So this coming fall marks a big occasion – we will have a high schooler in the house! Making the decision to homeschool high school is a big one in and of itself, but to try to homeschool high school in a Waldorf way is also a big decision and an interesting project. Many of you know that the Waldorf Curriculum really culminates in the high school and speaks to the development and awakening of the adolescent in a beautiful way. In a Waldorf high school the subjects are taught by specialists and there are still blocks but there are also classes that run in tracks – (usually math, foreign language, some sort of Literature/Composition) plus all the increasing artistry around things such as blacksmithing, glassblowing, and other manner of things that we don’t often have access to at home. It can sound daunting, but the home environment can be a truly great springboard toward preparing a student for the future due to its inherent flexibility and real- life experiences.
So, we are hoping our high school will be a mix of blocks and tracks, of course, but also that it will be experiential, artistic, centered around outdoor education, 4-H activities and outdoor skills and also around our student’s passions and interests and serving in our community as well. Having this real hands-on component I feel is essential for the restlessness of most teenagers who are ready to “do”. So it may or may not really look like a “traditional” Waldorf high school depending upon the day, but I think it will very much meet the needs of our adolescent who likes to “go and do” and “learn and teach”.
These are the blocks we are planning for ninth grade in a very preliminary state:
Living Chemistry – 3 weeks
Native American and Colonial History with Basketry and American Art – 5 weeks – tracing the Native American tribes of the Southeast and focusing on some of the beautiful Native American sites in our own state along with Colonial History
Comedy and Tragedy – 4 weeks
Earth Science – 4 weeks
Physics – 3 weeks
Revolutions – 3 weeks – will recap American, Industrial and Digital Revolutions along with Russian Revolution and Chinese Revolution and Chinese Cultural Revolution from eighth grade; will add in this block a more in-depth look at the French Revolution, Simon Bolivar and Latin American independence, and also the Mexican Revolution
The Short Story – 3 weeks
Math/Probability – 2 weeks
History through Art – 4 weeks
Physiology – 3 weeks
The “tracks” we are planning include high school Spanish II through an outside source, English Literature, Algebra I, probably a separate “Art Foundations I” tract of studio art projects and field trips to combine with hours from History Through Art block to make a credit, and most likely biology. I know Waldorf Schools don’t run biology in a track class, but I am a science geek and I need the higher end of biology hours for our daughter who is most interested in medical careers. So, in total we are hoping to earn credits for those track classes, plus American History (blocks from ninth grade combined with blocks and experiential hours from eighth grade), and Music I. This year our eighth grader will earn high school credits for World Geography and high school Spanish I.
While it may sound like a lot, it actually is not that different from what we have been doing in seventh and eighth grades. If you are in the lower grades and reading this, please don’t panic. It will all make sense when you get here. Your homeschool high school will look different than mine because every child and every family is different, but you will come up with the best way to meet your homeschooler’s needs. That is the whole joy of homeschooling high school. Trust that the homeschooling that worked so well for your younger child can still work for your adolescent.
Blessings and love,