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    #208249 12/23/14 01:01 PM
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    There is a new Waldorf school in our area that is growing a year at a time, currently they have k-3 and are opening 4th next year. I was wondering if anyone with experience in a Waldorf school could fill me in on how it fit your kid. I know the philosophy and what they say their curriculum is, but am wondering how that fits with kids like ours.

    Thanks

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    Hi!
    Everything I have heard about Waldorf is that, in general, they do not encourage children to learn at their own pace when that pace is advanced. The magic of childhood is revered and academic pursuits are often minimized.
    I think it would be a lovely place to send my children to for a daycare type environment but not for real learning.

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    Val Offline
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    Everything I've read about Waldorf schools aligns with what daytripper75 wrote.

    Also, Waldorf schools attract anti-vaccine types. Given that vaccines aren't 100% effective, even a vaccinated child is at risk in an environment where there's no herd immunity. California's Department of Public Health publishes statistics about vaccination rates in California schools (scroll down to the bottom of the page for an easy-to-use interface to the data). Other states may also publish this information; you'd have to do a web search to find out.

    I searched for Waldorf schools in California; the database returned 19 of them. The highest rate of vaccination was 78% (which is well below herd immunity levels). The lowest was 13%. Eleven out of the 19 schools had rates of 50% or less. Personally, that information alone would be enough to keep me away from even an open house.

    Here's an old thread on Waldorf schools.


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    Originally Posted by master of none
    We have one here and I know some people who attend who are more about art and expression than achievement, so it's a good fit. One thing is that they had to sign a contract about no TV in the house, and no computer.
    I think public schools requiring students to maintain reading logs is intrusive. I would not last at a Waldorf school. There was an NYT story about Silicon Valley parents sending their children to a Waldorf school:

    A Silicon Valley School That Doesn’t Compute
    By MATT RICHTEL
    October 22, 2011

    Quote
    LOS ALTOS, Calif. — The chief technology officer of eBay sends his children to a nine-classroom school here. So do employees of Silicon Valley giants like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Hewlett-Packard.

    But the school’s chief teaching tools are anything but high-tech: pens and paper, knitting needles and, occasionally, mud. Not a computer to be found. No screens at all. They are not allowed in the classroom, and the school even frowns on their use at home.

    Schools nationwide have rushed to supply their classrooms with computers, and many policy makers say it is foolish to do otherwise. But the contrarian point of view can be found at the epicenter of the tech economy, where some parents and educators have a message: computers and schools don’t mix.

    This is the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, one of around 160 Waldorf schools in the country that subscribe to a teaching philosophy focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks. Those who endorse this approach say computers inhibit creative thinking, movement, human interaction and attention spans.

    The Waldorf method is nearly a century old, but its foothold here among the digerati puts into sharp relief an intensifying debate about the role of computers in education.

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    We really wanted to do Waldorf with my son, but it wasn't right for him. It seems great for more flexible and creative kids, rather than my ASD son. If I ever have an NT child it will be my school of choice.

    Waldorf does do computers, just not until a certain age. I love the no media policy, my biggest issue with school is all of the mainstream junk my son is exposed to.

    We vaccinate, but we have friends who don't. I'm not concerned, you either believe the vaccines work or you don't. If you think there is a good chance your child's vaccine will fail, then why get them in the first place? If my child had a weak immune system or certain diseases, it might be a concern for me.

    Waldorf has no grading or homework, my two biggest reasons for wanting to use it. We did do a parent child class when my son was 2 and it was very nice. The kids baked bread and did arts and watched puppet plays. No books or academic stuff at all in the classroom and the parents sat around and sewed or knitted while the kids played (I just sat around since I have no ability in fabric arts.)

    I can't speak as to whether it is good for a gifted child or not, we switched to a regular preschool where my son can get all of his IU supports and TSS (the Waldorf school is over 45 mins away with no traffic, an hour 15 with). I do know that as the kids get older there is a lot more emphasis on academics and they learn a lot more and at a faster rate than public school.

    Another cool thing is that they spend the day on only 2 subjects and then each month or so switch to others, so they go much more in depth and waste less time changing classes during the day. They have drama and fabric arts and knitting, etc. for all of the kids. They are more concerned with teaching the kids to be critical thinkers than they are with teaching them to take the state tests.

    Just like any other school, it will depend on the child whether the fit is right. I personally would rather have my gifted youngster knitting and playing violin and playing dress up at age 6 than sitting bored at a desk learning stuff they could do for 3 years. But then I'm not very focused on achievement, I really think childhood should be fun!

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    What Daytripper and Val said.

    We aren't in CA, but similar stats around here re: Waldorf. There is also pressure to be vegan and orthorexic with respect to lifestyle and diet-- but this may be a local thing.

    I also feel that home environment is up to parents, not schools-- but then again, if you support the Waldorf philosophy of child development, then you're likely to be on-board with the other elements that tend to be sticking points for me personally.

    (vaccinations, allopathic medical care, homeopathy, technology use, and strange beliefs re: child development--Google "Steiner" and all will become clear. Er, well, maybe it will, and maybe there will be more questions about other things. Who knows.)

    There is a belief among some Waldorf families we've known that NO child is truly "ready" to read until at least 7-8 years of age, for example. Some acquaintances truly believe that DD reading as a freshly minted 5yo is evidence of bad parenting on our part, and no amount of detail about how that transpired, or the trajectory in the months after it, is sufficient to convince them otherwise.

    They also believe that our highly atopic DD would be free of asthma if we'd only left her un-vaccinated, and that energy healing of some sort is the "solution" to her disability. There also seems to be a prevailing belief that DD's food allergies are the result of a diet exclusively based upon GMO foods that are highly processed and loaded with HFCS (not true, in any event, but probably irrelevant given her genetics, in any case).

    BTW, dietary supplements are apparently the solution for a friend's trisomy daughter, too, so it's a diffuse and widespread sort of belief in magical thinking operating under the guise of naturalism.


    I know of two different children whose very significant learning challenges* went entirely unnoticed in that setting-- for three and five years, respectively.

    *later remediated rather aggressively by the local school district, which basically believes child-find to be a mere suggestion and prefers the gentleman's agreement model of accommodations, for reference-- once allowed a young child who was legally blind to languish in a mainstreamed classroom with ZERO supports for many weeks... so, NOT a district which is quick to intervene, by any stretch of the imagination.

    The Waldorf school locally saw nothing amiss in an 11yo who could not read at all and had no decoding skills whatsoever, nor in a 7yo who lacked some very basic numeracy. (As in, could count to 25, and that was the extent of this child's math skills-- could not even reliably add two single-digit numbers, could not sequence values, could not tell time or order values by size, had no concept at all of fractions.) The attitude was very much "child-led" and "all in good time," rather than "labeling" either child. As you all probably know by now, I'm not someone who is about labeling children, and I'm inclined on the wait-and-see side of things usually, but this was very extreme. I found the local Waldorf approach appalling in both of these instances. The parents were patted on the head and told that they lacked faith in the pedagogical approach when they asked questions.

    While such environs may be highly supportive of asynchrony, they are stunningly tone-deaf regarding the possibility of asynchrony representing a problem that might require mitigation or supports for amelioration/remediation. They can be a little too supportive of asynchrony, if you see my point.

    As a play-based environment, it's probably okay for bright children who are definitely NOT 2e-- at least for a few years. I can't think how it could ever have worked for our DD, though.



    My personal preference is for Montessori, (at least in some incarnations).









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    Val #208272 12/23/14 05:42 PM
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    Originally Posted by Val
    Also, Waldorf schools attract anti-vaccine types

    This is a problem with homeschooling as well, at least in my region. I'm uneasy about it, but not willing to avoid homeschooler events on that basis.

    Originally Posted by PanzerAzelSaturn
    If you think there is a good chance your child's vaccine will fail, then why get them in the first place?
    Because 90% protection is a lot better than 0% protection.


    MegMeg #208273 12/23/14 06:04 PM
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    We call them Steiner schools. I like the curriculum in that they have religion, pgilosophy, German etc which my state schools never had. But my step mother is s trained Steiner kindy teacher and I find their belief that under 7 year old are basically still unfinished and not capable of anything academic at odds with a gifted child. My 4 year old did know what the numbers meant and didn't need physical activity to understand the concept of two and he was plenty ready to read at 5.

    MegMeg #208274 12/23/14 06:10 PM
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    Originally Posted by PanzerAzelSaturn
    ...you either believe the vaccines work or you don't.

    What MegMeg said.

    Not believing that vaccines work as advertised is akin to not believing that gravity works as advertised. People can believe what they like, but personal beliefs won't change what will happen if their child ends up falling from a height. Similarly, disbelieving the science behind vaccines is just plain wrong.

    The rise of the anti-vax and anti-evolution movements is a huge discredit to our education system. We don't teach people how to analyze information, we don't teach them how to recognize disreputable sources of information (including web sites), and we don't properly teach them what the scientific method is or the importance of using data obtained through rigorous methods (as opposed to anecdotes). And we end up with people who are easily taken in by false information that can harm them (or their kids).

