2016 this Deanna Bowman-Pennock asked this question. I don't think she ever came back one the page?
Hello, friends. Happy new year to you all! I have a question, particularly for those who started out fixed on Waldorf and have migrated at least somewhat away, especially toward Montessori, because on an aversion to anthroposophy.
I read mixed perspectives on whether one can truly embrace Waldorf education without embracing anthroposophy. I'd like to hear some real life-applied examples of a successful Montessori-based, Waldorf-inspired homeschooling approach. Whether you're religious and don't care for anthroposophy, or you're secular and feel likewise, it makes me no difference. I'd appreciate any feedback, and I figured this was the place to ask.
here is my answer: Good question and I am thrilled someone asked it. I don't want to put down anyone for their beliefs one way or another. We are all entitled to our beliefs and hybrids of what our otherness looks like here. There is no one way, canned formula for every child. It has been hard for me to stick with Waldorf as it is founded on a dogma and I don't accept that belief system. Big picture for me is take what works for me and my child and don't feel guilty or shame if what I am doing doesn't look like someone else's version. Montessori, unschooling, Waldorf or any other method doesn't know my kid. Again, it is the bite of the smorgasbord I want, not the whole enchilada. Sometimes it is hard to take that road. No road map for it. No one ever makes me feel included or accepted or even approved of because I am not following any one group's road map. I have to be strong enough and do the research enough to accept that I am doing it the best I can for what my kid needs right now and if I am feel I am not then adjust it, evaluate, Redesign it, assess it again, Create With him. Ultimately it is my child who is leading and I am just setting the stage with things and information that anticipate his needs and what he wants to learn. I am a strew er of learning, the set designer, he chooses what he will learn. We all do this. I believe we all learn only what is meaningful to us in the moment. You might memorize or learn something for a test but to really learn it and create something with that, which you know, you must be passionate about the subject and want to learn IT. It takes some confidence and I have moments of self doubt.
For me it may have been easier to step out of line. My son is on the spectrum and didn't fit the planes of Montessori or Steiner. I recently went to a Waldorf autism conference where I got upset about the dogma of approach and definition of what is autism. The Waldorf way with children with disabilities is very dated (esoteric)and not based on concrete science. However I still see some value in the foundations of the extra lesson of painting clock wise and counter clock wise using red and blue spirals, I see value in drawing forms with either hands and feet in the air and ground and doing exercises with copper balls. Why do I do this ? Well it isn't because of the reasons channeled by Steiner but because neurologically something happens when we cross the mid line of our bodies and use the left and right hemisphere's of our brains. We are engaging whole learning in some way. I don"t agree with everything Steiner says. But some of his ideas do resonate. The same with Montessori. I can get very irritated with how the method can become almost a religion for some practitioners too. I have never liked anyone to tell me I am doing it wrong when they haven't watch me do. It's all subjective to perspective.
Somehow Steiner through an occult practice tapped into to something about archetypes and form and the left and right hemisphere and cortex of our brains. This is an example of how Anthroposophy and I merge in 21st Century science. While I find some of Steiner's work out dated even offensive. I do not, however, have to eat the whole enchilada of his or his follower's movement of anthroposophy. and go into astral ethrical whatever to see scared geometry exist in many cultures and these ancient archetypes mean something. My rule is first do no harm. Keep an open mind but if it smells band and looks bad.... So with Montessori same deal. My son did not fit Maria's planes of development. He had language delays and sensory issues. Still does. At 14 he is reading and doing math developmentally at about 9-12 ages. He may never intellectually ever be able to go much further. I will have to accept him As he is. He might never be accepted in a Montessori or Waldorf schools so I made up something for him to fit into. History and art from Waldorf and math, cosmic history, timelines from Montessori, we do robots and Minecraft and tv and nature and permaculture and I piss off a lot of educators who think I'm doing it wrong because I am not doing what they say is right. At 53 with my last child I finally have the confidence to say I don't care if they accept me. I no longer want their approval. Tomorrow we may need to do something totally different or maybe he will just pet the dog for most of the day and watch you tube videos. Is that worst or any better than what a special education classroom would have done to him for 12 years and call an education? I just think we need to let go of the edge of the pool and swim sometimes so we can teach our kids how to do that too. I had a beloved professor in college who told our class that everything we learned in K-12 we could learn in less than 6 months at 18. What we go to school for is to learn to get along with others and obey, for an agricultural society going to work in a factory you needed workers who did what they were told and got along. Now we need innovators, creators people who can look at the big picture and problem solve. Our children are going to be working in a very different world than our parents did or grandparents did or we are. Why are we still using the same models of education? We don't have to follow that plan. And for me following that plan was something I survived and have spent a life time trying to get over. School was brutal. I want to teach my child to love learning and find joy in it. The public school system didnt work for my older children and with this one I decided to step out of the system and create my own. So here I am in a new community of people who are all heard the pied piper's tune and woke up thinking why are we following this guy? The truth is We dont have to follow and so I got out of the swarm and am here, writing my own music and hopefully helping my son write his.