Whew! I know some people who find Waldorf overly rigid and controlling and I had read Kate Haas's essay about her horrible experience as a child in a Waldorf school, but I had no idea there was such controversy surrounding it. I don't know enough about either the benefits or the drawbacks of Waldorf to have an opinion one way or other, but I do find it interesting (I love a good controversy). I do read a lot of blogs by Waldorfy parents, and I find it hard to believe that all of these creative, seemingly intelligent people are either members of a cult or have
been duped into following cultish practices unwittingly.
In any case, I am feeling extra grateful for our wonderful PUBLIC school with amazingly caring teachers who know my kids (and no doubt all the other kids too) so well and go out of their way to make education work for them, who are creative and flexible (we just had parent-teacher conferences and E and Z's kindergarten teacher told us about how after Z brought in the Dangerous Book for Boys, she set up a knot-tying station and how much all the kids love it).
I am a huge proponent of public school anyway, and if you let me I'll get on my big (probably offensive to many) soap box about how public school is our most basic democratic institution and that (like water) if the people who care about education (or clean water) only send their kids to private school (or buy bottled water) then there will be no political pressure for public school (or tap water) to meet high standards and it won't be there for those who need it, but who may not come from a family who has the time, interest or motivation to make it work (or it will just flow rusty from the tap).
It breaks my heart to see how much time and energy people put into educating their one or two own kids when if they just put a tiny fraction of that into a public school classroom, they could benefit 20 or 30 kids. (Two disclaimers here: 1. I have well water--but I drink tap water when I travel--and 2. I have not volunteered in my kids' classrooms, due to infant/toddler twins when M was younger and full-time work now. I know, I suck).
Anyway, back to Waldorf education, regardless of controversy, I do like the idea of children learning to cook, sew, knit, and create art as part of their education, so I try to fit as much of that in during our "at home" time as possible. And I do like the look of wet-on-wet paintings (we've used old watercolor paintings in the past as Mother's Day & Thank You cards, Valentine hearts and gift tags). And there's all that paint to use up. So we did some wet-on-wet painting Sunday morning. I had even bought some of the big brushes (rather than using the tiny ones that come in watercolor trays) and I finally figured out the ratio of paint to water (1:2), which as it turns out was in a book I had all along. This gave the paints a much richer color than we'd had in the past when I had stingily put in a little dab of paint with lots of water. I didn't tell any stories or give them any kind of instruction.
It took a lot longer to set up than I had expected, with finding and cleaning jars and mixing paints and soaking paper, so I don't know how often we'll do it, but E and Z seemed to have a good time (Z left after his first painting, while E completed four. The other two are mine. M was downstairs working with C on his Halloween sword).
How do you fit creative time with kids into your busy schedule?