“If you’ve had the experience of binding a book, knitting a sock, playing a recorder, then you feel that you can build a rocket ship-or learn a software program you’ve never touched. It’s not bravado, just a quiet confidence. There is nothing you can’t do. Why couldn’t you? Why couldn’t anybody?”
-Peter Nitze, Graduate of Waldorf and Harvard, and Director of an aerospace company
Main Lesson Curriculum
Africa and/or Asia may be studied, continuing the expansion outward from the local to the farther extents of the world from where we live.
The students study European history from the late Middle Ages, the age of exploration, through to the Renaissance. Key biographies of people who were forerunners of the times or individuals who particularly exemplified a character type from that time are studied in depth. As the curriculum moves towards the Reformation, the role of the Roman Catholic Church is explored with emphasis on the developments that took place within the church that contributed to the turbulence of the times. Not only are the changes that took place in the religious/political life studied, but also the explorers in science, art, and world travel. The students deeply immerse themselves in the art of the times through their own reproductions of the works of the Renaissance masters.
The Seventh Grade grammar lessons emphasize different styles of writing, use of an outline, paragraph format, self-editing, organization of compositions, note-taking, and the development of compound and complex sentences. Creative writing and poetry is practiced in the Wish, Wonder, and Surprise block. Poetry continues to be spoken daily, and oral reports are given to the class. The class play is usually placed in the Renaissance or late medieval times. Independent reading with regular book reports gives the students an opportunity to explore different literature.
The Seventh Graders’ introduction to algebra in the main lesson is an important milestone in the development of the students’ abstract thinking. This serves as a crucial foundation for studying mathematics in High School. Another central theme for Seventh Grade is ratios, through which Pi and irrational numbers are introduced. The study of geometry continues with the Euclidean constructions that were introduced in Sixth Grade, culminating in the Pythagorean Theorem. The students also spend time working with historical number systems and number bases.
In Seventh Grade, a mathematical approach is applied for the first time to Physics content in mechanics, electricity, heat, and optics. In mechanics, for example, fulcrums are studied by first approaching the phenomena with seesaws and weights, and by identifying levers all around them in their homes and lives, then developing a rule or law. The students then use the rule to predict leverage and mechanical advantage for new arrangements. In chemistry, combustion, the lime cycle, and acids and bases form the content. The transformation of a substance through burning is an important highlight in this course. Other topics include Nutrition and physiology.
Subject outside of main lesson include: World Languages, Strings/Band, Choir, Woodworking, Handwork, Drawing, and Eurythmy.