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Steiner, Montessori - who believes in these methods for K-2?


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I'm no expert, but from what I have read and been told, they seem to be quite opposite in some ways. In the early years, Steiner focuses on make believe, where in Montessori, make believe and fairy tales aren't considered appropriate until about grade four.

 

I really like Steiner stuff for the pre-school crowd, and we've attended Steiner playgroups in the past. I'm bummed there isn't one here! There is a local Montessori playgroup but it's expensive so I'm not able to go and see. As the kids approach school age, my appreciation of Steiner as a whole drops off. I still appreciate some of the elements though. I don't think it is bad, but it certainly wouldn't be raising kids in a way that is compatible to me. If you read the stuff and jump up and down yelling "this is it, this is how it should be!" then it may well be right for your household. I think Steiner would be good for the better late than early types. I can't comment on Montessori. The bits I read made me screw my face up and put the book down, so I don't remember much. I don't think kids need to be protected from fairy tales and make believe and thoroughly grounded in fact to learn the difference between truth and lies. I also don't think teaching aides need to be so expensive :tongue_smilie:

 

:)

Rosie

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Yes, they are really very different methods. We were in a Waldorf inspired co-op for one of my children a couple of years ago and there was much twitching and hand wringing from the Waldorf trained teacher when the idea of incorporating Montessori methods was thrown out by someone. LOL

 

I feel like I have been all over the place. I have settled on balance is best for me. We do incorporate some Waldorf principles, particularly in the early years, but I have a 4.5 year old that really wants to read and do school and Waldorf and I part ways there.

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I don't think kids need to be protected from fairy tales and make believe and thoroughly grounded in fact to learn the difference between truth and lies. I also don't think teaching aides need to be so expensive

 

I agree with both those points. However, the Montessori concrete materials are among the best I have seen. It is possible to make many of them for much less, though a DIYer may not be able to achieve the same beauty & quality available in the expensive materials. For acquiring practical skills (practical life, math, reading, writing, grammar, geography), Montessori materials have some of the best ideas I have seen. Montessori's concrete-to-abstract math progression has been successfully used in popular programs like RightStart.

 

At the same time, I think not all children would be willing to sit down quietly absorbed in some activity for any length of time. Neither will all children be willing to draw and colour every single thing they learn in a notebook (as they do in Waldorf programs I've seen). So these methods are not for all.

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From what I've gathered, Waldorf is more teacher led and art and story based and Montessori is more child led and toy/manipulative based.

 

I'd probably like Montessori more if it wasn't so expensive to get the toys. Incorporating Waldorf ideas has been more practical for me since crayons, watercolors, and blank paper, stories, poems, songs, and imagination are affordable. My ds seems to like the artistic approach of Waldorf style, but I need more structure. So I pick and choose aspects from Waldorf that will help enhance academics and make learning more fun.

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Yes, they are really very different methods. We were in a Waldorf inspired co-op for one of my children a couple of years ago and there was much twitching and hand wringing from the Waldorf trained teacher when the idea of incorporating Montessori methods was thrown out by someone. LOL

 

I feel like I have been all over the place. I have settled on balance is best for me. We do incorporate some Waldorf principles, particularly in the early years, but I have a 4.5 year old that really wants to read and do school and Waldorf and I part ways there.

 

Yep, this was one of my reasons also. Another reason was that I am more into the concrete approach (it is how my family is wired) than the fairy type. The most important reason however had to do with his Anthroposophical philosophies, which I personally do not agree with and since it is said that the curriculum is highly influenced by them, it was not a philosophy I was about to follow. I researched Steiner while considering using Oak Meadow for my son Adrian at the time. While Oak Meadow has made some adaptations to the original Steiner philosophy of education, I still decided against it.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthroposophy

 

Montessori is more my style, although I would never follow that philosophy exactly either. I also believe that many schools these days that wish to call themselves Montessori do not follow the Montessori philosophy, or I should say they do but in various degrees. It irks me that the philosophy that Montessori came up with, while dedicating her life to educating underprivileged kids, has now become a cash cow for some.

 

I do intend to use certain aspects of Montessori with my youngest now that I know a little more about it and I have been getting books written directly from Montessori. Also, I purchased this book:

 

How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldin (President of the Montessori Foundation).

 

While it may be fine for schools to spend whatever sums of money to purchase the aides, for use at home it is still much too expensive (at least for my wallet anyway ;)). What I like about this book is that you see many of the items used (it is set up in order to help those that want to create a Montessori environment in their home) are items purchased from IKEA (furniture and toys) and I have also seen a few Melissa and Doug toys. The Melissa and Doug products are personal favorites of mine since they usually give you a better value for the money :).

 

So to sum up a little here, Steiner I would not use (although I do intend to read the two books I have to see if I can gain anything useful for our homeschool since I already spent the money on them :tongue_smilie:) and as for Montessori, it is a philosophy that is much closer to what I would be looking for but given my personality I would never follow any kind of philosophy without adapting (dropping what I don't like and using what I do :D).

