Monday, November 23, 2015

Grade 6 - Geometry - Week 1

Oh what a fun block this is! I could not squeeze it in 3 weeks, so decided to make it a 4 week block. We are working with great resources and are enjoying the blend of history, art and maths. Waldorf introduces geomety early on with form drawing (freehand geometry). Actually, in all Waldorf schools, the first day of first grade is about lines and curves. We go outside and try to find lines and curves in things we see... leaves, buildings, flowers, etc. It is truly a magical moment when the child realizes that everything is made of lines and curves! I still remember this very special day! And the second one! Through the grade, they's continued with running forms, symmetrical forms and Celtic knots. Sixth grade is really the introduction to formal geometry.

Steiner stressed the importance of teaching children how to use their imagination to see the form, or geometric shapes, not just the numbers and equations that many public schools focus on today.

I start each lesson by reading one or two chapters of the very interesting book on The Story of Geometry, which contains stories about geometers from ancient civilizations, some of whose only used strings, shadows and straightedges to lay the foundation of modern geometry. For instance, we studied Egypt and Mesopotamia last year and they learned how the rich land in the Fertile Crescent allowed people to begin agriculture, domesticating animals, and building cities. These things gave them more time for thinking, henceforth came some of the first geometric thought. The first calendars were believed to have 360 days, which lead to the circle being divided into 360 degrees. Finally, students look at, and work with, the division of circles into 360 degrees. Sixth grade geometry flows logically from this historical foundation as it builds and expands on these concepts.

I highly recommend that every homeschooling parent planning a homeschooling block on geometry watches this great talk by Jamie York, the author of Making Math Meaningful.

Other than these two books, I also used this Compass drawing book and the Key to Geometry workbooks 1 and 2.

So this week, we started with some basic geometrical constructions: line and angle bisection, right angles, parallel lines, the construction of triangles and quadrilaterals using a compass, copying an angle; construction of a parallel line and division of a line into equal parts.

Make sure to plan a lot of time for these main lessons (2 hours at least).

Day 1: I read p. 7 to 20 in String, Straight-edge and shadows, I gave each of the girls a geometric instrument kits and they played with them a bit (I showed them how each worked). We did about 10 pages in the Key to Geometry workbook 1, then did card 3 to 6 in Compass Drawing and finally draw this concentric circles (one inch appart) in their Main Lesson Book (make sure to buy a bigger MLB for this block with onion skins).

Day 2: I read chap. 3 and 4 in String, Straight-edge and shadows, We did  about 10 pages in the Key to Geometry workbook 1, we did the 3 exercises on p. 32 in Making Math Meaningful, then did cards 8-9-11 and 15 in Compass Drawing and finally reproduced and colored card 15 into our MLB .

Day 3:  I read chap. 5 in String, Straight-edge and shadows, We did  about 10 pages in the Key to Geometry workbook 1, we did the 3 exercises on p. 33 in Making Math Meaningful, then did cards 16-17 and 18 in Compass Drawing and finally reproduced and colored card 18 into our MLB .

Day 4:  I read chap. 6 and 7 in String, Straight-edge and shadows, We did about 10 pages in the Key to Geometry workbook 1, we did the 3 exercises on p. 34 in Making Math Meaningful, then did card 19 in Compass Drawing and reproduced and colored that card into our MLB .

And this is just the first week!!


Victoire said...

C'est magnifique de couleurs et de douceurs mais aussi de précision! Bravo les filles!

Catherine said...

Hi Catherine,

It's nice to see you back in this space again :-). I have been enjoying your posts on sixth grade which we will begin next year. Thank you for outlining your daily work so clearly, it is very generous of you to share in such detail, and the girls' work is beautiful.

You seem much more relaxed about homeschooling since your exploration of unschooling. Do you have any words of wisdom to share on what you have learnt in the past few years since taking a break from Waldorf and now coming back to it? I find myself always feeling torn between loving the curriculum yet also experiencing it as a source of stress - trying to keep up, pushing my child to go at a certain pace so we can do that, overwhelmed (or resentful) with all the planning - and the inner conflict/guilt I feel about not being fully present as a result. Homeschooling is wonderful, Waldorf is wonderful, but sometimes I feel the price is too high. I just don't seem to crack the life/work(homeschool) balance. Every year I make changes and it feels like we get better at this, yet I still feel it has taken over my life. I know this is probably true of many homeschoolers but Waldorf in particular is so demanding of the parent. I know that what works for one might not work for another, but I'm very eager to learn from other homeschoolers' experiences and insights. I wonder if it is that you trust your girls more now? What have you learnt about yourself? What has changed?

Thank you!


Catherine said...

Merci, Vic!
Cathy, thank you for taking the time to write such an interesting comment. I worked hard to create our 6th grade curriculum this year and want to share it with anybody who might find it helpful. Yes, Waldorf can feel overwhhelming, it is so easy to never feel adequate as a homeschooler. Your question is very interesting and I will ponder it some more and write a post about it.