1. Taos says:

    You DO pack hummus in our lunch and we are NOT adjusted

    • Beth says:

      Oh, Taosy. That was a long time ago! I’ve since decided you are SO AMAZINGLY ADJUSTED that you can HANDLE hummus in your lunch. Love you.

  2. Meg McGarry says:

    HAHAHA… oh girl, you are spotlighting my life here. I just enrolled my genius of a son in public school after four years of expensive private school “preparing” him for a better life… mostly because we just can’t freakin’ afford it anymore. I do send hummus in his lunch from time to time and he constantly laments that he is the ONLY kid that doesn’t get candy or dessert with it but I digress… ;p I adore your tales. Thanks for singing our songs.

  3. Erika Roling says:

    My kids get hummus in their lunches too…it even comes in snack pack sizes! Beth, you are one talented woman.

  4. Chandelle says:

    Oh, I recognize this so much! I have tortured myself about so many parenting things. I pretty much lost my shit over attachment parenting in general…

    My kids do attend a Waldorf school, but it’s not the end-all-be-all of their childhood. I do think it’s sad that the option was so far out of reach for your family. Our school has a very generous scholarship program so we can maintain some economic diversity. Rudolf Steiner said that Waldorf education should be “available to all” without monetary consideration, but many schools are still so expensive without offering realistic assistance, and without realizing how demoralizing it is to expect low-income families to clean toilets in exchange for tuition. I’m sorry you had to experience that. And I’m glad that you’ve found a “Middle Way” that works for your family. 🙂

    • AcaciaMay says:

      THIS is what’s driving me crazy. Steiner’s philosophy includes this idea of accessibility. Some schools have forgotten this.
      My daughter attended 2 years of Waldorf at an affordable rate, and now we’ve moved to a different area and the Waldorf schools in this city cost 3 to 5 times more than what I paid at the last school, WITH “assistance”!!! I’m not sure I can do it anymore, but I can’t stand the thought of losing the wonderful curriculum. I’m a single mom, so it’s laughable to think of taking on teaching her myself the handwork and the languages and the modeling and the everything everything everything that public schools ignore, if she has to stop Waldorf!

  5. Rita says:

    This post made me smile and wince at the same time. (Quite a feat.) I could never even try to give my kids that perfect education, but I sure wanted to. The local public school was OK during elementary school. I just about broke my parenting back on middle school. High school’s off to a shaky start. Yes, I’ve had to let go of a lot. Trust my kids more. Adjust myself to the idea that my kids’ education is still a lot of work for me, just a different kind than I once thought. (And for the record, I’ve been a public school educator for more than 20 years. Don’t get me started on what my parenting experiences have done to me professionally. I might never shut up. 🙂

  6. Rogene Buhrdorf says:

    Thanks for re-posting this Beth. I am there. I drove myself completely crazy because I believed Waldorf to be the only way and it is not.My youngest son started public high school this year (while I secretly trembled) and so far, so good. I was making myself crazy and him crazy for the sake of an idea. Waldorf is great but not at any cost and it is not for everybody. Thanks again for this jewel. Again thank you thank you thank you.

  7. Laurie says:

    Thank you SOO much for this!!! I am just dealing with this same thing right now. I literally could have written it myself. The Waldorf school is amazing here and also 45 minutes away. I maybe, maybe, maybe could afford to send 1, but 2 or 3 kids…no friggin’ way! I love the philosophies, the teachers, the environment they set, but every way that I have looked at it, it was just not possible. So, my kids go to public school and you know it’s actually pretty good! I think about this so often and drive myself crazy, but I am starting to come to terms with it…but every now and then I torture myself and go on the website and dream about having tons of extra money laying around and living on the other side of the county!

  8. Laurie says:

    And I have to add, that we are a one income family. It is a choice we are making… but, I could work full time too and send my kids to the Waldorf school, but how fair would that be to the one who is still a baby and would never get the time at home with mum.

  9. Taos says:


    The smell of garlic (in my mom’s hummus) is so strong the office can smell it! 🙂
    and seriously all of the other kids have cake, candy or cookies in there lunch! 🙂 🙂
    I feel for your son.
    It is SO embarrassing getting stuff that smells in your lunch! but triple it for me because I cant just say
    “ya its my geeky mom’s kind of a lunch”, say something funny and put it back in my lunch I HAVE TO DO IT IN SPANISH! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. Rhonda says:

    Thank you for posting this! Your line about creating stories about what you were supposed to be and the best way for your family is something that completely resonates with me! I just have one two year old, but I feel so much guilt for having to work, and I always think that she deserves something better and that she “should” have a particular type of life.

