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Brittaya
08-20-2011, 10:00 PM
So I have a few Waldorf books (I bought when I was pregnant and didn't really take a good look at until now), and I've been trying to rid my home of all the electronic crap toys that inhibit creativity and learning. Waldorf sounded interesting to me because I like the idea of natural toys (like wooden blocks and clay) and music and crochet/knitting. So I went to do a google search today for some more ideas and I came across a website about how Waldorf schools are some sort of cult (http://waldorfcritics.org/). I mean obviously that only applies to Waldorf schools, and not homeschooling, but now I'm kind of wondering what it's all about. I still think I'm going to do some of the ideas like creative play and natural things (minus the "spiritual" component). Does anyone else know more about Waldorf?

farrarwilliams
08-20-2011, 10:09 PM
Well, I certainly think so.:^o):

Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. Cult is a really strong word. But I have very little regard for Waldorf.

SmrtMama had a really good post about Waldorf (http://smrtlernins.com/2010/11/16/ask-a-smrt-homeschooler-about-the-waldorf-method/) that sums up pretty much how I feel about it. Gee, I really miss that blog being blogged.

dbmamaz
08-20-2011, 10:32 PM
Yeah, i dont think its a real cult, its just something people can get really obsessive about, like its THE answer. Like wooden toys vs plastic toys are going to make a huge difference in what kind of people their babies turn in to. It wont, but it wont hurt anything. If it makes you feel good about your home and your family, i dont see any harm in it. Just try to realize that there are many paths to the top of the mountain.

Brittaya
08-20-2011, 10:54 PM
Well I don't think there is one right way.. I just think my kids spend too much time pressing the same button over and over watching things light up and play the same annoying song to the point where I wonder what they're getting out of "free play" time. So when I saw the bit about "creative play" I was interested but now I'm not so sure.. That's why I figured I'd ask here, you guys seem to know everything ;)

farrarwilliams
08-20-2011, 11:09 PM
See, I think there are lots of ways to the top of the mountain, but I don't really see Waldorf as a particularly legitimate philosophy. No black crayons? Children not allowed to read until they lose their baby teeth? That weird dance thing? Forcing children to believe in fairies? There are lots of educational philosophies out there that I don't believe in myself (say, Montessori, or full on classical, or unschooling...) but which I think are totally legitimate ways to approach education. They're just not for me or my kids. On the other hand, Waldorf? No. You've got to call a spade a spade at some point. I'm okay with nature and handicrafts and all, but the philosophy is just not right.

Brittaya
08-20-2011, 11:09 PM
Ok wow now that I have read that blog, that is scary. Yikes. The books I have just explain how to make toys and whatever, I thought it was a neat idea.. I thought it was like Oak Meadow? Oak Meadow looks kind of neat.. Is that the same kind of thing? If so I'm out. Man, I have to do more reading. I just want to find something that emphasizes nature and respecting the earth. I don't want anything that has to do with a cult..

farrarwilliams
08-20-2011, 11:12 PM
I don't know a ton about Oak Meadow. My understanding is that it's more Waldorf-influenced than real Waldorf. I personally have such a "back away" reaction about Waldorf that I wouldn't consider using it (thus the not knowing much about it).

Brittaya
08-20-2011, 11:35 PM
I don't blame you, that's some scary stuff. I'm glad I asked. Clearly that's not what I had in mind at all. And now that I read more I'm thinking it sounds like scientology almost. Scientology scares the wits out of me.

laundrycrisis
08-20-2011, 11:40 PM
I don't know that I would call it a cult, but it is an esoteric philosophy that has obsession potential. Some people can get way into it. I think some schools are more into it than others....but I know at some it is a very casual link to anthroposophy and the kids still watch TV and play with Happy Meal toys after school. The Waldorfers I know I don't think are really deep in the philosophy. They are somewhat preoccupied with recorder playing, natural wool, organic cotton clothing, and flowing art in sort of lucid colors.

Speaking of which, I am going to have our kids try form drawing this year ! And I have two recorders on the closet shelf (it's a lot harder than I thought it would be.) And I've been doing yoga poses in the early mornings ! I will have to be careful not to get sucked into the cosmic vortex ;)

Brittaya
08-20-2011, 11:48 PM
Haha laundrycrisis, I teach my kids to meditate (helps them calm down when they start a tantrum) and respect the earth, that kind of stuff, I guess we're a bit "new-agey". But not I'm not into banning the colour black and talking about how only blond people are smart (one of the quotes from that blog farrar linked). That freaks me out.

jazz
08-20-2011, 11:56 PM
I just read the SmrtMama post, and I've read WaldorfCritics pretty thoroughly in the past. I consider us Waldorf-inspired homeschoolers, and my daughter attends a one day a week program at the local Waldorf school. That said, she's going into second grade and reading well, and we started early, we use computer-based reading and math curricula. We use black crayons too. I'm pretty sure the ones she brought home from Waldorf school at the end of the year included black... hmmm... not sure I can dig them out at the moment though.

We use some stories and songs from Enki and some from Oak Meadow. I use Moving Beyond the Page (which is definitely not Waldorf), but put our work into a main lesson book, do a lot more art and drawing about the topics, and wherever possible, I try to tie in some fairy tale/folktale type stories related to the concepts. The teacher at the Waldorf school knows what type of learning DD is doing at home, and everything has been fine, but this school has a relatively lax media policy as well I believe. I also love that its a multi-age class, so there's a broad range of abilities in different subjects.

I don't think I would do a full-time Waldorf school because of concerns about things like SmrtMama mentioned, but this works for us. I think some of the anthroposophy ideas are silly, but I have a background in Wicca, which can have some equally silly ideas in my experience. So it doesn't particularly bother me personally.

I find value in Enki's use of fables and myths from around the world in place of Grimm's fairy tales only in conventional Waldorf; and I find that we do a fair amount of talking about some of them from the perspective that some people believe these gods and goddess to exist today as well; some people believed this person really existed/event really happened; and how tales grow to be tall tales, that they might be true in some part or could teach truths about a particular religion.

I definitely think you can be Waldorf-inspired without any ties to anthroposophy. I think Enki is the least tied to traditional Waldorf. Oak Meadow, Live Ed, and Christopherus are the other Waldorf-inspired ones I know. I've only used a book here or there of Oak Meadow, and have never used the other two, so I have no advice on them. I'm mostly using a non-Waldorf curriculum we love and incorporating some of the art, fables/fairy-tales, and lesson book concepts from Waldorf that I admire.

Jilly
08-21-2011, 12:05 AM
My twins went to a Waldorf school for Kindergarten. We lasted two months, and then I pulled them. It seemed very cultish to me, and I was not comfortable having my children in that environment.

Brittaya
08-21-2011, 12:10 AM
Thank you for commenting jazz, we're wiccan as well (and I agree some of the stories are quite silly) which is why the "natural" thing appeals to me. I think I'm probably going to go with my own curriculum in the end, I'm just hoping to find places to draw inspiration from. I'm definitely not going to delay reading, I'm planning on starting when they show readiness.

jazz
08-21-2011, 12:22 AM
If your kids are little and you want some basic ideas, there's also Seasons of Joy by a Waldorf-inspired homeschooling mom. I've used ideas off her blog, although she's fairly Christian focused it was easy to overlook, but I haven't tried her books. Could be good for general inspiration. http://naturalfamily.50megs.com/whats_new.html

Oh, and I think some schools can be very anthroposophy tied and cultish, and some aren't. Not sure what skews one direction or the other, but in our city we have 3 waldorf schools-- one very established, anthroposophy-tied school, one just getting their feet wet school that doesn't seem to be sure what it's doing, and the one my daughter does the homeschool-program at, which is more funky, artsy (more diverse as well) and less anthroposophy-tied.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
08-21-2011, 08:46 AM
Not that this answers the OP's question... the family across the street sends their kids to a Waldorf school. One day, the boys came over to play with my daughter while I was doing yard work in the front yard. The older one, who is eight or nine, was peppering me with questions about public school--when do kids learn to read, use the computer, etc. It occured to me later that I may have unwittingly committed subtle educational sabotage. :)

I had a nice chat with the mom when they moved in a year ago, but we haven't really talked since then. Now I feel like she's been giving me the stink eye whenever I say hello. I don't know if she doesn't like me or the kids or she's offended that we didn't stop and talk more (we're usually rushing off somewhere when I see them outside, it seems). Oh, well.

