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#1 of 44 Old 11-15-2010, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know the two can seem to not mix in a lot of ways, but much of Waldorf really resonates with me. I'm moving toward a more Waldorf inspired home, yet we are still unschooling. Anyone out there experiencing this or have an opinion or two? I have 2dds one 4 one 12m. Cheers!


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#2 of 44 Old 11-15-2010, 11:32 AM
 
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Ooh, I'm also interested in whatever anyone has to say about this.  Up until a few weeks ago, my husband and I were planning on sending our daughter to a Waldorf school once the time came but then we discovered unschooling and fell in love.


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#3 of 44 Old 11-15-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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Yes, the two absolutely can go together.  Waldorf embraces the entire family life, not just "schooly" things.  The biggest question I can think of is how do you visualize your family embracing Waldorf?  Are you okay w/ it if your kids decide not to follow the Waldorf ways?

 

In our house, we embraced Waldorf before unschooling, so we basically have a v simple rhythm that we all enjoy, almost all of our toys are Waldorf-style, we value spending a lot of time outdoors, and we are usually incredibly light on the tv viewing.  Other things, too, but those are the basics.  We also practice consensual living, so I do have to work on being comfortable w/ the choices dd1 makes about how to spend her time.  My biggest area of difficulty is tv viewing.  I really hate for her to watch it but she really loves it.  Waldorf pulls me in one direction, unschooling in another.

 

Waldorf education is entirely teacher led.  That is the main area, as far as academics, where the two butt heads.  Young children do learn incredibly well from imitation, so I do believe that Steiner was onto something when he emphasized adults engaging in meaningful work around the house for kids to observe & participate in.  Otherwise, as of right now, we do not do anything formal as far as learning goes.  DD1 is also only 2.5 yrs old, so there was no need anyway :)  I think this is a great article summing up Waldorf kindergarten & how easily it can be replicated at home: http://wildculturecafe.blogspot.com/2008/06/waldorf-on-shoestring-early-years.html

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#4 of 44 Old 11-22-2010, 03:12 PM
 
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check out the blog of Amanda Soule

 

www.soulemama.com

 

it is great and this is how they live. She also written two books with another on the way.

 

we have also been looking at Steiner schools but we are really leaning towards unschooling with Steiner lifestyle rather than strict philosophy as a basis.

 

C

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#5 of 44 Old 12-07-2010, 04:51 PM
 
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i bought the enki kindergarten materials for my kids - though they are still too young. i LOVE them! my daughter loves stories so this is a great way to expose her to some stuff. and i am not at all handy but they have great projects. i like the nature oriented philosophy and i am not going to do it as curriculum but more as fun projects...ya know?


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#6 of 44 Old 12-23-2010, 09:10 AM
 
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subbing!


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#7 of 44 Old 12-28-2010, 07:26 AM
 
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Waldorf inspired unschoolers here! My oldest is 12 and we've been going this route for the last few years. Works great for us!

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#8 of 44 Old 12-30-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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I think Waldorfers do great things with kids and in their family lives, but having read about Steiner and his philosphy, I really do believe that what attracts most people to Waldorf, namely fondness of nature and resistance to dehumanizing technology among other things, has nothing essential to do with Steiner's work.

 

One of the main reasons we choose to unschool is that we believe the vast majority of education offered in our society is based on a certain ideology, the need to maintain authority, to guide people into their proper place in society (which is a society we consider oppositional to true human nature). This has in every civilization been the primary purpose of education, so it's not my subjective interpretation at all. Our choice of education is influenced entirely by the idea of our children as truly free, in every aspect of life (from the political sphere down to the personal).   

 

My interpretation, however, is that Steiner worked for the 'greater good of society' (a society dominated by a distant authority). Just because in his teachings he touches on many truths about human nature (such as the importance of observation and imitation, which has always dominated informal education in hunter and gather societies) does not automatically make his central thesis right.

In fact, it's impossible to convince anyone of a theory unless the basis is made up of 'universal' truths. Any good leader is very much aware of that. If you read Hitler's take on education without knowing he had written it, you would perhaps guess the author was a contemporary champion for unschooling! Seriously. However, his motives were to dumb down the German curriculum, which he was successful in doing.

 

A big component of Waldorf education is incorporating imagination into learning. I don't feel like this carries any weight at all in its favor since imagination is inherently human and I think Steiner was simply introducing a much smarter way to educate/indoctrinate otherwise unwilling kids. This method was used a lot in Sweden when I went to school, and still is in public schools and I don't think it makes up for the actual (inappropriate) content of the education given. I learned a lot of messed up ideas about humans and the world around me. I don't agree with the humanist approach to life, the philosophy on which the Waldorf model is based (as well as pretty much all educational trends today).  

