Sunday, January 5, 2014


I have been busy planning, planning, planning. A change is in the air at our house: E is officially ready for fourth grade material! Not because of ability- skill level has almost nothing to do with Waldorf early grade placement- but because of development. E is almost ten. Ten is the age when Norse myths, local geography, the four elements, and man and animal speak to the child. Teach them sooner and the child will learn facts. Wait for ten, and the child will relate to and own the material.


I did not fully appreciate this perfect layout until this year. I started the grades when public school would have, meaning for the majority of third grade E was eight. Almost a whole year young for what Steiner intended a Waldorf student to be. I thought it was okay; he wasn't that far off. Then for some reason I made the choice to continue third grade subject matter into this past fall, rather than jumping ahead to fourth.


The change was amazing. The material spoke to him. He ate up the third grade stories of wonder like he never had before. Even though he was (and is) the same E, marching to the beat of a different drummer, insisting that we not follow anyone's path but his, working with third grade material felt like it fit. And now it doesn't. He is moving into becoming ten.


Now as far as what grade E tells people he is in: we match that to public school. It bothers me when homeschoolers, when asked what grade they are in, say some level way above their age. Or three different grades, because they read at fifth, do math at third, and write at seventh. Ridiculous. When people ask what grade a child is in, they are trying to gauge the child's age without asking it directly, trying to fit the child into a box of sorts, not identify a child's specific reading level. We all know how widely ability ranges can be within one public school classroom. So as far as others are concerned, E is in fourth grade. In the fall he'll be fifth, then sixth, etc, even though now I know that the thing to do for him is switch grade material with the new year.


So....what about e? She's a June baby. She is an entire year young for her grade by Waldorf standards. At this point, I haven't decided what to do. Almost everything in me says to follow Steiner's wisdom; over and over (and OVER) it has been proven true with E. Yet she is not her brother. We are playing it by ear, going bit by bit. It could well be that first grade continues on fine, but the jump to second grade is too early. Or third grade. And at that point, we will simply draw out the grade level that speaks to her until she is ready to move on. We will, however, always identify her as her public school grade equivalent, as I said for E.


I can't wait to share pictures of e's math squirrels! They came out absolutely adorable. Today we are counting out acorns, readying them for the addition adventures that tomorrow will bring. For now, I leave you with this:

Another selfie by the piggy.


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