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I am looking for ideas surrounding both,
MY husband went to a Steiner school, he enjoyed it and has come away a well grounded and thoughtful person, I on the other hand went to a state school throughout and then college and some of university, I have worked for many years with children in a state environment and always thought that I would bring up my children the same…
Cue our son being born… I hate the thought of him being in a nursery (actually found the thought rather panic inducing until I realised my husband would support me being a stay at home mom) having worked in one I just don’t feel it the right thing for us (not to say it’s not right for others)
So I now stay at home with Spud, however the general plan is that he goes into the Steiner nursery at 3 and then follows on to the kindergarten and then the school, I am starting to have doubts. The school is lovely, some of the teachers are even the same as when my husband went there… I just don’t know if it’s what I want for my children.
I feel with my background in work I would be able to get them through primary school quite easily but what about high school, what if I can’t do it or I fail them?
From the research I have been doing on both Home schooling in general and on Unschooling I would probably be going more towards Unschooling I love the through of him learning through play and being able to have his own interests which he can learn through… I have many a time used dinosaurs to teach basic math skills so the children don’t even know they are ‘learning’.
My other small problem is (and I’m sorry if this is too much of a personal question, feel free to not answer it) Does your partners/ husbands support you both emotionally and financially with the decision to home school or does it cause tension?
So as he is only 6 months old at the moment, so all of this is some time off yet I am wondering if anyone would be happy to either share their experiences of a Steiner school or of Home schooling/ Unschooling with me so I can try to understand the positives of both and make a more informed decision. I am trying to decide sooner rather than later as if he goes to the Steiner school then I have to find a job within the net few years and start saving up money towards it (not that that’s a problem if its the right thing for him)
Thankyou in advance
p.s I have just realised I put my son’s nickname in that post, we call him Spud or Spudnick at home, not really sure why
cant reply properly at the moment as my kids are being very vocal today- but when my first child was a baby i had the same thoughts as you. the more i read and looked into steiner as much as the things i do like there are things i dont. i also do not agree with private education. it quickly becaome apparent to me that a steiner school wouldnt be an option for us. im interested also into Montessori schooling. however for a multitude of reasons we have decided to home ed. if you can, read a couple of books by john holt on the subject. very thought provoking and definitely helped me with the decision to home ed/unschool howeve ryou want to word it xxx
Watching this thread with interest xxx
Open All The Boxes
Mommy to Jacob (13.03.04), Joe-Joe (17.01.10) Noah (02.03.11) and Thomas (19.05.13)
Taking baby steps towards a more sustainable, conscientious lifestyle.
A quick reply as am getting extra bits of lunch for my pickles as they ask and then have to make the fudge for the choccy fudge cake with DD1 I will check back later though. We are radically unschooling DS 7, DD1 5.5 and DD2 2.5 years. My husband has his own business and is fortunately at the moment able to support us both financially and emotionally. My 3 have never been to any school or nursery and we have always unschooled bordering on radical, although complete freedom with screens/food/sleep has been over the past year or so. We are ridiculously happy so am a big advocate of unschooling What in particular did you want to know?
Radically unschooling mama to three gorgeous pickles Alfie (April 06) and Holly (Nov 07), Amber (Nov 2010)
Similar to Beck, we are also radical unschoolers (though we *look* very Waldorf, we do circle time, have mostly wooden toys, the kids have main lesson books which they fill with their interests and projects, I do a lot of handwork with the children who are so far all still interested) and we are very happy. We have mostly had hardly any money, hubby has worked short hours and low pay for the most part, I work at home, we usually earn a good bit less than benefits.
Right now hubby is about to start a new job working much longer hours and earning a lot more - am it’s going to be a huge adjustment for all of us - but however much he’s around he’s totally on board with unschooling though he’s not as radical-minded as I am so left to his own devices there are some “rules” (the kids don’t mind, and adjust fine to different approaches, because they respect his boundaries and that we’re individuals with different ideas). He finds it scary, in a way that I don’t exactly having seen it working so beautifully for us. While he has been out of work, he has really noticed some things (like how Jenna stomps off in a huff and then comes back and talks calmly about how she feels and what she thinks - or how they graciously give way to each other and selflessly offer help almost all of the time) and is much more enthusiastic about them being free to make choices.
