The Christopherus Curriculum: A Guide to 8th Grade
The goal in 8th grade, Rudolf Steiner made clear, is to bring the child up to the modern age in terms of knowledge of history, science and human culture. A tall order in Steiner’s day – and almost impossible in ours!
How exactly to fit all this in and how to structure your child’s 8th grade year at home depends largely on two factors: 1) what kind of schooling he will receive from 9th grade on and 2) what his interests are.
If your child is continuing at home into high school, then you can relax a bit and not worry about spilling over into 9th grade with, for instance, science. But if he’s going to school, you also need to be mindful of requirements that he needs to fulfill for high school. If, for instance, he has never had any formal grammar lessons at home, English at school could be a real shock. It is up to you and your child to plan and discuss 8th grade in the light of both the usual Waldorf curriculum and your child’s educational future.
And I’ll say “usual Waldorf curriculum” with a grain of salt. Please bear in mind that there is no usual Waldorf curriculum for 8th grade. Most of 8th grade is taken up by working on Platonic solids; fund-raising for the class trip; taking the class trip; a class play (often Shakespeare); and independent projects! Many schools (on top of this) also have classes preparing children for the various high schools they might attend – i.e. classes in “how to take tests” and so on.
Translate this to the homeschool situation and one can easily see the enormous variations which can exist from one homeschool to the next!
Here is a list of our Eighth Grade materials:
Free Rough Guide to Eighth Grade: Click to read more about our free 21 page downloadable guide.
Books that we recommend and sell for Eighth Grade: Scroll down to browse our selection of publications for 8th grade.
Christopherus Amazon Store: Please visit our Amazon Store for a wide selection of suggested titles for middle grades students in science, math, history, literature and more. We add new titles regularly!
Putting it all Together
Although both the Waldorf Curriculum Overview and From Nature Stories to Natural Science are invaluable guides to Waldorf education throughout the 8 years of elementary school, it could well be that you feel it is unnecessary to purchase these if you are only homeschooling an 8th grader. However, we cannot deny that both these guides do have very useful information in them!
If you did not cover electricity and magnetism in 7th grade, we recommend Rudolf Graf’s cheerful guide Safe and Simple Electrical Experiments this year.
Master Waldorf science teacher Manfred von Mackensen provides us with a wonderful series of lessons for an 8th grade lesson on human biology in his book Uprightness, Weight and Balance. Another text to use for 8th grade human biology is Charles Kovacs’ Muscles and Bones.
History lessons bring the 8th grader all the way into modern times, and biography is the means by which the struggles and achievements of human beings in different historical periods come to life. We are pleased to offer Biographies for Eighth Grade History to you. The Age of Revolution by Charles Kovacs will provide the narrative for many of your history lessons year.
For language arts this year, we recommend Gabriel Arquilevich’s Writing for 100 Days. If you did not use Dorit Winter’s The Art and Science of Teaching Composition last year, we recommend you do so this year. We also recommend that you choose a suitable volume from Vocabulary from Classical Roots. (I have used volumes B and C with 9th and 10th graders.)
Our basic math text for 8th grade is John Blackwood’s Mathematics in Nature, Space and Time. Your child will need practice work books and we recommend you choose from McGraw Hill Education’s Key To’s excellent booklets. We also recommend you consider L. George Saad’s Developmental Mathematics books if your child is weak or has gaps in her basic math. We used Level 16 for both our sons to ensure they had covered all the required material before going to high school. View our guide to Key To workbooks.
Two other vital components of your child’s 8th grade education are Learning about the World through Modeling and Painting in Waldorf Education. These are as important for 8th grade as they were for all the preceding grades!
Click on the image or title to view detailed information about each publication and to purchase.
A Rough Guide to Eighth GradeRead more
Learning about the World through ModelingRead more
From Nature Stories to Natural ScienceRead more
Daily Rhythms Homeschool PlannerRead more
Waldorf Curriculum Overview for HomeschoolersRead more
The Age of RevolutionRead more
The Art and Science of Teaching CompositionRead more
Astronomy for Young and Old: A Beginner’s Guide to the Visible SkyRead more
Biographies for 8th Grade HistoryRead more