 

Judging by the fact that three of his main philosophical inspirations were Pestalozzi, Fichte and Hegel, I make the conclusion that he worked mostly for acheiving social change which favored the dominating class and not for the advancement of 'true' freedom for all. As Hegel make very clear in his writings, commoners need a master, it's human nature. I think for all my years in school, this was one of my most persistent insights--I didn't need a master to tell me what was good for me. And so I allow my child to unschool. Steiner wrote a lot about 'freedom', to me in a pretty twisted way.

Just to clarify, this doesn't mean that I abhor order, as I do see an important place for it, but it should come out of a communal desire, in small-scale settings, as a collaboration of free individuals. Which is the opposite of western democracy.

 

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.

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#9 of 44 Old 12-31-2010, 12:49 PM
 
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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.


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. 

 

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#10 of 44 Old 12-31-2010, 04:48 PM
 
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Very intresting Miranda, about your kids. In what way did this fly in the face of Steiner's philosophy? I've never incorporated Waldorf education in our lives (I made attempts but it always felt contrived and strange) so I don't know all the details of his idea of how learning happens. 

 

I wanted to add some more points to my previous comment. At the moment I happen to be researching various forms of education as we're considering returning to homeschooling after a year of 'exile', and so this discussion caught my interest.

 

I react to the contrived nature of Waldorf, which at its heart is child-centered. I feel that this is very at odds with what children need and want. How can you learn when you're made the center of attention? Unschooling is learning through life, not pretend life, make-believe. But real life, and in real life, work revolves around the community with the adults leading it. Child-centered learning situations are designed to keep children in a dependent position, where it's either difficult or impossible to become truly independent, fully mature adults (independence starts when a child desires it, and is not taught). Again, such a subject is useful in a hierarchical society.

 

I think it's valuable to draw knowledge about child education from various sources. For me, learning about education in tribal settings has been most useful as I've found a lot of similarities in attitude and expectations between different non/pre-industrial societies. Child-rearing and education have much in common with the unschooling philosophy, without getting into Waldorf dogma. And of course, as their lives were intertwined with the natural world around them, one can find a lot of inspiration in there for that.

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#11 of 44 Old 01-01-2011, 11:04 AM
 
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Very intresting Miranda, about your kids. In what way did this fly in the face of Steiner's philosophy? I've never incorporated Waldorf education in our lives (I made attempts but it always felt contrived and strange) so I don't know all the details of his idea of how learning happens. 


Well, the idea is that until the cutting of the first permanent teeth (around age 6 and a half in my kids' cases) children inhabit the "physical body" as opposed to the "etheric body" of later childhood or the "astral body" of the pert- and post-adolescent years. During the physical body phase, they should exist in a world of imagination, not facts. Reading instruction and reading should be delayed until after the permanent teeth come in. Learning should focus on realizing imagination, through story-telling, arts, crafts, and music. All of which are great things, and we did a lot of them. But a 4-year-old boy who is a little engineer, obsessed with memorizing hundreds and thousands of dinosaur facts and figuring out the science of how things in the real world work, and a five-year-old girl who wants to do almost nothing but read books -- well, Steiner doesn't give you any way of nurturing those passions, and instead suggests that these pursuits will damage their development:

 

"People will object that the children [in Waldorf education] then learn to read and write too late. That is said only because it is not known today how harmful it is when the children learn to read and write too soon.It is a very bad thing to be able to write early. Reading and writing as we have them today are really not suited to the human being till a later age - the eleventh or twelfth year - and the more a child is blessed with not being able to read and write well before this age, the better it is for the later years of life."

 

Rudolph Steiner, "The Kingdom of Childhood."

 

I felt very strongly that my children were who they were, and that their interests and passions should be nurtured and supported, not discouraged and devalued in keeping with Waldorf principles. Those same kids are immensely creative today: the dinosaur-obsessed boy is an amazingly musical violist and a tenor in an advanced youth choir, and the precocious reader girl is a gifted fantasy writer and exceptionally advanced violinist. They are sensitive and passionate human beings, now 14 and 16, who make excellent choices and care deeply about doing well and doing right. So "allowing" them to read all day and obsess over scientific facts during their early years did not seem to ruin them. 

 

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#12 of 44 Old 01-01-2011, 02:19 PM
 
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Yes, right, I do remember those silly ideas. Of course, pushing a child to read before his time is detrimental, but that's entirely different from encouraging an established desire.

