also (I have not read Steiner) but help me out... Is it making a healthy child just by giving them more time and the importance of nature? Like the Seventh Day Adventist in CA, Peoples in Costa Rica, etc all the cultures with the most people age 100? Is that apart of Waldorf? The things is, here at the school they do study cultures, Local cultures.. uh gotta go.. 
 
And Love too. I wonder.. I feel like I have a huge place in my home, school, life for love.. Not being strictly one way because love means understanding, harmony, unity, and compassion..in the family and in the community. I would love to know what all you moms posted about philosophy think. kind of vague, but.. that is the thing about being here right now? Isn't it? 
 
Thank you so much mamaG, kmama, Lillian, so many others! Thank you everyone! 
 
Hey, and I mean this whole nature in a sense of us changing our homes, lives, and drawn relaxing interests etc. as a way of unschooling. I totally get what Lillan said about her son and the parents. I also have this balance in me that feels drawn to listen and be quiet.. not say no to everything.. but I guess like faith, nature (to my LDS friend) is something worth standing up for and she really leads her children in her faith.. I think sometimes the "systems" that we school our kids in are so much like teaching them a faith. We are letting them be free-er but when do your values come in to play as an unschooler? Faith, morals, values? Waldorf inspired really came from my values and not a system I think they need, all though it is..1# is they need love, #2 is community, #3 connecting with what keeps them alive, #4 is play. Just my take. 
 
(Hate to bring this up but.. I got Cancer when I was pregnant and it really got me straight about some things with society and culture, because the only thing that seems to fill me up is love and the basics, beauty.... sometimes I just think all this training is making America nuts.. everyday is a gift and every moment can be so full filing. I do want to encourage my children's creative happiness, but I am really looking forward to thinking "off the grid" for the most part of the rest of my life. )

Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

greenacresmama is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off