I find a lot to love in Waldorf. I think it’s the kind of school I would have been very happy in as a young child, coming from a pretty controlling home life. As time goes on I find myself uncomfortable with some of the outdated views of children’s capabilities, and the need for adult coercion and control. I also strongly feel that there is no necessity to loop back on material, and no subject or information that is more suitable to the “soul” of any particular age of child. A four year old can learn about DNA, or constellations, or plant cells, or geometry. There is neither advantage to learning some things early, nor disadvantage to learning them late. A child who is interested is at the right age. (I do believe, though, in balance - and that a child who is highly academic at a young age may miss a precious opportunity to play freely if they are not given inspiration and opportunity to experience other kinds of learning and play.)
Again, any questions about how our family works, I can answer.
I went through this dilemma but decided home schooling wouldn’t work for me due to health problems at the time, although I think I could better deal with it now. You sound like you have a wealth of experience to draw on to do this. I suppose the support from your oh would depend in part on how strongly he feels about the steiner schooling, have you discussed homeschooling with him.
My children do go to a steiner school and I am happy they go there, I don’t have anything against state schools as such but I think the steiner environment is much gentler on the little ones when they start and of course they don’t have the pressure of tests etc early on. Are you worried about steiner due to the late start with reading / writing at all, that was a concern of mine to start with but my ds has started in year one this year age 6 and already knows his letters, how to write them and can read some basic words and his maths is brilliant although I have always played number games with them at home so that may have helped.
So far the teachers my two have had have all been lovely. The kindergarten teacher they both had (they were in the same kindergarten class for a while until ds went to class 1) is lovely, a very wise lady who is gentle and kind. My son’s teacher is wonderful she just gives off a wonderful calming aura and I couldn’t wish for a better teacher for him. Of course not all steiner schools, teachers are the same but I find the school they go to teaches with love and care and is very helpful and supportive with any problems.
I sent my son there originally because he was premature and had developmental problems and he has come on in leaps and bounds he is so articulate now compared to how he was, not to say a state school wouldn’t have had the same effect, but I think the slow gentle start helped him a lot and he has a lot of individual one on one attention in Kindergarten, and of course the classes are smaller than in a state school. Sometimes I do think my dd would be better off in a state school in some ways as she values structure and rules more but the freeplay at Kindergarten has helped her come out of herself as she is painfully shy and the school also helped us financially with some music /dance therapy for her. So, overall I find the school incredibly supportive and caring. Also, some people I talk to have this idea that the school has no rules and the children run wild but this is not true at all they have very few rules but the ones they do are about treating people with respect and being kind to each other and the discipline in class seems gentle also, I am always amazed that the Kindergarten teacher only has to put her finger to her lips and the class is quiet! If a child is very disruptive they are gently taken outside and sat with by the class assistant until they calm down. I prefer this to what I heard about a local state primary that puts ‘naughty’ children on a grey or black cloud that is on the floor depending on the severity of the ‘crime’, and takes away their playtime if they end up on the cloud!
I would sugget going to the schools open day if you haven’t already to get a feel for the place, that is what I did and I knew straight away that is where I wanted my ds to go. My oh was not so keen as he thought it all a bit old fashioned with them not having any screens etc until the older classes but he is fine with it now. It is a difficult decision I know but you could always try it out when your baby is 3 and see how it goes and take him out if you don’t like it.
Only time for a quick reply atm,but just to say all mine go to a steiner school and are really happy there and we are very happy with the school and the education.I too went to a steiner school as a child and was very happy,so i suppose that is part of our reason for sending the children to one.Am happy to answer any questions you have,will check back later and add a bit more . xx
Mummy to 4
I feel somewhat weird answering this as we have been HEing since September (when DS would’ve gone to school, he was 5 in March), however here’s my experience if it helps!
We decided not to school until age 7, and now having nearly being HEing for a full (school) year, I’m not sure the children will go to school at all, but almost certainly not at 7 unless something goes wrong! We are fairly unschooly although I do ask if DS wants to do some writing or reading etc as v recently he has been showing a LOT of interest. I am hoping to implement a little more structure after the summer, prhaps planning our weeks a little more, with the children involved so taking responsibility and deciding what/when to learn instead of quite so much randomness. This I think will suit DS as he sometimes can get disruptive if there is no ‘‘direction’ to the week.
My DH was unsure at first, although is really on board now as he can see we are forming frinedships and the children are obviously happy and learning!
If we were close enough we may consider Steiner education in the future, however we simply could not afford to at the moment.
