History and Literature: Waldorf Homeschooling Grades One Through Twelve

You can adjust the academic level up or down, but the stories in the curriculum are designed specifically to speak to the age of the child starting with being six and a half or seven in first grade because we are based on seven year cycles…..This is sort of a merging of The Waldorf Curriculum chart, and all the Waldorf curriculum overviews out there merged witht my own thoughts….

Grade One  (Ages 6 and a half and up: I personally feel strongly about starting as close to seven as possible so as not to cheat the child out of the end of the first seven year cycle)

  • Fairy Tales:  Grimm, Asbjornsen and Moe, I would add African fairy tales from “Hear the Voice of The Griot!” (this book covers Kindergarten through Grade 12)  and Asian fairy tales. Some teachers use many of the Slovak tales.  I like those as well!
  • Nature Stories
  • Poems with strong rhythms
  • Vowels from feelings, drawings and paintings give birth to letters, capital letters, simple words, speech exercises, short plays, phonetics
  • I would add the most 100 common sight words here

Grade Two  (Usually close to age eight)

  • Fables: Aesop’s and Celtic
  • Legends of Saints
  • American Indian Stories
  • Jataka Tales (Buddhist)
  • The King of Ireland’s Son by Padraic Colum
  • Nature Stories
  • I would add Russian tales as well and continue with African fairy tales or fables; Asian fairy tales and folk legends. I like the Barefoot Books’ “Trickster Tales” “Animal Tales” and the one about tales from The Silk Road.  Excellent, and would be easy to do blocks from these!
  • Grammar, spelling usually starts here (Donna Simmons says Grade Three, I think it depends if you are learning a foreign language that is grammar heavy!  My German-speaking child needed to go into some English grammar because the grammar of the two languages is different) – structure of a sentence, doing/naming/color/ words punctuation, dictation, simple sentences and paragraphs, writing simple descriptions of what was seen or heard, plays and speech work
  • I would add sight words here – the 500 most common sight words

Grade Three  (usually close to age 9)

  • American Indian tales and fables
  • Biblical stories as part of Ancient History  (please make sure your child is close to 9 so these stories speak to your child they way they should)
  • I would add some of the  Grimm’s tales/fairy tales for older children
  • Poetry and reading from main lesson,
  • Grammar and spelling usually start here, some start in Second Grade

Grade Four  (usually close to age 10)

  • Local history through geography
  • Why the early settlers chose your area in which to live, how the natural resources were developed there
  • Norse myths/sagas – Could also do the Finnish National Epic “The Kalevala”
  • Some people do more of the Old Testament Stories at this point
  • Poetry
  • Alliteration
  • Some people also put local Native American tales here to go with local history
  • Verb tenses, prepositions,  personal pronouns, memorize grammatical rules, writing compositions with emphasis on story, letter writing, form and content, oral book reports, spelling rules and words, plurals, abbreviations, adverbs

Grade Five  (usually close to age 11)

  • First historical concepts:  Ancient India, Ancient Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece up to Alexander the Great
  • The lives of Manu, Rama, Buddha, Zarathustra, Gilgamesh, Khufu, and Orpheus
  • Greek Mythology
  • Scenes from Ancient History
  • Biographies of Great Men and Women
  • Usually active and passive verbs, use of capitals, antonyms, parts of speech, punctuation, writing compositions with emphasis on descriptions, book reports – oral and written, letter writing,  subject and predicate, synonyms, homonyms, syntax
  • Spelling rules and words
  • Dictionary use

Grade Six

  • The fall of Troy to the founding of Rome thought the monarchy, republic, empire
  • The life of Christ and the Crusades
  • The life of Muhammad and the Islamic people
  • Medieval society:  the cloister, the castle, the city
  • Tales of chivalry:  Men of Iron by Pyle
  • Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Poetry, ballads, scenes from medieval history
  • Grammar: subjunctive mood, conditional sentences, transitive and intransitive verbs, possessive and objective nouns, adjectives, usage, phrases and clauses,  comparative adverbs, sentence diagramming, review of parts of speech, writing with emphasis on exposition, paragraphs, narration, outlining in science blocks, business letters, spelling