    One result of this is that we've had 10,000 cases of pertussis in California so far this year, including 3 dead babies and 80 people in the ICU.

    frown


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    I'm just saying I'm not afraid of my son getting an illness he's vaccinated for. Sure, there is some chance, but it's slim and he is a very healthy kid. I wouldn't avoid world travel either, but there is a risk there as well. Do I think everyone should vaccinate barring medical reason not to? Yeah, sure I do. But I can only make that decision for my child. I will not penalize other kids whose moms made a different choice.

    My son is in a special class 4 afternoons a week for kids with behavior problems/asd. Vaccination rates are low. I'm not going to keep him out of the program based on that. Would you suggest I not send my son because of the % of kids not vaccinated?

    #208277 12/23/14 07:08 PM
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    Honestly? I wouldn't send my child to a school where vaccination rates are below herd immunity levels.

    The meaning of "vaccines aren't 100% effective" is that they may not work in a very few people or they may not provide complete protection in some people. The personal risk to a vaccinated person is low. However, a vaccinated person may have a mild-ish cold-like illness that's actually measles (or something else). This person can spread the disease to someone who's very vulnerable (a young infant or a person who can't be vaccinated for medical reasons). The 3 infants who died of measles this year were all too young to be vaccinated when they contracted the disease. This is really serious stuff, and again, our schools are failing badly by not teaching it.

    The thing is that it's very easy underestimate the risk of disease and overestimate the risk of vaccines. Many people see conditions like measles and mumps as being benign diseases of childhood. They're not. Measles almost killed my sister in the very early 1960s (she developed encephalitis). Before vaccinations, it killed, literally, millions of people every year and left permanent damage in many more.

    So no, I don't think that (personal belief) unvaccinated children should be allowed to attend school, public or private. Medical exemptions are different, which is why everyone else needs to be vaccinated: herd immunity protects the ones who are allergic to the components of the shot or who have another problem precluding vaccination. The risk the unvaccinated people pose to (many others) is simply too high.


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    David Gilmour "Pink Floyd" wrote a damning indictment about waldorf after his kids attended, keep in mind this is not a gifted parent talking - http://www.waldorfcritics.org/articles/TelegraphGilmour.html


    Personally I looked very seriously into it as I had confused it for one of the schools that allows kids to learn at their own pace without a curriculum. Sadly no, more like children are expected to conform to aged behaviours in a non conformist manner, plus there seemed to be very strong overtones of religion/philosophical/pagan beliefs which is fine if that's what you're into - we aren't.

    I really wanted to buy into it, had I had regular kids I prob would have enrolled them, but in my opinion they claim to work with the whole child but are quite happy to ignore a large part of that child's needs if it doesn't fit their ideals.

    As for vaccines, can we start a diff thread for that? I have very strong beliefs as well and I am always interested in reading what others have to say on this topic but I don't want to hijack this thread.

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    While Waldorf may extend into home life, many acknowledge that government schools do as well. Private/parochial/independent schools may also exert an influence on home life.

    An article which you may find interesting is "Knitting is more important than homework", which shares a mom's comparison of various educational experiences, and her emerging thoughts and reflections over time.

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    I actually have no problem with their no-media-at-home policy. Families who don't want their kids immersed in Disney and Star Wars culture don't have a lot of options. It's EVERYWHERE, even at the most crunchy private school or homeschool group. I think it's fine for a school to say "We're the place for families who don't watch that stuff. If that's not you, choose a different school."

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    Originally Posted by Mahagogo5
    David Gilmour "Pink Floyd" wrote a damning indictment about waldorf after his kids attended, keep in mind this is not a gifted parent talking - http://www.waldorfcritics.org/articles/TelegraphGilmour.html


    Personally I looked very seriously into it as I had confused it for one of the schools that allows kids to learn at their own pace without a curriculum. Sadly no, more like children are expected to conform to aged behaviours in a non conformist manner, plus there seemed to be very strong overtones of religion/philosophical/pagan beliefs which is fine if that's what you're into - we aren't.

    I really wanted to buy into it, had I had regular kids I prob would have enrolled them, but in my opinion they claim to work with the whole child but are quite happy to ignore a large part of that child's needs if it doesn't fit their ideals.

    Exactly what we decided.

    Quote
    As for vaccines, can we start a diff thread for that? I have very strong beliefs as well and I am always interested in reading what others have to say on this topic but I don't want to hijack this thread.


    I have to say that it IS related when one talks about certain kinds of alternative schooling-- and the problem is, as Val states, one of belief (which is largely irrational, and can be amply demonstrated to be so, in fact) versus rationality. Again, this is an issue which recurs for parents and gifted children on a fairly regular basis. This is just one more example.

    Originally Posted by Val
    Medical exemptions are different, which is why everyone else needs to be vaccinated: herd immunity protects the ones who are allergic to the components of the shot or who have another problem precluding vaccination.

    THIS. So, so, SO much.

    I know someone who lost a child to influenza. For real. He was nine years old.

    Having loved and lived with more than one person who was seriously immunocompromised, I can also say for certain that some people don't get to "choose" for themselves what their personal risk tolerance is on the subject of vaccine-preventable illnesses. The rest of us do it for them every time we go out in public.

    You can guess how good the outcome is when someone is too ill to continue their chemotherapy regimen.

    frown







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    My screen name offers a clue to my assessment of the Waldorf method.

    I would not endorse the Waldorf system for any child, gifted or otherwise. The system, as I am sure you are aware, owes its pedagogical and ideological approach to Rudolph Steiner's anthroposophy.

    Among the beliefs of anthroposophists is the view that humans are continuously reincarnated within the same body, and that developmental milestones correlate to the timeline of the individual along the trajectory of reincarnation. I spoke with a local anthroposophist naturopathic "doctor", who advises one of the largest Waldorf schools in Canada, and she highlighted the positive value of children learning to read after age seven because of the view that reading readiness is driven by jaw development and the eruption of adult molars. The spiral curriculum used by Waldorf schools is meant to align with the believed 7 year cycles of reincarnation.

    You might also be disturbed to learn that anthroposophy views intellectualism as an offshoot of the temptations of Zoroastrian devil Ahriman. Steiner also identifies Lucifer's disobedience of God as the fundamental event from which the pursuit of knowledge stems. You might wish to read this book by Steiner to understand his view of the roles of Lucifer and Ahriman in driving human cognition. The anthroposophical ideology that underlies the Waldorf method is deeply anti-intellectual at its roots, grounded in mythology and a series of "communions" Steiner purported to experience between himself and "the Christ".

    http://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/0880103752


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    I vehemently disagree with the anthrosophical teaching on bullying and black crayons. I very much dislike the push to conform in artwork and whilst we have fairies in our garden there are most definitely none inside the printer. So, yeah, Waldorf can keep their anthrosophy, I'll teach my own kids to knit, let them draw black and asian people and continue to send them to a school which teaches them to read without the use of homework.

    Originally Posted by PanzerAzelSaturn
    I'm just saying I'm not afraid of my son getting an illness he's vaccinated for. Sure, there is some chance, but it's slim and he is a very healthy kid. I wouldn't avoid world travel either, but there is a risk there as well. Do I think everyone should vaccinate barring medical reason not to? Yeah, sure I do. But I can only make that decision for my child. I will not penalize other kids whose moms made a different choice.

    My son is in a special class 4 afternoons a week for kids with behavior problems/asd. Vaccination rates are low. I'm not going to keep him out of the program based on that. Would you suggest I not send my son because of the % of kids not vaccinated?

    Assuming we're not going to get a new thread to discuss this. You could find out if he's high risk or low risk to be in that group with a blood test to check his antibody titer. Most people don't check because if you didn't seroconvert after the normal course of vaccines there's not much to be done, but we do it routinely for rubella so non-immune pregnant women can be aware, and in this situation it could help you decide the real risk for your son.

    Quote
    some people don't get to "choose" for themselves what their personal risk tolerance is on the subject of vaccine-preventable illnesses. The rest of us do it for them every time we go out in public

    YES

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    Thanks for that Aquinas. Really interesting. I know nothing about Waldorf schools as they were never an option to be explored for us.

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    "Conform to nonconformist behaviors."

    That is a brilliant description.

    Hmm. My kids learned to read before they had lost their first teeth. I presume they are scarred for life now. Bad mommy!

    Meanwhile, in Australia:

    Quote
    [Mr. Pereira] has withdrawn both his boys from ... the school, citing a range of concerns that culminated with a teacher's assessment of his younger son.

    "She thought his soul wasn't fully incarnated yet, which was strange thing for me to hear at a parent-teacher interview," he said.

    "And then she pulled out some drawings that he'd done which showed him, I guess, looking down, like a plan view of what he was drawing.

    "And she used this as evidence that his soul was hovering over the earth and looking down on the earth and so, therefore, she felt that he wasn't quite ready to move into the following year."

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    In one Australian state there are a number of public schools that run a Steiner stream. That was the case in the story that Val referenced. it seems bizarre but true.

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    Originally Posted by ndw
    Thanks for that Aquinas. Really interesting. I know nothing about Waldorf schools as they were never an option to be explored for us.

    You're welcome, ndw. I researched the method on spec when DS was a baby and quickly ran the other way!


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    Originally Posted by aquinas
    My screen name offers a clue to my assessment of the Waldorf method.