    We live in the south, and I am surrounded by traditional families who secretly but mostly openly judge me for my decisions. The culture of what life is supposed to be like is so strong here that being different in my area is a tough sale.

    Thank God there is no real set standard and that there are people out there like you to remind me of that!

  11. Christine says:

    Thanks Beth for this post. We made it through for 10 years in Waldorf. But we still feel the aftermath. I love your stories.

  12. Me, me, me, this is my story!!!! Thank you for telling so much more eloquently than I could. Thank you for telling it before it was my reality.

    Thank you for telling me what I know in my heart, that I could not do the reality of homeschooling. That we cannot financially do Waldorf. That we cannot do big car trips for the perfect school.

    Glad to have found your blog.

  13. Mom JD says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I let go of my Waldorf dreams past spring because of the commute & finances. We enrolled our (only) child in a small, affordable (for now) Montessori school but I’m still getting over having to say no to Waldorf! Also I’m now super attached to the Montessori way & I hope if the time comes when it’s no longer feasible I will be able to let go… Thanks for your post!

  14. Ruth says:

    So glad to hear Toas’ side of the story in the comments section. Keep speaking your mind girl! Or better yet, start your own blog and tell your own truth. We need more young voices out here.

  15. rose says:

    I so agree with you! We too are a one income family (average income at that!), preferring to live with less to have more time with each other. I love the ideas behind alternative schooling methods and I still occasionally worry about sending the children to the local public school (eldest will start in a few months – eeek!). However, the money we don’t spend on tuition and travel to schools affords us to live on a beautiful block in the country, where we can grow our food, hang out in trees, keep animals and enjoy peace and creativity. It affords one of us to be with the kids all the time and they’re also a stone’s throw away from grandparents. Home is where we start from, schooling is just part of our children’s education, and I am sure that the energy we put into nurturing ourselves and our home life gives our children the ability to thrive in whatever situation they find themselves in, throughout their lives.

    • Beth says:

      Thank you, Rose! Your lifestyle sounds ideal, and your priorities right on target. All the best in your continued journey!

    • Dee says:

      I know that this thread is some years old, but I am so grateful to have found it! My wife and I are a two-mom household. Exposing them to different kinds of families, being surrounded by like-minded less conservative folk, and having the best early education has always been a priority for us. Since they were 2.5, they attended Waldorf, or Waldorf-inspired pre-schools, and have thrived. Just yesterday, they finished their first week at public kindergarten. We decided to move them from Waldorf mostly because of the money factor – we’d be looking at $25K/year in another year, plus we have 9-month old coming up – we knew we would be locked in to a hefty commitment at least through 3rd grade when reading and math start to level out with the traditional core curriculum. This has been such a daunting decision! Their day is so much different at public than at waldorf. No finger puppets. No cute little tree climber inside the living-room classroom. No Tuesday hike day. Instead, they are attending a dual language Spanish-immersion program at the local public school – a highly rated school system, which is fabulous, but still not Waldorf. The hardest part of it all has been detaching from the ideal that a Waldorf early education is the only path to a confident, well-adjusted, fulfilling childhood. And accepting that their early childhood experience is coming to a close. And letting myself “off the hook” for deciding not to scrape by in order to give them a waldorf education. Because as Rose said so well, choosing to spend that money on other enriching areas of life – being close to grandparents, living on an acre wooded land with frogs and chickens (we have 9!), dogs, cats, and wild everything – does play a major role. We’re just a week in, and as you can see, with me googling waldorf kindergarten vs. public k., I’m still a little anguished over how this is all going to work out. I’m hoping that the transition will be short and relatively tear-free!

      • Alice says:

        Hi! I am wondering how did this transition go and any advice for an anxious mom looking at Waldorf vs language immersion school in the future…I do think we will do Waldorf early childhood for sure, but wondering about the jump to non-Waldorf after that…

  16. jennifer says:

    Oh my god. Thank you is all I can say. You have helped me so much. Perspective is everything.

  17. J'Ana Smith says:

    Thank you for writing this! I would LOVE for my kids to attend the Waldorf school in our city, but like many others, can’t afford to send all 5, and how could I choose which to send!? I try to foster a “waldorf” style home, where the kids can make mud pies or snow volcanoes etc, and just hope and pray that the public school factory won’t take the magic out of learning and exploring the world! Thanks again for your blog, I have been devouring it. You so eloquently express in writing many things that I have felt to be true in my heart for a long time.

    • Beth says:

      Thank YOU J’Ana! It’s been a real process of letting go for me, and a trust in the greater good in order to feel peaceful about it. Amazing how, for some of us, it takes a whole mess of kids to learn these lessons! Glad you’re here.