I have a friend who incorporates the crafts, nature-based activities and fairy tales of Waldorf into her homeschooling. I prefer Charlotte Mason's nature studies myself.

kewb22
08-21-2011, 09:33 AM
I think true waldorf followers are cult like. My neighbor sent her son to a Waldorf school for 2 years and they bought into it in a big way. When it reached the point that we couldn't have the tv on in our house when they were over that was it for me. In all honesty, at the age she was sending him (pre-k & k) we rarely had the tv on when the kids had company because we wanted the kids to play but to come into my home and tell me what I could and could not do, well, it ticked me off a bit. She had to go and take eurythmy classes, they got rid of their tv and their computer. They got rid of all the kids plastic and electornic toys. Cold Turkey. The teacher came and did a home visit or two. They started socializing only with other Waldorf families because it was easier to be with people who were doing what they were doing and they didn't have to worry about the outside influences of electronics at friend's homes. In the end, their child was getting bullied (he has special needs that the school is not equipped to handle) and he was not having a good waldorf experience so they removed him from the school.

I found the no black crayon thing bizarre and when I did further research I was not comfortable with Steiner's blatant anti-semitism. I am ok with no electronics/computers in the school if that is the school's philosophy but don't tell me waht to do when my child is not in school.


That said, there are things about Waldorf I like. Their focus on nature, the hand crafts, the storytelling. I incorporate the things I like. I used Oak Meadow for science last year and my kids really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. We will be using it this year for Science as well. My 8th grader will be using their Civics course and their English course. So far, I have not found any of the cultish and/or bizarre things that bother me about the schools in the Oak Meadow materials. Only time will tell.

Brittaya
08-21-2011, 10:16 AM
Wow. We don't watch much tv to begin with but I don't think I'd ever get rid of it. And there's no way I'd give up my computer. Plus there's nothing wrong with having electronic and plastic toys (for us anyway) as long as they have some creative/building toys. I read somewhere that they hate Lego. How could someone hate Lego? It's one of the most creative toys.

dbmamaz
08-21-2011, 10:38 AM
Some of the moms in my moms group have written long, whiney, miserable posts because their mothers bought a plastic toy for their baby . . . sometimes you just want to smack them and say, YOUR MOTHER bought your baby A PRESENT!! A PRESENT!! How can you be furious and hurt about that? I'm also baffled on how much money they are willing to spend on wooden frames and hand died silk cloth for creative play. Because you cant be creative unless you pay large sums of money for the exact same items everyone else is using for creative play, right?

but i do think that for some people its just a good fit for their personalities.

Brittaya
08-21-2011, 11:00 AM
Lol that is sad. I'm actually making their toys with my yarn scraps and extra fabric.. I was thinking cheap/free is better and all the love that goes into making something for someone you love. Also I just tell family members the only presents we need is their presence. If they buy something then I'm grateful because they didn't have to. Some people have a sense of entitlement though. I don't see what's to whine about, if they aren't going to use the toy they could teach their kid about the less fortunate and give it to charity.

Yeah I'm not sure waldorf is what I was looking for and it's definitely not what I thought it was. Thanks for your help everyone.

skrink
08-21-2011, 11:44 AM
A bit off topic here...




SmrtMama had a really good post about Waldorf (http://smrtlernins.com/2010/11/16/ask-a-smrt-homeschooler-about-the-waldorf-method/) that sums up pretty much how I feel about it. Gee, I really miss that blog being blogged.

I miss this too, and reading through her Waldorf post and comments makes me remember why!

bcnlvr
08-21-2011, 12:16 PM
What Farrar said. :)

bcn

Amanadoo
08-21-2011, 12:21 PM
Yes! Waldorf was a non starter for us just because of how expensive everything is! Not to mention the creepy sameness of everything. I was lucky to read a post somewhere (that I can not find atm) from a Jewish mother about why Waldorf would not work with her philosophy early into my HS research....I can tell it is something I might have otherwise been really really drawn to.

Sheets make as good of capes/forts/whatever as play silks! Almost every play thing they espouse can be made, found or re-purposed SO MUCH cheaper than the official Waldorf doo-hidleys.

dbmamaz
08-21-2011, 01:16 PM
Of course, I did make simple cloth dolls for my kids when they were young - well, the older two anyways. I was a sahm with very limited funds, and it worked. I guess actually I made one for my son first, dont remember when I got the idea, but I put a bell (which i already had) in the head, made tufts of hair from yarn, made a very simple face, and the legs and arms were unstuffed so they were easier for him to grab - he was maybe 6 months? maybe 3? I gave it away a year later to someone who brougth a baby to the house. I had made a slightly less simple one for my daughter, who would have been 3 or 4. she was very impressed (note, i cant sew, it was all hand stitched with no pattern) . . . she liked it for maybe 2 years.

farrarwilliams
08-21-2011, 01:24 PM
I sort of get why the Waldorf toys are expensive. They're fair trade and being made here by skilled people. They're really works of art. But... I don't know that they're worth it. Making toys yourself, totally worth it, of course.

And, Baconlover, you're cracking me up.

dottieanna29
08-21-2011, 05:40 PM
I agree with Farrar about both Waldorf and the SmrtLernins blog. I think she was taking a break for the summer and will be back to posting soon (at least I hope so).

I went to a playdate with a mom following the Waldorf toy guidelines but she did have one rubber (plastic? latex? what are they made of anyway?) ball and a Wow Wow Wubzy doll. We ended up having very little in common - my son was wearing a Phineas and Ferb shirt and my dd probably Tinkerbell. ;-)

Penguin
08-21-2011, 05:42 PM
I do think Waldorf is kind of cult-like.

There is a beautiful Waldorf school in our community, on a forested property with trails, lovely wooden building, fantastic natural playground. The kids spend lots of time outdoors, digging in sand and dirt and playing with water in a trickle of a stream, building things, hiking in the woods. They hold festivals related to the seasons and invite the whole community and they're a wonderful old-fashioned traditional sort of thing, like the Maypole dance, for example. I know a lot of people who send their kids there and are really really into it. And the more into it they get, the less we see of them.

We actually considered it because the atmosphere, the place and the community are all very attractive. We fit in in many ways with the superficial appearances of Waldorf -- we don't have a TV (haven't the entire time we've been together, although we have plenty of computers); we have always tried to avoid the majority of battery operated plastic toys since the kids were babies (although we've always ended up with some and that's OK); I like open-ended toy ideas like rocks and fabric (we dyed our own cheap silks with Kool-Aid) and natural wooden blocks (we made our own when DH was cutting down trees in our forest -- like, seriously, people pay $50 for some bits of wood with the bark still on???); I am a very hand-crafty person and like to knit, sew, needle-felt etc. and have made toys for the kids and am eager for them to learn to make things too.

But a little research into the background of anthroposophy really freaked me out. They don't like TV because they think a demon called Ahriman is controlling it? They think learning handcrafts is important because it strengthens the fingers which in turn decreases tooth decay??? The reasons behind some of their "policies" are really quite disturbing. I spent a lot of time a couple of years ago reading through the openwaldorf.com site which smartmama links to a couple of times in her (very well-written) article. It is apparently a pro-Waldorf site, and yet that's where I found some of the craziest ideas, with links to the original Steiner texts.

And besides all of that, the delayed academics and the dictated words and copied drawings in the main lesson books really annoys me. My just-turned 7yo can read better now than the 11yo Waldorf-educated mother's helper I had a few years ago. She couldn't read words like "enormous."

I have done a parent/child class with each of my boys there, because I like the early childhood teacher and the gentle atmosphere of music and stories/puppet show for very small children. But I won't leave my kids alone with them.

LagniappeAcademy
08-21-2011, 05:46 PM
I think of it like every other method/style . . . take what works for you and leave what doesn't. We do a little bit of everything. From what I've read from Steiner (a lot of problems come from extreme interpretations of what the man has said) & Waldorf ed, everything has a purpose or a a reason for being done a particular way and it's all based on child development studies. I don't always agree with it, but usually I can see where they're coming from if I look hard enough. That said, I've heard Waldorf teachers say that you wouldn't hold down a child who was trying to walk and tell them they couldn't do that until x date on the calendar. Same for reading. There are ideals and guidelines, but I take offense at any kind of strict rules. I think it all comes down to the individuals involved. It doesn't have to be cultish, but (sadly) sometimes I guess it's made to be that way.

I will say that the stories and form drawing have worked brilliantly for us, and we love our weekly painting sessions.
We take what works and leave the rest.

