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 7th grade syllabus, we are offering a range of materials and guidance on how to put together 7th grade lessons.
Putting it all Together
Our Waldorf Curriculum Overview and our science book, From Nature Stories to Natural Science are both essential guides to help you create your child’s seventh grade Waldorf-inspired homeschool experience. Our Seventh & Eighth Grade at home audio download is also crucial.
Although the Curriculum Overview spans 1st through 8th grade, leaving parents wondering if it is worth purchasing it for 7th and 8th grades, it will help put what you are doing into a larger context. This is especially important if you are new to homeschooling or Waldorf education. The book is out-of-date in terms of its references to our own publications (since writing it we have created a full grade 1-5 curriculum) but in terms of the nitty-gritty "how do I do this" and critically, "why do I do this" questions, it is the only resource of its kind available.
Our Medieval History book is where many of you will start with history unless you tackled it in 6th grade.
Two important resources for the stories and outline of the history covered in 7th grade are Charles Kovacs' The Age of Discovery and The Age of Revolution. There is some overlap with 6th grade with the first title and with 8th grade with the second.
For science lessons we recommend Rudolf Graf’s cheerful guide to Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments.
This year’s Language Arts curriculum brings a new element of awareness and purposefulness to your child’s writing. We offer both a Waldorf teacher’s guide to composition and creative writing, The Art and Science of Teaching Composition and a more structured conventional approach of Writing for 100 Days. Both books are highly recommended though the latter might be more suitable for 8th grade.
Our offerings for math and geometry for 7th grade are extensive and choosing is potentially somewhat complex. We offer a guide, Mathematics in Nature, Space and Time written by Australian Waldorf teacher John Blackwood, and recommend a selection of workbooks from Key To Press. We have put 7th and 8th grade together because each child learns at a different pace and each of you will need to be able to make a different selection! View our guide to Key To workbooks.
We are pleased to offer a beautiful book Curve Stitching on creating flat and three dimensional geometric designs using thread on a card or wood. Keep your child’s Waldorf education alive with a hands-on approach to geometry!
Two other vital components of your child’s 7th grade education are Learning about the World through Modeling and Painting in Waldorf Education. These books are necessary for a proper Waldorf orientation to your 7th grade program and scale 1st through 8th grade. If you don’t have them already, now’s your chance!