  18. shadi says:

    hi there. thank you for this. we started waldorf kind of by accident…summer camp. i had looked it up before and totally freaked when i saw the tuition. fast forward three years. we have paid close to 15k and that is b/c we are poor compared to other folks in Boulder CO. I am wondering your thoughts on the following… I love Waldorf for many reasons but I really like trying to honor the children and keeping things simple for them. For example, my son knows nothing of 9 11. He doesn’t know about the shootings this month. He believes in Santa. I want to keep this magic. I don’t want some asshole kid to bully him. At this point I think I am more concerned with the social aspects of private vs public. Can you speak to this at all??

  19. Piper says:

    Thank you for sharing your waldorf journey. It resonates to my core. We are enrolled in a waldorf kindergarten and hope to continue the journey BUT..for all those reasons stated above I am anxious all the time. I’ve shared this post with some other moms who have made some tough choices. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to be ok with walking away even to continue going to waldorf school. It’s just one way, not the only way. Thanks again- this was the right message at the right time.

  20. beth browning says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am having the exact struggle and I appreciate your perspective very much.

  21. kara hume says:

    I can’t believe I found your story about your kids and waldorf school. I had the exact same struggle and my little sweet 5 year old I found out was getting bullied in her kindergarten as well as the teacher was not a good fit at all. I was paying lots of money, driving 40 minutes each way and realizing that my daughter was slowly not trusting of the teacher and not feeling safe as we call it “mary poppins meets lord of the flies” since as nice as they sing songs and believe kids should be kids, they also did not protect my daughter from more touchy, boundary issue kids. So we looked at other options, and although the huge public school was not an option and homeschooling would of been very hard since she was an only child (now expecting a baby brother) we decided to go out of our town to another to the sweetest most community oriented public school I could hope for. They actually have lots of local community gatherings, have a may day, have farm to table and mix grades so kids are with same teacher in a mixed grade for two years. It is not just a school but a community. It’s atmosphere and happy open aired structure is absolutely without a doubt 100 percent better then a school that carries the name Waldorf but is cool and unloving and not attentive. So I would not go by a title as all waldorfs and all montessories are not the same. I would go by the faces of the kids AND the teachers when you walk in. Are they happy? Do the kids seem structured but also happy and does the school itself feel like a community, the structure not feeling institutional. We have found our school. But now we do have to re-create our life here. Money and housing it is a hardship but you can’t go back and make up the lost time of education and there is nothing more valuable then knowing your child is safe, in a great school and loves to go to school like my sweet girl. There is nothing more important in my mind. After all it is anywhere from 6-7 hours a day 5 days a week for years and years of their life. That is a lot of time to have your child in a place that does not serve them well. And as far as bring hummus to public school, very very good idea. I send home-made banana bread for her snack and a nutritious lunch but sometimes the school lunch is so good we do buy it. Schools are important and there are not an overwhelming supply of good ones. We love the Waldorf education but realize they are limited and not all are the same. Be weary, research, and ask other parents. It is important. Thanks for sharing your story. It is nice to know we are not the only ones who stubbled with the ideal school and got a real life lesson when we realized our public school was so much better then the not so local waldorf school.

  22. Bron says:

    As I sit here and google the words “I can’t afford the Steiner Education” I come across your wonderful and insightful blog. Mine too is an emotional journey of one that I am struggling to let go of. I learnt of Steiner education at least 10 years prior to having my first child and from that day on I was determined to learn more as that is where my children were going to be educated. Alas my 6 year old son has been there for the past 2 years and we are losing everything else to afford to send him there, I sit and type this with tears in my eyes as I thought this was the perfect education, one to shelter them from the realms of today’s society and the social interface that they may experience in a public school (a huge fear of mine), but reading your story puts into perspective all that “our family” have been going through to come to the decision that we just can’t do it any more financially. So I have to detach myself emotionally and not carry the guilt that I am currently feeling, as I am also missing out on providing for my two beautiful boys on so many other levels to try and do this. – your story has given me encouragement and hope to embark on the next part of our journey. Bless and thank you for what I know in my heart you have put into words

  23. Heather says:

    I sold my soul for a Waldorf education for my kids. My pursuit of Waldorf almost led to my suicide. When life gets that hard, you’re doing it wrong.

  24. Emily says:

    Thank you Beth. I have been struggling with this same decision. My son has only had one year of preschool at a Waldorf school, but I felt entranced by the philosophy of teaching and the whole idea of letting the child unfurl before flinging them into competitive academics. I loved the smells, the sights, the pace at Waldorf– but I am having to let it go before we head down a road of financial ruin (with two kids to think about now and no college funds) . I am putting my hope and trust in the local public school- knowing that teachers are all unique and can provide different enriching learning experiences. I just wish that our country would get it- that we could all see that testing and worksheets and homework are not what our kids deserve for their education.