Stella M
08-21-2011, 06:00 PM
Yes, but they have the best art and craft supplies/ideas! We are ex-Waldorf :)

dbmamaz
08-21-2011, 06:22 PM
But a little research into the background of anthroposophy really freaked me out. They don't like TV because they think a demon called Ahriman is controlling it? They think learning handcrafts is important because it strengthens the fingers which in turn decreases tooth decay??? The reasons behind some of their "policies" are really quite disturbing. I spent a lot of time a couple of years ago reading through the openwaldorf.com site which smartmama links to a couple of times in her (very well-written) article. It is apparently a pro-Waldorf site, and yet that's where I found some of the craziest ideas, with links to the original Steiner texts. .
Hmm, i guess I didnt know (or chose to forget) those details


And besides all of that, the delayed academics and the dictated words and copied drawings in the main lesson books really annoys me. My just-turned 7yo can read better now than the 11yo Waldorf-educated mother's helper I had a few years ago. She couldn't read words like "enormous.".
I had heard that kids woh went to the waldorf school near charlottesville usually needed to be in remedial classes if they tried to return to public school. I also had heard some of them were really rude, refusing to help when asked. That was my first negative opinion


I have done a parent/child class with each of my boys there, because I like the early childhood teacher and the gentle atmosphere of music and stories/puppet show for very small children. But I won't leave my kids alone with them.
It seems the majority of the moms in my (attachment parenting/natura parenting) group are in love with the local waldorf schools . .. but you really crack me up!

Stella M
08-21-2011, 06:53 PM
I do think you can take the Waldorf style out of Waldorf and use that. When we quit Waldorf school I still used lots of storytelling, nature tables, singing, art and craft that was Steiner in origin. We just did it without the Steiner brainwashing...wean that baby! TV is evil! Don't let her read! Bring your lunch in a basket! Don't speak while playgroup is on! Mothers should craft quietly whilst the children play! Etc. My eldest does have very fond memories of her year in Steiner school though. She was only 3 and the quiet, muted, peaceful atmosphere in the preschool class suited her much better than the traditional preschool she went to the year after.

dbmamaz
08-21-2011, 07:08 PM
Yeah, i should say that the main reason I never considered waldorf was because my kids were early readers, and i'm so unartistic, it just seemed like a bad fit. Most of the waldorfy moms I know are very crafty and they just love it

dottieanna29
08-21-2011, 07:22 PM
One of my oldest daughter's close friends went to what they call "Tree Hugger School" but her parents pulled her out after a few years because they didn't think she was getting a good education. It had to be pretty bad for the public school she currently goes to be better.

JEJordan9
08-22-2011, 08:45 AM
I do think you can take the Waldorf style out of Waldorf and use that. When we quit Waldorf school I still used lots of storytelling, nature tables, singing, art and craft that was Steiner in origin. We just did it without the Steiner brainwashing...wean that baby! TV is evil! Don't let her read! Bring your lunch in a basket! Don't speak while playgroup is on! Mothers should craft quietly whilst the children play! Etc. My eldest does have very fond memories of her year in Steiner school though. She was only 3 and the quiet, muted, peaceful atmosphere in the preschool class suited her much better than the traditional preschool she went to the year after.

That is what we do! We also do the Martinmas Lantern walk--because it's fun! My girls get excited about doing little things like that. I borrow a lot of ideas from different methods of homeschooling and bring it to our homeschool. It works well for us!

pnctink
08-22-2011, 10:53 AM
Thanks for linking to that blog! I love it! I had the same feelings towards Waldorf. Loved the idea of so many arts, handicrafts, nature being so important, but the rest was like, "They want us to do whaaaaat?!?." So many rules and restrictions. That's when we also settled on Charlotte Mason.

Brittaya
08-22-2011, 12:50 PM
Yeah, I think I am going to take what I like (the crafts etc.) and leave the rest. I am one of those crafty/nature mamas so we're definitely going to be doing crafts and that kind of thing. I was looking at CM too, I think in the end we're just going to end being "eclectic" with bits of this and that.

dbmamaz
08-22-2011, 01:15 PM
Woot! Eclectic rules! I mean, um, if you like that sort of thing, of course . . . .

Brittaya
08-22-2011, 05:53 PM
I really do. :) whatever works right?

jenbrdsly
08-22-2011, 08:04 PM
My apologies if somebody already mentioned this, but what I can't get past is that some Waldorf schools won't let you let your kids listen to music until they learn to produce it themselves. Not even classical music!

Stella M
08-22-2011, 08:12 PM
Dd listened to music when she was in Steiner preschool, but it was - don't laugh, I was young and foolish when I sent her there - special lyre music.

notebookmom
08-24-2011, 08:31 PM
Regarding Oak Meadow and Waldorf -

We are wrapping up OM K, and I've definitely decided not to continue with it. The science is all story and fairytale based. My daughter loves the Elsa Beskow and Root Children stories, but she's also scientifically inclined. She doesn't believe fairies make the weather even if it's fun to read about it. So the "science" lessons are virtually useless. The main reason we used it was because she needed a very gentle, whole child approach to the alphabet, and in that it succeeded. I'm AM glad that I got it because I now have some resources and background in things like wet paper painting.

The thing is that Oak Meadow is much faster academically than Waldorf, which just blows my mind. Oak Meadow K goes at a snail's pace. I have a hard time believing any child would be stimulated in a pure Steiner environment for long unless there's something "else" going on. Like I've heard that the swirly drawings they have children do are a kind of trance thing...

Greenmother
08-25-2011, 12:25 AM
The biggest turn off for me with the oak meadow stuff was the music. I love music, don't get me wrong, but it's not something I do even remotely well. As far as faeries and the like. I really enjoy good paranormal and cryptozoological stuff, but I would feel just as uncomfortable insisting on belief in those as I would in Jesus or any other supernatural being. I would rather teach kids the basics about the natural world and let that other material rise to the surface on it's own time [if it ever does]. Otherwise you are turning their perception of the world into something premised on the power of suggestion.

That just gives me the creeps.

But for obsession--that doesn't surprise me. I don't know what Waldorf stuff is--as in I never studied the actual philosophy, but I will say the descriptions here, seems reminiscent of Rudolph Steiner, from the bit of material I have covered about him and his take on reality.

Penguin
08-25-2011, 12:45 AM
That's it exactly, Greenmother. Rudolf Steiner founded the Waldorf schools. Their entire educational philosophy is based on his writings and anthroposophy. And they follow it religiously, science and all, even though it's all ~100 years old.

jenbrdsly
08-25-2011, 11:09 AM
Okay, we can't talk about Rudolf Steiner without mentioning Alexander McCall Smith's hysterically funny series 44 Scotland Street (http://www.44scotlandstreet.co.uk/). You have to check it out from the library! There is this little boy Bertie in the series who goes to a Steiner school and has classmates named "Tofu". Bertie's mom forces him to paint his room pink, and won't let him join Boy Scouts. Has anyone else read this series? It's for adults, btw.

Penguin
08-25-2011, 02:41 PM
Hadn't read it, but I do love Alexander McCall Smith. I just put it on hold at the library. Thanks for suggesting!

jessica14
08-25-2011, 07:12 PM
I just read a book about Waldorf and I liked many of the overall ideas, but then it went into the whole spirituality thing and I just couldn't really finish it. I have to say that the book did not cover a lot of what the blog that Farrar posted mentioned. Maybe it was just a happy-go-lucky picture of it without all the controversy. The whole no black or brown was not mentioned. Definately wouldn't fly in my house-my kids are Chinese, my son already had a complex about being brown.

We have a friend with a very bright niece that is in Waldorf. It's terrible if this very bright child can't read yet! Also, she told me that she doesn't know Disney because they have to believe in the Waldorf faries. Again, none of this in the book.

Good blog post! Definately filled me in on what the book didn't!

notebookmom
08-25-2011, 08:42 PM
The block crayons that come with Oak Meadow K kits are Waldorf crayons, and they don't have a black or brown. I looked that up after getting the box because I was just curious about the color selection (green, blue, red, red-orange, orange, purple, yellow, and orange-yellow). Disturbing.

At a practical level, my daughter finds this pretty frustrating since she likes to draw a deer in just about every picture. Tree trunks always end up purple or red-orange. She loves the block crayons though and wants to use only them for her work. She definitely writes out her letters with greater ease with them. It's frustrating when you see all the things that work and are of high quality but the undertones and intentions are offensive or pure rubbish.


And I think the key thing to keep in mind about Waldorf is that it is NOT secular.

Greenmother
08-26-2011, 12:47 AM
I know as a child, I didn't care for the black crayons. Not that I didn't like to use the color, but black crayons always smeared really bad, even if that was the only color, and they blended more readily with the other colors causing them to look dirty or muddy. But that is an aesthetic, and not any kind of weird racial commentary or cultural thing.

No brown? No Earth Tone? WTH?! Brown and Black are very spiritual colors. The Prima-mater, certainly Steiner knew that, which makes me wonder about his take on Women and the feminine sphere in general.

And only Waldorf faeries? I bet he would have a cow about the Un-Seelie court then. Definitely not your cutesie little bug people making frost bunnies that's for sure.

