Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Waldorf Sixth Grade Geometry

From "Compass Drawings"

I know I say this about every block we study, but we have loved geometry. The Waldorf approach is so appealing, and gentle. The Boy and I both have benefited from the lovely way geometry is taught in the Waldorf curriculum.  We both gained a little confidence and were able to immerse ourselves in creating beautiful, orderly, shapes.

From "Compass Drawings"
Last year we spent time exploring geometry through form drawings, practicing various patterns of lines, circles, and squares, but all free hand. This year we broke out the compasses, rulers, and protractors to make our shapes more mathematically accurate.

Main Lesson Book Polygons, Circles

We learned how to measure radius, circumference, diameter, perimeter, and area. We learned how to divide a circle in halves, quarters, and in sixths, eighths, twelfths on up to 24ths. We created spirals, hexagons, octagons, squares, and stars. We learned about angles, intersecting lines, parallels, and perpendiculars. And the Boy spent quite a bit of time just experimenting with the compass and ruler. He would often ask if he could make up his own designs. I was happy to oblige, it's not often that I see such enthusiasm for "work" from him.
From "Making Math Meaningful"

 The main resources I used were "String, Straightedge, And Shadow, The Story of Geometry" by Julia Diggins, "Making Math Meaningful," Jamie York Press, and "Compass Drawings," Enasco.

I also picked up a few workbooks from a yard sale to use for concept practice (measuring area, perimeter, and determining radius, diameter, and circumference, etc) We don't typically use worksheets, so they're kind of a treat for the Boy. Yes, he likes worksheets!

Besides using our compasses and rulers, we also crocheted shapes. I found a great book, "Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs" at our local library. Choosing a pattern, I would begin, then would give verbal instruction to the Boy.(Single chain x amount,etc.) After a few rounds, he would begin to notice a pattern. We continued our crocheting until he would eventually start to verbalize the steps to the pattern. Then I knew he "got it." Not only in his head, but in his hands as well.

Patterns From "Beyond the Square"
We used paints, colored pencil, and chalk pastel to color our work. And we enjoyed it so much that the Boy has asked if we could continue with our compass drawings. 

We are moving on to our next block, Greek History, but I'll still throw in a compass drawing now and then.


  1. This post is lovely. Thank you for sharing your child's main lesson book and beautiful drawings. Did you enjoy the sources you used and do you have any suggestions for a parent about to embark on the same journey?

    1. Thank you! I would highly recommend the resources I used. I never thought about presenting geometry as a story, but that's exactly what "String, Straightedge, and Shadow," does. Using Making Math Meaningful together with Compass Drawings worked well.
      If you are just starting out with a little one, you might check Marsha Johnson's yahoo group Waldorf Homeeducators. Also taking a parent child class at a local Waldorf school might be helpful.
      If you are starting the middle school years, free resources get tougher to find. Marsha's files are helpful. And Eugene Schwartz offers some materials. If you want a packaged curriculum you could look at Christopherus or Oak Meadow.
      Hope that's helpful!

  2. Thank you very much for your thoughtful and informative response. We live in a Waldorf void but I will take a look at Marsha Johnson's group. Blessings!


Thanks for the comments!