As mentioned in previous posts, we mainly followed the Waldorf Essentials curriculum for our main lessons. Overall, I still LOVE this program. Parks, 1st grade, focused on fairy tales and folk tales. Sawyer, 3rd grade, studied the Torah, Judaism, and shelters. Sims, 5th grade, delved into Ancient History including Africa, India and Greece. He also worked on geometry and the Greek Myths. As a group we studied textiles and plants. The program is fantastic and full of wonderful stories that are perfect for the developmental age of each child. The difficult part was teaching three different grade levels and three different programs. I found that the kids were interested in everything. Thus, when I was teaching one child, the other two were right there with us. That is a good thing, right? Well, yes and no. Yes, I love that they want to know more and to participate. No, I need them to do some work independently!
In the end, we worked together and somehow combined the lessons. Sawyer’s lesson on textiles turned into a group unit study that included folk tales and the history of the textiles. The Greek myths turned into hours of sitting on the couch together reading the Odyssey (the children’s version) and the Greek Myths together (of course, we added in some Percy Jackson stories as well…smile). We included a lot of drawing and creating with each lesson trying to maintain some of the Waldorf creativity behind the lessons. However, the lessons were definitely a far cry what was written in the curriculum books.
We are trying a different route this year. We are using Trail Guide to Learning’s Paths of Exploration series. It is an inclusive curriculum just as the Waldorf Essentials requiring you to only add an outside math program. Each unit should last about 6 weeks. I decided to venture into a new curriculum for a little sanity break. Paths of Exploration has three different levels, 3rd through 5th grades, and an additional resource for middle schoolers. Next year (basically, starting now), I am teaching 2nd, 4th and 6th grades. We started the program today and it went well. I will give another update as we move through the program.
I have not scrapped the Waldorf Essentials. I thought about for -oh- maybe a minute. I love the stories in Waldorf Essentials! I decided to work the Waldorf Essentials into the breaks in between the unit studies. I am not exactly sure how I am going to make it work, but I do not want Parks to miss the saint stories or Sawyer to miss the man-animal studies along with the Norse myths or Sims to miss Roman history. There are just too many fun things to learn!