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However, the Montessori concrete materials are among the best I have seen. It is possible to make many of them for much less, though a DIYer may not be able to achieve the same beauty & quality available in the expensive materials. For acquiring practical skills (practical life, math, reading, writing, grammar, geography), Montessori materials have some of the best ideas I have seen. Montessori's concrete-to-abstract math progression has been successfully used in popular programs like RightStart.

 

 

Yes. I am so sure they are good that I won't let myself look at them and form cravings :eek:

 

;)

Rosie

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My son did pre-Kindy, Kindergarten and started 1st grade before I pulled him from our Steiner School. I have the curriculum here and I will pull bits and pieces from there that I like, but that it is. I really have nothing pleasant to add about my local Steiner school so will leave it at that;)

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I do not believe in the spiritual theories behind Steiner, and I do not agree with the entire methodology, but there are some aspects of the style that I love and that we do incorporate into our home schooling.

 

We like to take a seasonal approach.

We like to include plenty of non academic things like handcrafts and gardening.

We like the idea of a daily rhythm, including the in/out breath concept.

 

We don't restrict what the children do, and when they do it, to anywhere near the extent the Steiner schools do. For example, only letting them do wet on wet watercolor painting, not using the color black, not having them read until age 7, only having one story at a time.

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Just wondering how many out there agree with Steiner/Montessori's ideas about education for Kindergarten through 1st or 2nd grade (or further?) I don't mean the origin of their ideas, but what they are in practice.

 

Well, we use both Waldorf methods and Waldorf-inspired curricula (Oak Meadow). It works very well for my family. We love the fairy tales, art, nature and everyday life activities.

 

I have two very different children. My eldest taught herself to read before she was 4. If I were a complete purist, she wouldn't have access to anything. I don't work with her on her reading, but I have books available and let her choose for the time being since she's in 1st grade. She constantly reads on her own. My youngest is 4 and has no desire to learn her letters or numbers. She knows her ABCs and can count to 20, but only because she listens in here and there.

 

We are about to head out for DisneyWorld, which would send some Waldorf purists running, we also have some plastic toys and they watch movies! :tongue_smilie: I guess we use what works and ignore the rest.

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I've used Waldorf methods throughout our homeschool journey. It has always worked well for us and when we use them our school and home are more mellow and happy. When I don't use Waldorf due to fear of having people look down on me in their holier than thouness, we end up having a very stressful school and home.

 

So I integrate Waldorf. We are not purists but I use a lot of the techniques, methods and ideas.

 

I also use Montessori materials in my homeschool because I have a child who learns with hands-on methods and another who is a VSL. Thse materials really help them to understand the skills/topics.

 

Also, Waldorf is not all about fantasy and fairy tales. Basically, with Waldorf history as you teach it moves from oral stories to real history as the child grows, develops and is ready for them.

 

In first grade there is fairy tales, in second they do fables and saints and hero stories. In third they do the Old Testament and in fourth Norse myths. In fifth they start to get into real history starting with the ancients through Greece. It is really a beautiful flow and I have noticed that my kids needs in stories really match up with the Waldorf traditions.

 

In first grade they still love fairy tales and princesses. In second they are looking for heros and love animals stories. In third they need to know that someone is in charge and who better than God? In fourth they are looking for adventure and action. In fifth they are ready to learn about the ancients and all they have to share with us.

 

 

Just to let you know those fairy tales are leading somewhere.:001_smile:

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Guest aquiverfull

I use some of Montessori's ideas and methods with my little ones. I don't think I could whole-heartedly adhere to everything, but I take what I like and leave the rest. I think it's ok to do that, I also do it with Charlotte Mason and Classical education.

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I think Montessori works very well for many children. Calvin learned no maths in a year in an excellent Montessori school, however. His experienced teacher was stumped and asked me to teach him pencil-and-paper maths in our free time. Calvin has never learned through his hands, and the Montessori equipment made no connection with his brain - he was just playing with blocks, not learning.

 

So, if you have a child who was entirely safe to leave alone as a toddler because he would never set off and explore with his hands, then Montessori may not be for you. Otherwise, it seemed to work well for the other children.

 

Laura

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Yes. I am so sure they are good that I won't let myself look at them and form cravings :eek:

 

;)

Rosie

 

:lol: I dared to take a peek last week but quickly brought myself to reality. I am happy for those that can afford these things though, my friend being one of them :).

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I've used Waldorf methods throughout our homeschool journey. It has always worked well for us and when we use them our school and home are more mellow and happy. When I don't use Waldorf due to fear of having people look down on me in their holier than thouness, we end up having a very stressful school and home.

 

So I integrate Waldorf. We are not purists but I use a lot of the techniques, methods and ideas.

 

I also use Montessori materials in my homeschool because I have a child who learns with hands-on methods and another who is a VSL. Thse materials really help them to understand the skills/topics.

 

Also, Waldorf is not all about fantasy and fairy tales. Basically, with Waldorf history as you teach it moves from oral stories to real history as the child grows, develops and is ready for them.

