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Thinking of Steiner / Home Ed - how do you forget everything you think you know about how education SHOULD be?

(122 Posts)
TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 13:51:48

I have just had a great conversation with someone who has put their child into a Steiner school - all very positive.

Then talked to people about it during my lunch-break - all very negative.

I get that most people will look at any 'alternative' kind of schooling through very narrow eyes, as in we mostly all grow up thinking education is done in a certain way - the way were used to, with targets and framework and discipline...

So can anyone tell me how easy or difficult it has been to leave that behind when choosing to educate your child(ren) in an alternative way like Steiner or Home ed?

How do you make that commitment, how do you deal with comparisons to other children (friends/Family)?

Has it been a good or bad experience? would you recommend it?

TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 13:52:15

*we are used to!

overmydeadbody Mon 28-Jul-14 14:01:58

There are very good reasons why mentioning Steiner schools gets negative reactions.

Cereal0ffender Mon 28-Jul-14 14:04:04

Steiner schools vary vastly in the quality of their education but on the whole it is fairly barking and based on a load of old cobblers.

Home education obviously depends on the parents

fledermaus Mon 28-Jul-14 14:04:49

I think you need to consider if you actually identify with the Steiner belief system rather than just wanting something "alternative".

TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 14:13:13

Overmydeadbody - did your children go?

I have heard negative things but from people who have no experience.

I also hear negative things about home educating, faith schools and mainstream state schools.

I am finding it hard to pin down what the Steiner 'belief' is.

it would be really interesting to hear from parents who have had kids in Steiner or kids who are still in Steiner Education. One of my big concerns is the 'woo' element of it (I am without religion) but the person I spoke to today says it's no more 'Woo' than a normal state school would be and they celebrate festivals of all different religions/nationalities.

I do like the sound of no targets, one to one interaction with children, treating them as valued people who have opinions, the 'mother nature'/outside play/craft elements of it.

TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 14:18:41

ok - so a humanistic approach to Pedagogy ... I can see the value in that.

"The educational philosophy's overarching goal is to develop free, morally responsible, and integrated individuals equipped with a high degree of social competence" - sounds OK to me.

Mammuzza Mon 28-Jul-14 14:19:43

We did, and by certain standards still do, alternative education.

But the "tra lah lah" wonderfulness used to promote specific alternatives as PR looked rather raggedy and cobbled together on closer examination. In fact, in too many real life started to look like there was an actual "much fibbing" gap between the claims and the reality.

So, I'm glad I didn't "forget". Becuase it can look like rejecting one fairly well tested beverage for some massive swigs of the Kool Aid. And when you see that up close and personal, it doesn't always smack of being in the children's favour.

I always come back to that. His education is about him, what he needs, what helps him best to achieve what he wants/needs to achieve. It's not what appeals to me, proffers me an identity, or allows me to feel so much more of a "free spirit" than everybody else.

Fogetting what we do know can be a form of washing one's brain.

TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 14:21:18

"For Steiner, education was an activity which fosters the human being's connection to the divine and is thus inherently religious" not so sure about this though. Although I guess there is going to be a 'spiritual' element in all state schools.

fledermaus Mon 28-Jul-14 14:23:31

Steiner spiritual beliefs are more woo than normal state education. Maybe do some reading on Anthroposophy.

TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 14:24:13

Mammuzza - how do you educate your children?

I wonder if it is enough for me to put my son into a not so great state school in the hope that he does well academically but that I am also able to teach him some independent thought stuff at home?

I do have a feeling of dread about putting him into mainstream education at 5 to be assessed and controlled and examined sad

overmydeadbody Mon 28-Jul-14 14:25:50

Agree completely with mammuzza.

