Setting Sail in a Waldorf 7th Grade

Hels began 7th grade yesterday. The theme for the year is "exploration" and she drew this image of a ship as the cover page of her first main lesson book.

It is going to be a very busy and rich year of discoveries. I think in some ways 7th grade at a Waldorf school is about as exciting as 3rd. There's a whole new opening up of the world.

Here's how her teachers describe the upcoming year:

Age of Discovery--The focus of learning will be both historical and geographical as we take a trip around the world with several different explorers. The students' sense of world geography will grow with each story of discovery. We will also touch upon the shift from geocentric to heliocentric world views with the study of Copernicus and Galileo.

Human Biological Systems--Through scientific investigations and artistic sketches, our studies in human physiology will focus primarily on the organ systems of the body. We will also hear from health professionals, and look at healthy lifestyle choices regarding exercise and nutrition.

Introduction to Algebra--We continue the exploration theme: algebra is learning how to work with the unknown. The goals of the block are to cover the basic principles of proportion and ratio, positive vs. negative numbers, variables and coefficients, and working with algebraic formulae.

Meteorology and World Geography--The exploration of world geography will continue with a look at the continents, oceans, and bio-regions, natural resources and plate tectonics. Meteorology will introduce weather patterns, clouds, winds, atmospheric pressure, and storms.

Renaissance/Reformation--This block is considered one of the keystones of the 7th grade. We will cover the major biographies and events of both the Renaissance and Reformation. It will include an in-depth study of the geography of Europe and will be a great opportunity for artistic development as students try their hand at various DaVinci sketches.

Creative Writing--this block serves to hone writing skills, deepen the understanding of grammar, and exercise creativity with words, but it will also meet and continue the natural development of inner and outer perception and the self-expression that can arise out of it.

Chemistry I--This introduction to chemistry will be an exploration of the material quality of the world and will include the study of salts and crystals, acids and bases, combustion and the quality of gases, and the lime process.

Physics--Sound, Light, Heat, Electricity, and Mechanics.

Geometry--We will construct and explore the properties of triangles, quadrilaterals and polygons and discover theorems related to them. We will work with circles, the Pythagorean Theorem and work extensively with square roots.

French--The songs of Renaissance France, sung in three parts, are explored, as well as poems, speech exercises, and oral translations. Grammar work now includes the past tense. Biographies of great historical figures are studied. The history of Quebec City is part of the curriculum, culminating in a class trip which is an unforgettable immersion experience.

Handwork--Felting balls, ornaments, flat pieces. etc., using wet and dry techniques.

PE--Ultimate Frisbee, Fall Track and Field, Football skills, Archery, Skiing, gymnastics, Wrestling, Rod Fencing, social/Partner dancing, Spaceball, Dodgeball, Circus Arts, Volleyball, Badminton Skills, spring Track and Field, and Softball.

Orchestra--Note reading, improvisation/composition will complement the repertoire which is drawn mainly from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Students will perform throughout the year at school events and in the surrounding community.

Chorus--Rounds, catches, canons, and partners songs will be explored and expanded upon and homophonic work of two, three, and four part harmony will be included. Material will come from a wide variety of sources and present the challenge of switching contexts in a very concrete and conscious way.

Woodworking--The 7th grade will finish carving their spoons and then sculpt "critter" mobiles consisting of balancing bodies and wings. The safe use of many new hand tools will be introduced.


Perspective painting and drawing which will include landscapes of the sea as if we were voyages in the travels of the great explorers. We will further this idea of perspective drawing by looking at particular images of the great Renaissance artists. Inspired by this work and understanding of perspective the students will make their own brilliant Italian watercolor landscapes.

Drawing the Human Figure. We will extend our thinking of perspective to encompass the Renaissance ideal of proportions of the human figure. We will begin by measuring our own silhouettes to prove our own human proportions.

Charcoal Drawing and Clay Modeling of the Foot--inspired by Renaissance figure drawing.

Veil Water Color Paintings of Rocks and Crystals--in relationship to the main lesson study of chemistry.

Water Color of the Universe and the Sky--We will move our artistic investigations skyward in relationship to the main lesson study of the astronomers. We will be creating a series of landscape paintings that focuses on: starry nights, the planets and different reflections of the moon on the earth.

Charcoal Drawing and Painting of African Animals--a more free drawing experience to correspond with World Geography.

