Re: DSM: New to homeschooling and SVS

Marko Koskinen (
Wed, 04 Apr 2001 00:27:10 -0400

I just had to answer this one... I agree that Waldorf ideology is in
many ways similar to Sudbury Ideas, but the conclusions that are drawn
from the starting points are very different and there are also some
basic differences in the underlying philosophy. I would never call a
Waldorf school "a Sudbury School with more structure", cause it
definately is not. I don't want to start a "which model is better" war,
I just want to clear out the differences.

Waldorf schools have a curriculum, which is same for all children, it
makes a clear statement that children learn in certain stages. Recent
psychological studies haven't found any support for such thinking.
Actually Piaget's ideas about learning are on most parts proven wrong.

Waldorf schools have classrooms and children are seperated by age. One
teacher teaches a whole class all or most of the subjects all way
through first grade through highschool. While children in Waldorf
schools are active, they aren't active in the way they want to be, but
they are active the way they are forced to be. And that is the biggest
difference of all between Sudbury type schools and Waldorf schools.

Many Waldorf schools base theํr ideas strictly on the idealogy of Rudolf
Steiner and draw the curriculum unchanged from the suggestions of
Steiner, a curriculum that is almost a hundred years old... There is
little flexibility in that part, actually I could call it more a
religion than a philosophy. And what I've read by Steiner, I don't think
he would approve most of the schools that are functioning today under
his name. This is of course totally my subjective opinion.

Waldorf schools don't believe in personal freedom, which is the main
idea of Sudbury Schools. Need I say more?

If you have to make a choice between a Waldorf school and a Public
school, my suggestion would be to choose the Waldorf school, because
they usually draw more interesting teachers in them who have thought
about education more than public shcool teachers. Put as the public
schools have a clear agenda of repressing young people so that they
become passive "slaves", so the Waldorf schools have an agenda of
"forcing young people to be humanists". A forced humanist cannot really
be a humanist, so IMO it's a good idea spoiled by practice. The Sudbury
Model has also an agenda, but it's at least IMO, very logical. It's
agenda is "to raise responsible citizens through participatory democracy
and freedom". Sudbury Model is about human rights AND self-directed
education and Waldorf is about teacher-directed education with no
intention to protect the human rights of young people.

So, this is what I wanted to say. My intention surely wasn't to hurt
anybody's feelings. But I just think that if someone believes that
Waldorf is very close to Sudbury, then that belief is REALLY WRONG.

Marko wrote:
> Good for you Mom and Good Luck.
> I have a lot of friends who home school and all recommend reading John
> Holt's
> book Teach your Own . You probably already have read it.
> The Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore and Michealmas Press offers a lot
> of
> books about teaching subjects more hands on.
> The Waldorf Educational movement could be another resource. It is like
> the
> Sudbury Model only with more structure. Both believe in engaging a
> child's
> will and never suppressing it. Academics (READING) are not taught
> until 3rd
> grade. No text books are used children make there own lesson books.
> Emphasis is on music, art, drama handwork (making clothes, dolls,
> straw
> houses , . Two languages are taught orally from grade one .
> In grade one the kids make there own knitting needles from whittling
> wood.
> Knitting is considered an important skill, which later aid reading and
> math
> ability. The children have the same teacher for the first 8 years.
> It is very hands on and active, The Children are very active during
> the day.
> Which is not the case in Public School.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Fri Apr 06 2001 - 14:18:15 EDT