 

Beautiful, the way you supported your children, and how they turned out:). I believe children, if let to choose their own path, will be attracted to the real world around them (the work of adults in our time). Not some made-up fantasy life created carefully and scheduled by their caretakers.

 

My oldest also memorized lots of scientific facts already at that age (4), and has loved math from the start--counting from an early age, just for fun and now way ahead of his class. 

I also was an early reader, and started off entirely of my own, at 5 or something (early for Swedish kids of my time). What an amazing experience, figuring it out all myself. I wanted to know what those letters were all about. But then my son, he knows how to read, thanks to school unfortunately, but resists it and does not find it exciting at all. He loves stories but wants them told to him. He also has amazingly good memory. So I do think there's value to 'illiteracy' (people of illiterate societies generally have better memories than us), but there is no one way that we should be or turn out. 

 

The Steiner quote you referred to is a perfect example of the dogmatic thoughts that scare me about Waldorf. Soooo counter to unschooling.

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For us, inspired Waldorf complements our unschooling life. My approach with Steiner is evolving. I actually really like the quote listed above. I look at it a little differently than most purists. Taking into consideration the history of education & Steiner's view on it, our current state of culture in the states... I seem to pull things out of that quote that really does have some weight. Do I agree with everything Steiner says? Nah. That's why we are inspired by Waldorf. There is a very primal aspect to it (you mention hunter gather) that is very counter culture here in the states. Our choosing to unschool in this light is definitely going against the "machine". It's complete opposite, IMO, of putting us into our proper place. Especially if looked at as a juxtapose. Kmamma, your thoughts on imagination are interesting. Waldorf's ideas of imagination, for me, are one of the most beautiful aspects of this type of learning. I always looked at it as going hand in hand with an inner unschooling, allowing a child to experience and learn without any pre-formed pictures in their minds. Much deeper for me than whether a child is allowed to read books or not before their milk teeth are lost.  Interesting thoughts ladies!

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#14 of 44 Old 01-02-2011, 12:46 PM
 
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I think observation-imitation has been part of our society well beyond our 'primal' stages.

 

What do you take from the quote? I'm assuming you read Steiner the same I do, that reading and writing before 11 or 12 is detrimental regardless of whether the child has been made to do it, or has chosen it on her own. And what happens to the child who is told she cannot read or write before this age? How do you even stop them from doing it? I can see for someone like my son, this 'rule' would cause no harm since he has no interest in reading.

 

Another reason I'm weary of Waldorf is because it's an educational system created in the brain of one person, it's not an educational system that has grown organically within an egalitarian society. Borrowing ideas from hunter-gathering societies feel safer for me personally. The stories I hear from ex-Waldorf families also make me very cautious of this philosophy.

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I think that quotes like that can lend a lot of comfort to parents of late readers. While society puts a ton of emphasis on the importance of the timely attainment of literacy, that quote says "hey, maybe early literacy comes at a cost." And that's kind of a nice message if your child is 7 or 8 and not yet reading. It reminds you that there may be skills and perspectives that your child is having an opportunity to develop more fully than all those fluent-reading little kids.

 

I certainly agree that kids who read later are more likely to have strengths in aural memory, for example, while the early readers are likely to, oh ... develop large vocabularies, for example. There's a trade-off. 

 

But the Steiner quote goes far beyond saying that there's a trade-off. He's saying "it is very bad to read early; it produces harm." That's not a message that promotes the supporting of a child's individuality, developmental imperative, interests and learning style -- not if your child is a self-taught, passionate early reader. So while I can see why part of the message might resonate for some parents, I don't buy into that take on things at all myself.

 

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#16 of 44 Old 01-03-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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I think that quotes like that can lend a lot of comfort to parents of late readers. While society puts a ton of emphasis on the importance of the timely attainment of literacy, that quote says "hey, maybe early literacy comes at a cost." And that's kind of a nice message if your child is 7 or 8 and not yet reading. It reminds you that there may be skills and perspectives that your child is having an opportunity to develop more fully than all those fluent-reading little kids.

 

I certainly agree that kids who read later are more likely to have strengths in aural memory, for example, while the early readers are likely to, oh ... develop large vocabularies, for example. There's a trade-off. 

 

But the Steiner quote goes far beyond saying that there's a trade-off. He's saying "it is very bad to read early; it produces harm." That's not a message that promotes the supporting of a child's individuality, developmental imperative, interests and learning style -- not if your child is a self-taught, passionate early reader. So while I can see why part of the message might resonate for some parents, I don't buy into that take on things at all myself.

 

Miranda



Yes, very well put. I don't find this any less harmful than the dogma in public schools dictating that all children read at the same, albeit earlier, age.

