A few months ago Christopherus conducted a survey, or questionnaire, amongst friends, clients and customers. People filled in an online form which we designed specifically so as to maximize individual feedback and minimize multiple choice questions. We wanted to know, in people’s own words, their thoughts about Christopherus and our work.
And the response was good. We were pleased by the number of respondents and by the relatively high proportion who took the time to thoroughly fill in their questionnaire and give us thoughtful, useful feedback. We heartily thank all of you who did that!
Response to our new Bookstore and to the website as a whole fell pretty evenly into two camps. Some of you love our look and think that our website is incredibly easy to navigate. But about as many of you do not like what our website looks like and get lost easily. So we’re kind of stuck there, not clear how to use such feedback. Both camps were almost unanimous in acknowledging how helpful, thorough and useful the content of the website is. That we can work with!
Our books and services got very good reviews – we like the words people used such as “professional”; “doable”; “user-friendly”; “deep”; “warm”; and “arising out of anthroposophy.” Those are all things we strive toward in our work!
A few people wished that all of our materials were available as components, in much the way that for second grade, for instance, one can purchase math, Animal Legends, and Saints & Heroes separately. While sympathizing with this desire, we have to point out that splitting up – or off – separate books only works sometimes in the curriculum. Second grade and fifth grade lend themselves nicely to this and so that is how we created the curriculum for those years. But third grade especially, for instance, cannot be packaged in this way because the flow and sense of the curriculum for that grade demanded that it be presented as a whole. There is so much overlap between Native American stories, weather studies, math and practical projects that to split it up would fragment the curriculum and compromise its integrity. And we simply cannot do that.
A good number of you expressed concern that the middle grades curriculum is not complete and seemed to be suggesting that you wished it was packaged like that of the earlier years. Many of you also want a Christopherus high school curriculum. Regarding the first, we have created the middle grades curriculum as a series of books (which will be added to over the years) because that is, in our opinion, the best way to meet the requirements not only of the middle grades Waldorf curriculum, but of the needs of homeschooled children of this age. Each of you will be homeschooling your child in a completely individual way during those years, depending on what is available in your community; what your child is interested in; and how you interpret the curriculum itself. We explain all of this more fully HERE where we also point out that this is the case in Waldorf middle schools as well, where differences are a lot more apparent than in earlier grades.
As for high school, again, we sympathize but….to create a full Waldorf high school curriculum is such a tremendous undertaking that few schools even attempt it! To do justice to such a project is, unfortunately, well beyond our means and would require a much larger Christopherus with a much bigger specialist staff. And…the demand for high school materials has been (at least in the past 8 years) very, very poor. We have carried a number of high school publications for those working with Waldorf education with their children of this age but we have sold only a pitiful few and will no longer even carry them.
What else..? Oh yes…a few of you asked very specific questions about shipping. The questionnaire was not designed to handle feedback and not all of you left email addresses…so if anyone has a specific question about shipping, please contact Leigh at the Christopherus office.
A request for going over to digital format, whether ebooks or similar, was expressed by a number of you. Obviously, this is of special interest to those of you outside the US as shipping costs can be prohibitive. But becoming more “screen-based” would be a big decision for us, not something we could contemplate without serious and in-depth conversation in our organization. While computers are wonderful tools – and there would be no Christopherus without computers – we are unwilling to contemplate transitioning from being book-based to being screen-based right now. There are too many complex considerations involving health, communication, teaching practices, business practices and spiritual integrity for us to do this without an awful lot of thought and consideration. So for now – and for probably quite a long time – our only ebook is our early years book which is very informal, not a teaching text, and which has no illustrations.
Once again, thank you to all of those who participated in our questionnaire! And a big congratulations to Emily in Ohio, Jill in Connecticut, and Katharine in Minnesota who were each picked in a random drawing for a $25 Christopherus gift certificate!