Why a Rough Guide Instead of a Syllabus
At age 12, in 6th grade, things change dramatically and this is seen clearly in Waldorf schools. The demands of the curriculum are more challenging and the variations from one school to the next far greater. There certainly is a clear curriculum, based, like the rest of the curriculum, on Steiner’s indications and on the traditions of Waldorf schools over the years, but exactly what is taught, in which grade it is taught, and how it is taught vary considerable. One even gets the situation, as in the US, where certain Waldorf schools are examining the possibility of establishing Waldorf middle schools, separate from grades 1-5.
At home the situation is even more dramatic. Children between 12 and 14 need to come into the world more and their homeschooling experience must include lessons taught by people other than their parents. To successfully homeschool children of this age – to truly meet their developmental needs – one must utilize the resources in one’s community and expand beyond the home. And this necessarily means using curriculum materials in a looser and more individualized way.
In light of the need for more flexibility and individualization in the middle school years, instead of a formal 6th grade syllabus, we are offering a range of materials and guidance on how to put together 6th grade lessons.
Putting it all Together
Our Waldorf Curriculum Overview and From Nature Stories to Natural Science are essential guides for Waldorf at home, as are Learning About the World Through Modeling and Painting in Waldorf Education.
Our Roman History Bundle is necessary for your Roman history main lesson.
It is probably best if you work your way through medieval history in 6th grade as the goal is to get to modern times in 8th grade – and that’s a lot of history to cover! But, many people leave the Middle Ages until 7th grade. If you do purchase our Medieval History, be sure to get the companion volume on Geometric Designs from Islamic Art and Architecture, similar to the volume mentioned above. Make sure your approach is artistic and hands-on!
A good resource for your Medieval history narrative is Charles Kovacs' The Age of Discovery. This book will also be important for 7th grade history.
Your lessons in physics (heat, color, light and sound) and basic mechanics will be enormously enriched by using Walter Kraul’s Earth, Water, Fire and Air. Those of you who used our 4th grade curriculum already have a copy of it.
The main focus in math this year is business math. We are pleased to offer Ernst Schuberth’s fine book, Mathematic Lessons for Sixth Grade written for Waldorf teachers, on this subject.
To support your child’s work with business math (fractions, decimals and percents) we urge you to purchase relevant workbooks from Key To. Read our comprehensive guide to Key To books for grades 6-8. If you did not use our 5th Grade Curriculum, or are behind, please consider the Key To books we carry as part of our 5th Grade Math Bundle.
In 5th grade your child created many beautiful geometric designs either freehand or using a straightedge. This year’s geometry requires a compass and the work focuses on constructions. Beauty is, of course, never forfeited, and we offer a book on Compass Drawings for your use. Check the Key To guide mentioned above for recommendations for geometry workbooks.
In 5th Grade, the book, String, Straightedge, and Shadow formed an important part of geometry lessons. It continues to be required in 6th grade as the lessons on the Pythagorean theorem are vital – and Julia Diggins does a first rate job in presenting a living picture of Pythagoras and his work. .