Stella M
08-26-2011, 01:20 AM
The bits with Bertie and his mother are the best part of the books! Hilarious but sort of tragic at the same time :)

I actually thought the thing with black is to do with the method of drawing taught. They don't want the kids to draw an outline and colour it in, like a colouring page; you are meant to use blocks of colour to construct a drawing. there are browns and dark browns in my Stockmar crayon box :)

When we did Steiner ( nobody calls it Waldorf here ) the fairy/gnome stuff was definitely just a story. There wasn't any sense that we were meant to believe in fairies. There was all sorts of other craziness though :)

Greenmother
08-26-2011, 11:32 AM
Maybe it's some American thing then? Of course you know there are people out there that can turn anything good or interesting into something weird. Sorry if I sound all poopy about that. No offense to Oak Meadow or the Waldorf schools. If it works then carry on! And it must or people wouldn't be paying all this money to keep using these programs.

notebookmom
08-26-2011, 04:04 PM
Oh I'd say Oak Meadow is secular, btw. They just borrow a lot from Waldorf, esp in the early years. It's just way too slow and not science intensive enough (at least K-2) for our family. If they put out stand alone craft and art currics, I'd snap them up every year.

Stella M
08-26-2011, 04:37 PM
It's probably well suited to home school with, 'cos you can take out all the madness and keep the art and crafts and the storytelling :)

Slightly OT, but the anti-Waldorf can get quite cultish too. I used to be on a Catholic h/s forum, seeing if I could get my faith back - ha!- and was there when the great Waldorf coup took place. The founder of this forum - well known in h/s circles - was kicked out by a group of anti-Waldorfians because she uses Waldorf art supplies and gnomes to teach Kindy math ( The gnome's gems are the math manipulatives.)

Man, were those mama's mean! Every second post was something from the Vatican telling you how using Lyra pencils was a sin and leads you straight to hell. The forum split over the issue; beeswax -using mamas left and followed Elizabeth to her new forum and the anti-Waldorfians were left to triumph over their somewhat depleted but spiritually intact forum.

farrarwilliams
08-26-2011, 06:37 PM
The fairy thing was what first made me go, WTF??? with Waldorf. A friend's cousins, who she lived with, were at a Waldorf school. All the way up until they were about 12 or so, they believed the fairies were real!!! My friend was like, it's completely insane! She felt really bad for them when they went to public school and basically were mocked for it, at which point, I think they all immediately wised up.

Any kind of dogmatic thinking bothers me. That's really too bad, Melissa about the anti-Waldorfians. On our list (which I mod!) there were something like three different Waldorf homeschooling groups trying to form earlier this year. I personally can't stand Waldorf and I don't get why sooooo many people around here seem to be so attracted to it. But I kept my mouth shut.

Stella M
08-26-2011, 07:45 PM
Because the wax crayons and the beeswax and the nature tables and the little fairies are sweet, that's why! People are attracted to Steiner because it appears gentle. The classrooms are really beautiful, and a lot of people respond to the aesthetic.

Greenmother
08-26-2011, 08:31 PM
They were seriously divided other whether or not using BeesWax crayons were okay, because the Waldorfians used them? That is seriously messed up. What do they think crayons were made of before petroleum products were ever present? Yak Wax?

I can see where the Faerie stuff would appeal to Pagans and the like. It's part of their belief system, especially with some of the non-scholarly books out on the subject [sorry forced to read them for educational purposes].

Whatever. People and their kids believe in all sorts of stuff. The crazy Dutch version of Santa Clause blew my mind {have a friend that moved there and filled me in on that one}, and the Xmas Witch Befana in Sicily--Santa? Nope, Xmas Witch. How bizarre is that?

Kids are just plain mean in PS anyhow and will mock another kid for anything that seems different or new. So I am pretty sure they were doomed just by re-entering the PS system. New Kid= Target. Being Different means the Target has velcro and glue on it.

So the kids believe in Faeries, is that really any more strange or illogical than a dude that came back to life in a cave after being dead for 3 days? Or believing in transubstantiation of the host? All things being equal, whose really got the market cornered on Ye Old Magick?

notebookmom
08-26-2011, 08:39 PM
I guess I can understand if people don't want to buy Stockmar or whatever Waldorf brand because they think the money will go into the pockets of Anthroposophy folks. Just like people often don't shop at certain stores because the owners put their money into organizations that go against that person's belief system. I don't know enough about Lyra and Stockmar to know if the owners are Anthroposophists though.

And since the fairy and gnome worlds are often specific to Steiner's teachings and not the traditional myths, it may not actually end up working for pagans. Especially since so much of the teachings branch off of Christian beliefs and cosmology. To me that's the important part - remembering that it's actually part of a religious group and often used for indoctrination of children. It's up to every parent to decide how comfortable they are with this. The more I read about it (including some of Steiner's lectures on childhood), the more I can understand wanting to avoid it if it doesn't fit into your religious beliefs.

ETA: I can understand not using the crayons if you don't want to give them money. I can't understand hating the crayons though. Like, I don't understand if people think using beeswax crayons is Satanic or something like that.

Stephany
08-26-2011, 09:01 PM
Wow, this is a whole lot of discussion. Steiner, for all that he was a kook, did a lot to pave the way for holistic health movement and the natural family living movement. Even biodynamic food production was originally Waldorf idea. As with everything in life, I take the good, dump the bad.

If you really go to the effort to implement Oak Meadow the way it is intended, I don't personally believe there is a better curriculum out there. If you don't want to celebrate the Christian holidays, there is always a less Christian substitute. Or you can just celebrate the seasons.

As for fairies, I am Irish and Cornish by heritage and I grew up with those stories. I don't really see the issue there, either.

Stephany
08-26-2011, 09:11 PM
Because the wax crayons and the beeswax and the nature tables and the little fairies are sweet, that's why! People are attracted to Steiner because it appears gentle. The classrooms are really beautiful, and a lot of people respond to the aesthetic.

I think you are on the mark, here. It appeals to those of us who want to make life more visually appealing and I also love the musical aspect of Waldorf. I have Sing through the Seasons and Sing through the Day and we use those songbooks daily. We make a lot of our toys from natural materials, even the dolls. I've used Festivals, Families and Food, since my girls were little (my oldest is 18) to create daily and seasonal celebrations. It is definitely more a lifestyle than a homeschool method, though. Maybe that is why it doesn't appeal to some people.

farrarwilliams
08-26-2011, 10:18 PM
I guess I just don't get it because I'm not attracted to the dressing of things. I'm much more interested in the thinking behind them. So, to me, that's the first thing I "see" with Waldorf and everything else follows from that. But I think you're right, that other people do it the other way around. Not that I don't think the toys and things are pretty...



So the kids believe in Faeries, is that really any more strange or illogical than a dude that came back to life in a cave after being dead for 3 days? Or believing in transubstantiation of the host? All things being equal, whose really got the market cornered on Ye Old Magick?

I see what you're saying, but to me it's really different for several reasons. For one thing, at least in the case I knew of, the parent didn't believe in fairies at all. So she knew it was a lie for the kids - it wasn't that she was sharing her beliefs, she was pushing them to believe something she didn't think was true. And she pushed it and even did things to make them think there really were fairies WAY past the time that they were naturally questioning it. Plus, there was no greater element to it - if you believe in Waldorf fairies, you're not joining any larger spiritual tradition or even cultural tradition like believing in Santa.

Stella M
08-26-2011, 10:23 PM
I see what you mean Farrar. The dressing of things is important to me. I feel starved without beauty around me. Of course aesthetics aren't enough on their own though.

Stephany, that emphasis on daily and seasonal rhythms and celebrations are something else I've always valued about the Steiner approach too. We had Sing through the Seasons also! And I have made my fair share of Waldorf dolls :)

I have even made flower fairies, although none of my kids were told to believe in the felt fairies :) It must be a difference by country, because we always had those fairies as metaphors for example, when the girls were little and we did storytime, we sang a song that began with the lighting of a candle and the words 'Fire fairy come to us, bringing fire from the sun.' I always understood that as referring to creativity and imagination, calling it down to you for use in your stories, and I think my kids did too....There is a lot I still love about the particular aesthetic, and the way Seiner education speaks to the imagination.

Where it slides into strange semi-Christian dogma is where Steiner and I part ways. I like some of the methods but the thinking behind it is kinda nuts.

Although...you know that stupid thing where Steiner kids aren't supposed to read until their first tooth falls out ? Three times now I have noticed that my children make a big reading leap around the time of the first tooth loss. Freaky.

Brittaya
08-26-2011, 11:58 PM
That was the thing interested me, the knitting and whatnot. Although I prefer to crochet myself. I'll probably just teach them without a curriculum. No sense in spending money on something that will probably end up weirding me out. We have every colour of crayon they make, I couldn't imagine not having brown or black.