    I would not endorse the Waldorf system for any child, gifted or otherwise. The system, as I am sure you are aware, owes its pedagogical and ideological approach to Rudolph Steiner's anthroposophy.

    Among the beliefs of anthroposophists is the view that humans are continuously reincarnated within the same body, and that developmental milestones correlate to the timeline of the individual along the trajectory of reincarnation. I spoke with a local anthroposophist naturopathic "doctor", who advises one of the largest Waldorf schools in Canada, and she highlighted the positive value of children learning to read after age seven because of the view that reading readiness is driven by jaw development and the eruption of adult molars. The spiral curriculum used by Waldorf schools is meant to align with the believed 7 year cycles of reincarnation.

    You might also be disturbed to learn that anthroposophy views intellectualism as an offshoot of the temptations of Zoroastrian devil Ahriman. Steiner also identifies Lucifer's disobedience of God as the fundamental event from which the pursuit of knowledge stems. You might wish to read this book by Steiner to understand his view of the roles of Lucifer and Ahriman in driving human cognition. The anthroposophical ideology that underlies the Waldorf method is deeply anti-intellectual at its roots, grounded in mythology and a series of "communions" Steiner purported to experience between himself and "the Christ".

    http://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/0880103752


    yep this was what I was getting at, creepy. I just really liked the touchy feely aspect of it all, and I'm prob being a bit generous on that point too. Plus I really do have issues with the whole counter culture, look at us were different to you - but we all look the same thingy.

    Re vaccination I am extremely pro. Having spent a large amount of time in 3rd world countries and seen disease up close and personal - there is no way in hell I would let me kids not be vacc'd (of course here in NZ there are a lot less jabs on the schedule than in the us - chicken pox for eg)Esp in these days of air travel.

    Having said that I have good friends who don't agree with me and our kids play together - however they had no contact until mine had their shots.

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    This is fascinating, you would think this was a skeptics forum by all of these responses. I can only say I agree with so much of what everyone has said. A friend told me she was sending her child to the local private Waldorf and I just smiled. Education options are a sticky subject and I won't judge, I understand why a parent would consider all of the options, but Waldorf is not for us.

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    Skeptics forum.....well, Ithink you would expect that on a Gifted Issues Forum you would find people who ask questions and look into the answers with relative rigour. We don't all agree on everything but there appears to be a love of data and evidence.

    Of course, it is difficult when there is a paucity of data as we each deal with a sample of one, each individual gifted child being so different. But the commonalities of experience are a valid way to investigate our options.

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    Btw just want to put to it out there that in no way do I think david Gilmour is not gt himself, just parenting non gt kids!

    I'm not a sceptic in general- but I can see indoctrination for what it is.

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    While the roots of Waldorf education (Rudolf Steiner's Anthroposophy) date from a century ago, appearing not to have been updated in response to scientific discovery, and may be repugnant to many, some may say that several of the described anecdotal experiences of students in Waldorf schools may not differ noticeably from the lived experiences of students in government schools, or private/independent/parochial schools:
    - indoctrination
    - anti-intellectualism
    - exerting an influence on family life
    - institutionalized bullying
    - pecking order implying degree of worthiness or social acceptance (some schools value athleticism, some value the wealth of large donors, some parochial schools may value large family size, etc)

    There is good and bad in everything.

    Part of the roots described for anti-intellectualism of Waldorf is reminiscent of teaching that those who follow the Bible may be familiar with: the Old Testament verses in Genesis about Adam & Eve indicate that they were tempted into "the fall of man" by desiring to eat the fruit of all knowledge both good AND EVIL and thereby gain wisdom equal to God. This is not to begin a religious debate, but to share that diverse traditions acknowledge there is or perhaps ought to be a limit to one's knowledge (that which is deemed appropriate or beneficial, wherever that line is drawn).

    Delving into secular roots of education philosophy also reveals anti-intellectualism, indoctrination, bullying, pecking order, and exertion of influence. Here is just one link of many which provide historical information which is free and accessible.

    This is not to refute statements which others have made about Waldorf, but to encourage looking equally into all options available and preparing your children to develop healthy boundaries which may help minimize influences which are unwanted.

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    I live in a community with a very active Waldorf presence. I did not choose it for my children, but I think it can be okay for an otherwise typically developing gifted kid in the preschool years. However, you need to be willing to put up with religious stuff that is below the surface but very much there, and to be aware that there is a whole lot of dogma. The dogma was too weird for me, even though many aspects of the philosophy (outdoor play, natural materials, deemphasizing screen media) are in line with our family values. FWIW, I like our local Waldorf school director very much personally.

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    (edited for privacy reasons)

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    Thanks for all of your responses. It is interesting that much of what you responded with is what I got the feeling of when I was talking to someone more familiar with the school than I am.

    We are trying to find a different option for DD6 for next year and have real concerns about the public system in our area. I was hopeful this would be an option, but it doesn't sound like it.

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    Another thing that I have come to realize about Waldorf is that there is a huge emphasis on rote copywork. The children produce these beautiful lesson books, which at first glance look amazing (lovely drawings and notes that seem so clear and nice) but I believe it is all copied verbatim from the board. There is surely some justification for this in the philosophy, but it seems weird to me. A child with fine motor limitations would also find it quite challenging, I think. My DD happens to be a great artist, but even in "regualr" school I often feel bad for unartistic children or those who do not like to draw because it is so emphasized in the early years, and Waldorf takes this much further. You can see Waldorf lessonbooks here: http://www.waldorftoday.com/gallery/Main+Lesson+Book+Pages/ As I say, they are rather lovely, but think of the time spent drawing and consider that they are copied. I believe in learning to synthesize information and put it in one's own words.

    In the end, Waldorf bothers me in large part because it seems guru- and superstition-based rather than logic- and information-based. It is not dynamic, but static. Consider also the content of the lessons in those books. While it is nice content in many ways, I can't help but find it strangely dated. I believe that is because they are still teaching the curriculum dictated by Steiner.

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    I attended Waldorf K-8 and can say the observations and reservations others have voiced are real. I can say the best things for me looking back were
    -being evaluated based on your own ability. IOW if the teacher doesn't think you tried your best and produced sub par work based on their observation you received a lower evaluation.
    -a love and respect for nature
    -an appreciation of others differences (the ability level in my class varied greatly)
    -the emphasis on the arts

    But the list of negatives is HUGE and most have been mentioned above. One that has not been mentioned was a lack of exposure to standardized testing and the culture of public schools. It was very jarring for me to learn how to navigate and succeed in a school where you were just another kid to educate and not viewed as a person.

    While I liked my time in Waldorf, the educational philosophy is not right for our family. While my DD would love some parts of the education It would be disasterous in the long run for her.

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    Quote
    It was very jarring for me to learn how to navigate and succeed in a school where you were just another kid to educate and not viewed as a person.

    Although this is more of a negative comment on public education, not Waldorf. frown

    I must say, I understand why people are drawn to Waldorf. Our local school gives the kids something like 1.5 hours a day of outdoor time (some of which is lesson-based, but still). Compare this to my 5th-grader's 15 minute-recess. The materials are lovely and the homework is quite limited/nonexistent until the children are fairly old. You don't have to deal with the insane standardized test culture. If you are hippie-ish/non-mainstream, you are surrounded by others who share your values. I have days where the school looks nice to me, especially since I pass by it often and see the children playing in the fields and trees. But then I think about the root beliefs which I consider bizarre and how much of the curriculum would drive my exact-minded, impatient children insane...

    TNC, I'm curious as to how you would rate the overall learning experience at your school. Do you feel you were adequately educated in the basics a child should know by that age? It seems to me that Waldorf spends vast amounts of time on religious mythology and the ancient world, for instance. OTOH, the math curriculum looks rather good.

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    It is also worth mentioning here that Charlotte Mason has very similar primary educational philosophy and pedagogy-- while not specifically Steiner-derived, and Biblical rather than, well-- whatever-Waldorf-is-- it has the same reliance on fairly rigid copywork and curricular choices, and has the same dogmatic belief in child development.

    We used elements of CM while homeschooling, because I thought that the expectations suited my then-4yo rather well, and the focus on natural science and literature was a good fit for her-- but it did her no favors to limit her written expectations like that, and frankly we then spent the following TEN YEARS playing "catch up" with that skill set, which lagged all the others.

    CM believes that until children are 7 or 8, memorized "recitation" work is about what they are capable of. We clearly didn't believe that, based on the child we had in front of us. We did have DD keep a nature journal, and do some copywork beginning at 5. We also (being non-theist) skipped the Biblical memory work, which is otherwise a pretty core thing in CM.

    It's an interesting philosophy of education, however, and one that I found had a lot of positives. smile As a homeschooling thing, though-- I think that a SCHOOL based on CM, if I could imagine such a thing, would wind up looking very much like a Waldorf school, with the attendant shortcomings (IMO).



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    TNC, thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    Originally Posted by TNC
    It was very jarring for me to learn how to navigate and succeed in a school where you were just another kid to educate and not viewed as a person.

    Although this is more of a negative comment on public education, not Waldorf. frown

    ITA! Although, our ds is (or was for the first part of this school year) going through this transition back to public school (not from Waldorf) during his first year of high school, and while it's been frustrating at times seeing how he is suddenly in a situation where he's more of a "number" than an individual, I think it's also reflective of the real world - there are going to be a lot of circumstances for most of us where we are numbers... life as adults is going to be a mix of "being just another adult" vs finding your meaningful place you fit in.