Grade Seven

  • 1400-1700
  • The Age of Exploration,
  • The Age of Discovery
  • The Reformation
  • The Renaissance
  • Many biographies
  • Arthurian legends, historical novels, biography, humorous tales and stories, tales of adventure and discovery, ballads, poems, scenes from The Renaissance, stories about tribal life
  • Review all grammar, plasticity of language based upon Wish, Wonder, Surprise block, writing, research papers, write and produce a puppet show, poetry – learn forms of poetry, spelling

Grade Eight

  • 1700 to the present
  • The Industrial Revolution to the Modern Day; Shakespeare, Napoleon, Edison, Ford, Jefferson, Lincoln
  • American History
  • Literature:  Shakespeare, Poetry: epic and dramatic,  Stories about different people of the world with their folklore and poetry
  • Review all grammar, writing all block books have original writing, newspaper reporting, businesslike and practical writing, write a skit or a short play, spelling up to 25 words a week


Grade Nine

  • Modern history with emphasis on Europe and dealing with the inner historic motives of the political, social and industrial revolutions from the late eighteenth century to the present
  • The great inventions 
  • Literature:  Comedy and Tragedy in the drama and the short story, Shakespeare through the Romantics, Longer essays on themes from eighth grade history can be given, shorthand, biography, poetic ballads, mythology, short story writing, stimulation of reading, writing summaries

Grade Ten

  • Ancient History, the earliest Indian, Persian and Egyptian history up to the time of decline of the freedoms  under Alexander the Great
  • Literature:  Dramatic literature:  Edda, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, Nibelungenlied, and Gudrun sagas
  • Creative writing
  • Research paper on a pre-Christian theme
  • History of Language
  • Poetry:  epic poetry
  • Speech exercises
  • Study of meter and poetic diction

Grade Eleven

  • Roman, medieval and Renaissance History
  • Contrast of the year:  Compare and contrast
  • Dante, Chaucer, Medieval Romance, Story Writing, Essay writing from reading, poetry:dramatic poetry
  • Parsifal and other Grail legends
  • Shakespeare
  • Research paper on medieval topic

Grade Twelve

  • Modern and world history
  • Look at history from present perspective
  • Look at communism, fascism, the threefold social order
  • Literature:  Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Whitman
  • Goethe’s Faust, Ibsen, Nietzche or Hesse
  • Great Figures in Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Synthesizing thoughts, ideas , information in literature and writing

Many, many blessings,


10 thoughts on “History and Literature: Waldorf Homeschooling Grades One Through Twelve

  1. Carrie, this is a great list! Thank you for putting this out there. I wonder where you would put stories by HC Anderson and La Fontaine? Are they preschool? Do you have another other preschool recommendations? Still lots of Mother Goose and singing? Thank you again; this is a great resource for all family who love to read together.

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  3. Hi Carrie,
    This is a wonderful list of information, thank you! I did have a question. My daughter will be 6 in August. However, we just started to homeschool, but she was in pre-k because I held her thinking she would be going into Kindergarten at 6. Do I continue with that plan and use a Waldorf Kindergarten curriculum or do I do a first grade curriculum? Or do I start the kindergarten curriculum now and when she is 6 1/2 move on to first grade? Or should I wait until she turns seven so I could follow a September to June schedule? If you could help me with this that would be wonderful. I keep seeing different things about what age your child should be to begin First Grade and I am very confused as you can see. Thanks Maria

    • Maria – it is confusing; my oldest is an August birthday and we started first grade when she turned seven…I am getting more and more strict about how I feel regarding not cheating children out of the last year of that first seven year cycle….However, that being said, only you are the expert on your daughter…The third grade is really for a nine year old, and the Norse myths are very dark and heavy, so if one starts too early, I think it causes issues for later on in the curriculum…

  4. Thank you Carrie, for your advice.I really appreciate it. My gut feeling is to wait until she is seven and spend next year using the Kindergarten Curriculum. Thanks again. maria

  5. Excellent post, Carrie! I just finished a series of reviews of books on the history/mythology curriculum through the grades — I should have started with a post about the sweep through history, like you’ve done. It’s so satisfying to see the entire curriculum together like this — great for realizing how magical it really is!

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  9. Carrie,
    Do you have something written out like this for the other subjects and what is covered in each grade?
    Thank you!

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