 

In first grade there is fairy tales, in second they do fables and saints and hero stories. In third they do the Old Testament and in fourth Norse myths. In fifth they start to get into real history starting with the ancients through Greece. It is really a beautiful flow and I have noticed that my kids needs in stories really match up with the Waldorf traditions.

 

In first grade they still love fairy tales and princesses. In second they are looking for heros and love animals stories. In third they need to know that someone is in charge and who better than God? In fourth they are looking for adventure and action. In fifth they are ready to learn about the ancients and all they have to share with us.

 

 

Just to let you know those fairy tales are leading somewhere.:001_smile:

 

Well, personally I don't look down on anyone that feels they are doing what is best for their family. I did mention that for my family the approach was not what I was looking for or what I felt would work for us. I don't have a problem with fairy stories. I just don't want it to be the general theme. Like I said, we personally, as a family, are just not wired that way. Whatever works for each family ;)!

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Well, personally I don't look down on anyone that feels they are doing what is best for their family. I did mention that for my family the approach was not what I was looking for or what I felt would work for us. I don't have a problem with fairy stories. I just don't want it to be the general theme. Like I said, we personally, as a family, are just not wired that way. Whatever works for each family ;)!

 

I used to give other people permission to make me feel bad but I try not to anymore. I live in a place where people are not all that tolerant and for many years I pretended to be one of them in hopes of fitting in. It never worked and now I just live life the way I think is best and do what is right for my family. :001_smile:

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I used to give other people permission to make me feel bad but I try not to anymore. I live in a place where people are not all that tolerant and for many years I pretended to be one of them in hopes of fitting in. It never worked and now I just live life the way I think is best and do what is right for my family. :001_smile:

 

Yep, been there, done that, learned quickly ;). Now my family comes first :).

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I really liked this series of articles: "Five lessons to take from...Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, unschooling...for your homeschool."

 

I'm definitely more of a classical/CM homeschooler but borrowing some of the best ideas from other philosophies is OK too.

 

I was excited to read these since I always like learning new things. I have the CM collection, many Montessori books and a couple of Waldorf books. I also have the WTM and others which I won't bother going into. Alas though, I was disapointed to see after opening the first one (Waldorf), a comment stated as fact, which I know is not true :001_huh:.

 

1. Young children don't need academics. Waldorf schools don't start any sort of formal teaching (including teaching reading) until age 7, much like many European schools. Instead, young children primarily learn through play, imitation, art and nature.".

 

I am not sure which European schools the lady is talking about but I went to school in Greece and believe me they do not wait to start formal teaching there. My husband went to elementary school following the British system and even more so in England, they start academics earlier (unless something has changed that I don't know about). That kind of threw me off and I was unable to continue reading from there.

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I really liked this series of articles: "Five lessons to take from...Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, unschooling...for your homeschool."

 

I'm definitely more of a classical/CM homeschooler but borrowing some of the best ideas from other philosophies is OK too.

:iagree: We do what works and when I find something better I try that.

 

 

I love Montessori's focus on real tools and teaching children how to do things, one step at a time. One of my favorite stories is when we had a quick meeting with a Financial advisor and when he came in my 4 year old was chopping celerey for dinner with (gasp) a sharp knife. I don't think he took his eyes off him the entire time and we joked that he probably thought about calling child services when he left.

 

I love how Waldorf uses quality materials and elevates quality over quantity. Although my little people do not enjoy crafts. :confused: But I keep that in mind when I buy toys and materials.

 

But I don't use either of them a whole lot in our education goals past Pre-school level.

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I used to give other people permission to make me feel bad but I try not to anymore. I live in a place where people are not all that tolerant and for many years I pretended to be one of them in hopes of fitting in. It never worked and now I just live life the way I think is best and do what is right for my family. :001_smile:

 

I am thrilled for you that you are being yourself. When I read your first post about others being holier than thou and your actually changing what works it made me sad for you and your family.

We also live in a place where the VAST majority of home education is intolerant. (not only do you need to be Christian, but the right type of Christian, or you can't join, and if you do any public activities for home schoolers they basically shun you and worse your children) I thought about signing their statement, keeping my mouth shut, and even looking for their type of church (because where you go to church is the code) for about 5 minutes before I realized that I would be miserable. The sad thing is that I am sure there are decent women in that group but they are towing the line in the hopes of keeping under the radar for the sake of their children.

But anyways before I went off on a tangent, I am glad that you found what works for you and you family and you own it and feel good about it.

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I really wanted to do more Waldorf style education this year, but it is very hard to 'pick apart'. I really wanted to teach art, music and handy crafts they way they do, but there is so little curriculum devoted to an individual subject. I bought the Block Coloring book and dvd, but it doesn't give you step by step instruction as to what to do on a daily basis. It teaches you (the adult) how to do the drawings then lets you decide how to teach your dc. I can't afford the pentatonic flute so I looked into the tin whistle. The only curriculum I found was so poorly made, my dh grimaced said, "Why would you want that when you already have a degree in music?". True, but I wanted lesson plans on the subjects. Waldorf educators don't want the public to have lesson plans to buy. I felt like Waldorf educators believed that you should discover what would works best for your class as far as which stories or drawing or letters you teach instead of a particular order. That one needed to be trained in the Waldorf way.:001_huh:

One Waldorf teacher said that you could never truly experience Waldorf in an homeschool setting. Children needed to be in a classroom with all the different "temperaments" to get the true essence of education. Blah....Blah....Blah.... It was also funny that the Waldorf kindergarten was trying to imitate the home environment.