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#18 of 44 Old 01-06-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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A lively discussion!  I'm subbing, too. 

 

While on the surface, I do like some of the Waldorf philosophy, I agree that Steiner can be "out there" and there is a lot of it that I don't subscribe to.  So I would never say that we are a Waldorf family, and we are only brand-new to homeschooling, so I can't offer much opinion on that!  What I can add is that when it comes to Waldorf, we take what works for us and we leave the rest.  We like: natural toys, no pressure on early academics, a minimal amount of media exposure, lots of time in nature, a rhythm-filled home life and plenty of free play and unstructured time.

 

I spent a lot of time in the first few years of my mothering feeling very inadequate that I wasn't doing Waldorf "correctly" and just gave up on the whole thing.  Now, 6 years later, I can see that I can simply do what works for us and not beat myself up about it.

 

So I say, follow your own path.  Take some time to figure out what it is about Waldorf that appeals to you, and use it.  If you are Waldorf inspired unschoolers, so be it.

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#19 of 44 Old 01-07-2011, 07:54 AM
 
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Hi! Just a quick brief note! If you are in NC, VA, NY, or even TN, would you give me a little message! We sold our half finished house today in HI.. relocating is not actually going to happen until we are living out of a mini-van/family homes and they ALL want us to move to THEIR state, LOL! I love them.. I am thrilled. I have a 3 year old son and a 1 year old daughter. 

 

My homeschooling journey began watching my sister's kids (near Charlotte, NC) grow up. When Athena was born with some sort of colic, I put Fred in a Montessori school fast and it helped out a lot. Things were warm there, but way to many rules for my sweet toddler! He asked to stay home a lot and we played sick a lot. We didn't see the point anymore.. but we literally felt like we were in the a sort of lifestyle for an unschooler - real life stuff (chem sets, microscopes, but then all the teachings tools too).. the kids were encouraged to do real life stuff, very many true world field trips etc. I learned a lot from there. I wouldn't want my house filled with all of the tools, but many of them - I just don't see the harm if a child, well you know unschoolers! 

 

We also had a blessing happen - I got a Waldorf Kindergarden teacher as a nanny from 7-1pm! This was awesome because I felt pretty shoved to wake up this slumbering toddler and put him in preschool while DH went off to work by 8 am and Athena was still in bed sleeping (or just needing holding - can't do everything with a 2 year old getting ready for school). She also cleaned my house as part of the "mom is around" deal and we loved it! Truth is really... I also had to do a serious healing process during that time.. all better, but my husband was amazing for really seeing all this and supporting me. She loved us and took half what she got from her last job. She is still my friend and pregnant with her first now! We spent minutes here and there talking, but when Freddy got home at 12:30, she would be like this whole different person to him! It was actually really cool to watch. It makes me very inspired to train myself.. but we talked about the Steiner stuff and she really spoke clearly that very few schools reaaaallly teach that.. but she had read his books. She told me to read "the uses of Enchantment" and I had a hard time at the moment (book got returned to the library). I still want too... BUT when she left she said I had taught her a lot about thinking positively and being happy.. I really am a person that leads my little ones into sunshine and happiness, while I love all the organic offerings that Waldorf has to offer, I would never teach my kids out right about "the dark side" to protect them.. I don't feel like kids really get enough sheltering even in schools. I am such a happy news kind of person. Dangers, real ones, falling off a cliff on the hike, etc  come up - you know what I mean, another unschooling thing.. I want to teach it when it needs to be. I kind of feel this shove inside like you all posted really! While I am caught up learning about the methodologies, my kids will have grown and I may have guilted my way through unschooling trying to Waldorf and I really just want them to be vibrantly them and happy! 

 

This thing about the Waldorf inspired unschooler  - I think I am one!!! Funny! I really think I understand almost exactly what we are all about, lol! I bought my family a whole Etsy Christmas, plus others from Nova Natural toys AND a RC shark car for my son :D and a pirates playmobil small ship. If we could all move to one community - I would move there! Thank God for mothering! HUGS! (Dude, where are you?)

 

My nanny friend explained to me the different age groups for fiber arts and I got a book called "Summer" and "Painting with children" from Nova toys.. Plus I got a book called "Wee Folk Art" for me mostly. My kids went crazy for the basket of playsilks and the little toddler we hang out with a lot begs to play with them. We got them all the stockmar paints and some other natural paints and I really get the lessons at this age about "less being more" - it is all so new and we use a little a day (when ever one is home, fed, napped.) Still so new for us, but I love this direction of arts supplies being fine arts.. so do I love our piano and (later, much settled down later) I will get Fred into a co-op or community class of his choice and one that I like (classic music) that I will try to get him to try a couple classes, while I take the real thing.. kind of leading but not forcing. We are seriously thinking of family music classes at the house with someone that plays many and isn't strict, just good....man sometimes inspiration is the first class we all need! 

