Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pray for Objectivity and Clarity of Thought

Hub and I just got back from Vermont and NY where we visited an incredible school for Superman and Movie Man.  One of the main perks was rubbing the pregnant belly of my first grandchild's mother.

 I am scared to death.  Hub and I are scared to death.

 For our boys.

We cannot continue to subject them to the education they are currently enduring. Both boys are problematic learners in their public school setting.  Although an IEP is a good thing (theoretically) it is only as good as the people implementing it.

And they are not very good.

So, we fly out of Happy Valley and land in Albany, NY all without a hitch. We drive to Saratoga Springs, NY and check it out in prep for our meeting with the Waldorf school the next morning.

AMAZING!  Wow, the very gracious and articulate hostess was the admissions lady.  We had time to personally meet with the 4th and 6th grade teachers.  We were never rushed.  They took time to genuinely communicate with us.  I was very impressed.  As was Hub.  As was Superman when he heard they are dismissed at 2:00 PM.  As was (well, sort of) Movie Man when he saw the way the kids are taught.  Why, oh, why can't all schools embrace at least some of this stuff?

Anyway, after 2 hours... yes, I said 2 HOURS, of unrushed, very informative quality time, we left ready to continue on with the application process.  They did not even flinch when they met our kids and heard about their IEPs.  Movie Man would be slow to adjust, but he would eventually take to it with gusto.

Superman was quite engaging with our admissions lady and even tried to explain being in the dark (autism) to her.  He got a little more autistic-like in observable behaviors at about the 90 minute mark, but he did pretty well.

Guess what?  Not one computer in the classrooms.  (Do not misread me here!  I believe in technology.  We are a family with 4 computers, many video gaming stations and Beatles Rock Band) But there were no computers beckoning to the teacher from his/her desk.  No learning time taken up by keyboarding class.

But more impressive than that is that the kids have AT LEAST 2 recesses a day!  Gee, recess?  Recess?  Isn't cramming more reading minutes in every day more important than unstructured play?  What on earth does play have to do with readin', writin' and 'rithmetic?

Art and music were evident at every turn of our tour.  They use cursive writing, they don't have text books, the teachers stay with the kids 1st - 8th grades!  You read that right.  1st - 8th grades!  Can you believe that any teacher would want to be with the same 15 kids for that many years?  Can you believe that any teacher would want to know the curriculum for that many grade levels?  I say that takes huge commitment and dedication.

Waldorf has been around for a long time.  Around the world.  Are they a bit extreme as far as technology avoidance?  Maybe by today's standards.  But are they accessing and exercising a part of the brain that could use a bit more attention?  Yep.  Do I think that would be best for my kids?  So far, I do.

But to relocate from the midwest to NY will take a huge amount of effort, googahs of cash and a few miracles, employment for both parents, a sold house, a new house secured... well, you get it.

So, do parents do this for their kids?  Is that reasonable?  Expected?  Advisable?

Hub is wearing his NY warm up jersey this afternoon.  I think he's there.


  1. Parents do whatever they need to in order to give their kids what they need. Your kids need an education that is not happening here for them so it is a very reasonable thing to consider this move. Have you checked out any other Waldorf schools closer? There may be somewhere closer. Best of luck on your quest.

  2. I've always been fascinated by the extreme looping of the Waldorf system. I don't know if I could do it. I looped a group from 5th to 6th grade, and I'd do it again in an instant.
    The arts integration? Right up my alley.
    Shall we start a Waldorf charter in the Valley? (only partly kidding, our 'hood needs one)


Although I am dangerously opinionated, I am a flexible thinker and welcome your thoughts.