Something has happened to me on my way to planning grade six:
I grew a little.
I don’t mean literally of course, but what I mean is in seeing the essence in the curriculum as we enter into these upper grades. I am seeing the holiness in the curriculum and how that relates to my children, to me, and to our interconnectedness to the world.
In the Waldorf curriculum, the sixth grader is usually twelve or close to twelve. And many things begin happening at this time: turbulence. A passionate acceptance or rejection of things.
And I was thinking what I had to possibly offer. Do I have anything? Sometimes, like many mothers, I don’t feel like I have reserves. I certainly have not felt like I had much to give this year. And, this thought is tinged by this being that time of year where almost all homeschoolers I know feel as if the year has been stale or flat. So we have to sort through how we feel to whether or not within our feelings lies any truth.
The big picture of sixth grade, to me and from my end as a homeschooling parent includes:
To model composure, steadiness, calmness, humor and fun.
To show understanding.
To show authority in a kind and loving way. If a twelve year old is in complete upheaval developmentally, what they need the least is a parent who is in upheaval.
A lively interest for things going on in this time and this place. This is what many twelve year olds, even Waldorf twelve year olds, are craving.
Having enough time and space to enjoy moments together in an unhurried, unrushed, way.
I started thinking about two of the major developmental shifts in the twelfth year. How can I help my child with movement, because this is the time when bones and even the tongue itself, becomes so heavy and awkward? Causal thinking is developing – what will I be doing in sixth grade to support this emerging skill?
Here are few observations I have gleamed from reading lately:
Rigidity and definitions galore are not the realm of the sixth grader.
Careful observation, calling forth judgment the next day – yes!
Living in art – yes!
Lots of recitation, speech, drama – yes!
Accuracy, writing that is clear and to the point – yes!
Imagination and beauty! Yes!
The individual emotional experience in biography – yes!
Repetition and precision in math – yes!
Making music in community – yes! Very important!
Animals and doll making – represent, in a way, opposite artistic processes. In the making of a stuffed animal, the animal is painted and then the pattern is developed. The individual pieces are cut and put together. The doll is made from the formation of the spherical head as the center from which the doll is made. Both require artistry and precision.
Moving into individualization and the nurturing the growth of unfolded abilities in a healthy way is such a sacred goal. I am so privileged to be part of this.