Accidental Homeschooler
08-27-2011, 08:18 AM
It sounds like a religion to me, or that it appeals for the same reasons that religions do. You have rules to live by, rituals and holidays, and something supernatural (faeries are nice). I personally would never be able to get into something like this because I would be thinking that, however nice it is, some guy just made it up.

Greenmother
08-27-2011, 10:58 AM
We read early in our family. Period. We just do. Well the girls do. I don't know if that would have been true with the boys. Our family has a weird sort of sexual dimorphism with the intellect on one side of my family.

Sort of like that Simpson's episode where the women and girls are inside discussing astrophysics and the guys are outside ramming into each other with buckets on their head.

Teeth for most kids start falling out around age 6 or 7. In our family it's 8 and 9 and a bit later. Some have to be pulled. So that wouldn't do at all.

Our music that we like, study, etc., Everything. I especially like songs that have important historical references. American Pie by Mclean, Melloncamp's Cherry Bomb, and of course deciphering and dissecting the lyrics of just about any song they hear for multiple meanings since so many are jam packed with double entendres.

I understand about being tied to the seasons or at least understanding their passing. Our Citizen Science projects allow for that. I am not real big on a lot of holidays, but we loves us some Halloween and some 4th of July.

You can find beauty and magic anywhere at any time. These are not portable concepts so much as they are eminent or innate in everything and everyone around you. The way the sun and shadows play on barren desert landscapes, or payne's grey shadows on snow or in clouds, Flowers opening, the patterns on insects, and the colors, the geometric shapes of seed pods, and snowflakes, the way that plant communities evolve in response to climate and landscape, and somehow manage to be just the right plants for food and nest sites. The ridges on a lizard's feet that allow them to cling to a bare wall of rock. The length of bat's tongues as they sip nectar, or the way moths mimic humming birds right down to hovering.

Steiner was fighting Industrialism and the loss of the Romantic aspects of human understanding of nature and the notion of being. We resist that too, but in our own way.

Stella M
08-27-2011, 06:47 PM
That's all so true, Greenmother. We left Steiner proper behind when eldest dd was 5, so it's been a while. I was just trying to articulate the reasons why some people, including myself were/ are initially drawn to it. It is absolutely about identifying with a longing for the 'Romantic aspects of human understanding'.

Pefa
08-27-2011, 06:52 PM
Whatever. People and their kids believe in all sorts of stuff. The crazy Dutch version of Santa Clause blew my mind {have a friend that moved there and filled me in on that one}, and the Xmas Witch Befana in Sicily--Santa? Nope, Xmas Witch. How bizarre is that?



OT - Have you read (or better listened) to David Sedaris' take on the Dutch Santa Claus? Totally hilarious. I had to pull over I was lauging so hard as were both boys.

jessica14
08-28-2011, 07:34 PM
OT - Have you read (or better listened) to David Sedaris' take on the Dutch Santa Claus? Totally hilarious. I had to pull over I was lauging so hard as were both boys.

YES!!! Just read it about a month ago! Hilarious!

jess
08-29-2011, 12:44 PM
Okay, we can't talk about Rudolf Steiner without mentioning Alexander McCall Smith's hysterically funny series 44 Scotland Street (http://www.44scotlandstreet.co.uk/). You have to check it out from the library! There is this little boy Bertie in the series who goes to a Steiner school and has classmates named "Tofu". Bertie's mom forces him to paint his room pink, and won't let him join Boy Scouts. Has anyone else read this series? It's for adults, btw.

My mom was recommending this series to me recently. I guess maybe I should read it!

Theresa Holland Ryder
08-29-2011, 03:46 PM
Yeah I'm not sure waldorf is what I was looking for and it's definitely not what I thought it was. Thanks for your help everyone.

You might enjoy Dorothy Sayers educational philosophy. She was very into kids being hands on and doing stuff and being outdoors as much as possible. Also, I don't know much about Charlotte Mason but I do know they do some kind of nature walk/nature journal thing that sounds really neat. Anyhow, a couple of things to look into for nature based, hands on schooling.

Theresa Holland Ryder
08-29-2011, 03:47 PM
A bit off topic here...



I miss this too, and reading through her Waldorf post and comments makes me remember why!

Yet another person who is very sad that SmrtMama stopped blogging. :(

SarahRushly
08-29-2011, 05:12 PM
We used Oak Meadow for our K and 1st curriculum. It has all the good parts of Waldorf with none of the crazy. Well, it has a different kind of crazy. It has a lot of good aspects, though. I'd recommend it if you are drawn to a natural approach to learning, and limiting technology, etc.

MoonSprite
08-30-2011, 02:39 AM
Just as an aside, did you know that John Taylor Gatto wrote the Forward to the book "Understand Waldorf Education" by Jack Petrash? He views it as good system of education.

I don't think it is a cult, but I have never dealt with it in a formal school situation. Just reading things from Christopherus or A Little Garden Flower.

We tried Oak Meadow a few times, but, honestly....it is too much prep work for me. :rolleyes:

jessica14
09-01-2011, 10:26 PM
Just as an aside, did you know that John Taylor Gatto wrote the Forward to the book "Understand Waldorf Education" by Jack Petrash? He views it as good system of education.

I don't think it is a cult, but I have never dealt with it in a formal school situation. Just reading things from Christopherus or A Little Garden Flower.

We tried Oak Meadow a few times, but, honestly....it is too much prep work for me. :rolleyes:

I think this is the book I recently read. He made it sound so peaceful and wonderful. I don't recall too much of what is being said here, but of course that may be left out on purpose.

naura
09-02-2011, 07:55 PM
interesting. my mom was interested in a waldorf education for my siblings. the whole in tune with nature thing was very compelling to her, but she never pursued it further and I was always wondering why. now I know. I worry about plastic toys but I'm not really in to ones that just beep and annoy. I must admit my son has learned so much from using the computer, and his verbal skills have gotten so much better since watching TV. I don't think I can condone any of that 100%.

jessica14
09-06-2011, 04:09 PM
I just talked to a friend the other day and she was telling me how much she loved Waldorf and how it would be her dream job to be a teacher there. I didn't tell her about this thread though! Honestly, there were very good things about it, but if there is another agenda there,I'll take what I like and not worry about the other.

crunchynerd
09-10-2011, 09:50 AM
I started out as a parent being really into the anti-electronics sentiment, and have had to realize I wasn't going to stick with that, because although we eschew materialism, consumerism, and spending most of our time sitting passively gazing at screens, we also don't find that it's an all-or-nothing proposition. I love video games myself, especially the really cool math/physics/spatial ones, and my DD loves space and science, and we love the Nova Science Now series, as a family. I also like natural materials and hands-on skills and exploration. The two don't have to be contradictory, and for me at least, taking it to the "all the way" level of Waldorf is not gonna happen. I don't think of Waldorf as a cult, either, but I know very little about it, except that to me at least, it seems to be about not molding your child's worldview or allowing them to be exposed to and programmed by pop culture and media objectification. I can get behind that, but my middle-road approach has meant that my kids aren't totally unaware of stereotypes... but we try to deconstruct them, be aware of messages being pitched, and what stereotypes are, and why they can be harmful when they artificially limit our images of ourselves, our range of expression, and our expectations of others and the world around us. A lot to process with a 7 yo DD but she has been quite a participant in critical thinking and deconstructing the hidden messages in products, and ads. That said, we also don't have any advertisements in our home. Only ad-free Roku/Netflix. Ads really can and really do brainwash kids amazingly well. She was 3 when Sesame Street started showing ads for Sketchers, and she started wanting them, just from that one ad. I was sickened that Sesame Street was racing to the bottom in corporate ad funding. They used to be above such things. THat's when we killed the broadcast and got only streaming Netflix/Roku.

Best wishes in your journey of discovery, and sorry I was more rambly than helpful.

kristinabrooke
09-12-2011, 08:51 PM
I researched this thoroughly when I thought about joining a homeschooling group that wanted to follow this philosophy and found that Steiner has some interesting beliefs about race. Some of the training for Waldorf teachers include learning about the intelectual limitations of children of color...

Well, clearly, that was not going to work for me!

coloradoalice
09-12-2011, 10:46 PM
Oh geeze. That's ridiculous and terrible.

notebookmom
09-13-2011, 01:31 PM
Today my older daughter informed me that she was done with OM K. We still have a couple weeks left to go, and she's done. I'm fine with this. Though it means figuring out what we're doing for the rest of the alphabet.

It WAS great for her when she was having problems with her letters. I'd really recommend the following for people who want to do OM style or Waldorf-inspired):

Pick out 26 stories that each feature something that can represent a different letter of the alphabet. Read the story the night before, have the child tell you the story the next day, draw the thing (like from a story about a cat, draw a sleeping Cat in the shape of a C) and have your child copy it. Then focus on that letter all week. There you go!

