Wrapping Up the Year-Main Lessons

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!

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4 thoughts on “Wrapping Up the Year-Main Lessons

  1. Would you mind sending me a good link to the Waldorf curriculum you used? I really enjoyed and felt like we did a good job thorough job going over ancient civilizations this year, but basically had to go to the library, check out a bunch of books and do my own lesson plans when we got to Ancient Greece. Part of it is my own over achieving, have to do everything myself personality. We are going to tackle Great Britain next year…probably stay in all year considering the depth, and would like a good curriculum to back me up so I don’t fizzle out. Also, I tried to finds ome good studies on Africa that could be taught for middle schoolers and did not not find much. You mentioned Africa so I was curious what you used.
    It’s my first year, the end is in sight, and I am so glad we actually learned something and no one is in counseling!
    Thanks and Cheers,
    Leah

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    • Sure. Here is the link to the Waldorf program that I use. I do not believe that they go over Great Britain until 6ths grade though. http://waldorfessentials.com/store/products/

      As far as African history, I just went to the library. I try use as many living books as I can which is what I did for Africa as well. I used books on the tribes of Africa and their history. Africa was one of our favorites. My son had a huge AHA moment. He did not realize that Great Britain invaded so many other countries other than the US (by invaded, I mean that they came in, made a port, set up trade and a city but also bringing disease and change to the new area).
      Good job on one year down!! It keeps getting better each year. 🙂

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  2. So many lines in this post I could steal and use for my own!!!! LOL! The ones about combining what they’re learning (how it’s a good thing they’re all in their wanting to learn it, right!?), lessons not ending up being what they were in the book, and just too many things to learn! A fun read! Thanks! (Terri)

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