 

Yes, inspiration! Waldorf inspired unschooling is playing a huge role in my relocating! You can probably agree on all the malls and sprawl I am not into, so the flip side is either a major cultural center or the countryside. The countryside in a very organic county is where I am finding the whole "your children become their community and learn from them" to be out right true! The people in organic communities are open to teaching groups or have schools! Seems almost like the whole package! I am creating a calendar of fiber art festivals, Renaissance Festivals along with organic counties and homeschooling co-ops in the countryside to map it. Oh and an abundance of U-pic farms. I am getting really sensitive about the areas that buy a lot of organic food.. picking up really strong good Earth loving vibes and that is deep to me, like faith. I am really into this actually. I unschool, but my kids are going to raised with strong values.. I see the beauty of teaching it to them within a community that values these things and also less of the ones that don't. I was actually thinking of Ithaca, NY (but really into everything else liberal) or the Hudson Valley (mostly because it is located to all the hip New England cities and towns for adventures). I am having a harder time finding a place in the southeast. I would really love to connect. My dearest family is trying to get me to move to Asheville. I like the place, but I really wanted a vibrant organic or else a little organic small town with not much else.. we are going to go see on foot (again). 

 

 

Ever wonder if we are more like Organic Unschoolers who like playing with Waldorf toys? :D I gave my kids magic rocks (from a Lake in NY /colorful) and put a tie dyed rainbow silk down, put the rocks over a river of blue (other silk) and put one or two wooden trees. I then took a little boy and mother doll and had a flower (crocheted) with a wee little wood doll fairy (the really tiny wood peg dolls) and then I had the mother give the boy some seeds and he went out and planted them with a stick (we do chopstick gardening here) and then the boy went home, went to bed, and then he woke up and went for a walk and noticed sprouts, then he went home again and slept and (the timing was for a 3 and 1 yr old) he woke up the and went outside to see flowers everywhere (I pointed at the colors in the tie dye and said a flower name - "yellow tulips") and then he went and took a nap on the green grass ( other playsilk) and then his mother came too and they fell asleep. A fairy was just about to have her flower bloom open (crocheted flower slowly opens to reveal this little one marveling about the new world) and she went and found the sweet boy and sprinkled fairy dust on him that felt like 1,000 I love you's and she kissed him on the head, and his mother got the whole deal too for the seeds. Then the kids wanted at the dolls.. it just came inspired by my whole Etsy Christmas! And I love this "product" of childhood - great for us - just a little balance.. they toys are really worth it. I see it mixing well with the real world stuff. But I think I want a community were a lot of the values about nature are not so pretend and that play is real and free, and unschooled. 

 

Cheers! Aloha! 

Leslie

 

 


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#20 of 44 Old 01-07-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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Love this thread!  This is where I am at also.  I'd say MamaScout's list of "we like" is about exactly what we like too!  Altho I'm still not sure about the 'rhthym' part...but I feel like we are doing fine with whatever our 'rhythm' happens to be these days.  DD1 is only 2.5, so ... you know, it's all pretty unstructured!  

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#21 of 44 Old 01-09-2011, 02:41 PM
 
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greenacresmama--i loved your post! we're also in the process of finding such a community. although here in sweden i think we'll have a bit of a tougher time! there is a total waldorf community near where i've put some bids in for apartments, even their main clinic is anthroposophic. another community near here has a waldorf school and a camphill village and both these areas attract me cause there's definitely overlap with our way of life and the waldorf life. and at the same time they scare me. i just want the 'waldorf inspired' (yes, unschoolers who play with waldorf toys!), not the deep believers. because we may not be able to homeschool due to local politics, i wonder if a waldorf school could work for my son. he's not easily manipulated, but on the other hand he loves math and hates reading! i think if we end up near one we'll simply give it a try and hope the teachers are not strongly anthroposphical.

 

I think the best thing that could ever happen to waldorf is if were entirely changed in its fundamental structure by a bunch of unschooling lovers! the anthroposophy would simply just fade into oblivion!;) of all the 'waldorfy' people i've known, very few seem to jive with steiner's manipulative philosophies (disguised as natural) and instead just focus on the organic lifestyle--the toys, stories, nature etc. i don't personally define those things as waldorf, but i know that others find their way to such a natural lifestyle through waldorf.