  25. Kristin says:

    I’m in tears right now, reading the other comments. Like another reader, I found this googling “I can’t afford to keep my child at waldorf”. I am broken hearted to be sending my 6 year old to public kindergarten this year while his younger brother stays for early childhood at Waldorf. I wanted so badly the idyllic waldorf childhood for them, but it’s just out of our league. I have to trust that what’s most important is that we love our children, and that they know we love them.

  26. Melissa Belt says:

    I can totally relate to this article! Although I am trying to do this all as a full time single mother ????

  27. Terri says:

    Your post is very close to my story. I fought with my husband for years, had two jobs, and finally after my rising 4th grader told me” mom, I just don’t like my teacher”, did it occur to me to end our Waldorf journey. It was painful for me. I have ever decided to homeschool. I hope it all works out. But thanks for posting. I’m glad I’m. Otherwise alone.

  28. Viktor Largo says:

    Home schooling is so much more interesting then a waldorf education in north america, all my friends from childhood that went to waldorf near my home in long island, were extemely open minded, but also very spoiled, were into drugs and alcohol in their early teens and completely out of touch with society in all the important aspects, zero compassion and zero self-control in many ways.

    Friends that went to public school and some who were taught at home, were a lot more reliable and fun to be around, but this is just a small sample of course. Waldorf tuition in the early 1990’s was over 25,000 a year and while it has its perks, teaching your child at home with you, is something my sisters do with there children and it seems to work so much better for there schedule and what they want them to learn from early age through there teenage years.. My sisters children are much more artistic, open-minded and extremely charming and nice to there friends and strangers.. Compared to children who i’ve seen that went to waldorf years ago and children who attend there now, in my area.
    Waldorf education has morphed into something entirely the opposite of what Steiner had envisioned, here in america, not sure what the schools are like in europe or other parts of the world. But in america their for the extremely wealthy families and dis-illusioned parents struggle to pay tuition who feel they are doing the best thing for there child or children, its a farse.. Most parents who are wealthy send there children there because they do not want to spend time with there children and pretend they are doing it for a great purpose in avoiding sending them to public schools in there area where they live. Its very isolated and seems to affect most children that i’ve seen grow up through the years, stuggling in adapting with the rest of the world. Addicted to drugs and usually end up hating there parents in the long run, for not allowing them to attend schools in there area where most of there friends and neighbors go to school.. But like everything in life, you got to choose what works for your needs and what you think is best..Not what works for others. Good luck, hope your children and young adults do not hold a grudge against you, no matter what your choice was, they should realize you just want the best for them.. Its hard being a parent, just as much as its hard being a daughter or son in a family.

    • Iindibaby says:

      Just happened to see this post as I too am a mom who is struggling with the idea that my daughter needs more than a public school education but can not justify the cost. It seems like the other reader said ‘a kind of outsourcing ‘ at a price. I found this latest post above very interesting and would live to learn more on home schooling.

  29. Jen says:

    thank you for this. I’m spending a load on Waldorf supplies & feel guilty about not being able to send my child to a Waldorf school at the moment, but I need to be true to myself and my budget and stay sane. It’s the perfectionist & overachiever in me. Your post had me laughing out loud! Thank you again

  30. Elizabeth Rosas says:

    This was a great article! I simply googled Waldorf Reviews, as we currently have 3 kids in Waldorf right now.. it’s very expensive however for us, we can afford it and not cut any corners in our day to day life, owning a small homestead with a large garden and animals in the outskirts of Los Angeles or any of our yearly family vacations. We have 5 kids total but the younger two are a baby and toddler so once they become older, will also be attending Waldorf school. It’s just so sad that the schools are so expensive. It really doesn’t allow all children the access to such a beautiful curriculum.

  31. Nice content and decision you made for your child learning needs.

  32. Madi says:

    I know that this is an old post, but I wanted to express my gratitude that you wrote this journey. Currently we’re in a very similar situation: I want to give my child the world and a Waldorf education, but we have been going to one for two years, driving 120 miles per day, and barely able to scrape by financially. Now, wanting to expand our family, we thought of selling our home to move slightly closer, but . . . It’s breaking me. I would have to sacrifice so much to make this work, and I feel like a terrible parent for giving up the Waldorf School dream and resorting to a good public school. Your story gave me so much strength, validation, and encouragement, and I thank you so much.

  33. Megan says:

    So so glad I found this post… over s decade after it was posted! Currently trying to decide what’s best for my 5 year old. She’s currently at a Waldorf school as well as my 3 year old. Deciding between public and private. It’s all just too much to figure out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

love notes





@2023 - Revolution from Home. All Rights Reserved. Site Credit: Karima Creative