Preparing for 6th grade

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Kristin 6 months, 1 week ago.

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    Hi everyone! I need some advice about my rising 6th grader. We have been using Christopherus, off and on, for 6 years or so. I have always been a diy’er and I feel like it’s worked out ok. But now as my oldest child is nearing 12, I feel like there is so much we haven’t covered. Looking ahead at the 6th grade curriculum leaves me feeling terrified to be perfectly honest. We are no where near where she needs to be in math. She’s still trying to master the times tables. Her interest and grasp on history and the ancient myths is seriously lacking. But then again in other areas, like language arts, she’s excelling. We have not been waldorf “pure” up until this point but for the most part, I have done my best to work with the recommended material in Donna’s diy homeschooling books. I feel like this coming school year (2019/2020) I really need to have the full curriculum available. Not to mention my younger ones will be starting in the third grade and first grade. It’s going to be challenging to say the least. I’m looking for words of encouragement first of all and even more important, practical advice as to how I can best prepare her for 6th grade and what particular material would be considered essential before moving on. A little background info…We are currently covering Greek myths and like I said earlier, she has a wonderful vocabulary, great spelling skills, a fair understanding of grammar and is a skilled writer and reader. We haven’t covered botany, we are still working on basic math but she has a good grasp on all 4 processes (we bake and cook A LOT, which is incredibly helpful with math) and handwork, recorder and MLB’s have been non-existent. Where do I go from here? We have been on Christmas break for 2 weeks and I plan to start them all back up again on Monday, though I may take an extra week as we are now all running our course through a cold and I could really use some more time think things through. I’m starting to worry now more than ever because, Donna, I’m really excited about your new publications and especially excited about your plans to expand into high school. Your ideas are the most appealing to us as far as upper grades go and I want all my kids to be “caught up” as they say in order to fully benefit from the waldorf curriculum itself as well as you expertise and guidance. Thank you!


    Donna Simmons

    Hi Kristin,

    First of all–take a deep breath! Breathe in, breathe out….relax. Remind yourself of the wonders of family life and joys of homeschooling–and tell yourself (again and again) how good this life is FULL STOP for your daughter (and family in general).
    OK – ready to carry on?! (rolled eyes and LOL!) (and everyone else, I know Kristin a bit so I feel I can get away with a bit of humor with her!)
    Your number one priority is to ensure your child continues to be ready and willing to learn (which means you developing the ability to look past and not get stuck in any pre-teen moodiness and angst and apathy she might display). Look at her deeply–ask her angel for help–a child’s angel is available to her parents as well.
    The middle grades are so much fun–they really are. They are the time when children start to really engage with life from their deepest destiny questions–though this remains unconscious and should be allowed to stay that way for several years longer.
    But what is so vital is that during these delicate years leading up to adolescence, that the child remains interested in the world and continues to be filled with wonder. This might not be obvious on a day to day basis yet if your girl is still able to lose herself in play or while in nature; sighs with deep contentment when she emerges from a good book; can become totally engaged with art or craft projects; and is able to have meaningful relationships with other people–well, that’s your preparation for the middle grades. She’a all set!
    As for the actual hard facts and skills–don’t worry. If she is able to learn and has enthusiasm for life, it will come. In a funny way, a dash of unschooling (sometimes more than a dash) is very necessary during the middle school years. School must stay fresh and engaging–not chaotic, but walking that line between student led and student needs (the latter often unpopular with what the child articulates but is something a perceptive parent can see, taking the long view) becomes more important.
    Happy to go into more depth here–but lest hear your feedback thus far.



    I knew I’d get that kind of response! lol! I know, I’m worried a bit more than what I should be. Maybe it’s because we’re a little sickly around here or maybe it’s the new year…whatever, I’ll stop freaking out now! Thank you for being a friend first, Donna 🙂 Now on to what you responded…She is all of those wonderful things you mention! Yes, she can lose herself in nature and in play and does so everyday, yes she can totally immerse herself in a craft or other project, yes she can dive deep into a book and come out with a sigh and yes, she has wonderful relationships with her friends. It’s so easy to forget those important factors when dealing with this homeschooling business. Now as for the moodiness and pre-teen angst, I need to personally deal with that because my child went from little girl to moody pre-teen seemingly overnight. As I’m sure many of you all have experienced. I do struggle with interpreting the mood shifts and I feel like I’m always wondering if I need to push through or if she’s calling out for a change in some way. I suppose that’s the beauty of the curriculum and of homeschooling. The curriculum will help me stay the course, the freedom of homeschooling will help with my flexibility and not feeling the need to be so “by-the book”. I’m going to work on our balance of student led versus student needs. I really like how you worded that. I’m going to take some time to look at what I have planned for her the rest of the year and see where I can make some changes to suit us both better. I feel like she’s struggling, too, with not wanting to participate in the “babyish” stuff of the younger siblings, but having a hard time being held responsible for her larger and more complex workload. I suppose that falls right into the pre-teen definition. So maybe some additional advice as to how to get through lessons without the dreadful moaning and whining. Or am I stuck with that? 🙂

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