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#22 of 44 Old 01-10-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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I've always thought of it as being a fan of the architecture, in a broad sense. My aunt is a Waldorf teacher and my uncle an architect and they built the ultimate Waldorf house for their three daughters to grow up in. I love the style and simplicity of the spaces and the toys, so we take that aspect and incorporate it in to our lives. When ds was littler we were part of a Kinder circle and even then the rigid format didn't fit with him. The other thing I've noticed with Waldorf parents and teachers that I have known is that they find it inherently better for kids to be playing knight and fairy which they learn through the stories that they hear. My ds loves reading about firefighters and construction, yet that is somehow looked at as lesser even though the games are still of his own invention. To me all the enforcement of childhood becomes suffocating to kids at some point.


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#23 of 44 Old 01-11-2011, 02:17 AM
 
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Kmama, I think I remember my friend bringing up that most of the US Waldorf Schools

do not teach anthroposophy, but that wasn't true for most others in the world. 

Stacy B That is very true. I think most of today's children can lead themselves into a very reality, fact, technologically based happy future really easily..I mean it wouldn't be so hard to open a family home in America where this play would be common play and our children would easily gravitate towards the action and bright lights. I think it is wonderful that a mother figure might be around to remember the passion that can sooth a soul from seeing green leaves, eating veggies, and loving nature in some form. I think the Firetruck play would be cool, my son has a t-shirt and a rain coat and boots that he loves bragging at the local station about. I love him in a lot of ways and see his faces as I bring home stories about magic, nature and fairies from the library, along with many, many other stories, but I really make a huge point to find books with amazing art inside, wildlife, etc. Maybe one day my kids will get in my face about this stuff in full bloom around the house, but it inspires me to sing songs while cleaning house work (and try to learn the ones in the "Summer" book), and to really express something that makes me giddy and full filled to play with - inspired to create characters and my own play... it actually kind of makes all my play stronger and fun. I think the fairies, knights (and babies) are so common that they all kind of get a feeling for it and it might flow easily for a group of children when they come to play.. This makes sense to me as a Waldorf inspired unschooler because we may not make our children conform by all ways, but share a common art focus/love, organic toy appreciation, hopefully organic food too, most things mothering, mindful home at the least.. that kind of thing.. maybe I should just calling myself a Waldorf mom! I am totally getting the most schooled by the internet these days! Lol! 

 

I


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#24 of 44 Old 01-11-2011, 09:26 AM
 
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I mean it wouldn't be so hard to open a family home in America where this play would be common play and our children would easily gravitate towards the action and bright lights. 


Children's imaginative play is a reflection of the world they're surrounded by. If we don't want our kids playing rescue heroes, we should change the world they're surrounded by. We shouldn't try to change the play itself. That's what I think Waldorf schools often stray into: devaluing and disapproving of certain types of imaginative play in an attempt to change how the child plays. It seems wrong-headed to me.

 

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#25 of 44 Old 01-14-2011, 12:30 PM
 
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I've been following this thread. I think we're probably more along the lines of unschooling-inspired Waldorf homeschoolers than the other way around.

I also struggle with the idea of Anthroposophy springing from the mind of one man and the cult implications of that. But I also have found that when I approach a new Anthroposophical idea and live with it for a bit that it almost always finds a way to resonate for me. I really do appreciate especially the insights into child development and the timing of subjects, both because it feels right to me and because it quite frankly makes my job a little less overwhelming.

Now, because I interpret these things (Anthroposophical ideas) for myself, guided by books, blogs and friends that I choose to listen to, I suspect that our little patch of Waldorf-ness is not what a trained Anthroposophist would deem perfect. I am strongly influenced also by reading Holt and so we tweak as needed.

This is why we homeschool, no? If I truly believed that ONLY Steiner education was the right way to go, you can bet I'd redirect my considerable efforts into making sure we could send our kids to a Waldorf school. Ditto any other educational philosophy. What I love about homeschooling is how you really can marry just about any ideas to one another in a way that works just perfectly for the situation you are currently in.

One instance where this works for us: my oldest is a very dreamy, totally not yet incarnated 6year old who also just happens to be really turned on by science. We have kits and kits of science experiments, mostly gifted from well-meaning relatives. DS and I spend some time with those, mostly doing, not so much talking, and he finds these things (a battery-driven coil motor, vinegar and baking powder fizzes, etc.) impressive and magical. What follows is days of drawing out inventions and experiments and stories about electrical fairies and volcano gnomes. A Steiner purist would probably say I oughtn't get out those science kits yet, an unschooling purist may suggest I provide more when the kid shows a real interest. I feel our approach is best for us....I am not exposing my child to rigorous academics that may inhibit his work of incarnating and acting from his will, but I'm also not imposing an overly strict prohibition on things that he shows interest in.

