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778 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Hollysmom
dd1 is just finishing her last year of kindergarten and it is time to sign contracts for the upcoming year. Dh and I both have decent jobs, but childcare costs for three children are pretty intense. Just to give a bit of background we transferred dd to Waldorf from public school last year because I so want a Waldorf education for my children. Dh was actually against moving her because she is a November baby and is now "a year behind" because the public school cut off is December 31.

So, the dilemma is we applied for a tuition adjustment and have received a reduction of about 28%(however that still leaves quite a large amount that has to be paid). Dh is actually much happier with the school now, but we are very concerned about our ability to pay tuition ongoing, especially if all 3 girls attend (which is what I want of course). Our options now are:

1)accept the adjustment and hope that we can continue to afford tuition going forward
2)appeal the adjustment and hope to get a further reduction in fees - which involves justification for the request and a formal interview
3)give up and send dd1 back to the public school she attended last year - "a year behind"

I am so torn. I really want dd1 to continue in Waldorf but ultimately I have to think of my entire family and our ability to afford tuition going forward.

I know no one can really tell me what to do, just wanted to vent and get some other opinions/thoughts.
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I just want to say that I can sympathize with what you are going through and we may have to cross that bridge ourselves. DS is extremely blessed to have a full paid scholarship to our school because of his past special needs issues. We are extremely grateful but I'm starting to think of DD coming up as she turns three. We are of very modest means and I'm a SAHM which means that if we had to pay even for one tuition we couldn't afford it..

To make a long story short DH is in civil engineering and was laid off after drastic pay cuts because of the current economy and can't find a job. Basically I can't see us making more money than he was before, even when he does find a job to finance DD's education there. So I'm struggling with what we do when that time comes. Do I keep DS in there since he has the luxury of a full paid scholarship and homeschool DD or put her in public school? I wonder if that would be awkward or if she would become resentful when visiting the school for community events.

For now we are just playing it by ear and giving DS the opportunity as long as we can. You never know what may come along or how your circumstances can change for the good or bad, kwim?

What I will probably do is use a Waldorf homeschool curriculum for DD when that time comes. There are some great ones out there. That seems like a happy medium if you can't afford the tuition.

Oh, and on a side note I have had a lot of cultural issues being one of the families who couldn't afford to send my child there if I had to. I notice a definitely difference in my lifestyle and the other families which can feel isolating...just something else to think about in your decision. Good luck.
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Why not go through the appeal -- explain what you said in your post, that you really want Waldorf but have three children to consider, etc. You can also ask if there is some service you could provide for an additional tuition discount -- our school recently started a work exchange program to receive tuition credits (mostly classroom cleaning, gardening hours, etc.) -- you could propose something like this if you're open to it.

I have a "build it and they will come" attitude about this -- my dh was skeptical about our ability to pay (we have two children) but I was so passionate about it we took the leap -- and what do you know, they were unexpectedly short a kindergarten assistant and I took the job -- it's exactly when my ds is in school so I didn't lose any time with him, and it paid for 75% of the tuition. There are lots of things out there to help that you don't know of yet!

No matter how many years you can afford, it's one more year your child/ren will get of Waldorf...
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There is also the fact that children do not need to go to preschool in order to function in school. If your child starts preschool at age three, that is two years worth of tuition that you would save if you waited until kindergarten. In PA, children are not required by law to begin attending school until the age of 8, so you can even skip kindergarten (and first and second grade!) here if you really want to. If I were very certain of wanting my children to go to a certain private school, I would most likely avoid sending them to preschool there so that I could send them for longer.
I'm guessing that since the OP said she is working that maybe she needs the kids in preschool for childcare. Otherwise I would totally agree. If we send DD, I won't send her until it is the final year of kindy for her in all probability.

Anyway, the PP did make a good point about work exchange. Although we don't have an official program like that at our school I know lots of parents who have made arrangements to volunteer around the office or offer some other talent to the school in exchange for tuition. One mom does lazure painting. Another one does some web design for the school's site. It sounds like you may have limited time if you are working but that is definitely an option to look into for the interim.
First, thanks for the responses.

Just to clarify I do WOH and we have a Nanny so we do not have plans to send dd2 & dd3 to preschool. Depending on how things go we may consider only sending dd2 for one year of Kindergarten instead of two. It will really depends on our situation when the time comes.

Oh and I think I am going to appeal so I'll keep you posted
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DUH, yeah, I forgot about WOHMs! Okay, IF it could be avoided when money is an issue, I would not send my kids to expensive preschool. IDK much about formal Waldorf education, why do they do 2 years of kindy? Is it 4 & 5 yr olds together in one class? I have heard the 2 yrs mentioned several times here and dont know anything about it!
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Yes, Waldorf kindergarten classes are generally a mix of 4 to 6 year olds. We live in Ontario Canada and our public school kindergartens are two years as well.
i hope you get more help!
unfortunately, i moved back to mexico and can´t afford waldorf, so my 3yo goes to a normal school and is fine. he likes it and i just try to adjust, no big deal i guess. if you can´t do waldorf school, do waldorf home...your kids will be fine!
just wanted to share my family's experience. we homeschooled with live ed for kindergarten, then took the leap to waldorf school, having faith that we'd manage a way to continue. we'd made big sacrifices for two years, then the third year, our tuition assistance was reduced (less money in the pot). we moved to a smaller place (which ended up being a disaster with us being homeless for two months) to try and afford it. my son was to be in third grade at the time. he ended up going to a public magnet montessori program which has been fantastic. however, third grade is one of the most difficult years to change over from waldorf as the academic gap is the largest. with two years at the montessori now, we have made the decision for next year to finally hold him back a year. luckily, he is in a multi-level grade classroom, so it won't be a big deal, but it could have been, certainly.

good luck, it is a very difficult decision.
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Thanks so much for your reply. You really hit on one of my biggest concerns. I am very aware that moving her between grades 1 and 4 is not a great idea. That is really why I want to be sure we are making the right decision.
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