This way you have control over story content to meet the needs of your family and your child's interests. OM is almost 100% Beatrix Potter stories, which are great, but kids can get bored with them. Waldorf is obscure fairytales that often promote stereotypes that we were not comfortable bringing into our homes.

That and the crafts are what we benefited from the most. She just needed to get through those last letters faster, and we were already doing multiple letters a week because the pace became too slow.

I also recommend the book 'LMNOP and all the Letters A to Z' by Howard Schrager, which features a poem for each letter and a Waldorf style drawing of the letter. The poems are quite clever in how they feature each letter. I figure we will use it for quite a while as she learns to read.

SugarRush
09-22-2011, 03:35 AM
I found this to be a very good summary of a Waldorf experience:


http://www.quackwatch.com/04ConsumerEducation/waldorf.html

Here's an excerpt that scares the H*ll out of me.

"The educational process at Waldorf was circumspect and subtle. Instead of teaching us explicit doctrines, the Anthroposophists on the faculty typically tried to lead us by indirection. They sensitized us to the supernatural, and then they worked, quietly, to nurture in us a feeling of intuitive connection to the spirit realm. Their conception of that realm was largely determined by visions Rudolf Steiner claimed to have attained through clairvoyance."



Is it a cult? Or is it a really great opportunity for children to have a different perspective of nature and people? I don't know. I'm jaded.

I remember when my parents and I attended a bible study group whose members were all excited about going to Guyana. It wasn't to follow "the man", it was to get closer to God's word that Jim was able to discern. My family didn't go because my father didn't want me to miss that much school although my mother told him that it would be such a good opportunity and background for me to be immersed in. They say that some of them that made it there, realized too late what they had entered into.

notebookmom
09-23-2011, 01:00 AM
Oh wow, SugarRush! Glad your dad made that decision!

dbmamaz
11-11-2011, 08:50 PM
I couldn't talk to the other parents about it because they were all so wrapped up in the Maypole.
Just have to tell you how much I love that line!!

I find it interesting about the bullying. I have come accross people here and there who feel that kids should be left to deal with their relationships on thier own. Usually there is bullying and often their kids are the worst. It works fine for the parents of the bullies. It doesnt work so well for the parents of the victims.

I'm sorry you and your son had such a bad experience and glad you found homeschooling!

farrarwilliams
11-12-2011, 12:06 AM
Wow. What a crazy experience, Gabriela. That's so sad. See, even though I'm (obviously, from this thread) pretty anti-Waldorf, I still kind of think of them as mostly gentle schools, just with a lot of weird baggage and an educational approach I think is all backwards. But the bullying stuff... oy. I wonder if that's a common experience.

coloradoalice
11-12-2011, 12:13 AM
I find your information on the bullying stuff interesting because I know 2 different people who subscribed to Waldorf and they both believed in letting their kids do basically whatever they wanted to other kids and letting kids work it out. Which is an awesome point of view when you kids is the aggressor. Not so much when your kid is the one getting hurt.

Stella M
11-12-2011, 12:24 AM
To be fair, I don't think that's a particularly Waldorf attitude. It's fairly common in the mainstream as well.

luvmybaby333
11-12-2011, 01:39 AM
I admittedly don't know a whole lot about Montessori. I like the general idea of child-led learning... But I had a somewhat negative experience at a Montessori Kindergarten.

I really felt like they were trying to force me to be this sort of innocent-child-pixie-creature that I just couldn't be. I'd previously been to public school, and my mom had pulled me out because she didn't like that they were trying to force me into their little public school molds. Then the Montessori school, that she was busting her butt to pay for, pretty much did the same thing.

Backstory: I hardly ever had anything nice and pretty. We were really poor and my mom wasn't very girly, so she just didn't "get it" anyway... But for my 5th birthday I'd gotten a pair of My Little Pony shoes. Anyway, my Montessori experience started off bad when my mom was told after my first day that I couldn't return to school with character shoes on. Because we didn't have enough money to buy another pair of shoes, my mom had to scribble over the My Little Pony with a black permanent marker. It broke my heart. Strike one.

Then we weren't allowed to learn anything. I'd never been to preschool, but it felt very much like a preschool to me. There was no learning. There were no books. There was just my teacher telling stories and dancing around with hairy armpits. (Which is totally not a big deal, I rock them now too... But it definitely caught my eye as a 5-year-old.) It was nothing but story time, snack time, outside "free play" time, and nap time. What was interesting about the "free play" time was that it wasn't truly "free". Often I wanted to wander off by myself and get lost in my thoughts or observe the other children... But that wasn't appropriate. I was supposed to be with the other kids "imagining" stuff up and being jolly. That just wasn't me. I was curious. I wanted to learn things. I didn't want to be told to act younger. I wanted to be appreciated for what I was. Sooo... Strike two.

Finally, at the end of the year, the school told my mom that they wanted to hold me back in Kindergarten for another year. Their reasoning was that I needed to "learn how to be a kid". I was TOO mature, so they wanted to force me to hang out in the equivalent of preschool so I could learn to frolic or something? Not cool. Strike three. My mom moved me back to public school after that. It wasn't the best option, but at least I was allowed to learn things and be my normal, weird little self (however much it displeased my teachers and classmates.)

Penguin
11-12-2011, 01:50 AM
From the Waldorf perspective, though, it's a karma thing. They spiritually and philosophically think the kids will work it out. Or their guardian angels will, or something. In the mainstream, I think it's more of that "the kid needs to toughen up" sort of mentality -- it's real life, get used to it.

Bullying is an extremely common theme in the anti-Waldorf discussions I saw when I was seriously researching it. Here are two old threads from Mothering for anyone who's interested:

Life After Waldorf ~ A Support Group:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=683104

This is the older thread she references:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=368640

And just because I was digging around in my old emails looking for the Waldorf discussions I had with a good friend when we were both considering Waldorf for our boys, here are some articles from the Early Childhood professional journal I found at the time. The first one talks about how the EC teacher should communicate with the childrens' angels as part of her daily work.

http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW52Duberley.pdf
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW52Howard.pdf
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW3002.pdf
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/gw4606.pdf
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW3703.pdf
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/Journal_Articles/GW3102.pdf

And then our conversation went off on how many of the Waldorf community we knew who'd gone to the Human-Fairy Congress. I'd forgotten about this bit. Who was it who didn't like gnomes? How do you feel about fairies? ;-)


Participants are requested to tune into their fairy friends, angels and spirit-guides in the higher realms and invite them to the Congress.


Please take a moment to check your inner guidance
to see if it is appropriate for you to attend.

The humans are vastly outnumbered at the Congress by the fairies, devas and other Light beings who are in attendance.
How many fairies and devas attend? We are assured it is in the thousands. Fairies and devas of many ranks and sizes attend. Some are similar in size to the small 'hand-size' fairies we see represented in the common press. Others are immense beings of great power. Remember though, that size is not necessarily an indicator of knowledge, wisdom or power. The fairy beings who attend the Fairy Congress are fully as intelligent (and often much more so) than the human participants. We approach the fairies and devas with respect and love as co-creators of this event. We are meeting as equal participants. The fairies and devas have a concurrent Congress as well as interacting with the human participants during circles and joint meditations.

And we decided at that point that we weren't going near it. :)

(And I hope I'm not offending anyone here. These are all real resources from Waldorf people. In my personal opinion they're a bit crazy. But they can believe whatever they want.)

jenpenny5297
11-12-2011, 02:05 AM
I do think you can take the Waldorf style out of Waldorf and use that. When we quit Waldorf school I still used lots of storytelling, nature tables, singing, art and craft that was Steiner in origin. We just did it without the Steiner brainwashing...wean that baby! TV is evil! Don't let her read! Bring your lunch in a basket! Don't speak while playgroup is on! Mothers should craft quietly whilst the children play! Etc. My eldest does have very fond memories of her year in Steiner school though. She was only 3 and the quiet, muted, peaceful atmosphere in the preschool class suited her much better than the traditional preschool she went to the year after.

I have to completely agree here. There is a lot of value in Waldorf. I tend to be an eclectic hser anyway so I take what works for my kids and then flush the rest and fill in with what I think they need to learn. My daughter will be starting Grade 5 Waldorf curriculum coming from A Little Garden Flower and it looks really good to me. My friend introduced me to the method and she is just like me- take what works for you. She doesn't buy into all of the "other stuff" that can be seen as cult like. I just like the idea of the story telling and gentle teaching. I already use that as I take a mainly Charlotte Mason type of approach with DD. I will not be using their Math but using Teaching Textbooks. The Math looked a bit much for me.