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Guest Alte Veste Academy
One Waldorf teacher said that you could never truly experience Waldorf in an homeschool setting.

 

...

 

It was also funny that the Waldorf kindergarten was trying to imitate the home environment.

 

Yes, I find this ironic. I once spent a big chunk of change on a book that had incredible pictures of wonderful learning environments you could set up. I had such high hopes for that book and was truly excited while waiting to receive it, dreaming of all the ideas I could implement. Well, surprise, surprise! Everything in there, the whole goal of the book, was an effort to make school look like home. Well, check! :lol: I got my money back and spent it on some more playsilks. :D

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I really wanted to do more Waldorf style education this year, but it is very hard to 'pick apart'.

 

Yes, this is true. You really have to dig and learn the method. You have to learn how to do the things and know the material and choose what parts you think will reach your child. One of the big things with Waldorf is the concept of: head, heart, hands (Montessori has a similar one).

 

You reach the child's heart through hands-on activities that get them involved and wanting to learn (head).

 

When I first started looking at Waldorf years ago there was not much out there and what there was was very expensive and not much. But over the years, there are more people doing it and there is more information available. There are a ton of great blogs that have tutorials on a lot of the art projects and hand crafts.

 

There are also blogs where people post their lesson blocks as they do them, taking pictures of their chalkboards, lesson books and links to the stories they use.

 

It is a very individualized education and is really wonderful. I have found one of the best resources on Waldorf to be Melissa at A Little Garden Flower.

 

I have also found the yahoogroups to be very helpful. Some groups are a little more purist than others but they have good resources that you can use for free.

 

I think with everything you have to find what works for you and your family and go with it. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find what you want and learn new things. But I have found that it is usually worth it.:001_smile:

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I think they are talking about Germany, Sweeden, Denmark, Norway, and such. They generally start academics later. :001_smile:

 

I can't speak for those Countries because I don't know. I just don't agree with generalizations. I don't mean to sound rude, I don't like unsupported generalizations because then you have people forming opinions based on these and this is how misconceptions spread.

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I am thrilled for you that you are being yourself. When I read your first post about others being holier than thou and your actually changing what works it made me sad for you and your family.

We also live in a place where the VAST majority of home education is intolerant. (not only do you need to be Christian, but the right type of Christian, or you can't join, and if you do any public activities for home schoolers they basically shun you and worse your children) I thought about signing their statement, keeping my mouth shut, and even looking for their type of church (because where you go to church is the code) for about 5 minutes before I realized that I would be miserable. The sad thing is that I am sure there are decent women in that group but they are towing the line in the hopes of keeping under the radar for the sake of their children.

But anyways before I went off on a tangent, I am glad that you found what works for you and you family and you own it and feel good about it.

 

One thing that I always try to remember that has served me well is, how well am I serving my children if they see me caving into other people's expectations? Who am I trying to please and how will this affect my kids’ behavior growing up? Will this inadvertently teach them that they should also cave to peer pressure? I mean if they see us doing it, what kind of message will that be sending to them? I still struggle with this myself and I just keep to myself and my family rather than have to deal with this, and while I don't know what the best solution is, I know that giving into other people's demands isn’t it either. Sadly I had to learn this lesson very quickly and at a very young age.

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I can't speak for those Countries because I don't know. I just don't agree with generalizations. I don't mean to sound rude, I don't like unsupported generalizations because then you have people forming opinions based on these and this is how misconceptions spread.

 

 

I don't mean to sound rude either, but "many schools" isn't a generalization.

 

 

Rosie

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I really wanted to do more Waldorf style education this year, but it is very hard to 'pick apart'. I really wanted to teach art, music and handy crafts they way they do, but there is so little curriculum devoted to an individual subject. I bought the Block Coloring book and dvd, but it doesn't give you step by step instruction as to what to do on a daily basis. It teaches you (the adult) how to do the drawings then lets you decide how to teach your dc. I can't afford the pentatonic flute so I looked into the tin whistle. The only curriculum I found was so poorly made, my dh grimaced said, "Why would you want that when you already have a degree in music?". True, but I wanted lesson plans on the subjects. Waldorf educators don't want the public to have lesson plans to buy. I felt like Waldorf educators believed that you should discover what would works best for your class as far as which stories or drawing or letters you teach instead of a particular order. That one needed to be trained in the Waldorf way.:001_huh:

One Waldorf teacher said that you could never truly experience Waldorf in an homeschool setting. Children needed to be in a classroom with all the different "temperaments" to get the true essence of education. Blah....Blah....Blah.... It was also funny that the Waldorf kindergarten was trying to imitate the home environment.