    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    It seems to me that Waldorf spends vast amounts of time on religious mythology and the ancient world, for instance.

    I don't have much of anything to add to the info that's already been shared above, but fwiw, one thing that I didn't see mentioned that I found very limiting (jmo) at our local Waldorf was that the "ancient world" was the European world - there was a whole 1/2-3/4 of the globe that seemed to be completely inconsequential according to our local school curriculum. Please know, I only am assuming this based on reading the school's literature and talking to school staff briefly when looking into the school, and I have no idea if this applies to Waldorf schools in general.

    polarbear

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    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    I'm curious as to how you would rate the overall learning experience at your school. Do you feel you were adequately educated in the basics a child should know by that age? It seems to me that Waldorf spends vast amounts of time on religious mythology and the ancient world, for instance. OTOH, the math curriculum looks rather good.

    My overall learning experience was pretty positive. In reflecting back I would have liked the opportunity to learn more and faster, but I think that desire is more reflective of me than of Waldorf. With out digging up my old main lesson books I can think of a few things that would not work for a child like my DD. For example we didn't really do any reading until 2nd grade at which time most childrens reading progressed rather fast from what I can recall. So, while educating children happened at different times from when they may have happened in public school, by the time I graduated I didn't feel significantly behind or any less prepared. I believe Waldorf had a very positive influence on my love for learning. While I am probably hard wired to love to learn, Waldorf certainly nurtured the beauty of learning a new topic in a fairly holistic manner. I wish I could ask my mom how she felt about the experience, but she passed away some time ago. When I did eventually go to public school there were some holes in my math curriculum. I am not a particularly math oriented person, but I feel the way Waldorf incorporates real life and nature into the math curriculum is pretty awesome. I still remember drawing my first nautilus in 3rd grade.

    As for the mythology, it was a portion of the education I really enjoyed. For example we did a whole block on the "stories of creation." They were presented as stories and nothing more. However, I am sure YMMV based on the teacher. I am sure others are correct in the religious undertones of the curriculum, though I cannot say I remember any of them. As for they Mythology being Eurocentric, from what I remember that seems correct.

    Originally Posted by polarbear
    I think it's also reflective of the real world - there are going to be a lot of circumstances for most of us where we are numbers... life as adults is going to be a mix of "being just another adult" vs finding your meaningful place you fit in.

    As always Polarbear, you have so eloquently said what I tried to say. My early years were fairly hippy-ish and non-mainstream, who am I kidding, sometimes we were totally off the grid. So in that sense Waldorf meshed with my upbringing. However, as a fairly intense person, I have a hard time being "just a number." I do think if I had more exposure to some of those aspects of life a bit younger I would have been better able to manage those sorts of experiences in high school and especially in college.

    I should add I do think Waldorf has an amazing place in educating children. There is really a lot of beauty in how Waldorf approaches education and I totally understand why a parent would choose Waldorf. However, I do think of it as more of a lifestyle choice. I can see very significant issues arising from the combination of MG+ kiddos and rigidity of Waldorf.

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    Quote
    one thing that I didn't see mentioned that I found very limiting (jmo) at our local Waldorf was that the "ancient world" was the European world - there was a whole 1/2-3/4 of the globe that seemed to be completely inconsequential according to our local school curriculum.

    I agree--I've noticed this Eurocentric bent as well. It's another way in which the curriculum feels very dated/traditional to me. I also notice traditionalism regarding gender roles--girls always portrayed wearing dresses, etc. Note, I think in real life most people involved in Waldorf have progressive attitudes, but the materials do send a message IMO. The schools here also are almost 100% white. Then there's the whole "We don't use black crayons" business. Oy.

    One complaint I have heard IRL, too, is that social issues between children are not well-addressed in Waldorf--they are left to work things out in a way that could be described as a bit Lord of the Flies. I believe there is some kind of philosophy behind this regarding inherent personalities, past lives, etc.

    If I seem oddly knowledgeable/interested in all this, I am, largely because it is a big part of my social world.

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    Thank you for sharing more, TNC. I am always very interested to talk to adults who have been educated in this tradition.

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    It has to be noted, though, that the Waldorf view of the individual is very much constrained by the 7 year developmental stages and the combination of the four temperaments "assigned" to the child, and if a. Child has special needs it may be attributed to bad karma...(says the great granddaughter of one of the first Steiner adepts of the era and granddaughter of a girl educated at the very first Waldorf school...I am the first real sceptic of the family!)

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    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    I also notice traditionalism regarding gender roles--girls always portrayed wearing dresses, etc. Note, I think in real life most people involved in Waldorf have progressive attitudes, but the materials do send a message IMO. The schools here also are almost 100% white. Then there's the whole "We don't use black crayons" business. Oy.

    One complaint I have heard IRL, too, is that social issues between children are not well-addressed in Waldorf--they are left to work things out in a way that could be described as a bit Lord of the Flies. I believe there is some kind of philosophy behind this regarding inherent personalities, past lives, etc.

    If I seem oddly knowledgeable/interested in all this, I am, largely because it is a big part of my social world.

    The traditionalism was alive and well when I was there. I spent the traditional 2 years in Kindergarten and we learned how to make bread from scratch, card wool etc. IMO super cool for young kids! However, starting in first grade my teacher was covertly chauvinistic (bad luck I guess.) We didn't mesh well, and I had him for 8 years! While he did a nice job in his art (he was also the art teacher) and in creating an enjoyable learning experience, there was a lot of boys vs. girls in our class and it was very frustrating for me.

    As for the black crayons! I truly laughed out loud when I read your comment. I don't remember when we were able to use black colored pencils, but it was quite late and we were all totally excited to use the "forbidden" color.

    I have to say I had not given much thought as to how social issues were addressed. I can say I was bullied quite a bit and had always thought it was just the way school was when I was growing up. In reflecting upon it, not much was done about the way I was treated. I was encouraged to speak up for myself, but I think that is what got me into trouble in the first place. I don't know if that is still the way it is today given the heightened awareness around the ramifications of bullying. As for the past lives, well that doesn't surprise me at all. My mom was into past lives and their influence upon our personalities today. While the influence of past lives on life today seems fairly ridiculous to me today, their incorporation into Waldorf makes sense based on what I experienced.

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    My understanding is that past lives and the 4 temperaments Tigerle mentions are considered to be the driving force behind many childhood relationship problems. I think birth history also factors in. It is thought that children need to work this out mostly solo AFAIK.

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    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    It has to be noted, though, that the Waldorf view of the individual is very much constrained by the 7 year developmental stages and the combination of the four temperaments "assigned" to the child, and if a. Child has special needs it may be attributed to bad karma...(says the great granddaughter of one of the first Steiner adepts of the era and granddaughter of a girl educated at the very first Waldorf school...I am the first real sceptic of the family!)

    At some point, if we as a group are honest, we're going to have to use the cult word in describing the underlying beliefs. It's total nonsense, with its central tenets refuted by the smallest scrap of reason.

    Kudos to you, Tigerle, for being your family's black sheep.


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    As an atheist, I find most religious beliefs pretty odd and nonsensical regardless of tradition. So, the past lives, etc is no weirder to me than various Biblical miracles. However, what is odd to me about Waldorf is that they don't bill themselves as religious school, yet they clearly are deeply influenced by reliious (minority religious) principles. At least my son's Christian preschool was upfront about being Christian!

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    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    As an atheist, I find most religious beliefs pretty odd and nonsensical regardless of tradition. So, the past lives, etc is no weirder to me than various Biblical miracles. However, what is odd to me about Waldorf is that they don't bill themselves as religious school, yet they clearly are deeply influenced by reliious (minority religious) principles. At least my son's Christian preschool was upfront about being Christian!

    There is a difference between beliefs being taught as beliefs for their own sake and beliefs being used as the underpinning for an entire pedagogical method without this motive made explicit. The former is a caveat emptor condition, the latter is unethical.



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    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    As an atheist, I find most religious beliefs pretty odd and nonsensical regardless of tradition. So, the past lives, etc is no weirder to me than various Biblical miracles. However, what is odd to me about Waldorf is that they don't bill themselves as religious school, yet they clearly are deeply influenced by reliious (minority religious) principles. At least my son's Christian preschool was upfront about being Christian!

    Agreed. It's such a hodgepodge of beliefs, borrowed heavily from multiple, disparate religious systems, and enhanced with certain human developmental principles that have no prior basis in either religion, philosophy, or psychology (or if so, they're not apparent to me), that Waldorfianism could be considered to be a new religion altogether.

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    There is a difference between beliefs being taught as beliefs for their own sake and beliefs being used as the underpinning for an entire pedagogical method without this motive made explicit. The former is a caveat emptor condition, the latter is unethical.

    In general theory I agree, though it's somewhat unclear to me how this all plays out in practice. I have often wondered why Waldorf does it this way.

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    Originally Posted by Dude
    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    As an atheist, I find most religious beliefs pretty odd and nonsensical regardless of tradition. So, the past lives, etc is no weirder to me than various Biblical miracles. However, what is odd to me about Waldorf is that they don't bill themselves as religious school, yet they clearly are deeply influenced by reliious (minority religious) principles. At least my son's Christian preschool was upfront about being Christian!