TBH so far so good with HE and we think it’s a very positive choice for our children
Mummy to DS born March 08 and DD born July 2010
GP Lets No 119
Hi! My partner and I have both decided to home educate our children - only one son at the moment aged three another on the way. We both come from eastern europe and the kids dont start school there until the age of seven. That was one of the reasons we decided not to send our kids to school as early as 5 years old. There are more reasons. for example i think it is a long day for such a young child to spend at school and then do homework at home too. i think they should have their childhood and learn through play, observation, example, etc. until they are older. We speak three languages including english and we are quite strict about it in a sense that we both want our kids to speak our native languages properly as well as english. I think i can succeed in this easier when i home educate as there will be more time.
I used to be very nervous about it just a couple of years ago as was not sure if we could afford me stay at home but so far my partner can support us but there are sacrifices. I like the idea of steinar/waldorf education but cannot afford it. At first i planned to home ed. till they are about seven now i think i can go through elementary school. then we will see.
Sorry I cannot offer more practical advice as need this myself and am glad you posted about it
We are an unschooling family, although if you poke around on the forum you will find some questions/doubts I’ve aired here. Socially, unschooling is not (yet) the perfect solution for us, as we don’t live in a place with a big home-educating community and DD1 would probably like to see friends (in small groups!) more often. (Eventually we’d like to move.) But philosophically, I am committed to unschooling, and I would say that DH is supportive of it. He’s perhaps not as vehemently anti-schooling as I am, but he has been happy to go along with unschooling.
The choice between Steiner vs. unschooling is moot for us as we don’t live near a Steiner school, but I think if we did, I would still prefer to unschool, because I feel it works best for our family. I think that any kind of schooling, however free and open, is still schooling, and while I find a lot to agree with in the Montessori and Steiner philosophies, when it comes down to it, I just can’t get behind the idea that young children should have a structured day that is divided into separate activities by adults, rather than by their own choice. I also have serious problems with parts of the Steiner philosophy, as others have mentioned here, but I don’t think that would necessarily be an issue in every Steiner school; from what I’ve heard, it’s up to each school what they make of the spiritual/anthroposophical strain in Steiner education, and some schools really don’t incorporate that at all. So for us, it just comes down to wanting to give our children the freedom to do one thing all day if they please, or nothing at all, or fifteen different things.
We home educate here, my eldest is eight and would be in his fourth year of school although he has never been, my youngest would be due to start school in September but is not going. I am not sure how I would describe our method except to say that home education is a way of life for us. I tried structure with my eldest and it was not for him, I am not sure what my youngest is going to want as she gets older.
We meet up with groups twice a week and another family once a week, always on the same three days. The other four days are for days out, family days, days at home etc sometimes we plan them sometime they are more adhoc.
When we made the decision it was a joint decision made by myself and dh and we would not have gone ahead if we were not both 100% committed to it. My dh is self employed so he is sometimes around for days or weeks at a time and then away or at work for days/weeks at a time. I would say that I do most of the supporting and facilitating my children’s interests although my dh does some when he is around. I have his full and total support in what I do and know that if that ever changed I would need to talk about it with him. At this stage we have made no decision about how long we do this for as we cannot know what our children’s interests will be in the future. We would like to go off travelling in a few years time for long extended trips, money permitting, but have not made any plans yet!
We’re going through the same thought process as well at the moment (DD is 17 months) - DH is very keen to HE and so he’s happy to support me staying at home for this reason. To help us make up our minds, I’ve joined the local HE group and have signed up to a parent and child group at a local ‘Steiner’ school which DD and I will go to in September. We’ve also joined lots of independent organisations to see how we get on. It’s important to me that DD gets to mix with other children of different ages and gets to do lots of crafty things (I’m not very creative…but I’m getting better) so I’m testing the waters as much as I can as we currently have the time to find out what suits us all and particularly our DD best. We did visit a very well respected private school recently, where the art teacher told us that the children (from age 7) get one hour a week of art but if a maths or sports fixture crops up, then art gets dropped. That means in a ten week term at this particular school, the kids get a maximum of ten hours to be creative! Note that this wasn’t a Steiner school, but it really put it into perspective for us.
Really liked Arwen-ti’s comment ‘I also strongly feel that there is no necessity to loop back on material, and no subject or information that is more suitable to the “soul” of any particular age of child. A four year old can learn about DNA, or constellations, or plant cells, or geometry. There is neither advantage to learning some things early, nor disadvantage to learning them late. A child who is interested is at the right age’. Also, Preets where she says ‘I just can’t get behind the idea that young children should have a structured day that is divided into separate activities by adults, rather than by their own choice’. Fabulous and both very thought provoking…..