Leonardo da Vinci: Drawing of the Mona Lisa Hands--We will revisit the Renaissance ideal of proportion and beauty focusing this time on the hands. We will draw the complex folds of clothing in light and dark and the serene beauty of the Mona Lisa's hands.

Clay Hands--As a culmination of our year, the students will make a full size clay model of their own hand or hands in an unspoken gesture of quiet communication.

Can I please attend too?

Nicole  – (September 3, 2008 at 9:31 PM)  

Wow! I would love to attend,too! Your children are so fortunate to get such a wonderful education. I wish I had it growing up.

Anonymous –   – (September 3, 2008 at 10:18 PM)  

No kidding, can I come? I just cry when I think about the tiny amount of art and music I did as a girl in public school, and now it's much worse.

patience  – (September 3, 2008 at 11:54 PM)  

Wow, amazing. I'd love my dd to do something like this, but of course she's the wrong age.

Dawn  – (September 4, 2008 at 12:10 AM)  

This makes me want to pack up and move my kids to Vermont to go to school!

Lisa Anne  – (September 4, 2008 at 7:41 AM)  

Yes sign us up too. I will just let Amelia board with you!

The only Main Lesson blocks we are not doing is the Chemistry and Physics, I found these too hard to do with just one student. Phenomena based approach just doesn't work well with only one person giving insight. So instead Amelia is doing a year long course, unless she moves in with you this weekend.

My favorite Waldorf years are 3rd and 5th.

Anonymous –   – (September 4, 2008 at 11:06 AM)  

oh i would have loved that school! your girls are so lucky to be a part of it. does it go through high school?

i've been combing the vermont countryside for interesting middle/ high schools. do you know of the compass school in westminster? i'm not sure what area you are in but if you know of it and have any thoughts, send me an email... i'd love to hear. or any other alternative school recommendations...


Kathie  – (September 4, 2008 at 11:36 AM)  

I wonder if I could audit the class?

Yarrow  – (September 4, 2008 at 1:09 PM)  

Oh yes. Me too. That sounds like a wonderful curriculum. Blessings.

Maymomvt  – (September 4, 2008 at 1:57 PM)  

Alas there is no high school nearby. Lisa Anne--too bad Amelia can't come board! Hels would love it.

Kathie-I get to audit by helping with homework!

Anne  – (September 4, 2008 at 8:32 PM)  

Wow! sounds like a exciting year.
My dd in 3rd class next year.

Anonymous –   – (September 4, 2008 at 10:11 PM)  

So much to look forward to!

Carrie –   – (September 5, 2008 at 10:38 AM)  

Me too! Wish we had a Waldorf school in our area - my 7 year would LOVE it!

RunninL8  – (September 5, 2008 at 12:58 PM)  

Fantastic curriculum! I'm with everybody else who's comming to your house!

Wyld_Hare  – (September 5, 2008 at 5:25 PM)  

Where do I sign up? That sounds so fun! What great areas of study. I loved the time I had to homeschool my daughter and I think the Waldorf system is just outstanding.

Ms. Pisces  – (September 6, 2008 at 11:43 AM)  

I always feel so glad that my children can have all the wonderful experiences. Noah started his year with the story of Beowulf, Nathan with Norse creation. - It's nice, too for me to think back to when I was teaching 4th grade. :-)

Tammy  – (September 7, 2008 at 1:39 PM)  

Katie did 7th grade last year and loved it. And I is as exciting as 3rd grade! :)

kristin  – (September 7, 2008 at 4:18 PM)  

i'd like to join her class too please!! :) hels' ship drawing is spectacular!

Anonymous –   – (September 9, 2008 at 11:45 PM)  

I am still thinking about this post of yours and how in the world we could even come close to this in a homeschool setting by the time my children are old enough. How fabulous!!! I so hope your daughter takes it all in and that it makes a difference in the adult she grows to be!

Angela  – (September 11, 2008 at 11:06 AM)  

Please note that I've moved...

Linn  – (September 15, 2008 at 10:19 AM)  

Wow! What an amazing school. I am determined to look around for a Waldorf school when my boys get a little older and finish the local farm school. Sounds wonderful.

Lisa [strickerin]  – (September 19, 2008 at 8:32 AM)  

Her year ahead sounds just wonderful.

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