    Agreed. It's such a hodgepodge of beliefs, borrowed heavily from multiple, disparate religious systems, and enhanced with certain human developmental principles that have no prior basis in either religion, philosophy, or psychology (or if so, they're not apparent to me), that Waldorfianism could be considered to be a new religion altogether.

    Exactly so-- Charlotte Mason is the homeschooling variant of a similar set of pedagogical core tenets, but it is overtly Christian (with some Presbyterian-Reform overtones), and it's quite overt about those influences.



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    Originally Posted by puffin
    We call them Steiner schools. I like the curriculum in that they have religion, pgilosophy, German etc which my state schools never had. But my step mother is s trained Steiner kindy teacher and I find their belief that under 7 year old are basically still unfinished and not capable of anything academic at odds with a gifted child. My 4 year old did know what the numbers meant and didn't need physical activity to understand the concept of two and he was plenty ready to read at 5.


    ITA - found this by the way. You may have to copy and pastes as I am techno challenged, however it is a pro/against discusiion involving actual steiner parents, makes interesting reading


    http://www.mothering.com/forum/370-parenting-gifted-child/1216916-waldorf-gifted-child.html

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    Here is what I learned from clicking through a couple links on that thread. Children are apparently seated in class according to their temperaments. Everything here is quoted directly from this website.

    The Four Temperaments According to Rudolf Steiner

    • Melancholic (tall and slender): The physical body as such expresses itself only in itself.
    • Phlegmatic (have protruding shoulders): The etheric body expresses itself in the glandular system.
    • Sanguine (the sanguine are the most normal): The astral body expresses itself physically in the nervous system.
    • Choleric (short stout build so that the head almost sinks down into the body): The ego expresses itself in the circulation of the blood.



    Originally Posted by Waldorfosophy
    At first, it may surprise you that Waldorf teachers are trained to consider the effect of past lives and karmic destiny of your child. However, it is important to be sensitive and keep an open mind with regards to this practice. You can learn more about reincarnation and karma on the Anthroposophy page.

    [sigh] As they say...do people really believe this stuff?

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    Maybe I'm just not that, er-- capable-- but I'm not sure I even understand those descriptions.

    I mean, sure, tall and slender. I think I know what that phrase means. Melancholic-- I thought I had a good idea what that one is, as well.

    It is the rest of it that makes no sense to me. At all.

    Originally Posted by Philosophical rainbow-ey Discussion of "Physical Types"
    The physical body as such(1) expresses itself(2) only in itself(3)

    (1) as such? Meaning that there is some metaphorical context here of which I've been unaware? Or is this some indication that "physical body" needs airquotes or something? I have no idea what this phrase means in this context.


    (2) What-- kinetically? Like interpretive dance? Er-- or maybe it means some other kind of 'expression' of-- well, stuff. Metabolically? Developmentally? Which part of the human body, exactly? Does this mean neurologically/orthopedically, or maybe immunologically? Inquiring minds really want to know-- and no, I'm not being entire facetious. I'm truly insanely curious about what this phrase is intended to mean.

    (3) Through movement? Again, this one is feeling slippery to me until I understand (2) above-- but assuming that this means kinetically, just for example, that seems like a fairly obvious way to express... stuff. For a 2 or 3yo almost certainly this is going to be a preferred mode of self-expression.

    I just can't quite shake the feeling that this isn't about individual self-expression the way that I understand it. More like-- expression of-- um, I'm not exactly sure.


    I'm suspicious that this sounds a lot like Transcendentalism run amok. We have some trouble even with Thoreau, I hasten to add. So it could be that it's just a problem with my own family and understanding certain types of philosophical expression. In summary, I'm pretty sure that I know where my seat is in a Steiner environment. I think SuperNanny calls it "the naughty spot." grin


    -------


    In other news about why vaccination is not, in point of fact, merely a personal choice, but also a public health decision:

    Disneyland Measles Outbreak Grows, Sparks Concern.

    On the other hand, none of them are Waldorf families (well, I hope not, anyway) because being in Waldorf means not succumbing to pervasive pop culture like Disney, and actually (from what I hear) one must sign a contract saying that you won't vacation at the Magic Kingdom, among other things.

    Note that at least one infected individual was vaccinated, and two were too young to be vaccinated.



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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    (1) as such? Meaning that there is some metaphorical context here of which I've been unaware? Or is this some indication that "physical body" needs airquotes or something? I have no idea what this phrase means in this context.

    You are just using the wrong metaphysical model, I think.

    It seems to be talking about the mechanistic biological body, which actually does express itself as such, so they actually got this one right.

    That's actually problem with things like cancer, too.

    It expresses itself quite well.

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    Maybe it's poetry.

    Or maybe I just need to read it as though it is.

    I find it very confusing. Maybe that means that I'm melancholic myself, in spite of not being all that tall or slender, since I'm having trouble with this particular aspect of expression.


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    HK, you obviously did not click the link for "read in full context". I promise you, through the wondrous explanatory power of google, all will become clear.
    In one sentence.

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    {giggle}


    Well, further down the page, my inquiring mind encountered:

    Quote
    "[The melancholic's] physical body, which is intended to be an instrument of the higher members, is itself in control, and frustrates the others. This the melancholic experiences as pain, as a feeling of despondency. Pain continually wells up within him. This is because his physical body resists his etheric body's inner sense of well-being, his astral body's liveliness, and his ego's purposeful striving."

    Maybe I'm to understand this as a sort of metaphysical multiple-personality disorder. Is that even a DSM thing at this point? I forget.



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    It has to be noted that one of the more wonderful cognitive dissonances inherent in the Waldorf movement is that all the constraints placed upon the pedagogy by the esoteric mumbo jumbo (which is not supposed to be religious at all, but rather a form of epistemology, a supernatural way of understanding scientific truths) are supposed to have the goal of the freedom of the individual, who will be empowered to his or her own supernatural understanding of scientific truths - without being constrained by others. Which I suppose is one of the reasons the whole worldview behind it is deliberately NOT made explicit. It does not need to be, because after being empowered, the student will understand and believe all the truths anyway. That's what makes it different from explicit religious instruction.
    Oddly, it a way it kinda works. Case in point, the experiences the PP described, which resonates with what many successful individuals have to say about their Waldorf experience.
    Another case in point, my own grandmother, educated at the original Waldorf school just after it was founded - it made her immune to nazism, and when she had to move to a public high school as a junior shortly after hitler came to power, she almost got in trouble for her independent thought.
    Of course the reason she had to leave was the death of my great grandfather, one of Steiners early adepts, due to his refusing to be helped by modern medicine, preferring homeopathy and divination - when she screamed at the adults to get.a.doctor.already, it was too late and he slipped into a coma and died.
    She appeared to have no problems to hold both the gratitude and the resentment in her mind.
    Similarly, my mother is still enamoured by many parts of the Waldorf pedagogy - the ideas about "balance", the 'creativity," the idea that a child can be "too much in their head", her comment on hearing about a special needs child in the family that the reasons must be that the family lacked "a musical side" - all while being completely supportive of her early reader and early maths children, rolling her eyes at the karmic (sorry, past lives) ideas, the temperaments, having no time at all for homeopathy...it is, I believe, the typical attitude of a Waldorf parent and it is very odd to me.

    Not that I have to admit to often experiencing the same sort of stunned incomprehension that HK described when I read modern catholic writing. No, it doesn't make this bible passage, or whatever, any clearer, or more logical, or easier to accept and live by. Don't even try. It's religion, not science, it can't be falsified, so don't even try to verify. It's okay if a religious text is merely beautiful and mysterious.

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    {giggle}


    Well, further down the page, my inquiring mind encountered:

    Quote
    "[The melancholic's] physical body, which is intended to be an instrument of the higher members, is itself in control, and frustrates the others. This the melancholic experiences as pain, as a feeling of despondency. Pain continually wells up within him. This is because his physical body resists his etheric body's inner sense of well-being, his astral body's liveliness, and his ego's purposeful striving."

    Maybe I'm to understand this as a sort of metaphysical multiple-personality disorder. Is that even a DSM thing at this point? I forget.

    I think that word thingy you are talking about is trying to say that the melancholic is self-absorbed with their own arthritic condition and it's causing problems with them getting to work on time.

    Last edited by JonLaw; 01/10/15 12:23 PM. Reason: Because I added incorrect words that made my sentence look stupid.
    Tigerle #208676 01/10/15 12:23 PM
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    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    Not that I have to admit to often experiencing the same sort of stunned incomprehension that HK described when I read modern catholic writing. No, it doesn't make this bible passage, or whatever, any clearer, or more logical, or easier to accept and live by. Don't even try. It's religion, not science, it can't be falsified, so don't even try to verify. It's okay if a religious text is merely beautiful and mysterious.

    I'm thinking that it has to be true as well, in order to be valuable. Meaning that if it isn't true, then it doesn't actually have a right to exist.

    Granted, there are certain things that aren't true, in as such that they are tools. It looks like this Waldorf thingy has a tool aspect to it, when applied to the correct people.