Watching this thread with interest x
We’re Home Educating
There are some aspects of a Steiner education that I like, but there are aspects of other educational philosophies I like too LOL. At the moment we’re Unschooling. DP’s totally onboard with HE, but he’s not so sure about Unschooling, especially as our kids get older, he would like there to be more structure.
“I feel with my background in work I would be able to get them through primary school quite easily but what about high school, what if I can’t do it or I fail them?”
High school is a very long way away. Lots of things can and will change between now and then, not only on a personal/family scene, but technology, education, schools etc.
Whether you HE or send him to school need not be set in stone. Some HE’d kids will go to school to trial, the opportunities on offer, family circumstances etc. Some schooled kids will later HE. Some are able to combine both (flexischool).
If you can’t do it, then you’ll provide other resources (mentors, tutors, classes) that can or he can go to school.
How do you define “fail”? What would failure in HE look like to you?
“Cue our son being born… I hate the thought of him being in a nursery (actually found the thought rather panic inducing until I realised my husband would support me being a stay at home mom) having worked in one I just don’t feel it the right thing for us (not to say it’s not right for others)
So I now stay at home with Spud, however the general plan is that he goes into the Steiner nursery at 3 and then follows on to the kindergarten and then the school, I am starting to have doubts. The school is lovely, some of the teachers are even the same as when my husband went there… I just don’t know if it’s what I want for my children.”
Sorry I’m confused by this. Is it just your DS going to a “mainstream” nursery you hate the idea of, but going to a Steiner nursery would be OK?
Have you looked into other types of nursery eg Reggio Emilia?
Or is it that you hate the idea of him going to any nursery?
Nursery is not compulsory. He doesn’t ever have to go to any nursery, whether or not you plan to send him to school or HE. Although it’s becoming less common in UK to not go.
Can you not just put his name down for the Steiner school part (or Kindy)? Especially if you’re paying. And continue to explore options in the meantime. Then review closer to time what would be a good fit for your family closer to time.
Thank you so much for all of your reply’s!! Sorry I haven’t replied until now it’s been a busy week with a teething baby and I wanted to reply properly.
Your stories of home schooling and Steiner education are so inspiring, I have asked my husband to read through them (hope you don’t mind) so he can get a feel for what home schooling might be like, he can’t seem to get his head around how I would go about it at the moment.
I think what I wanted to know really is how you structure the day if you are home schooling, it’s interesting to hear that some have a structured day some what like a school and some are unstructured. I guess I would probably go more towards the unstructured way with maybe a splash of Steiner in there. I like what you say Arwen_tiw about your children still having main lesson books but being able to fill them in with their own interests, I think this is something along the lines of what I would want to do.
newmami- I guess I would see failing as if my children said they regretted not going to school and wished they had, I would not see failing exams as a failure as many children who attend school also come out without many GCSE’s, but I would like him to be able to sit his GCSE’s (if they haven’t found a different system before then) so he had the choice of doing further education if he wanted to. I think it would be more if my children thought I had failed them in some way. Thankyou for your links they are very interesting and I shall be keeping them to show my husband. The mainstream nurseries and schools I guess is what I have the problem with, although I think he is much to young to go at the moment anyways to either, I know the pressure nursery nurses are under to get pre-school age children ready for school with phonic, early writing skills, mathematics etc and I don’t want him to suffer that pressure and that pressure doesn’t ever stop for them it seems to be one set of exams/ tests after another
Although I am starting to think maybe I am being a bit selfish and maybe it’s just that I don’t want to let go of him and miss out on all those years including his school years
Thank you again for your responses and sorry I couldn’t answer and thank you all individually… of to play teething nurse
I was interested in Steiner for a long while, but I don’t feel comfortable with any kind of exclusive/private schooling. That was really my main reason for not going down that route.
We HE, but I don’t have any particular label for what we do, Id say we have a very eclectic style. This year I have brought in more structure to suit my DD. She needs some routine. I find shes actually more creative with some structure to our day & more motivated. Total unschooling just didn’t work for her. I really wanted it to work for us, but I think she felt she was in freefall. We now have a freedom within boundaries approach & the kids have some structure alongside lots of free play time/time to follow their own interests.
In terms of financial/emotional support, my DH has been great really. He was v anti HE at the beginning but he trusted me & I will be ever grateful for that. Money wise, its hard making it all work. DH works hard at a job he hates for us to be able to do this. He would like to change his career path but Id need to work for him to take a salary cut. I do childmind, but its not enough. We just take it all year by year.
To dare is to lose ones footing temporarily, to not dare is to lose oneself.
LETS number 137