Waldorf Homeschooling Middle School: Charcoal Drawings

 

The  Waldorf curriculum moves into not just using art as the vehicle for the subject, but for bringing in the fine art of drawing of itself in the middle school and high school years.   Different teachers seem to bring in charcoal drawing at different points, so like everything in the curriculum, this demands that you observe your child carefully and see when you think it is appropriate to start this journey. The Waldorf School Curriculum: An Overview for American Waldorf School Teachers (chart) lists: Continue reading

July: Time To Plan

 

Well, planning is still coming along.  My seventh grader is the hardest, because not only did I have to find most of the resources by searching or through word of mouth from other homeschooling mothers, I had to read all of them!  So, it is  moving slowly.  I keep having these epiphanies and a-ha kinds of moments about how the curriculum is working to a culmination and how things are stretching over and through blocks, but that also is making things a bit slow.

Things are brighter for my almost five year old, whose year is almost entirely done, and for my fourth grader, whose year is about half done.

What I did this year regarding the needed practice of math and grammar and such was to make one long document with each day of the week for each week of school and I  literally mapped out the math and grammar for the entire year by day.  If grammar coincided within a block such as Man and Animal or Norse Myths, for example, it was easy enough to note which block it went with by week.   I also did this with fine art projects for my seventh grader as well.   This document has turned into an overarching kind of document that the separate Word documents for each block just plug into.  Just a thought for those of you who have children who might need more practice and repetition than is normally spoken about within many of the Waldorf curriculum sources.

Once again, the basic steps that I use to plan, (and everyone does it differently!): Continue reading

Brief Notes on Homeschooling Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Grade

 

I have recently been jotting down a notes regarding fifth, sixth and seventh grades.  These notes will probably only make sense if you are coming up to these grades and you are a Waldorf homeschooler. Smile  If you are planning for these grades, I hope these ideas are helpful.

 

Fifth Grade: Continue reading

Seventh Grade Homeschool Planning: The Real Deal 2

 

So, you may remember when I wrote this about seventh grade planning:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2014/06/11/seventh-grade-homeschooling-here-is-the-real-deal/

As a little recap, all the things I mention in that post are areas of thought for me; essentially since I think seventh and eighth grade are a step up.  Those two grades are different than the earlier grades, and even different than sixth grade. I also think again,  in an era where many homeschooled children do look toward taking community college classes and such at age 16, what we do here counts.

The seventh and eighth grades are also the culmination of a beautiful grades curriculum, and I don’t want to miss the beauty and peak of all the work we have done in previous years.  It is also my first time through planning seventh grade, which always makes it harder as well.  And, to add to that, there are some things I wish we had done in sixth grade that we didn’t so I also felt we add a bit of make up to do. More on that  in later posts!

My other  major place of thought centers around PRACTICE.   I don’t think is talked about enough in Waldorf circles, and certainly not especially for the later grades,  nor are enough examples and ideas given.  For example, to me, It is not enough to cover state geography in fourth grade, U.S. Geography in fifth grade, etc and then never practice and return to it – the man and animal block of fourth grade, etc. And yes, of course, some of this information comes up again and again as you work the information into other blocks.  This is the “layering” of the curriculum that one often hears about, but yet I find it often takes experience to really bring this to fruition.  So, a growing question in my head  as of late has centered around this idea of practice and integration of what we have studied through ALL of the eight grades and how do I bring this  into seventh and eighth grade.

So, I am thinking a lot about  the practice and habits part.  We start our day with Continue reading

Why We Homeschool The Middle School Years

 

I can only talk about our own personal journey regarding homeschooling.  This is an individual walk, and I can only give my experience.  Once people “get over” the hurdle and accept homeschooling as a viable option for the younger years and even the early grades, I agree that I  often hear “well, I plan to homeschool until middle school” or “I plan to homeschool until high school”.    Many homeschooling parents, at least in the Waldorf community, have told me they feel not only is there a huge decline in folks homeschooling this age group of children,  but that also the number of resources drops off dramatically.  It can be a hard and isolating road.

One of my Dutch friends was explaining to me the other day that in the Netherlands they say those ages are “being between the napkin and the tablecloth”.  You are not a child, yet not an adult.  You are  not really treated as an adult, but you don’t really feel like a child.I

Something that is well accepted in developmental circles is the fragility of the budding self that occurs around the age of 12 and 13.    Bodies start changing, voices start changing in boys, limbs are long and heavy.  And there is this beautiful and vibrant fragility I see in the teenagers ages 13 and 14 that I get the pleasure of being with.  They are finding themselves and their own passions and their own opinions.   To me, it is almost like a butterfly struggling to come out of its cocoon.    The Gesell Institute writes about the  needs for privacy often seen in a thirteen-year old:   “by withdrawing and refusing to share, Thirteen protects something far too fragile and half formed for others to see, his budding personality.”

So, I think there are two sides to this. In American society at least, I think the idea of the sullen, withdrawn teenager has gone much too far.  Space is important, but it must have a balance of space within the community.  And to our family, the most important thing for this period for their overall education  is for our children to be with  family as their community and with the well-trusted adults and friends they have developed.  Eugene Schwartz recently gave an interesting lecture Continue reading

Creating Your Own Forest or Farm Homeschool Kindergarten Experience

 

I have written about my  fascination with the forest kindergarten/farm school movement in back posts with detailed links.  I recently found this link interviewing Erin Kenny, founder of Cedarsong  Forest Kindergarten.  You can read that interview here:  http://www.safbaby.com/forest-kindergarten-a-better-way-to-teach-our-young-children.

I think the models we have for this  movement within Waldorf Education are places such as Nokken with Helle Heckmann (please see back posts on Nokken on this blog and also this link regarding  farm-based educator inspired by Waldorf Education:   https://www.biodynamics.com/farm-based-educators).

 

The major benefits of Forest School, as listed in the book, “Forest School and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years” by Sara Knight are increased confidence and self-belief; social skills with increased awareness of the consequence of their actions on other people, peers and adults and the ability to work cooperatively; more sophisticated written and spoken language; increased motivation and concentration; improved stamina and gross and fine motor skills; increased respect for the environment and increased observational skills; ability to have new perspectives and form positive relationships with others; a ripple effect to the family.

 

I have been thinking lately Continue reading

Resources for Seventh Grade

 

One thing I think that you should start doing if you are going through the grades for the first time, is to gather lists for each grade – books by topic, possible field trips in your area, etc.

There are some ideas by curriculum writers or Waldorf teachers for seventh grade, in no particular order:

This is a list of books that I am personally finding helpful so far and wanted to share. This is absolutely by no means an inclusive list, or a list of “doing it right.”  It is just a list of possibilities.  By subject:  Continue reading