    I still need to dig through Bion's stuff to see what I can dig out of it, because he made some very excellent tools.

    You've got to understand whether you are applying the right tool to the job. Depends on the person.

    And in any event, language, itself, has the problem that it often both reveals and conceals.

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    God, I love browsing on that open Waldorf site. Try the Steiner says page. That man was such a crackpot. In a way, it is great his only legacy is a few questionable schools,
    I admit to occasionally buying Demeter products, foodstuff produced according to Steiners ideas on organic agriculture. Sometimes it is the only organic product around that meets my criteria for healthy nourishment, even though I have to deliberately ignore that little voice in my mind that says "do you really want to pay for a crackpot farmers need to incorporate astrology into his agricultural decisions?". Well, no, but like Waldorf parents fleeing from a horrible public school, I prefer it to paying for pesticides, antibiotics and gmo crops.
    Modern life is such a mess sometimes.

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    need to incorporate astrology into his agricultural decisions



    Wow.

    Not in an effort to conceal anything, here, but I'm rendered speechless by this concept.


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    now I'm sad I didn't go to a steiner school - I like fairies.

    This is all very Satre - esque. I want to believe so I will, no need for any reasons, just I like fairies.

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    need to incorporate astrology into his agricultural decisions



    Wow.

    Not in an effort to conceal anything, here, but I'm rendered speechless by this concept.

    The benefit to using astrology is that it makes the choices for you, so if your problem is inaction due to paralysis, it will make sure that you choose to do something rather than nothing.

    Economists don't like it when I tell them that I think of them as modern day astrologers.

    Astrologers don't like it when I tell them that I think of them as medieval economists.

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    need to incorporate astrology into his agricultural decisions



    Wow.

    Not in an effort to conceal anything, here, but I'm rendered speechless by this concept.

    God this is embarrassing.
    You see, I do believe in science, for example including the science that shows that antibiotic and pesticide residue in foodstuffs can be harmful, and the science that has proven that only biodynamic products are consistently and reliably free because biodynamic farmers believe in the harmfulness of antibiotics and pesticides even more strongly than I do.
    So should it matter to me that they are also convinced that burying ground quartz in cow horns in their potato fields will Harvest cosmic forces I their potatoes? My need for intellectual honesty says yes. (My husband refuses to endorse astrology by buying Demeter products and complains when I do so).
    However, unlike, say, the potential of a teachers convictions on past lives and temperaments to negatively affect their students, I do not think the ground quartz in a cow horn has the potential to negatively affect the potato.

    Tigerle #208683 01/10/15 01:33 PM
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    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    need to incorporate astrology into his agricultural decisions



    Wow.

    Not in an effort to conceal anything, here, but I'm rendered speechless by this concept.

    God this is embarrassing.
    You see, I do believe in science, for example including the science that shows that antibiotic and pesticide residue in foodstuffs can be harmful, and the science that has proven that only biodynamic products are consistently and reliably free because biodynamic farmers believe in the harmfulness of antibiotics and pesticides even more strongly than I do.
    So should it matter to me that they are also convinced that burying ground quartz in cow horns in their potato fields will Harvest cosmic forces I their potatoes? My need for intellectual honesty says yes. (My husband refuses to endorse astrology by buying Demeter products and complains when I do so).
    However, unlike, say, the potential of a teachers convictions on past lives and temperaments to negatively affect their students, I do not think the ground quartz in a cow horn has the potential to negatively affect the potato.

    I helps to remember that agriculture is based on genetic engineering.

    That's why, when you try to return to the authentic cow, the primal cow, the original natural cow, well, the result is...fascinating.

    Behold.

    The rebirth of the Nazi cow!

    Fortified with natural master race Aryan primal vitality from a time before agriculture!

    "This particular breed dates back to the 1920s, when German zoologists and brothers Heinz and Lutz Heck, recruited by the Nazis, began a program to resurrect extinct wild species by cross-breeding various domestic descendants — an effort typically referred to as “back breeding.” Among their success stories was the half-ton Heck cattle, a reasonable facsimile of the hearty and Herculean auroch cattle that dated back some 2 million years prior and has roamed en masse all over Germany centuries prior."

    "Is anyone really surprised that the cows turned out to be murderously dangerous?"

    “The ones we had to get rid of would just attack you any chance they could. They would try to kill anyone. Dealing with that was not fun at all. They are by far and away the most aggressive animals I have ever worked with,”

    http://modernfarmer.com/2015/01/nazi-era-cattle-breed-just-awful-expected/

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    Ach! But the sausages they say, were exceedingly tasty,,,

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    You know what, I do believe we are beginning to stray off topic. One thing at least the OP will not have to worry about is the mad nazi cow.

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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    {giggle}


    Well, further down the page, my inquiring mind encountered:

    Quote
    "[The melancholic's] physical body, which is intended to be an instrument of the higher members, is itself in control, and frustrates the others. This the melancholic experiences as pain, as a feeling of despondency. Pain continually wells up within him. This is because his physical body resists his etheric body's inner sense of well-being, his astral body's liveliness, and his ego's purposeful striving."

    Maybe I'm to understand this as a sort of metaphysical multiple-personality disorder. Is that even a DSM thing at this point? I forget.

    Mostly, this thread is setting off giggles over here...I'm just going to contribute the minor footnote that multiple personality is more properly called dissociative identity disorder:

    http://www.dissociative-identity-disorder.org/DSM-5.html


    ...pronounced like the long vowel and first letter of the alphabet...
    Val #208689 01/10/15 02:36 PM
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    Originally Posted by Val

    Here is what I learned from clicking through a couple links on that thread. Children are apparently seated in class according to their temperaments. Everything here is quoted directly from this website.

    The Four Temperaments According to Rudolf Steiner

    • Melancholic (tall and slender): The physical body as such expresses itself only in itself.
    • Phlegmatic (have protruding shoulders): The etheric body expresses itself in the glandular system.
    • Sanguine (the sanguine are the most normal): The astral body expresses itself physically in the nervous system.
    • Choleric (short stout build so that the head almost sinks down into the body): The ego expresses itself in the circulation of the blood.



    Originally Posted by Waldorfosophy
    At first, it may surprise you that Waldorf teachers are trained to consider the effect of past lives and karmic destiny of your child. However, it is important to be sensitive and keep an open mind with regards to this practice. You can learn more about reincarnation and karma on the Anthroposophy page.

    [sigh] As they say...do people really believe this stuff?

    I have an image of the Steiner phlegmatic as a catatonic Augustus Gloop sort who responds in monosyllables and needs to be spoken to loudly and s-l-o-w-l-y. His teacher sits him by the window and, as she prattles on to the class about gnomes, he cantilevers his limbless torso body over his desk in an exhausted act of desperation, his mouth engulfing a whole contraband cupcake lazily in one bite. He then returns his focus to a squirrel outside the window, silently willing his brain cells to replicate on each other the act he only just committed against his dessert.


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    Wouldn't that be the physical body expressing itself through cupcake consumption? And if so, doesn't that make this a melancholic sort of type?? Oh dear.



    And what exactly are the cupcakes and their frosting made from, if not from sugary, fatty goodness?

    Oh, I see. The cupcake shouldn't have been there. Contraband. There's a word that I know the meaning of.


    I tend to think of the Phlegmatic person as more of-- well, more of a Gaston-type (from Disney's Beauty and the Beast). Perhaps that is wrong, though. Maybe he's actually Choleric instead.







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    Quote
    now I'm sad I didn't go to a Steiner school - I like fairies.
    You would've had gnomes too, from the looks of the Steiner says page.
    Quote
    These lower animal orders only become complete, as it were, through the fact that gnomes exist... It would be absolutely impossible for us to have a brain, if the world were not so ordered that gnomes and undines can exist.
    For some reason the 'read in full context' wasn't working, but I don't see how it could explain that. And a quick google search revealed it does apparently relate to a toy-type object, either a sort of malevolent elf-on-the-self or a benevolent spiritual plaything.

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    The whole phlegmatic/choleric/etc. nonsense was lifted entirely from Galen of Pergamon, who applied Hippocrates' notion of the four humors in medicine to variations of personality and behavior. So, if it looks like we're looking at educational advice from the kind of people who would prescribe bloodletting for the flu, that's because we are.

    Dude #208738 01/11/15 03:57 PM
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    Originally Posted by Dude
    The whole phlegmatic/choleric/etc. nonsense was lifted entirely from Galen of Pergamon, who applied Hippocrates' notion of the four humors in medicine to variations of personality and behavior. So, if it looks like we're looking at educational advice from the kind of people who would prescribe bloodletting for the flu, that's because we are.

    Just so that there is no confusion here, Dude does not mean to assert that bloodletting is *not* a very appropriate treatment for certain medical conditions, such as hemochromatosis

    He is simply clarifying that bloodletting is *not* an appropriate treatment for viral conditions and should not be used as an educational tool.

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    Good save, JL.

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    Waldorf families do go to Disneyworld/Disneyland. You don't really have to swear off all pop culture forevermore, at least not at all schools.

    Anyway, back to Nazi cows.

    (Yes, I also read about the 4 temperaments when I looked into this casually and had about exactly the reaction HK did. The what? The who? The hell?)

