6th-7th-grade-worldschool

A Seventh Grade World/Homeschool

My daughter’s educational journey (outside of the home) began at a PreSchool/Kindergarten inspired by Waldorf. She spent her elementary school years at a small Montessori school. 

Waldorf-Montessori-nature-education

I began dreaming about homeschool when Elle was around nine years old. I’d read Home Grown by Ben Hewitt and started envisioning a life of learning alongside Elle . . . a life of connection: to our world, to people and place. I had a strong desire to unschool myself. I wanted to feel the interconnectedness of everything, which I hadn’t experienced in my own education. I wanted to create space for each of us to follow our passions. The slow, good life I was forming in my home—I wanted it to overlap into the way we educate. Though I had yet to discover it, it was a Wild + Free kind of life I dreamed of. 

Elle graduated elementary at 6th grade. We spent summer months reading Roman history. When fall came, instead of heading to school, we set off for a five week trip in Europe. My dream was coming true! I felt boundlessly free and full of responsibility. My heart always reminded me that everything was happening as it was supposed to. And my mind would speak my fears, “Am I doing enough? Will she be prepared?” 

You can have all of these convictions about education, and it takes time to fall into the home-educating lifestyle, it takes time to rid yourself of your conditioning around education and what must get done

Homeschool-Travel-Roman-History

Now, for the practical:

On the trip, all the learning was through the experiences. We didn’t produce a whole lot of “work.” But all year, we read books and circled back to our experiences. At home, we fell into a rhythm based on Elle’s Montessori background, which meant she worked for a period of time in the mornings in a self directed way. We’d write down “works” in her agenda and she’d do them in the order of her choice. Most often, this equaled an hour of uninterrupted time for me to do my own activities. Then there would be time for us to work together. The afternoons were free. Every day, she’d write what she’d worked on in her agenda. She attended a hybrid homeschool program on Mondays and Tuesdays, where she had a math and science teacher, along with enrichments. My main focus has been on history and language arts. 

I didn’t purchase a curriculum (part of my own passion is creating curriculum!). I followed the Waldorf topics of study for the sixth and seventh grade. Discovering great literature has been a favorite activity of mine. Connecting history and language arts has been a joyful and holistic way to understand a time period while also analyzing texts, practicing writing and understanding vocabulary, spelling and grammar. 

Waldorf-Main-Lesson-Book-7th-Grade

Here are some of our favorite historical novels:

If you’d like to see more, I’ve put together all of our top history and language arts resources in a guide with over 30 links. In it, you’ll also see examples from the Main Lesson book, along with ideas for various learning opportunities using great literature. Download this guide, 6th & 7th Grade History and Language Arts Resources for FREE when you join the mailing list

To the suddenly at-home-schoolers

Are you homebound with your kids and wondering what in the world to do? My number one advice is this: Don’t try to turn your home into school. Seasoned homeschoolers know this, and I learned it right away when we started our home-education. It’s especially true right now . . . take a deep breath, don’t stress about academics at the moment . . . we are mentally and emotionally strained as it is. We are uneasy and uncertain as we navigate this time of confinement due to COVID-19. 

What we can do is give our home the attention it may need. We can give our life a slower rhythm (that it may have needed anyway). We can focus intently on the energy we want to bring into the home.

Schoolwork is one thing, but does your child know how to prepare a homemade lunch? Do they know how to silently observe the bugs in the backyard? Now’s the perfect time to learn! 

When you are educating at home, life and learning are all mixed together. Start with creating your own daily rhythm. As an example:

  • Breakfast & cleanup (everyone contributes)
  • Work choices (could be academic work or drawing or playing while the parent does their own work)
  • Snack
  • Walk outside or play in nature
  • Lunch & cleanup
  • Quiet time (audio books, or nap for younger children)
  • Walk outside or play in nature
  • Arts and crafts
  • Dinner 

Next, adding warmth to your home can do wonders! When the outside world is chaotic, cleaning out a drawer or a closet creates a clean mental space and can be a balm for the soul. Light some candles, put essential oils in the diffuser, bring in some cut flowers from outside. Clean a room and get a big psyche boost! 

There is so much learning that happens in just doing daily life together. Focus on that, not what you think is missing. And then be sure to find support in your friends or online communities where you can vent and get ideas—because we’ll all bump into our limitations. One thing I’ve learned as a homeschooling mom: things don’t always need to happen as I think they ought to. The relationship is more important than getting an assignment done exactly when and how I think it should. 

Ideas for things to do at home:

  • When the kids are occupied, limit social media scrolling. Do what nurtures you (rest, meditate, enjoy free yoga on the Down Dog app, etc.) 
  • Take nature walks if possible
  • Listen to audiobooks individually or as a family (your local library should have a platform; we use Hoopla)
  • Let your younger child listen to Sparkle Stories while you do your own thing 🙂 
  • Kids can listen to podcasts such as Brains On! 
  • Bake, garden, sing, play, learn a craft, get bored (that’s when ideas can come from nothing!) 
  • Take up the project you’ve been meaning to do

And resources for online learning: