Can we use Waldorf at home without teaching religion/Testament/Jewish studies? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 06-19-2011, 05:38 PM - Thread Starter
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  We are heading into grade 3, and have been using Waldorf-inspired homeschooling materials and lessons. So far, it has been a beautiful journey and I have felt comfortable with what we have done.

   All of the third grade studies I have found use Testament stories etc. in a major way. I understand the 9 year change and the need to address the issue of authority and obedience at this developmental level. But.....

-I don't want to teach religion to my little boy in such an intense way

-I don't want to focus in depth on Jewish history/traditions

-I want to expose him to the Bible and its stories later- much later. Like when he is interested in it and has the decision making ability to think through it himself and make his own choices and decide for himself what he believes.


Is all of this such a huge part of Waldorf from here on in?

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#2 of 10 Old 06-19-2011, 06:37 PM
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As I understand it, the Waldorf style takes one historical period and studies it intensely in every way for one year. So that over the years the kids study intensely a number of times/ groups. I think having a good understanding of Bible stories leads to a greater understanding of modern literature, outside of the religious implications, and you can choose to treat it like a myth instead of fact if you choose.

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#3 of 10 Old 06-21-2011, 01:20 AM
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I agree that Bible stories have literature value, and we're "waldorfy" not devotees. But I don't see why you couldn't replace some of the bible aspects. If you don't want to teach "lives of the saints", for example, find a similar-less religious- collection of biographies. Or trade out greek, chinese, or norse myths for some of the bible stories. My understanding of Steiner, is that the way they learn is more important than the actual material, as long as it's high quality and age appropriate.


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#4 of 10 Old 06-21-2011, 02:11 PM
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ENKI Grade 3 is coming out the end of this week.  It includes the Torah unit but also the Haudenosaunee Cultural Units Book. 


This was is what is written for Grade 3 that you get:


"We know that many of you are ready to move on to Grade Three and we have been working to complete the Grade Three Materials. However, because of the recent computer crash and viral infection, some of the final version has been corrupted. Therefore, at this point we are offering an electronic version, and will list the contents of that below. We are excited to be able to offer this groundbreaking work.
> >
> > The price for this version reflects that it is in printable electronic format and not finalized, and, when we are able to offer the hard copy in final form, you will be offered that version at the "package completion" price.

 Grade Three Teaching Guide, full, updated and final, in Hard copy
> >
> > - Instruction Manual (digital) including sample schedules, and instructions for teaching Language Arts, Math, and Science.
> >
> > - Torah Cultural Units Book (digital) including all stories for teaching the unit, crafts, music and dance CD and DVD, Hebrew language piece CD, festivals, history of the Hebrew people, academic links and contemplative interpretations of the stories.
> >
> > - Haudenosaunee Cultural Units Book (digital), including all stories for teaching the unit, craft listings and basic directions, outlines of festivals, music and dance CD and DVD, Mohawk Language Piece CD, outline of history of the Haudenosaunee people, academic links and contemplative interpretations in draft form.
> >
> > - Support: you will have access to the Grade Three Holistic Families online group, hosted by Angie and in which I participate to help you navigate the shift to the Theme Studies Structure used in the upper grades. You will be invited to join the monthly call for Grades 3 - 5.
> >
> > - Pricing: The Returner's Package in printable digital form with hard copy of the Teaching Guide and Music and Dance CD's and DVD's is $500. The package completion price for the finalized hard copy will be $150.

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#5 of 10 Old 06-22-2011, 03:12 AM
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We're heading into our 3rd grade year, too...and I was also not at all looking forward to the Old Testament stuff!!!


Waldorf has been so good for us until now, though, that I decided I would give it a great deal of thought and attention before deciding what to do. It helped me to read WHY Steiner felt these stories were so important for a child of this age...and there really is quite a lot written on the topic...probably more for this year than for others! The Old Testament block is really approached as world literature...and it really is hard to argue with their importance on that level at least. So many other works reference these stories! Are you familiar with the "Our little nature nest" blog? It may help you to look back on her 3rd grade posts...I believe she had similar reservations about this grade, but you get a little glimpse into how it played out in the end. :-)


I've decided to TRUST and just go with the stories...Jakob Streit's version. We'll see how it goes. I am not approaching them at all from a religious angle, and we are not doing and extra Hebrew/Jewish least not unless DS asks for it. Not all schools/homeschoolers include that element. These stories are important to 3 major world religions, there is no reason to have to focus strictly on the Jewish element.


If you absolutely do NOT want to go there...I have heard of others focusing on creation stories from all over the world..all cultures. That could be fun, I think.


good luck!

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#6 of 10 Old 06-22-2011, 11:19 AM
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I just wanted to stress the fact that you never have to blindly follow any curriculum or leader.

People get so caught up in specifics of an education style and feel like it's an "all or nothing" deal when that's not the case.

Do what works for your family and your child. Period. You don't have to justify it or explain anything, just pick something else.


You can still follow a philosophy's methods and/or teachings without compromising your beliefs. If this was the case, it's not a positive or healthy philosophy to follow.


So pick some other stories or just use some of them and treat them as "stories" and not religion as was mentioned. After all, they ARE all stories in one way or another. Some just believe they are fiction and some think they are non-fiction.


Just had to throw in my .02 because I've been reading these types of concerns a lot lately.



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#7 of 10 Old 06-22-2011, 06:32 PM
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I was into Waldorf ideas for awhile, but decided I was too much of an unschooler for that.  So, you can teach your kids whatever whenever however you want.  However, a note from the Christopherus folks reminded buyers of their curriculum that "Waldorf-inspired" is NOT the same as Waldorf.  To "do" Waldorf, you stick with the curriculum.  Add to that, considering Waldorf's origins (German, no homeschooling/ schooling kids for the greater good of the community) WALDORF AT HOME IS NOT A TRUE STEINER EDUCATION.


OK, now that I've got those points out of the way, the unschooler in me returns and says "WHATEVER"!   thumbsup.gif

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#8 of 10 Old 06-27-2011, 11:32 PM
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This is something struggle with as well. But someone pointed out to me that I haven issues teach Norse myths, or about the Greek gods, no trouble teaching Egyptian stories only the bible ones. And it became apparent that this was MY issue. That for some reason teaching the myths of 'other' religions was okay but teaching the christen myths wasn't In my mind.

Who says teaching about the bible is teaching them religion anymore then teaching them the story of Loki? We as adults see the bible under 'religion'

Instead think if it and treat it just as you would any other myth teaching lesson. Choose the stories YOU think are appropriate and teach it just as you would the stories of Thor or Athena. Living in American we have a judo-christen culture so it is important to reconixe and understand these stories. And they don't have to be taught as 'truth' unless You choose to present it as such.

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#9 of 10 Old 07-03-2011, 05:59 AM
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I am hardly a Waldorf expert, but might it be possible for you to use the rest of your curriculum, and then substitute in history/mythology lessons that focus on a single period, so they fit in with the Waldorf idea without the religion focus?


Maybe something like History Odyssey? (  - looks like it's made for a WTM approach, but it has the global reach and period focus it sounds like you are looking for.

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#10 of 10 Old 07-10-2011, 03:21 PM
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I have been thinking about this too and reading up a lot and planning our third grade year, too. It's my understanding that "the fall" or being cast out of the garden is studied because it mirrors what kids are going through this age, kind of a loss of innocence or awakening to see that there isnsuffering and trials in thisnworld, working from the sweat ofnyour brow and all that, the emphasis on house building, shelters, and the Hebrews looking for home is important because this year the kids are trying to find their place. Self- sufficiency with the textiles, cooking, farming, and shelters because the child learns she can provide for herself while going through this tough "alone in the wilderness" phase.

I read somewhere that as long as these a addressed that the actual blocks and content may look ver different-- sorry been reading lots on this and cant remember where I found this.

There are many native american stories that deal with these same subjects. We will be doing some of the OT stories but drawing a lot from the NA stories, probably equally or maybe even more of an emphasis. Creating a culture of earth stewardship is really important to me, and I think the NA stories will help us get there.

I've also been thinking about the story of Odysseus maybe, since his journey and hardships might parallel the OT stuff. Hercules? Disallowed from Olympus and then his labors?

I haven't decided which OT stories we will use yet. Some of the stories are so violent! I am reading Spider Woman's Web which I found marked down and has some relevant NA stories that I'm definitely going to use. It's a really great book that I'd recommend!

I'll be watching this topic and I'm really interested in others' take.

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