 

Well, Lawrence Williams, the founder of Oak Meadow homeschooled his children the Waldorf way! Then again I guess the die-hard Waldorf supporters would probably frown on that given that he has made adaptations to the Waldorf philosophy anyway:tongue_smilie:.

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I don't mean to sound rude either, but "many schools" isn't a generalization.

 

 

Rosie

 

Many to me would mean the majority of the Countries in Europe. I would have liked to have seen specifics but that's just me ;).

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Many to me would mean the majority of the Countries in Europe. I would have liked to have seen specifics but that's just me ;).

 

Many means a large, indefinite number. Most means a majority. How many countries would it take to allow her to use the word many? Maybe saying some or quite a few would have been more appropriate. I honestly find it irrelevant, as what she said about Waldorf delaying formal academics was the main point.

 

Some things just rub people different ways though. I personally get a bee in my bonnet when people equate CM with easy-going (most mean easy period). No biggie. :)

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Well, Lawrence Williams, the founder of Oak Meadow homeschooled his children the Waldorf way! Then again I guess the die-hard Waldorf supporters would probably frown on that given that he has made adaptations to the Waldorf philosophy anyway:tongue_smilie:.

 

The yahoo Waldorf groups I belong two are very particular as to what you call "Waldorf" some moderators and member become quite "snippy" if you call Oak Meadow a Waldorf education. Honestly, I was quite surprised at their attitude and a bit disturbed.

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I taught in a Waldorf school for awhile (music). Lots of what they do there you can't replicate at home but I think the reverse is also true. Many of the teachers seemed to feel "sorry" for me that I was homeschooling. I felt that they just didn't understand that in my opinion what I do is better. I would still homeschool even if they offered me free tuition.

 

I loved all the crafts that they did. Still I prefer more loose rule-less art. Lately I have been really into my glue gun. And my daughter really likes the art markers I bought her (much more than the beeswax crayons...though those things last forever so I still really love them).

 

My son sat in on a 5th grade Waldorf lesson when I was there and the teacher apparently said to the class "I don't care if you understand it, I just want you to do it" He came back to me appalled and thankful that he doesn't always have to sit quietly and be polite (suffering silently teachers who do not understand the beauty of math the way he does). Not to say Waldorf teachers always do that but it seems much of their math curriculum is pretty rote. I super-like the geometry units though and greedy gnome stories in the younger grades.

 

The best thing about homeschooling is you can do whatever you (or your kids) love and you can chuck the rest.

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The yahoo Waldorf groups I belong two are very particular as to what you call "Waldorf" some moderators and member become quite "snippy" if you call Oak Meadow a Waldorf education. Honestly, I was quite surprised at their attitude and a bit disturbed.

 

One thing I did appreciate about Lawrence Williams was his candidness in admitting that while he follows certain aspects of the Waldorf philosophy, he has adapted it to what the homeschool community has expected of him and his website does not broadly advertise the curriculum as being a Waldorf education. Even though I decided against using it (and there were many reasons why I decided against it which I didn't bother getting into since they were not pertinent :tongue_smilie:), honesty is one thing I definitely value in people. I am sure there was a reason why Mr. Williams has written the article he has (found in his website), explaining the Waldorf approach and how he has adapted it ;). Here's a very nice article from Tim Seldin President of the Montessori foundation regarding this same issue when it comes to Montessori schools. I just stumbled across it and found his perspective to be very interesting and an eye opener for me. It made a lot of sense. I remember SWB saying something similar about Classical education in the article I linked just below that.

 

http://www.montessori.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=265:finding-an-authentic-montessori-school&catid=52:finding-the-right-school&Itemid=41

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/charlotte-mason-education/

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Many means a large, indefinite number. Most means a majority. How many countries would it take to allow her to use the word many? Maybe saying some or quite a few would have been more appropriate. I honestly find it irrelevant, as what she said about Waldorf delaying formal academics was the main point.

 

Some things just rub people different ways though. I personally get a bee in my bonnet when people equate CM with easy-going (most mean easy period). No biggie. :)

 

If it had said this, I would have just kept on reading. Actually, I did go back and finish the article and also skimmed through the others and the comments made are consistent with what I know about each of these philosophies. I do fully admit that my knowledge it limited too though but I did see the points she made about gaining from what may be good from all these philosophies, although it would be very difficult to implement them all since some of the approaches are opposing, or at least that is how I see it ;). I do strongly believe that we can gain perspective from all though in various ways, and this is why I have invested in all the books that I have :).

 

I did say that I am a concrete person right? Well, sometimes I come across as an absolutist. Sorry about that :)! I probably should have just kept my thoughts to myself :tongue_smilie:.

 

Oh, and I am with you on the CM comment ;).

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...I did see the points she made about gaining from what may be good from all these philosophies, although it would be very difficult to implement them all since some of the approaches are opposing, or at least that is how I see it. I do strongly believe that we can gain perspective from all though in various ways, and this is why I have invested in all the books that I have.