And what, exactly, is wrong with targets? It's just another word for goal, and how does anyone achieve anything without goals?

onadifferentplanet Mon 28-Jul-14 14:27:08

My ds goes to one, he has done amazingly well and is in a class of the nicest kids I have ever met and having been in education over 20 yrs I have met a fair few!
,As a family we are not in the least bit woo! I read lots of negatives but decided to go and look for myself while you will hear lots of negatives on MN very few of them have first hand experience and there's a lot of my third cousin twice removed said.
Steiner is not everyone's cup of tea and won't suit every child, in fact I have 4 children, two have long left school and the other one has just left a very high ranking selective academic and ds3 is the only one of mine who I feel would have got the most out of Steiner.
I do get a lot of raised eyebrows and the usual tree hugging , lentil weaving comments but anyone who speaks to ds is really impressed with his wide ranging knowledge as well as a whole host of practical skills.

Cereal0ffender Mon 28-Jul-14 14:27:31

Steiner is just another system, being 'creative' seems to involve the whole class producing the exact same pieces of art and not using black. The state system is overstretched but at the same time full of fantastic professionals who really want to educate. Keep an open mind about all your options.

TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 14:28:27

Gaahhh -

I am a bit perplexed by the idea of spirituality, being firmly of the 'we are here, that's it, ain't art and music nice but life is life and then you die, just try to be a good person' persuasion.

I am not into all this praying, spiritual, healing stuff at all. However I am very into nature and the benefits of being outdoors and appreciating the beauty around you without having to understand why it's all there.

Hakluyt Mon 28-Jul-14 14:29:29

Before you even think about Steiner, dig deep. Research. Read. Listen. And then run, run like the wind. Particularly if you are very keen for your child to be a free thinker.

overmydeadbody Mon 28-Jul-14 14:30:22

" independent thought stuff "

Perhaps you should look a bit further into the early years curriculum, and the new national curriculum. Independent thought features heavily, especially in early years.

Reception classes of today are very much based on Montessori and Emilia reggio philosophies.

Visit a variety of educational settings and see what you think.

overmydeadbody Mon 28-Jul-14 14:31:44

Sounds like what you want is a forest school then! (smile)

Littleturkish Mon 28-Jul-14 14:31:46

There are good and bad examples of every type of school.

Steiner philosophy of education appeals to me, but I don't know if I would risk it for my DC as it would be a gamble if it was the right choice for them...

In my experience a caring home has a greater impact on results than the teaching, as it allows a child to absorb what is being taught.

Didn't mean the above to sound as woo as it did...

overmydeadbody Mon 28-Jul-14 14:33:20


TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 14:36:07

"And what, exactly, is wrong with targets? It's just another word for goal, and how does anyone achieve anything without goals?" Overmydeadbody ... I suppose I am just one of many parents who feels a bit weird about their child being fed into the school system which will start marking him from age 5 to meet targets set by people who know very little about children. Plus I read stuff about the advantages of starting schools later like they do in other parts of the world.

Though of course I don't personally know enough about it to know for sure that any of this is damaging. Every kid is different.

There is a lot of negativity around things like Steiner and Home education (Not been discussed much here) so it's interesting to know where that is coming from - is it from personal experience for example?

Another option I have is education through the medium of Welsh which I have discounted for various reasons but some people are very positive about here.

onadifferentplanet thank you for replying. Did you put all your children into Steiner and then take them out or was it just that you thought Steiner was better for your son in particular?

TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 14:37:05

unfortuantely there don't seem to be any forest schools in Wales sad

TheFairiesAreBack Mon 28-Jul-14 14:37:50

I mean - not in my part of Wales sad

overmydeadbody Mon 28-Jul-14 14:43:16

That's sad. Lots of schools try to encapsulate bits of first school philosophies into their education.

I get sad on these threads, I teach reception children and I try to give them the best start I can in life. Targets are set by the individual children, not by me. One child might set a target to learn to draw horses, or mix colours, or build great rockets out of Lego, I then do my best to support them in achieving that target. I try to get them to think they can achieve whatever they want with enough perseverance and effort and practice. It's not all just assessment and testing in state education.

fromparistoberlin73 Mon 28-Jul-14 14:44:21

just send him to an inner city school when most kids are deprived and cant speak english. trust me your baby will be free-er than a forest sprite, when they virtually ignore him (due to no time) as they get the other kids to a certain basic level

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