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. If you are planning for these grades, I hope these ideas are helpful.
The Greek myths of the stars should certainly be included as a preparation for astronomy in sixth or seventh grade.
I really think Ancient Egypt’s neighbors should be explored if possible. “Hear the Voice of the Griot!” by Betty Staley does have some information about Ancient Ethiopia. This would help set the stage for African geography in seventh or eighth grade.
I would try to put astronomy here, not really for any esoteric reason, but just that seventh grade is really busy enough, and it sets the stage for further discussion of navigation and the explorers in seventh grade.
I recommend placing percentages/business math and physics in the fall. I would limit physics to heat, light/optics and sound unless you have enough time to really dig in and do a five or six week physics block.
I would try to touch on feudal Japan during your medieval block if possible.
If you have time, I would put American Colonial History here, but this is a busy year. I am doing a block of American Colonial and Revolutionary War history in seventh, which will tie in nicely to looking at some of the Transcendentalist writers during our last weeks of Wish, Wonder, Surprise.
Whew. Still planning, but finding a few things out as I go along.
I feel strongly African geography should go in this year.
Physiology could take up a lot of time between Kovacs’ book, the idea of nutrition/health and the reproductive system. The reproductive system could be its own block as well. I like the “Coming of Age” curriculum, although I had to modify some of it for our own values and beliefs, and it runs about 5 weeks in total for a group/class situation, so you may want to see how you want to look at this. I also loved Rick Tan’s talk on this subject over at The Waldorf Connection this month. I have also found some good Christian resources to add to this block for more of the emotional/spiritual side that is started in the “Coming of Age’’ curriculum.
Like every year we teach, think economy of teaching. Physics could include poetry, painting, physiology and writing; chemistry can include poetry and writing; etc. You could work in Latin American geography and the Ancient Aztecs and Mayas with explorers. There are many possibilities.
I would recommend at this point to do your writing for Wish, Wonder, and Surprise throughout the year and perhaps culminate with just a few weeks toward the end of the school year.
I would love to hear how your planning for fifth, sixth, or seventh grade is coming along!
My boys are at a baseball game tonight and I am reading a writing curriculum. Guess what though? It is rocking my world! It is The Writer’s Jungle from the Brave Writer program. Obviously, I haven’t used it with my seventh grader yet, but it is giving me a whole new way to look at teaching writing. And sometimes a change in perspective is more than half the battle!! I got it for half price on the homeschool buyers coop. $40 well spent.
(who lives a VERY exciting life)
I bought Brave Writer last year after having several other Waldorf homeschooling moms recommend it. It really is wonderful but I have not figured out how to incorporate it well into our weekly rhythm. I am planning for sixth grade and just got my block layout figured out. I am putting astronomy in sixth as well, mainly because I think my son will really enjoy it and want to capitalize on his current interest in all things nature-related. Just curious why physics and business math in the fall? I was planning to do physics in the spring, geology in the fall, and business math in January. I too am tentatively planning a American revolution/colonial history block at the very end of seventh grade… it’s more of a practical reason,, though. I’m thinking there’s a good chance my son will be going to high school that next year (since Waldorf grade 8 is the same age as mainstream grade 9) and I want to make sure that I am the one who gets to teach him this subject.
Lisa! Ha! That was exactly what I emailed Sheila privately…where does it go in your daily or weekly rhythm? 🙂 I just suggested physics and business math in fall – I did mineraology in fall, physics was supposed to be in February and we got really off track and only did about a week and a half of acoustics, and then we did business math one of our last blocks so we had the year to work on percentages. I just think from my experience, physics was harder for me to teach prepare for by that time of the year because I was fatigued teaching multiple grades and such. I think we would have stayed more on track with it if it had been one of our first blocks. So in hindsight I would switch those two blocks. I think Business Math would be fine in January. I just really noticed this year my own level of fatigue with multiples grades and ages because our children are spaced so far apart. It seemed to matter more this year than past years for some reason.
I would also love to hear, how to fit Writers Jungle into your Rhythm – I just recently got a copy too, have not gone through it all yet though. Hmmm, I also got mineralogy in the fall and physics in the spring…. I just might need to look at that. Also curious as to why African geography in the 6th, I have European scheduled for this year (6th) and South American/African scheduled for 7th. Any ideas for Business Math resources?
Yes, sorry, the geography was a typo and meant to go under seventh grade. I fixed it now. Thank you. Business Math has a whole book : http://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Lessons-Sixth-Ernest-Schuberth/dp/1888365374.
Hope that helps!
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Hi, I’m going to begin homeschooling my daughter in the fall using Waldorf curriculum for the first time. She will turn 11 years old in October and would be entering 6th grade in public school….but on the Waldorf website I saw that the 11th year is considered 5th grade. I feel like I would be going backward with her using 5th grade curriculum. I would love to hear your thoughts! I will also begin homeschooling my son who is currently 8 years old (turning 9 next march) using 3rd grade curriculum…although he wants to stick with the common core that he was learning in public school. As excited as I am to begin this journey with them, I am also a bit nervous and want to make sure I’m doing the best for them. Thank you in advance for your time!!
I would highly suggest you schedule a consultation with a Waldorf curriculum provider. These are questions that deserve a deeper answer than I can provide in a comment box on a blog. I would indeed put an 11 year old in fifth grade, but what that essentially means is that the subject matter is what Waldorf students get in fifth grade – botany, Ancient Civilizations, Greek mythology, North American geography, work with decimals and fractions, geometry….the academic level can easily be modified up or down. Waldorf education is taught through art as the vehicle – where are your child’s skills in drawing, modeling, freehand geometry, wet on wet and wet on dry painting, knitting, crocheting, and music? There is more than plenty there to keep an 11 year old busy! It is a very different system than public schooling. It would certainly not be going backward, if you know where your daughter’s academic level is and you keep up with her academic skills and integrate this into the arts way of teaching the above subjects. Third grade is a beautiful year – Native Americans, Stories of the Hebrew People farming, textiles, ….
There are many posts by grade if you look under the “homeschooling” tab at the top. I also suggest, again, a consultation with a Waldorf curriculum provider. Sheila’s blog “Sure As The World” may also be helpful to you since she came to Waldorf late (I think third grade with her first child). It is a very beautiful curriculum, but you really have to separate it from Common Core and what grade your children were in public school and all of that.
I hope that helps, and I do hope you will seek out a consultation with a Waldorf curriculum provider, and also read some of the lectures by Rudolf Steiner so you can really know where he was coming from in writing the curriculum the way it is.
Thank you for your advice. I began reading about Waldorf education after seeing beautiful examples of the curriculum on Pinterest 🙂 I am very intrigued by the art and spirituality of it all. I had planned on ordering the 5th grade curriculum until recently being questioned about the grade level and common core testing on state tests which made me stop to question everything. I think I’m just getting nervous now that it is official that we will be homeschooling…because my husband was still unsure until last week. My daughter loves art and does quite well with sewing so I think that Waldorf will be a good fit for her. I will bookmark the blog you referred to for more information on starting late. Thank you again for replying back to me…. I think your blog is very inspiring!
Don’t second guess…there is so much in the fifth grade curriculum. Call it sixth if you like or whatever, but do bring the stories and materials for fifth.
Try the back posts on this blog by grade, some do have pictures!