Gabriela
11-12-2011, 09:22 AM
Here's a really good article written by a man who did his whole schooling at a Waldorf school in the 60's.
It's pretty freaky.
http://www.quackwatch.com/04ConsumerEducation/waldorf.html

farrarwilliams
11-12-2011, 09:48 AM
Wow. I have to say, I don't think it's every Waldorf school that's like that. The family I knew of who had their kids in a Waldorf school didn't have an experience like that, I don't think. And when I observed at the Waldorf school here back when I was doing my master's (and before I knew anything about Waldorf) it didn't seem like a place where bullying was a big problem.

There's this funny intersection of people - strange bedfellows, I guess - who seem to think that their kids should be allowed to work things out without adult help. The hands off traditionalists, toughen them up types on the one side and the super radical hands off, let's all just love and affirm whatever our kids are doing people on the other side. I don't think of Waldorf as being either of those... but maybe it kind of is? Or rather, maybe the latter sort of people are drawn to Waldorf?

Gabriela
11-12-2011, 10:48 AM
In my research, several sources stated the karmic thing about bullying as part of the Waldorf beliefs.

I think different Waldorf schools are different of course. Some are more Waldorfy than others.
It also has a lot to do with the community and who the families are.
But after reading about Steiner's views on Race, I don't want any part in it.

Steiner's thoughts on the subject in Health and Illness Vol. 1:

"You see, when we really study science and history, we must conclude that if people become increasingly strong, they will also become increasingly stupid. If the blonds and blue-eyed people die out, the human race will become increasingly dense if men do not arrive at a form of intelligence that is independent of blondness. Blond hair actually bestows intelligence ...It is indeed true that the more the fair individuals die out the more will the instinctive wisdom of humans vanish." (p. 86)

Still like those faceless dolls?

Airen
11-12-2011, 01:13 PM
Totally inappropriate, but fairies and devas in Congress?

Totally an episode for Supernatural LOL

farrarwilliams
11-12-2011, 06:58 PM
Totally inappropriate, but fairies and devas in Congress?

Totally an episode for Supernatural LOL

:_lol::_lol::_lol: Bring it on, Sam and Dean!

Greenmother
11-12-2011, 07:57 PM
lol

Cosmic Vortex!

I think I have some of those in my house.

We use our dirty laundry to weaken their vibrations. Dirty socks are good for that. And smelly Sweats!

jenbrdsly
11-19-2011, 11:58 PM
I admittedly don't know a whole lot about Montessori. I like the general idea of child-led learning... But I had a somewhat negative experience at a Montessori Kindergarten.

I really felt like they were trying to force me to be this sort of innocent-child-pixie-creature that I just couldn't be. I'd previously been to public school, and my mom had pulled me out because she didn't like that they were trying to force me into their little public school molds. Then the Montessori school, that she was busting her butt to pay for, pretty much did the same thing.

Backstory: I hardly ever had anything nice and pretty. We were really poor and my mom wasn't very girly, so she just didn't "get it" anyway... But for my 5th birthday I'd gotten a pair of My Little Pony shoes. Anyway, my Montessori experience started off bad when my mom was told after my first day that I couldn't return to school with character shoes on. Because we didn't have enough money to buy another pair of shoes, my mom had to scribble over the My Little Pony with a black permanent marker. It broke my heart. Strike one.

Then we weren't allowed to learn anything. I'd never been to preschool, but it felt very much like a preschool to me. There was no learning. There were no books. There was just my teacher telling stories and dancing around with hairy armpits. (Which is totally not a big deal, I rock them now too... But it definitely caught my eye as a 5-year-old.) It was nothing but story time, snack time, outside "free play" time, and nap time. What was interesting about the "free play" time was that it wasn't truly "free". Often I wanted to wander off by myself and get lost in my thoughts or observe the other children... But that wasn't appropriate. I was supposed to be with the other kids "imagining" stuff up and being jolly. That just wasn't me. I was curious. I wanted to learn things. I didn't want to be told to act younger. I wanted to be appreciated for what I was. Sooo... Strike two.

Finally, at the end of the year, the school told my mom that they wanted to hold me back in Kindergarten for another year. Their reasoning was that I needed to "learn how to be a kid". I was TOO mature, so they wanted to force me to hang out in the equivalent of preschool so I could learn to frolic or something? Not cool. Strike three. My mom moved me back to public school after that. It wasn't the best option, but at least I was allowed to learn things and be my normal, weird little self (however much it displeased my teachers and classmates.)

Did you mean to say Montessori, or Waldorf? What you are describing does not sound like a true Montessori school, because in Montessori schools children "work" instead of "play", and there is technically not supposed to be any imaginary play/dress up etc. Also, in a Montessori school they would have taught you how to polish those My Little Ponies up!

Montessori is not a licensed term, so any school can call themselves that. Iím not sure if Waldorf is a licensed term or not.

luvmybaby333
11-20-2011, 12:22 AM
Did you mean to say Montessori, or Waldorf? What you are describing does not sound like a true Montessori school, because in Montessori schools children "work" instead of "play", and there is technically not supposed to be any imaginary play/dress up etc. Also, in a Montessori school they would have taught you how to polish those My Little Ponies up!

Montessori is not a licensed term, so any school can call themselves that. Iím not sure if Waldorf is a licensed term or not.

I'm sorry. I meant Waldorf. I must have had Montessori on the brain. LOL. I just googled it to make sure I wasn't mistaken, but the school still exists and it's definitely Waldorf. Malamalama Kinderhale. Interesting place, I tell ya.

jumpmama
12-02-2011, 11:49 AM
I am coming into this late but, IMO you have to take everything steiner ever said with a grain of salt.

We are waldorf inspired. I love the nature, the handwork, the gentleness of it all, the toys, the RHYTHM, the slower paced learning! There is much about it that I do not agree with, also. This education was created in the early 1900's and has not modernized. It needs to in order to evolve with the rest of the world...so then you get the people who are stuck in the old ways of thinking and than you find the new waldorfy people (who tend to be homeschoolers!) who are using some of the ideas and philosophy as it fits into modern life and they are having amazing results with their kids.

I was going to run away from waldorf after I started reading some of steiners books but, just decided that I will stick with what I love about it and ignore all the anthroposophy and things that do not suit my family. I don't think my kids and I have ever done anything to do with fairies and gnomes LOL.

Anyone interested in waldorf should really pick through and find what resonates them. Oak meadow is not waldorf, it was just created by waldorf teachers and I dont believe you will find anything on their website that states they are waldorf. Enki I hear is absolutely beautiful aswell. Definitly 2 great options without all of the hocus pocus of steiners work.

jess
12-02-2011, 10:32 PM
I agree. I wouldn't call us Waldorf-inspired at all, but there are aspects I like and have no compunctions about borrowing, and some areas where we've naturally drifted that way even if it wasn't what we originally intended (de-emphasizing reading at an early age).

But we tried Oak Meadow (got it used for free - I'm not sure it's anything I'd ever buy) and really didn't like it!

c&cmomma
04-23-2015, 05:28 PM
Wow. Black crayon and blonde hair people. I really when u first looked into this method and going to visit a school nearby, I remember someone saying if your not the right race you either won't get in or you will be alienated. I like the natural and the pretty stuff in Waldorf and was considering adding it into our home. Thanks for reminding me why I changed my mind a year ago.

HawaiiGeek
04-23-2015, 08:06 PM
Wow that is crazy about Waldorf we had the Merriconneag Waldorf school right down the street from us in Freeport, ME. I looked at it for my eldest since I thought he would benefit from outdoor activities, they couldn't accommodate special needs so I didn't look further, glad I didn't.

Isn't weird to look at old posts and know very few people. I am struck by how long both Farrar and Cara were here and then left. Why do people leave? I know why Cara did, but with others do you think they stop homeschooling? Is it personalities of new folks? I do not frequent forums very much and this one has become one I am on all the time, the last one that I did that with was a cloth diapering site where I found kindred spirits, but well you stop cloth diapering with potty training and that sort of ended that. Just curious what people think?

skrink
04-23-2015, 08:24 PM
Some left after they stopped (or planned on stopping) homeschooling. There are personality clashes and blowups occasionally, and usually some casualties from that. Also, once you've been around a while, you'll notice the same conversations popping up over and over. Sometimes that gets to folks and they decide it's time to move on. I fade in and out but I always come back. :)

HawaiiGeek
04-23-2015, 08:28 PM
I can see that skrink - I noticed you have been here a long time too, glad you are. I kind of wish I was in college now so I could do some anthropologic study about forums and the ins and outs. It is fascinating stuff.

darkelf
04-24-2015, 02:30 PM
Comes off as cult-ish.

