A mutually sustainable relationship
At Christopherus, we are (somewhat playfully) tossing around the phrase ‘Community Supported Homeschooling’. The ‘products’ of the cultural/spiritual realm (see more on Steiner’s vision of economic life below) cannot be priced – how can one put a price on art-work or on teaching children? We can see how absurd this is when we think about how pieces of art can demand ridiculous prices simply because of a name attached to them. We can see how schools such as Waldorf schools struggle terribly on the pendulum that swings between parents being charged enormous fees and teachers making a decent living on the one hand, or fees being low and teachers not being able to make ends meet. Neither works, neither is sustainable.
We are now taking an experimental step toward the idea of the Community. Can we –you homeschoolers and Waldorf teachers out there who use our materials together with Christopherus, find creative ways of mutually supporting one another. Our friends and customers want our materials and we want to provide them. Can we together support this work? One small step toward this working together is by us putting paypal donation links (see below) all over our website. Basically, the idea is that if Christopherus can truly be a sustainable company and can continue to provide Waldorf curriculum materials into the future, it needs a solid economic basis. But prices cannot be raised – it’s not fair to those of you with limited funds.
Another experimental economic step has been to institute a 3-tiered pricing system for everything we do which we charge for such as syllabuses, audio downloads, conferences and so on. This is working very well (summer 2018) and a good number of our friends and supporters are choosing to pay either the ‘break even’ or ‘supporting’ prices. This gives us a real boost–we feel confident that our work is appreciated and valued and can then look toward the future. Already this has borne fruit–we are now starting to work on a high school program for homeschoolers and creating syllabuses for 6th, 7th and 8th grade! (sixth grade available spring 2019)
Offering a ‘low income’ price is also helpful to our customers abroad who face exorbitant shipping fees. And we have gotten feedback from customers with limited means who appreciate the option to pay a lower price. Because others are helping us carry this by paying the higher fees, we can continue to offer this option.
We want to be a sustainable business – we pay living wages to our staff. We use a local printer instead of getting things printed cheaply abroad, where the workers are often underpaid. We have happily broken our ties with Amazon and will never use Uber (neither pay their workers living wages and they are both involved with unwholesome forms of technology such as drones). We would like to become more green and use completely recycled shipping materials which are expensive. But sustainability is expensive – at least in the short term, and at least in one way of looking at things. In an alienated, exploited, toxic society, I think we need to re-frame the phrase ‘cheap is better’ and see that ultimately, cheap is what contributes in part to the inequities and pollution of our world.
We now have these donation buttons you see below. Each is tied to one part of our work which you can support. We hope folks will be generous and that this experiment is successful.
Won’t you help us with this exciting experiment in sustainability?
Donations for our extensive ad-free website
Please help keep access to our website free and without advertising. For 15 years Christopherus has been known for its extensive website, providing research and information for people all over the world wanting to find out more about Waldorf education, homeschooling and Waldorf homeschooling. We have resisted advertising and have never wanted to have paid-only content. We have many free talks and videos as well now. Maintaining a website is not without costs – please help support us in this work. Click here to support our website. Thank you!
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Donations for the discussion forum:
Donate here if you’d like to help support Christopherus’ new forum and our community-building efforts. Thank you!
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Donations to support our artist:
The economics of scale dictate that, in a capitalist society, more (and cheaper) is better. While trying to live within our society, we try where we can to find more sustainable ways to operate as a business. This oftenmeans that our costs are higher than if we had different business practices.
We are in the process of creating two workbooks for 6th/7th grade: The Book of Kells and Islamic Art and Calligraphy. We have a young artist, Christine Zinky, who is working on these projects with us. Christopherus cannot afford to pay her what she really ought to receive – because we use relatively expensive ways of production and materials, because we have a small print run, Christopherus does not make quite enough money on such books. We ask our friends and supporters to please donate toward supporting Christine and ensuring she can afford to continue to work with us, making more beautiful projects in the future. Click here to find out more about Christine and about these two publications.
Click here to help support our artist. Thank you!
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Re-selling Christopherus materials:
As many of you know, Christopherus almost went under last summer due to lost income because of people swapping, re-selling or sharing our materials (you can read more about that here.) We know that some of you need to re-sell or swap, or that you buy our materials and share with a friend. Please consider making a donation when you do this to help us deal with our loss of income and as a way of supporting our on-going service to homeschoolers. Thank you!
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One of the least recognized aspects of Rudolf Steiner’s work is his work on economics. As Europe hurtled toward the catastrophe later known as World War I, Steiner worked feverishly to convince people that economics based on greed, imperialism, manipulation of the market and exploitation of workers was wrong and would lead to conflict after conflict.
Steiner’s vision was neither of so-called free market capitalism nor of manipulated capitalism. Nor was it a version of state regulated socialism. Rather, he advocated a ‘threefold vision of economic life: 1) the purely economic realm where the quality of brotherliness should hold sway; 2) the legal rights realm where equality characterizes its workings; and the 3) cultural/spiritual life, where the arts and education and so on can be found and which must be allowed to work in freedom.
One project that has arisen from Steiner’s work is the model of Community Supported Agriculture. Here people are asked to buy ‘shares’ or enroll in some sort of support membership of a particular farm This money is calculated by the farmer to support him/her through the year ahead, to allow him to have capital so he can buy seed and equipment he needs and to not be completely reliant on the ups and downs of the market and weather, factors which can play havoc on a farmer’s ability to run a farm as a sustainable organism.
As the harvest comes in, the members receive a share of the bounty – and, critically, they also share in the crop failures, over-abundance and other realities of the farm. Thus they are a part of the life of the place that provides – at least a part – of their food. This is an important step toward overcoming the alienation inherent in modern economic life.
Please click here for an in-depth article about Steiner’s economic work and impulses inspired by it. https://www.rudolfsteinerweb.com/Rudolf_Steiner_and_Economics.php
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It might seem a bit odd having a picture of a table with food on it to illustrate a blog article about community but really, when you think about it, few things create a sense of warmth and fellowship better than the sharing of a meal. Click here to read the full article.