 

Yes, I think we might end up quite the fruit salad over here. :tongue_smilie: I also invest in books about different methods and love to think about how each perspective can be incorporated into our own perfect family recipe. It's my nature to take and assimilate what I like I trash the rest. Even opposing philosophies can be accommodated. For instance, I see the benefit of both WTM and CM style narrations so we do both here. Sometimes I ask for the main points and sometimes I ask for everything they can remember. It keeps them on their toes. :D

 

I did say that I am a concrete person right? Well, sometimes I come across as an absolutist. Sorry about that! I probably should have just kept my thoughts to myself.

 

Oh, and I am with you on the CM comment.

 

Well, we're all absolutists about some things. You did get me intrigued though. I started a search to try to find out how many countries do have a later start to formal academics. You're just going to love this quote from the first one that came up. :lol:

 

"Continuing this informal but structured learning for a year or so would bring children in England in line with many European countries, where school starts at six or even seven, and standards are often higher."

 

It's an epidemic! :lol: I'm seriously going to look around though. I have been interested in this ever since reading about Finland's late start with reading instruction in The Read-Aloud Handbook. Ironically, I philosophically fall into the better late than early camp but my first two pretty much taught themselves to read before we got to the proper time to teach it. :tongue_smilie: I guess I will never know if I was indeed as brave as I believed myself to be. If math is any indication, I'm more of a hypocrite than a true believer. :001_huh:

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My son sat in on a 5th grade Waldorf lesson when I was there and the teacher apparently said to the class "I don't care if you understand it, I just want you to do it"

 

Wow. That is just a bad teacher, period, regardless of educational philosophy.

 

The best thing about homeschooling is you can do whatever you (or your kids) love and you can chuck the rest.

 

:iagree:100%

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Yes, I think we might end up quite the fruit salad over here. :tongue_smilie: I also invest in books about different methods and love to think about how each perspective can be incorporated into our own perfect family recipe. It's my nature to take and assimilate what I like I trash the rest. Even opposing philosophies can be accommodated. For instance, I see the benefit of both WTM and CM style narrations so we do both here. Sometimes I ask for the main points and sometimes I ask for everything they can remember. It keeps them on their toes. :D

 

 

 

Well, we're all absolutists about some things. You did get me intrigued though. I started a search to try to find out how many countries do have a later start to formal academics. You're just going to love this quote from the first one that came up. :lol:

 

"Continuing this informal but structured learning for a year or so would bring children in England in line with many European countries, where school starts at six or even seven, and standards are often higher."

 

It's an epidemic! :lol: I'm seriously going to look around though. I have been interested in this ever since reading about Finland's late start with reading instruction in The Read-Aloud Handbook. Ironically, I philosophically fall into the better late than early camp but my first two pretty much taught themselves to read before we got to the proper time to teach it. :tongue_smilie: I guess I will never know if I was indeed as brave as I believed myself to be. If math is any indication, I'm more of a hypocrite than a true believer. :001_huh:

 

I will be back tomorrow but for now I will add this link:

 

http://www.nfer.co.uk/nfer/publications/44410/44410.pdf

 

I didn't get to read it all (just the first couple of pages for now because I have to get going) but it has some very interesting statistical data. Judging by the dates though I am guessing that the survey was done around 2002 so I am not sure of what the changes may be. By the way six to me is standard age for elementary so I do not consider that a late start. I am not sure if we agree on that.

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The yahoo Waldorf groups I belong two are very particular as to what you call "Waldorf" some moderators and member become quite "snippy" if you call Oak Meadow a Waldorf education. Honestly, I was quite surprised at their attitude and a bit disturbed.

 

Oak Meadow is actually considered Waldorf-inspired and people who are Waldorf purist can be quite persnickety about it.

 

I use Oak Meadow and feel like they took the best of Waldorf and created a great curriculum. :001_smile:

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I will be back tomorrow but for now I will add this link:

 

http://www.nfer.co.uk/nfer/publications/44410/44410.pdf

 

I didn't get to read it all (just the first couple of pages for now because I have to get going) but it has some very interesting statistical data. Judging by the dates though I am guessing that the survey was done around 2002 so I am not sure of what the changes may be. By the way six to me is standard age for elementary so I do not consider that a late start. I am not sure if we agree on that.

 

Great chart! Thanks!

 

I also agree that 6 is/should be standard as a age to begin formal education. I think anything before that should be learning through play. However, I find the compulsory attendance age very misleading because it's not necessarily an accurate indication of reality. For example, the compulsory attendance age in Texas is 6 but it is extremely unusual for parents to wait until the age of 6 to enroll their kids in school. If they can get their kids into the pre-K program at 4, most of them do, and virtually all kids start K at 5 (unless parents do the red-shirting, but that's typically only seen in affluent areas). So, really, the ages cited may or may not be a true reflection of common practice and societal beliefs in those countries.

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I really liked this series of articles: "Five lessons to take from...Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, unschooling...for your homeschool."

 

I'm definitely more of a classical/CM homeschooler but borrowing some of the best ideas from other philosophies is OK too.

 

Great links!