That said I really want the Art book (and maybe the Poem book.) I do like copying Masters' art for art. (But of course I like and encourage their own touches.)

alexsmom
04-24-2015, 03:02 PM
I laughed when I read the thread title. There are two Waldorf schools that I know of in the county.
I think cult is sort of extreme, but to each their own. The schools were too granola-y for me - I wasnt willing to give up television, and I didnt see the harm in allowing academic type subjects if DS seemed ready.

I hear the the younger kids are sort of woo-ful, but its a rigorous and fulfilling program in the upper grades.

skrink
04-24-2015, 03:31 PM
It's more than just sort of woo - read up a bit. Cult I think is probably pretty close to accurate. Some Waldorf flavored curriculum isn't bad, but the stuff churned out by the mother ship is creepy as hell.

ikslo
04-24-2015, 04:12 PM
The mother ship, LOL! Coffee on keyboard.

There are Waldorfians among us. :)

skrink
04-24-2015, 06:16 PM
Oh, I don't mean to offend. I just... Well, I guess it's obvious what I think by now. :/

alexsmom
04-24-2015, 07:11 PM
Okay, after reading those 10 pages and associated links, I can see the creepy when I revisit one of the two local waldorf schools:
https://www.waldorfsandiego.org/our-programs/lower-grades/special-subjects/#tab-id-4
I see the color theory here. These are also the no tv, no recorded music crowd.

The Waldorfians at the other school are the ones Ive talked to, they seemed normal, and pointed me to the Understanding Waldorf Education book previously mentioned. I guess though, since they have a shop called The Mystical Child, and did have a lot of faeries on the wall, that maybe I was just being oblivious thinking it was just child-imagination-friendly ambiance. :p

darkelf
04-24-2015, 07:14 PM
I had never even thought about it before I read these pages.

ikslo
04-24-2015, 08:21 PM
Oh, I don't mean to offend. I just... Well, I guess it's obvious what I think by now. :/

Oh, I wasn't offended! LOL

In my head I was thinking, "There are aliens among us!" And just substituted Waldorfians. Like, they're not a cult - they're ALIENS!

crunchynerd
04-25-2015, 09:41 PM
I wanted to like Oak Meadow, myself. Looked into it more, and knew it just wasn't for us. Fairies and gnomes may have been an important cultural tradition in their native place and time (Scandinavian, Germanic, and Gallic people of the past?) but they aren't any more personally relevant to my family, than leprechauns, and we have more claim to find Leprechauns relevant.

The idea that kids are mystical beings who mustn't be influenced by anything lest they lose their wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, scarfy-warfy gelatinousness of form (haha, couldn't resist...Waldorf salad!) both appeals and repulses. Yes, I think kids need room to be creative, and that mainstream television and crappy cartoon-franchise-everything, limits their thinking and guides them into stereotyped views of the world, and that is bad. But sheltering them from anything that has definite outlines, from machines, (my boys LOVE machines and would revolt if I told them they could only be interested in things that grew from the ground), from any and all media, so as to preserve some imagined state of desirable unimprintedness?

I see the Romantic Primitivism there, that believes that culture tarnishes and warps, rather than improves, the human condition.
Not so sure how into the Noble Savage I am, but from what I read about the originator of Waldorf, he was into what was big at the time, and being into seances and the occult in general, was very fashionable then, and Romantic Primitivism was too.

Generally, I see too much fantastical belief system in Waldorf, to suit my taste, even though I do agree that cartoon franchise brainwashing by TV has undesirable effects

crunchynerd
04-25-2015, 09:43 PM
Oh, I wasn't offended! LOL

In my head I was thinking, "There are aliens among us!" And just substituted Waldorfians. Like, they're not a cult - they're ALIENS!
Where's Rowdy Roddy Piper when you need him for some dark glasses? (Cult film They Live, one of my old faves) hehe couldn't resist! ;)

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-26-2015, 09:01 AM
Ten points to crunchynerd for coining the phrase "scarfy-warfy." We know several Waldorf-adhering families (they apply the philosophy at home but can't afford the $20,000/year tuition for the local Waldorf school) and they are definitely "scarfy-warfy."

:_lol:

Starkspack
04-26-2015, 09:15 AM
$20,000 a year???? Maybe they are on to something there.....

Another ten points for the most entertaining thread in a good while.... :p

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-26-2015, 12:42 PM
$20,000 a year???? Maybe they are on to something there.....

Yup. But it's less than the Montessori school, which starts at $23,000 for kindergarten and goes up to $29,000 for middle school.

It's a shame that charter schools aren't really an option here (at least in the burbs) for parents who want something different from the usual public school classroom model but can't afford the insane private school tuition.

dbsam
04-26-2015, 01:06 PM
nm

Just read the entire thread and realized my post wasn't relevant.

skrink
04-26-2015, 01:22 PM
I just found this again: What Every Parent Should Know About Steiner-Waldorf Schools | The Quackometer Blog (http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2012/11/what-every-parent-should-know-about-steiner-waldorf-schools.html) I had forgotten about the strong racist flavor.

alexsmom
04-26-2015, 04:01 PM
Uggg now my whole *Waldorf is warm and fuzzy with faeries and dancing sparkly unicorns* fantasy is totally sinisterized.

It was a more recent article on the quackometer that did it for me:
What the Steiner Waldorf School Movement did not want you to read. | The Quackometer Blog (http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2013/06/what-the-steiner-waldorf-school-movement-did-not-want-you-to-read.html)

crunchynerd
04-27-2015, 01:33 PM
Ten points to crunchynerd for coining the phrase "scarfy-warfy." We know several Waldorf-adhering families (they apply the philosophy at home but can't afford the $20,000/year tuition for the local Waldorf school) and they are definitely "scarfy-warfy."

:_lol:
Thanks, but I can't take credit for the term...It's a Doctor Who reference, specifically about the Fourth Doctor and his enormously long and famous iconic scarf, which you can both buy a mass-produced rendition of, and see the term "scarfy-warfy" in reference to, here. (https://www.thinkgeek.com/product/f0dd/) I might buy one, one of these days, because the cost of the yarn alone, not even considering the massive amount of man-hours involved, is far more than these cost.

I also get the sensation of regret upon discovering the stuff about the origins of Waldorf, and feeling like an innocent assumption about earthiness and all things homespun and adorable, got tarnished. Of course, I also don't believe all the Waldorf families out there are practicing occultism, and maybe for most of them, is IS just something earthy and sweet.

But I'm too much of a stubborn person to agree with some of the tenets without standing up and arguing, and essentially calling BS on them, so I couldn't in good conscience, be a Waldorfian mom. Even though I do agree with some of it, and don't hold to an anything-goes attitude towards media, particularly for young impressionables.

And 20K/year!? Wow! You could practically start your own school, or church, or whatever, for that kind of money, and make a living at it!

alexsmom
04-27-2015, 03:24 PM
One of our two Waldorfian schools posts their fees on their site:
3073

The other one only lists its $150 application fee, and has a long personal questionnaire, along with your agreement to eliminate electronic media from your kids lives.
http://www.waldorfsandiego.org/Files/Admissions/GRADES_1-8_APPLICATION_Rev_10-2013.pdf

It does seem like a lot of money for what is at best, nature-wature, scarfy-warfy schooling.

pdpele
05-01-2015, 02:00 AM
Funny about the connection between nature-wature (nice alexsmom!) philosphies and racism. This isn't the only example - and I'd probably characterize myself as at least nature-wature friendly. Not sure about whether I'd be scarfy-warfy...probably not if I was supposed to have knitted it myself.

Solong
05-01-2015, 12:08 PM
Imo, virtually all of the different educational philosophies fetishise something. I'm no more likely to dress up at the local park for historical re-enactments than I am to prance about a Maypole. It doesn't bother me that other people like to do either (or both).

Any school that charges thousands of dollars in tuition is at minimum classist, which is too often just a less overt way to practice racism.

We've borrowed from waldorf and we even use a waldorf math curriculum. My kids have loved their play scarves literally to bits. So far, no major damage done.

crunchynerd
05-04-2015, 12:02 AM
I love the idea of using basic things open-endedly (like the silk play scarves) and not having everything come out of a box with only one way to use it. I also agree that the subtle psychology of branding is not something that should be leveled at kids' young minds.

Honestly, it doesn't look like there is much agreement as to what degree anthroposophical mysticism that the founder of Waldorf believed in, is practiced today in Waldorf schools. The maypole used to be celebrated, despite its pagan roots, by stoutly Christian communities, much in the same way that yuletide became rebranded as Christmas, and a large body of Christians didn't frankly give a fig about that.

My son might have some rare words for the idea that he is supposed to be "dreamy" at a particular age, and therefore should not be given anything too fact-laden, but should instead be encouraged to remain in this alleged "dreamy' state. We love the Luna Lovegoods of the world, but he is not one of them.