Sunday, July 20, 2014

Planning for a New Year

I have begun planning for this coming school year, which we will start slowly in August. Man and Animal for E- not your ordinary zoology unit study! With each passing year I learn more about Waldorf and love it even more. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon for e. She's been waiting three loooong years for this!


So how does one go about preparing for a new year? I use Melisa's method from Waldorf Essentials. Easy and very visual. I fold a piece of thick paper into 12 squares. Trace the lines, write in the months. List birthdays and festivals. Think about where your breaks are, and what blocks fit best where. Here's mine, without 5th grade blocks.

Then I put it onto a spreadsheet, and the computer ate my formatting. This is a rough draft!

On the left is second grade, on the right fifth. Or 4th/5th. That one gets confusing to explain.


As far as the school district knows, E is a rising fifth grader. He is the appropriate age for a public-schooled fifth grader: ten. Waldorf, however, does not match public school. The fifth grade blocks are designed to meet the developmental needs of an 11-year-old, which E will not be until spring.


I didn't think it mattered too much- after all, lessons are lessons, right? Until he hit the end of third grade. He hung onto the third grade topics, and just....didn't seem ready to move on. Academically he was fine; he tested at or above grade level in all core subjects. It is hard to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced the wonderful developmental match that is Waldorf education. I just felt he wasn't ready. Third grade subjects still spoke to him.


So we continued on with four months of Native Americans. In January I brought out the 4th grade Norse Myths block, and he jumped in with both feet! The timing was just right. Thus we continue in that way: declare him as a fifth grader this year, but his blocks will be fourth grade through December.


We may do the same thing with e at some point, perhaps even drawing out her blocks enough to drop her back a grade since her birthday is in June. She's a whole year young by Steiner's ideals. But you can bet I won't be telling her; there's no way she'd allow it!


Anyway, I've ordered books and supplies. I'm so excited for it all to arrive! Fifth grade geometry is going to be amazing; I wish I had learned math this way! And zoology... What a twist. E is going to LOVE the art processes involved.


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