Waldorf Education lays an amazing foundation for writing throughout the elementary school years by working with rich oral language, varied sentence structure and vocabulary and opportunities for expository writing ( informative), creative writing (narrative), poetry (both written and in songs). Many of the Waldorf teachers I have spoken to do speak of the need to bring in more opportunities and examples for book reports, reading non-fiction sources and writing reports, and opportunities for persuasive (argumentative writing) throughout the middle school years of grades 6-8. A public school environment would also focus upon cause and effect and comparitive essays in addition to the types of writings just mentioned. I think there are many ways to incorporate all of these types of writing along with grammar and oral language opportunities, but only if one plans ahead. I also fully believe on demand timed writing can wait until at least eighth grade if the student is headed to a public school high school environment (but to know that this can be a focus in some school districts) and to begin in high school otherwise.
There is no one “Waldorf writing” resource for grades 6-8 or high school, although I am partial to the articles by Betty Staley on these topics over at the Waldorf Library On-Line and I like the Comedy and Tragedy booklet that Christopherus Homeschool Resources, Inc offers for ninth grade. Live Education does have a grammar book for the upper grades that could be of interest to some.
If you are looking for resources, I have been reading a lot lately in the realm of English Language Arts for teenaged writers (which would essentially cover grades 7-12 in a Waldorf School or Waldorf homeschooling setting). My favorite author so far is Kelly Gallagher and pretty much anything he writes I enjoy and can find gems in his work for my own homeschool.
I think in the Waldorf homeschool setting, sixth grade is a great time to work on grammar, poetry, book reports, and creative/narrative writing and expository writing, which can include gathering information from non-fiction sources. Looking back upon Mr. Gallagher’s work and the sixth grade year I am in the midst of with our second child, I am convinced we have done enough reading, but I am not convinced we have done enough writing. I am working hard to increase our writing volume now.
Seventh grade is a traditional time of creative/narrative writing with the “Wish, Wonder, Surprise” block in Waldorf Schools. I find seventh grade is a time when many students really up the quantity and quality of their writing. I look back upon my first child’s work and I can see this amazing leap between sixth and seventh grade. Then, in eighth grade, just as in previous years, there is opportunity for all types of writing and I think also opportunities for using and deciphering news articles regarding current events. I like requiring book reports quarterly from sixth grade onward (perhaps some of you start this requirement earlier), and I focus a lot on reading non-fiction texts in putting together 2-3 research papers or to accompany larger projects a year in sixth grade, and then in seventh grade and up even more. Of course, we are learning grammar, summarizing topics, working with poetry and recitation and more throughout the year in all of the middle school grades.
I would love to hear some of your successes in homeschooling grades sixth through eight and how you approached the development of lovely writing in these grades.