 

I personlly take from various philosophies what works for us and mishmash it all together. My kids love a daily and seasonal rythm, nature, art, stories and daily life activities (Waldorf); hands-on materials that encourage learning (Montessori); living books and short lessons (CM); some child-led studies (more toward unschooling); and the rotation of history, though we do deviate (Classical). It's a hodgepodge! (Just had to use that word).

 

That is one of the beauties of homeschooling - you don't HAVE to follow ONE method. You can mix and match to suit your needs, and those of your children. I pick and choose how we approach each subject, and sometimes we change up that approach depending on current needs and moods. Think of homeschooling as a tree with many branches. The trunk is formed by the common thread, in our case the basics of solid mathematics and good reading. We can climb out onto and explore branches at any time, but the trunk anchors us.

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Great chart! Thanks!

 

I also agree that 6 is/should be standard as a age to begin formal education. I think anything before that should be learning through play. However, I find the compulsory attendance age very misleading because it's not necessarily an accurate indication of reality. For example, the compulsory attendance age in Texas is 6 but it is extremely unusual for parents to wait until the age of 6 to enroll their kids in school. If they can get their kids into the pre-K program at 4, most of them do, and virtually all kids start K at 5 (unless parents do the red-shirting, but that's typically only seen in affluent areas). So, really, the ages cited may or may not be a true reflection of common practice and societal beliefs in those countries.

 

 

From the few countries that I do know about, countries that follow similar patterns to Greece (were I am from and have lived) I know that while the compulsory age is 6, you can enroll your child in kindergarten at the age of 5, but kindergarten is not compulsory. They do have government funded kindergarten but it is really difficult to get into because there are very few and not enough to cover the need. As for the age of four (or sooner), parents are free to do as they please once they are enrolling their kids in private programs. I do believe that this is the right of the parent. The government funded K programs do not push academics but will start for example things like intro to letters and numbers. This is becoming the standard I feel because kids just are simply learning those things younger and younger these days. It's a fact. We are living in different times. It is also what drove Oak Meadow into starting intro to letters in K, against the Waldorf philosophy, which normally starts them after the age of 7.

 

I always try to look at things from the other person’s perspective so I can understand parents that are motivated to put their kids in school at an earlier age. With the economy being what it is many households cannot afford to live off of one income and since they both work the younger kids need to go somewhere. In countries like Greece it is customary for the grandparents to look after the grandchildren and you see it quite a bit still there. Many of the older generation Greek women did not work and since people are having children later these days and less children in those countries (Greece in particular the average is just over 1 child per couple) the grandparents are usually taking care of the kiddos while the parents work. In North America though you still have families that have many children and sometimes at a younger age so the grandparents are often still working themselves. The kids then end up in daycare, which is very expensive. In these cases I can understand parents that are being forced to find ways to enroll their kids in programs in order to have somewhere to leave their kids while avoiding the daycare costs.

 

I had to send my oldest to daycare at 18 months while working and after my mother looked after him between the ages of 4 and 18 months. It was not easy but I am an older mommy ;) and my mother had health issues (she was a working mother) and was already older in age and could not deal with my very active boy for too long. Especially after he started running around getting himself into all kinds of mischief :tongue_smilie:.

 

I wanted to clarify also that I am not a follower of the better late than early school :tongue_smilie:. I follow my child and I find the sensitive periods that Montessori studied and based her philosophy on, to make sense since I have seen a lot of it with my oldest. Adrian learned his letters and numbers before turning three and was actually identifying colors before turning two. I am not about to hold my child back when he is showing me he wants to learn. But I find that the home environment is much different than a school environment. I have based many things on observation with my kiddos and I try to provide them room to grow based on what they are showing me. I am making certain changes in my approach with Malcolm (those poor firsts are always the guinea pigs) but for the most part this is my approach. I follow where my child leads and would not hesitate to wait if my child did not show interest. I am not sure how likely that is though with two parents that started reading at an early age :lol:.

 

Anyway, my reply got a lot longer than I wanted so my apologies for that :D.

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I am not about to hold my child back when he is showing me he wants to learn. But I find that the home environment is much different than a school environment.

 

...

 

I follow where my child leads and would not hesitate to wait if my child did not show interest.

 

Agreed. This is what we do here too, so I guess ultimately my philosophy is know your kids and meet them where they are. :001_smile:

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I am like others and like to pull ideas from here and there. Love the seasonality of Waldorf, focus on nature and such but as others strongly disagree w/ the philosophy. Love the play things and such for Montesorri although I cannot afford them either. We try to do limited screen time, but do not totally exclude it. I believe in delayed academics, but there are many reasons there nothing to do with the children's soul.

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If you are interested in the method, I second Melissa's work. She is the owner of A Little Garden Flower. Her books are inexpensive. She has daily lesson plans and stories included. The PDF is handy because you can print out just that weeks lessons and stories. her yahoo group is very caring and she keeps people on topic.

 

When I looked for bigger families or people who had been doing Waldorf a long time, I found a different group of people. at some point people either let go of those pure expectations or send their children to Waldorf school.

 

You can pick one thing this month. Start a nature table, cover the TV, do a chalkboard drawing.

