Posted by: Tracy Barsamian Ventola | May 8, 2013

Unschooling vs. Waldorf Homeschooling

Yesterday I went to check out a homeschool coop.  The people were really nice!  But it was so clearly NOT a good match for my big girl.  The content in the younger classes (ages 4 to 8ish) was intense!!  The human body class constructed their own life-size bodies complete with organs.  It’s a fun lesson plan…but it just “felt” wrong for that age group, and for Keira in particular.  I think that we’re just too far down the Waldorf path to turn back.

Visiting this coop really has me thinking about unschooling vs. Waldorf homeschooling.  Both camps agree on one BIG issue:  they both believe that children are inherently good.  Where they diverge (and are polar opposites!) is that unschoolers believe that children have the innate ability to learn on their own and Waldorf believes that it is up to the parents to guide their children’s learning (in a framework that teaches the children’s hearts-hands-heads).

Philosophically I am drawn to unschooling, BUT right now, at this point – while my girls are little – I am MORE drawn to preserving their childhoods.  Our society/culture has kicked into this crazy high gear (and gotten stuck there!):  so much media – so much running around – so little time for kids to just play.  The greatest gift that Waldorf education has given our family is a slower pace.  We don’t run around afterschool or on weekends.  Our girls have lots of time to play.  They get lost in their imaginative play.  And we – all four of us – are so much happier.  And I don’t feel like unschooling would support our family in our efforts to protect our girls from the constant motion of the world around us.

Waldorf homeschooling, however, would provide a community of like-minded parents, who are also working hard to preserve their kids’ childhoods.  So I don’t see how there’s much of a choice!  I am not 100% on board with the relatively set curriculum for each grade in the world of Steiner (Waldorf’s guru).  BUT it is certainly not a bad curriculum (I’m just not sure that you actually need a curriculum) AND it seems a small price to pay for the community!!

So I feel settled on the Waldorf homeschooling.  BUT not settled enough to write a formal letter to the school announcing our decision.  In this (rare!) instance, our ineligibility for financial aid is a gift.  Given the school’s low enrollment, we have the luxury of time.  And perhaps by not committing to the school, I feel more comfortable not sharing that same decision with our dear girl?  Hmm…

Enjoy the (strangely warm) rain!!  Love,  Tracy

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Responses

  1. Good call, sister. I’m right with you. And it’s likely to be next year.


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