UPDATED MONDAY MORNING:
The conversation continues and it's a good one! Much food for thought in the comments below. Please feel free to join us!
I understand that a bunch of people from 4Real had some questions about how a Catholic can recommend Waldorf-related resources, when the philosophy that informs Waldorf pedagogy (anthroposophy) runs counter to Catholic doctrine in certain areas. I have touched upon this in earlier posts (links to come later), but if you have specific questions or topics you'd like to explore in more detail, fire away!
Saturday morning update: thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful and stimulating questions. I'll join in the discussion once I get my crew through the breakfast rush. :)
Here are the questions people have asked so far (and my apologies for not matching names to questions...I started to but realized it'll take too long):
I have heard it said that anthroposophy views the child as an unblemished creature who needs to be treated with extreme care and reverence; in other words--Original Sin does not exist. If this is accurate, what problems does it pose for the overall pedagogy? I would think that in matters of discipline this would be a big concern. Are we teaching the child or preserving the child? Training in virtue or shielding from the harmful effects of the world? Charlotte Mason had a more exalted view of children than most of her time period. Does Waldorf take it too far? Can this foundational belief really be sifted out?
Can you give us all an idea of when your "red flag" goes up so to speak, and how you decide what resources are worth weeding through and what you would put down and walk away from?
Also, maybe a bit of clarification (this from the 4real discussion) about the idea of copyrighted work and the use of the term Waldorf vs. gleaning the ideas and lumping them in with the Real Learning philosophy?
Thoughts on how Montessori and Waldorf methodologies are used/adapted in American schools and homes.
(paraphrasing) Does someone who "promotes" Waldorf resources (by recommending them) have an obligation to issue a warning about the underlying philosophy (anthroposophy)?
Honestly, what responsibility, if any, do we incur when we "go public" and share (whether through a blog, forum, book, whatever) the details of our life, how we choose to educate our children, what our thoughts/beliefs are on education, parenting, life. . .
Can we really claim that we are simply sharing what WE do and further claim not to hold responsibility towards those who read what we write and are in fact influenced by it?
What's the attraction to Waldorf for non-anthroposophists? "From what I understand, the followers of this method like the idea of
having a rhythm to their days, focusing on a lot of art and nature,
telling stories, singing songs, respecting the child, etc...to me there
is nothing extraordinary there. I find all those elements in CM and
other, more acceptable, philosophies and curriculi. The only thing
Waldorf seems to be unique in is the emphasis on fairies and gnomes,
and the use of beeswax!
Am I oversimplifying?! :-)"
I do wish there was another term for the gentle rhythms, focus on art, natural toys, love of nature, etc. other than "waldorf". Anyone care to coin a term for those of us who love the materials and ideas but avoid the philosophy behind it?
(Amy chimes in with "Nature and Nurture" as a suggestion. And speaking of Amy, a big congrats on the birth of her new little boy!)
Lissa, if its okay to ask, I would be interested to know how much actual Steiner pedagogy you use in your homeschool, as opposed to parenting methods, craftwork, and psychological care (and home decoration, lol!) I think many homeschoolers who draw on Waldorf, myself included, tend to use it like ribbons woven through their parenting and teaching, to soften and beautify them - rather than at the core.
OK, those are the questions raised so far. There have already been responses to some of them in the comments below. I'll try to keep organizing the threads of our discussion here. All these questions (and more, keep raising them!) are worth exploring.