 

plastic recorders are inexpensive. If you are a music major, teach your children what you want to teach. I think Steiner liked the recorder because it is easy to teach and it was good for the children to blow.

 

There are some preschool/daycare guides for Waldorf inspired. I think they are Little Acorn learning or something similar. I am going to get those when my youngest is a little older.

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While the philosophies of Waldorf and Montessori are very different, I think they have more in common with each other than is sometimes acknowledged.

 

Both are based on observation of children and similar acknowledgement of general developmental trends. Both Montessori and Steiner noticed that one of the overriding interests of small children is to learn to control their body. Montessori takes a more structured approach to this, but they both notice some of the same things about children's development. (Both Montessori and Steiner note the growing role of the heart and imagination in learning around age 6 or 7.)

 

Both encourage a more removed approach to the teacher. In early childhood classes, Montessori will have 30 or more children, with a great deal of mentoring going on from older to younger children. In a Waldorf kindergarten, the teacher goes about her own work, while the children play around her. She is not on the floor playing with them.

 

Both emphasize the need of children to develop their powers of absorption. It is at this point that I see a great deal of complementary-ness to the philosophies. Montessori teaches concentration; it's one of the big concepts(order, coordination, concentration, and independence). They encourage children from infancy to develop their ability to concentrate. Steiner also encourages concentration, in the early childhood program, on their imaginary play.

 

Both have a strong belief in the virtues of beauty and surrounding children with aesthetic, simple materials, as well as spending as much time as possible outdoors. (And of course, they are both against media for young children.)

 

I LOVE Montessori. For early childhood, I also love Waldorf. (Once they hit the grades, however, my love affair with Waldorf rapidly diminishes. I still love the beauty, the role of the arts and "getting into their bodies," the imaginative approach to studying, the emphasis on conversational foreign languages and handcrafts/ gardening/ woodworking activities. They get waaaaay too weird in their approaches: bizarre science, holding kids back from history for a long time, non-phonetic approach to reading. I have some mixed feelings about Waldorf math. It has a lot of good points, but not enough practice, and I think it lacks the "thinking about math" that builds real mathematical skill. It just doesn't tend to be a real strength among the teachers.) I think we do a great disservice to our children when we push academics too early, but people miss the fact that in true Montessori, early academics is NOT the goal. A lot of contemporary schools use that as their emphasis, but Maria Montessori was all about the normalization, not the academics. Academic work was merely the means to the end of concentration and absorption. I think she had tremendous insight into sensitive periods, and I've rarely seen her wrong on them. Practical life does not get NEARLY the attention in most Montessori schools that it deserves, in my opinion. There is a lot to be said for giving children the keys to the world, as Maria Montessori said should be the goal of the primary level classroom. Small children want to know "what," not why. (Sound at all like the classical model?) So she gives them a tremendous amount of "what" knowledge: vocabulary, music, geography, parts of speech, etc, and it is all done in a very natural, easy way that does not stress children but rather nourishes them, if done in a true Montessori way. It is a tremendous gift to a child to help them normalize and to learn in this manner.

 

I think Maria Montessori had a lot of insight into the fact that fairy tales are not for young children. (Was it Chesterton or Lewis who commented that a three year old will be enthralled by the idea that Timmy knocked on the DOOR, but that the seven year old will be enthralled by the dragon?) Fairy tales, she rightly said, belong to the realm of the 6-12 year olds. Preschoolers LOVE fact books. But, I think Waldorf is onto something with the repetition of stories to build oral memory and "living into" a story. Waldorf's approach to stories is very similar to narration at that level. However, if you look at the Waldorf reading lists, there are relatively few true fairy tales for the kindergarten. First grade is the Walorf year of fairy tales. The kindergarten (ages 3-6) is the realm of folk tales, which I agree are FAR, FAR more appropriate to young children. I do think Steiner had some unique insights into the kinds of stories and activities that speak to children of various ages. That is an area Montessori did not address as much.

 

My ideal school for kids 6 and under would be a morning spent in a Montessori program, and after school an imaginative, free play, art and story oriented afternoon, with lots and lots of outdoor time and maybe some respites for organized music and physical activity lessons.

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I have some mixed feelings about Waldorf math. It has a lot of good points, but not enough practice, and I think it lacks the "thinking about math" that builds real mathematical skill. It just doesn't tend to be a real strength among the teachers.)

 

Ron Jarmon addresses this in his book Teaching Mathematics in Rudolf Steiner Schools. He was very concerned about this and actually recommends that the teachers spend about an hour a day on math practice even when math is not the main lesson. I know that there is a tendancy among Waldorf purists to only do math when it is the main lesson and just do it through stories and not do a lot of practice.

 

One of the main reasons, I don't do lesson blocks is beacause I really think that the kids need a little practice each day in every subject. The short intense lessons is something I learned from reading Charlotte Mason's books.

 

By the way Montessori, Charlotte Mason and Rudolf Steiner were all contemporaries and so there are quite a few similiarities between the methods even though there are some very drastic differences.

 

:001_smile:

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