This is the second time I will be teaching ninth grade. This time is a little different, as I have a child with more specialized academic needs who wants to go to a four-year college. So, I am thinking less in terms of blocks and more of underlying themes for our year. Some of the things I think our student really needs and will want for her chosen future field (equine studies or animal science) will match traditional Waldorf school subjects for ninth grade and some will not. The homeschooling environment, as I found out the first time through ninth grade, is incredibly different than a classroom high school setting or even a Waldorf high school setting, and I think deserves to be treated as such.
Ninth grade is an interesting year as some Waldorf Schools put things like the Revolutions block in eighth grade and some in ninth grade; most do the blocks that highlight the polarities contained within this age such as Comedy and Tragedy and Thermodynamics, but other blocks seem to be not as standard.
So, in a way, all of this is freeing. I have a student who dislikes main lesson book work at this point (as did my first ninth grader); and a student who needs more practice and overlaying of knowledge than a block format due to difficulties with working memory. So, our high school may look more like extended subjects than four to six week blocks. And I think for high school that is perfectly okay, so long as we continue to use sleep as an aid for memory.
My main plan is to center our year around a theme of wonder within the themes of Earth Science/Prehistory of the Earth; much of this is reflected in the book lists of Build Your Library Grade 9, which isn’t Waldorf at all but has a good list of titles. We will be using the Christopherus Earth Science as a jumping off point for our year. We will be working on poetry and short essays along with literature that will go with our Prehistory theme. Our nod to traditional Waldorf ninth grade will be finding the polarities within these topics.
Electives will include survival skills, choir, and orchestra. Our foreign language will either be Spanish I using Living Language Spanish and the many resources we have around the house. Most of all, we want to parlay our student’s love of animals, equines, and animal science and behavior into working one day a week shadowing or volunteering with a professional – and we know lots of those.
I will let you all know how this plays out! Putting together plans now.
Blessings and love, can’t wait to hear if you are ordering resources yet,