- Reviewed on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
- Grades Used: 2
- Dates used: Fall 2014
We tried Christopherus grade 1 with my son. But we quickly ditched it. Largely it was because having started school in the traditional way, it was just too hard to transition to a Waldorf method.
However, I have other complaints:
1. Christopherus is an insane amount of money for the low-quality printing that you get. $225 just for the syllabus which is nothing more than a binder of papers. The other two books you need are over $20 each and are just very thin cardstock covers with a spiral binding. Granted - this is a "Waldorf" curriculum... which is basically synonymous with extremely overpriced materials.
So, yes, you get some LA activities, some math activities, loose schedules, some ideas for crafts, music, art etc... But basically, you are paying $225 - $300 to be given some ideas. Instead I would check out Waldorf Essentials - same Waldorf philosophy for an insane fraction of the price - $40 for the year for .pdf, $45-60 for print!
2. My experience with their customer service was horrible. It began when I ordered some items, and after wondering what was taking so long, discovered they had been mailed to the wrong location - a town about 5 hours away. I immediately looked on my invoice and realized I had put the wrong town, but did indeed have everything else right, including the right zip code. Christopherus had incorrectly put the wrong town and zip code.
NOW - I knew that this was likely a computer generated error due to my having entered the wrong town, since the zip codes wouldn't match, but, on their end, they should have been checking to make sure the generated postage matched the invoice. The post office confirmed that had they shipped it to the right zip code, even though the town was wrong, it would have been fine.
So, I called, and it took several emails, during which the CSR became increasingly rude, before she finally realized the mistake, and even then she refused to acknowledge their part in the mishap, instead emphasizing it was MY mistake.
Fine and dandy. It all got sorted out, they reshipped my order to the correct address.
So I received my items, and in the end did have to return them, as they weren't going to work for us. This is where the real problems began.
I returned my order the second week of November. By the first of December I still had not received a refund. They confirmed that yes, they had received my books. They would forward my refund request to accounting.
Fast forward a month. Still nothing. I emailed January 6th, inquiring. I was informed their accounting clerk had taken a 3 week vacation. She would look into it the very next day.
I heard nothing back. Emailed them January 10th, asking what was going on, and heard nothing back... again. I finally had Paypal contact them, and still heard nothing back. In the end, once I finally threatened to contact my bank, and the BBB, wouldn't you know, I started getting a response. Again, they placed the blame entirely on me, refused to acknowledge their part in all of it, and only gave me a partial refund, as they charged me for the shipping costs for the books that they shipped to the wrong address.
I would never use this company again, or recommend them to anyone, based on principal alone. Also, Paypal hinted rather strongly that my complaint, was not the first they had had about them.
- Reviewed on Friday, November 30, 2012
- Grades Used: 1 & 4
- Dates used: 2012
Independent on line reviews and opinions seem to be few and far between regarding this program, so I would like to share my experience here.
I will begin by saying, I realize that Christopherus is a popular curriculum within Waldorf circles. However, for my family and I, it just wasn't a feasible program.
I purchased the complete Christopherus curriculum packages for first and fourth grade for 2 of my children, after combing the internet for reviews and carefully considering the utterly inspiring details given on the website. I have to say upfront that if you choose to order anything from Christopherus, be aware that you only have 14 days to return it!!! I had an unpleasant customer service experience trying to return these packages after only 19 days. The standard for any other homeschool company I have personally dealt with is 30 days. I was left stuck with this curriculum, and so decided to try and make the best of it, despite my hesitations. I used it for a full three months, adequate time to make an informed opinion.
New to Waldorf, but an experienced homeschooler of 5 years, I found the sheer volume of material to read through and comprehend for the 2 curriculum packages to be quite overwhelming. Part of this is was due to the fact that a lot of the instruction is quite general, and many lessons have you jumping from the syllabus to a book, then on to yet another book or manual. In spite of all that, the parent is mainly responsible to organize and create the bulk of the lessons and activities, especially progressing into the higher grades. I think the best way to summarize Christopherus is that there is a massive amount of information to read through and comprehend for each grade, but it is really "all over the place" and takes considerable time and effort to piece everything together into a coherent plan. Definitely no semblance of an open and go program here, by any stretch of the imagination.
Particularly concerning for me was the Fourth Grade Mathematics. In the mathematics "guide", one finds very general instructions sprinkled through out, with a handful of reproducible worksheets in the back. There isn't any real firm direction or sense of progression. Again, very "here's some ideas, now put it together yourself" kind of thing. That's all well and good for some subjects, but for me, not when it comes to math.
Although this program may be fine for someone with only one child to teach, I strongly caution trying to use it with multiple grades at the same time. The amount of lesson planning and prep that is required to teach 2 children in different grades is formidable; although granted, Waldorf IS so grade/age/subject specific; you just can't combine 2 children for lessons. So one is left trying to adequately cover circle time/warm up for both, do at least 8 lessons per day (fourth grade 1 long main lesson plus 4 subject lessons; first grade one main lesson plus 2 subject lessons) - in addition to read aloud time and suggested field trips! With a 4 year old also needing my care and attention, there just wasn't enough time in the day. Add to that, the author recommends not having any young children present during such lessons as form drawing or recorder. Trying to follow that advice proves challenging with younger siblings!
As mentioned, it seems that direction becomes increasingly ambiguous as the grades progress, to the point where looking ahead, one is left with only "rough guides" after fifth grade. If you are wanting something to stick with through the years/grades you will eventually be making up your own lessons almost exclusively, and pulling from a multitude of different "suggested resources."
Again, I understand from what I have read from other reviewers on line that there are some folks who really like Christopherus and think it is great (albeit there only seem to be posts about the lower grades; there are no reviews that I could find beyond 2nd grade). While the core ideas - and ideals -have a lot of positives, for our situation it just wasn't a good fit, and the most disappointing part was that I couldn't return it.