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    Hello? Mrs Tallulah? Don't worry, your children are fine, but we did want to let you know that due to the cupcakes you sent in for their snacks they were experiencing a most distressing imbalance of choleric and sanguine humors in the playground! Mr Jones was able to perform a small bleeding on them to rebalance their humors after recess and everything seems to have settled down again now.

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    Originally Posted by FruityDragons
    [quote]
    For some reason the 'read in full context' wasn't working, but I don't see how it could explain that. And a quick google search revealed it does apparently relate to a toy-type object, either a sort of malevolent elf-on-the-self or a benevolent spiritual plaything.


    What is it that's not working for you?
    When I click 'read in full context' I get a google page saying "that's an error".
    Makes perfect sense to me.

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    Originally Posted by ultramarina
    Waldorf families do go to Disneyworld/Disneyland. You don't really have to swear off all pop culture forevermore, at least not at all schools.

    As an initial matter, you may not be aware of this, but Disneyworld and Disneyland are two completely different experiences and arose in two different contexts, so generally it's not advisable to conflate or combine the two in a public forum such as this one.

    That being said, certain aspects of DisneyWorld can be used as a profound Waldorfian example of what a person is capable of when their humors are completely balanced and in perfect harmony.

    For example, this video of one of the employees of DisneyWorld shows the "Gaston Model" of such humorial balance and integration and what can be achieved if you follow the Waldorf plan.


    Tigerle #208779 01/12/15 09:31 AM
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    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    [quote=FruityDragons]
    Quote
    For some reason the 'read in full context' wasn't working, but I don't see how it could explain that. And a quick google search revealed it does apparently relate to a toy-type object, either a sort of malevolent elf-on-the-self or a benevolent spiritual plaything.


    What is it that's not working for you?
    When I click 'read in full context' I get a google page saying "that's an error".
    Makes perfect sense to me.


    I actually got:

    Originally Posted by Google
    404. That’s an error.

    The requested URL {linky-link stuff} was not found on this server. That’s all we know.

    Which I found amusing in the extreme, when coupled with the encouraging advice that this nicely 'explained' things in context, after all.

    It does, in a sort of metaphysical kind of sense.

    I hasten to add that Howl and Finnegan's Wake have also been challenging for yours truly. I'll bet that Gaston understands them both; my, what a guy! I'm feeling intrigued by the notion that a Steiner education could produce such a harmonious, and yet intimidating, specimen of humanity.


    In unrelated news, I also have to wonder what sort of Steiner type Ted Nugent is. Probably a Choleric. Must ponder this further.





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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    What is it that's not working for you?
    When I click 'read in full context' I get a google page saying "that's an error".
    Makes perfect sense to me.


    I actually got:

    Originally Posted by Google
    404. That’s an error.

    The requested URL {linky-link stuff} was not found on this server. That’s all we know.

    Which I found amusing in the extreme, when coupled with the encouraging advice that this nicely 'explained' things in context, after all.

    It does, in a sort of metaphysical kind of sense.

    Doesn't anyone but you get the joke? frown

    Tigerle #208804 01/12/15 04:38 PM
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    I didn't think of it at first but now I'm cracking up trying to picture someone sitting at their computer, trying to find an explanation for this, and deciding that gnomes were too ethereal to be described and then linking to that.

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    and this

    http://www.montessorianswers.com/my-experiences-with-waldorf.html

    or if you want to see how cult like it is google waldorf survivors -eek

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    Originally Posted by Mahagogo5
    and this

    http://www.montessorianswers.com/my-experiences-with-waldorf.html

    or if you want to see how cult like it is google waldorf survivors -eek

    Just wanted to call out these two quotes from your link:

    1. "Another time a sixth grader asked me how the copy machine in the office worked. Before I could even open my mouth, a teacher ran over to the child, and told him that there was a gnome asleep in the box and that when you pushed the button, a light went on, woke him up, and then he quickly copied the paper placed in front of him and pushed the copy out of the little hole. After the child left, I was told that we couldn’t “poison” the child’s mind with “stone cold facts”."

    2. "Another thing that bothered me deeply was the fact that although the teachers believed that everything from the color crayon a child used at a certain age, to the knowledge that they were exposed to, had to be completely controlled, they could be left utterly alone on the playground. It was explained to me that this was because “The angels watched over and protected them” while they were playing. This dichotomy bothered me. I couldn’t fathom why it was so incredibly important to make sure a child was painting with a certain color at a certain time, but could be left completely unsupervised on the playground. Once, when a child was in tears because the other children kept on pushing her off of a stump they were playing on, I tried to teach conflict resolution skills to the group and was, once again, admonished by the staff. I was told that all of the children were “working through” things and needed to be left alone. - Eventually the bullying got so bad that it permeated every part of the child’s school day. Yet still the teachers would not intervene. The child became sullen and withdrawn, stopped working, stopped playing, stopped talking,…. The parents tried to speak with the teachers about the situation, but were treated worse than I was. Eventually she was removed from the school and the bullies found another victim to torture without any adult intervention."

    Last edited by aquinas; 01/13/15 05:12 AM.

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    Originally Posted by Mahagogo5
    and this

    http://www.montessorianswers.com/my-experiences-with-waldorf.html

    or if you want to see how cult like it is google waldorf survivors -eek

    "For history, the children were taught "history as a developmental process paralleling children's development, with Western Civilization at the pinnacle",and ancient myths and legends as historical facts. Now there’s nothing wrong with myths and legends in themselves, but they are not historical fact, and “history as a developmental process with European society at the pinnacle”?!?Give me a break! What about the fact that the Arabs developed zero and kept learning alive during the Middle Ages? How about the fact hat the Chinese were scientifically and culturally further advanced than their European counter parts? How about the great civilizations of Mesoamerica? Why was their mathematics, their scientific achievements, their highly intricate societal structures completely ignored?"

    In terms of cultural and scientific development, can anyone truly question that the creation of the Nazi cow was far more profound than Chinese foot binding and the human sacrifice of the Aztec?

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    I'm a pretty big fan of obsidian surgical tool-making, myself.

    I think this is a reflection of the Copernican system, only used as a metaphor with Europe (well, the northern portion... well, the north-WESTERN portion) as the sun.

    Up through the Sun King, of course. Which is no doubt why he was called that.


    He was certainly a sanguine. Er-- or perhaps a choleric?


    Are the temperments genetically inherited? Or is this a past-lives thing, and therefore luck-of-the-draw?



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    Originally Posted by FruityDragons
    I didn't think of it at first but now I'm cracking up trying to picture someone sitting at their computer, trying to find an explanation for this, and deciding that gnomes were too ethereal to be described and then linking to that.

    No, it must be the influence of....Ahriman! Interfering with our enlightenment!

    Tigerle #208848 01/13/15 02:10 PM
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    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    Originally Posted by FruityDragons
    I didn't think of it at first but now I'm cracking up trying to picture someone sitting at their computer, trying to find an explanation for this, and deciding that gnomes were too ethereal to be described and then linking to that.

    No, it must be the influence of....Ahriman! Interfering with our enlightenment!

    No, Ahriman would be assisting us, as use of the intellect is the root of all evil. Instead, we must be attempting to exceed the limit set on our collective enlightenment by the reincarnation of our past selves. In my case, I suspect my etheric, astral, and corporeal selves became misaligned at the precise moment I taught myself to read as a 2 year old. Drat! My 3-lives-ago mother just knew my jaw wouldn't allow for it, but she was, unfortunately, reincarnated as a voiceless, luminescent orb who couldn't communicate her disapproval to me beyond subtle shifts in etheric vibration.


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    That would be luck-of-the-draw, wouldn't it?

    Have you tried practicing karmic yoga for this? I hear that this is one of the paths to enlightenment.


    Darn.

    I am evidently dooming my daughter to a (future) life of left-handedness with early college. eek



    Originally Posted by Dr. Steiner, via waldorfcritics.org
    A teacher: Should the children be broken of left-handedness?

    Dr. Steiner: In general, yes. At the younger ages, approximately before the age of nine, you can accustom left-handed children to right-handedness at school. You should not do that only if it would have a damaging effect, which is very seldom the case. Children are not a sum of things, but exponentially complicated. If you attempt to create symmetry between the right and left with the children, and you exercise both hands in balance, that can lead to weak mindedness later in life.

    The phenomenon of left-handedness is clearly karmic, and, in connection with karma, it is one of karmic weakness. Allow me to give an example: A person who was overworked in their previous life, so that they did too much, not only physically or intellectually, but, in general, spiritually, within their soul or feeling, will enter the succeeding life with an intense weakness. That person will be incapable of overcoming the karmic weakness located in the lower human being. (The part of the human being that results from the life between death and a new birth is particularly concentrated in the lower human being, whereas the part that comes from the previous Earthly life is concentrated more in the head.) Thus, what would otherwise be strongly developed becomes weak, and the left leg and left hand are particularly relied upon as a crutch. The preference for the left hand results in a situation where, instead of the left, the right side of the brain is used in speech.

    Darn.

    She really wanted to go to college this young. I guess it was a failure in parenting not to put our feet down about it. {sigh}

    On the bright side, I suppose that this means that she's got a good future as a left-striker for a youth soccer club in her next life, and those kids are really important for the team.