If this turns into a thread about unschooling and Waldorf experiences and discussions about taking influences from both ideas, I'd be interested in participating. Thanks, OP, for bringing it up.

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#26 of 44 Old 01-14-2011, 12:48 PM
 
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Just wanted also to respond to a couple of pps, but I'm not sure how to do multiple quotes. Sorry! (damn Waldorf mama who can't figure out her iPad, right?!)

About education indoctrinating; yes! And I see in the unschooling community a strong flow of independence and free thought. I love that, but I also love the Waldorf commitment to strong community...hard for homeschoolers, but we have a great coop to do Circles and celebrations with, and I do hope that my kids will take this beginning of celebrating in community and eventually have strong social justice ideals.

About the imaginative play; I think the idea is that children are not just engaging in imitative play and imaginative play, but that they are encouraged to do this through archetypical characters...that's why knights and dragons and not firefighters and superheroes.

About learning in reality; this is where I would take Steiner over Holt, I think. Children are not little adults. They not only see and hear the world differently, they experience it differently because they are not adults, they haven't come through the stages and cycles yet. I do love this about Anthroposophy...acknowledging the differentness of children...makes it easier for me to teach them. I like the image of holding a home space for them, like a second womb, until they emerge in stages and at the appropriate times.

I do realize that a Waldorf apology is not necessarily called for here, but from the standpoint of using both Steiner and Holt, I thought a bit of clarity about some Anthroposophical points might contribute to the conversation. I know I read more Steiner than Holt and, as there's only so much time in the day, would also welcome more Holt-versed opinions and ideas, too as I generally love his thoughts.

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#27 of 44 Old 01-14-2011, 01:19 PM
 
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About the imaginative play; I think the idea is that children are not just engaging in imitative play and imaginative play, but that they are encouraged to do this through archetypical characters...that's why knights and dragons and not firefighters and superheroes.

Archetypal characters are things like: hero, villain, sidekick, trickster, mentor and so on. There's no reason why a superhero is any less archetypal a hero character than a knight. 

 

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#28 of 44 Old 01-14-2011, 01:39 PM
 
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MamaG and others.. all great stuff, thanks for sharing. So hard to be a mom of wee ones and begin this research.. Total switch for us from such a total mainstream lifestyle in so many ways. I knew childhood would be playful but the definition of what to do in a day or year to feel grounded and happy feels so unrelaxed when I think about including everything and anything they want when it comes to Unschooling. I also think that It is my major responsibility to give them nature and make them green, feed them real fresh and nutritous food and show them how to do that.   I also feel like they need something (haven't read any of Steiner, yet BTW.. sorry I have had other experiences though and I think they count - Waldorf Fairs and Nanny, friends too, tons of Etsy and my own life on acres in Honolulu with 25 grown fruit trees). 

 

I just found this book and had to post fast! Wish, wish, wish I had found this a long time ago.. and my previous nanny.. wow.. "A Child's Seasonal Treasury" has almost everything a parent needs.. read while Pregnant.. read while they are napping as a baby, practice, buy the fun play things and craft supplies when they get older, but dip your hand in when they are a baby because it really helped me get it when I started making felt toys and the wooden stackers, and playing pretend with playsilks. What I am looking forward to now is reading at midnight ( and practicing songs by day - seems more about learning some poetry and stories by heart, along with songs).. not so healthy to lose sleep.. but I really want this.. I wish there was a Homeschooling Summer camp for us! I would go, my kids could go to the camp school while I go to the Mother school. :) 

 

DH wants to Homeschool a lot too. We are not rich, but have some money saved and we just sold our jackpot in Hawaii (not a Jackpot, but it should be!) Life with him isn't so.. girly. He is all male but very sweet and natural. He takes a lot of the play and makes it pure darn hilarious and messy, but scientific (baby size) too. I love this book for family stuff: "I Love Dirt" <---- Awesome! 

 

Rhythm? Would love a great lesson on anything you do - how you bring it in to your home, etc. The blogs are good for this one...Yeah.. But anyone here start doing somethings? Maybe it would help us? 