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    I on the other hand have been purchasing waldorf friendly craft kits for DD4 - if they had a crafty test on the wppsi she'd smash that ceiling - yay to no more toilet rolls

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    I am actually quite impressed - did anyone else but Steiner have an idea about brain hemispheres and speech centers in the brain at the time?
    Anyway, it is eurythmy which will take care of everything for you, not karmic yoga!

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    I'm envisioning eurythmy as being a bit like Tai Chi-- so I guess one could say that the notion of channeling Chi predates Steiner by a considerable margin.


    Hmm. Yes, Steiner's ideas are interesting, and in some cases insightful, but I'm also thinking about the truism about broken clocks. While Steiner's grasp of intuitive neuroscience might seem rather sophisticated, let's also not lose sight of the fact that this is the same dude that also thought that Buddha vacated the home planet for Mars and fame via crucifixion, and that the Sun has healing powers.

    I guess that only applies if you don't happen to have a DNA repair disorder of some sort, and it is certainly an odd belief for someone believed that melanin expression was apparently inversely proportional to human worth. I have to also wonder why Steiner's ideas caught on so well, whereas those of people like Alisdair Crowley really have remained fringe. It's a strange world.

    Hey, and in an update to the Disney thing, apparently about 6 of the 22 patients identified by health departments in five western states have needed hospital care, which is comforting in a way since this means that this is about "average" as measles outbreaks go. Unfortunately, it also means that there are likely to be a few cases in which deaths or permanent injuries occur when the number of cases grows large enough.


    Steiner would suggest, by the way, that these patients are working their way to better karma or something-- which is the basis of anthroposophic avoidance of vaccination, incidentally.

    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2013/04/steiner-schools-vaccination-and-measles-outbreaks.html

    A more pro-Steiner viewpoint expresses the anthroposophical position on infectious disease.

    Originally Posted by Anthromed.org
    Thus, anthroposophic and con­ventional medicine have dramati­cally different viewpoints as to what causes common childhood illnesses. Conventional medicine views child­hood illnesses for which vaccines have been developed as a physical disease, inherently bad, to be pre­vented. Their main goal, therefore, is protection against contracting the disease making one free of illness. In contrast, these childhood illnesses are viewed by anthroposophic medi­cine as a necessary instrument in dealing with karma and, as discussed by Husemann, and Wolff, (6) the incar­nation of the child. During childhood illnesses, anthroposophic medical practitioners administer medical remedies* to assist the child in deal­ing with the illness not only as a dis­ease affecting their physical body in the physical plane, but also for soul ­spiritual development, thereby pro­moting healing. In contrast, allopathic medicaments are aimed at suppression of symptoms and not necessarily the promotion of healing.

    In Manifestations of Karma, Rudolf Steiner states that humans may be able to influence their karma and remove the manifestation of cer­tain conditions, i.e., disease, but they may not be liberated from the karmic effect which attempted to produce them. Says Steiner, "...if the karmic reparation is escaped in one direc­tion, it will have to be sought in another ... the souls in question would then be forced to seek another way for karmic compensation either in this or in another incarnation." (7)

    In his lecture, Karma of Higher Beings (8), Steiner poses the question, "If someone seeks an opportunity of being infected in an epidemic, this is the result of the necessary reaction against an earlier karmic cause. Have we the right now to take hy­gienic or other measures?" The an­swer to this question must be decided by each person and may vary. For example, some may accept the risk of disease but not of vaccine side effects, while others may accept the risk associated with vaccination but not with the disease.**

    Anthroposophic medicine teaches that to prevent a disease in the physical body only postpones what will then be produced in an­other incarnation. Thus, when health measures are undertaken to eliminate the susceptibility to a disease, only the external nature of the illness is eliminated. To deal with the karmic activity from within, Anthroposophy states that spiritual education is re­quired.


    Oh, well, then that makes it okay. I've just misunderstood the causes and purposes of things like polio. I've deprived my child of the important opportunity to work through her karmic baggage the easy way via possible paralysis or death. I'm clearly a horrible parent. In related news, btw, Steiner also proposes that I may have set her up for cancer later by doing this, since the karmic baggage is what causes that, as well.

    What a shame that organizations like MSF insist on 'interfering' with the naturally wonderful karmic process in third world locations... tired



    * and by medical remedies, here, the author is probably meaning magical herbal preparations and homeopathic ones, and while I respect that there are those who believe that those things are "medical remedies" I personally tend to think of them as placebos. At best.


    ** of course, this assumes that ALL of those without vaccine-acquired immunity have elected this particular immunological status. Maybe they could dance their way to immunity instead. Of course, if they are karmically okay, they are naturally immune to begin with, I suppose the right children are being infected anyway and we shouldn't concern ourselves for those who are being punished through the wisdom of the universe.



    Yes, I realize that I sound like a skeptic. I'm actually pretty easy to convince-- but I do require extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims, and that first link should demonstrate that there's a fairly robust link between pockets of underimmunisation which coincide rather well with Steiner educational communities, and the resultant epicenters of outbreaks.

    It's very dangerous to have neighbors who are Steiner acolytes if you happen to be a cancer patient or a newborn, for example. I've also quite commonly heard that my daughter's disability is somehow her "burden" karmically and that we should put her on organic food and quit interfering with "nature."

    I gotta go with Val here. Some of this wackadoo nonsense is funny and more or less harmless, but there comes a point at which it isn't funny and public health is my personal line there, I suppose. Besides, nobody wants a Nazi cow anyway, biodynamic enology aside.



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    To be fair about this, though, if you have a vitamin D deficiency, maybe the sun IS healing.



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    No, no, no, HK, you are allowing her to work out her karmic debt by taking on the risk of vaccine side effects. If the cosmos does not allow her to develop autism as a result of childhood vaccinations, then clearly the risk alone was sufficient to work off the load, without the disorder itself. wink


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    Originally Posted by HowlerKarma
    I have to also wonder why Steiner's ideas caught on so well, whereas those of people like Alisdair Crowley really have remained fringe. It's a strange world.

    Right time, right place. Steiner came of age during the German idealism movement in philosophy, born of Rousseau's romanticism (don't think, feel!) and a mystical counter-reaction to the British empiricists like Locke and Berkeley. The German idealism movement produced Kant, Nietzsche, Hegel, and Marx, among others. So basically, Steiner was a man of his time and place, with ideas that, while completely wackadoo, were entirely in line with the particular brand of wackadoo that was all the rage.

    Crowley's brand of wackadoo was simply not in fashion.

    I guess the lesson to be learned here is, the best way to be an influential crazy person is to be crazy in a mainstream kind of way.

    aeh #208940 01/14/15 02:00 PM
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    Originally Posted by aeh
    No, no, no, HK, you are allowing her to work out her karmic debt by taking on the risk of vaccine side effects. If the cosmos does not allow her to develop autism as a result of childhood vaccinations, then clearly the risk alone was sufficient to work off the load, without the disorder itself. wink

    Well, I'll have to hope so, since the alternative is evidently oncogenesis at some future date.



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    Tigerle #208961 01/14/15 06:02 PM
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    Originally Posted by Tigerle
    I am actually quite impressed - did anyone else but Steiner have an idea about brain hemispheres and speech centers in the brain at the time?
    Well, yes. Broca and Wernicke, to name two. No credit to Steiner. As Dude says, he was a product of his time and place, scavenging any ideas that were in the air and digesting them indiscriminantly into his own unique pulp.

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    I'm going to weigh in on this old thread for any other families searching for answers regarding Waldorf and the Gifted.

    First, my experience is with a 2.5 - 5 year old profoundly gifted child at a Waldorf school. We love Waldorf. The passion, specificity, and thoughtfulness of the teachers cannot be underestimated. They truly do care. That being said, it is not the school for the gifted.

    The first year, in nursery, was fine. The second year she moved up early (birthday was just shy of the cutoff) and half way through she began to cause trouble by being disruptive during circle time, lunch, and nap time. She was 4.5 at the time.

    She told us the following:
    "All we do is go outside, then inside, then outside, then inside... blah, blah, blah".

    "They don't teach me anything".

    "School isn't about reading, writing, or math"

    Amongst others. She became sad that she wasn't being taught to read and told us to get her a teacher. We did this of course, which helped. We also decided to move schools the next year.

    Waldorf's response is generally to not acknowledge the intellect at this age. They firmly believe in the emotional development as being the only thing to consider. Giving a kid logic puzzles or teaching them to read is not necessary. This fundamental misunderstanding of gifted kids is where the issues arise. The evidence is overwhelming. Gifted kids need challenges beyond the norm. And, in fact, their emotions suffer when their intellect is not fed. If they were truly concerned about the emotional side then considering the intellectual is paramount with these kids.

    Additionally, with one teacher to 22 kids in first grade there is not a lot of room for differentiation. All studies point to differentiation being of the utmost importance. While not Waldorfs fault (they are a not for profit) it is a downside.

    That being said, they were understanding and supportive enough to make changes in the teachers and the way they dealt with her disruption. Combined with the changes we made at home it was enough to get us through the year (and a new school).

    Bottom line... the tradeoffs are not worth sending your gifted child to a Waldorf school. If you want Waldorf then be waldorf at home and let a school that understand the gifted teach him / her.

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