 

I just want to say once that I am a pure transition type of mother. I am always growing and never feel bad or judge others or anything. I thank God everyday that I am shown very happy heavenly ways to improve my life and take me closer. I think I actually freak people out because I look like a "Old Navy" with a goodwill twist type person, drive a 10 year old BMW, and live in a half built house.. I think my soul really wants to live closer to the land and dress that way too. I have plastics in my house and toy lots, my kids wear Target and goodwill.. some Land's End... It bothers me but I can't let it.. I read "Clear your clutter with Feng Shui" and "Wabi Sabi" two great books. Sometimes I think the waldorf inspired is coming from all the "crazy" (judged by us)  I want to take out of their experiences just in our house! And make the celebrations more special and clear. I can tell my kids (3 and 1) are really looking towards me, curious.. if all they see is a computer/TV watching, cleaner, waiter and driver, craft maker and shopper, EKk to me! This is where I am at.. about to change a whole lot this year!!! We pray once a day with a candle.. I sing when I push them on the swing and clean.. I can totally be more poetic.. and I also am relearning to pretend.

 

(Hopefully with all the more reading I do I can work on my grammar too. Sorry I am messy, catching a little break and those go so fast!)  

 

ETA: Prayers answered by Youtube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UWeNTFYgUg  <--- morning song from a Waldorf inspired Preschool Teacher with two boys! 


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#29 of 44 Old 01-14-2011, 02:23 PM
 
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Archetypal characters are things like: hero, villain, sidekick, trickster, mentor and so on. There's no reason why a superhero is any less archetypal a hero character than a knight. 

 

Miranda



 


Yes, I do see your point. I'm thinking on the fly here, and parsing out why it is I feel that OLD archetypes are the ones that are best. I just quickly looked up 'archetype' online and found the Wiki article, which is interesting. In the first page, the only examples are from folklore and myth. I think that, while 'superhero' could manage to fit the technical definition of archetype as the 'ultimate or greatest or the ideal' it misses the deeply ingrained realness of an archetype which is imprinted culturally by long use. I also think 'superhero' specifically is too much a construct of our time to really archetypical. Does that make sense?

I also feel that the older characters have had the edges of personification rubbed off by age. A knight is just a knight and could be.....anyone. We've all met a firefighter, so that image by necessity becomes loaded with specifics because of that. And I take issue with how watered-down the very notions of 'heroism', 'bravery', 'chivalry' have become. I think that 'once upon a time' makes a child freer to really explore those themes.

As the child becomes fully into his body and is ready for intellectual pursuits, the hero becomes more specific; Moses, Odin, Zeus. And to the pre-teen who is ready for it, the hero is personified in people who are accessible role models; Martin Luther King, Ghandi, etc. I like that balance and the way it honors the child's development from 1) hero I pretend to be, who, because he is non-specific can fit my little-childness, to 2) hero that I learn about, and 3) hero that teaches me and informs my own character. The movement through history through the grades is something I really like, too. It sort of matches the maturation of the child with the evolution of humankind as a spiritual race.

At least I think that's where the Steiner idea stems from. I'll bring this up next time I visit with my Waldorf mama friends and see what their insights are.

Thanks for your response.

EDited to correct for sick-baby-sleeping-in-lap-syndrome and auto-correct willfulness.

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#30 of 44 Old 01-14-2011, 03:02 PM
 
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Yes, I do see your point. I'm thinking on the fly here, and parsing out why it is I feel that OLD archetypes are the ones that are best. I just quickly looked up 'archetype' online and found the Wiki article, which is interesting. In the first page, the only examples are from folklore and myth. I think that, while 'superhero' could manage to fit the technical definition of archetype as the 'ultimate or greatest or the ideal' it misses the deeply ingrained realness of an archetype which is imprinted culturally by long use. I also think 'superhero' specifically is too much a construct of our time to really archetypical. Does that make sense? I also feel that the older characters have had the edges of personification rubbed off by age. A knight is just a knight and could be.....anyone. We've all met a firefighter, so that image by necessity becomes loaded with specifics because of that. And I take issue with how watered-down the very notions of 'heroism', 'bravery', 'chivalry' have become. I think that 'once upon a time' makes a child freer to really explore those themes.As the child becomes fully into his body and is ready for intellectual pursuits, the hero becomes more specific; Moses, Odin, Zeus. And to the pre-teen who is ready for it, the hero is personified in people who are accessible role models; Martin Luther King, Ghandi, etc. I like that balance and the way it honors the child's development from 1) hero I pretend to be, who, because he is non-specific can fit my little-childness, to 2) hero that I learn about, and 3) hero that teaches me and informs my own character. The movement through history through the grades is something I really like, too. It sort of matches the maturation of the child with the evolution of humankind as a spiritual race.At least I think that's where the Steiner idea stems from. I'll bring this up next time I visit with my Waldorf mama friends and see what their insights are.Thanks for your response. EDited to correct for sick-baby-sleeping-in-lap-syndrome and auto-correct willfulness.

Please blab more and more when you get a chance! I didn't quite get the first paragraph.. Thank you so much! 
 


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