Last year, Natalie had three Language main lesson blocks. It was her 8th grade year and, while I wanted her to benefit from a Waldorf experience, I also knew she would be transitioning into public high school. I was conflicted about both what to cover and how. Her Language blocks were some of the most tradtional work we did all year. She even had an end of year research paper (14 page minimum). Her toic was Famous Supreme Court Justices.
This came about because my husband had a piece of art caricaturing twelve famous justices, and it used to hang in the hallway outside Natalie's bedroom door. She was curious as to who they were and why they became famous. Then Antonin Scalia died, so she wanted to include him, and then when she was researching her topic and discovered that Taft was the only person to be both President and Supreme Court Justice she added him too.
She researched facts about each person, contributions, famous quotes, etc. Her complete list of Supreme Court Justices ended up being
- Scalia, sworn in 09/26/1986
Marshall, sworn in 01/31/1801
Story, sworn in 02/03/1812
Taney, sworn in 03/15/1836
Harlan, sworn in 11/29/1877
Holmes, sworn in 12/04/1902
Hughes, sworn in 10/10/1910
Brandeis, sworn in 06/01/1916
Taft, sworn in 07/11/1921
Stone, sworn in 02/05/1925
Cardoza, sworn in 03/02/1932
Black, sworn in 08/19/1937
Frankfurter, sworn in 01/20/1939
Warren, sworn in 10/05/1953
a few newspaper articles about the current vacancy / Merrick Garland
In all truth, she got a D on her paper. Yep. She got a D, even after several revisions and extensive feedback and my granting her extra time. It was like she just couldn't do it. Yet, she was extremely successful with every other writing project all year. It was really hard for me to see how much difficulty she had with it... and I didn't want to give her a D... so we just dropped the assignment. But I discovered later that it was largely my fault for expecting too much and not showing her how to achieve all the steps.
From this experience I learned what to expect -- and what not to expect -- in a research paper at each grade level.
A blog post I put together after researching how to properly scaffold this.
Please read it if you're designing a research paper assignment for your child!
Besides last year's large research paper, she had a block on Beowulf, a block on Short Stories, and a block on Shakespeare.
Side Note: Here's one of the creative writing pieces she did for Short Stories (following reading and discussion of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson and Horace Miner's Body Ritual Among the Nacirema).
For all of these blocks I have already created webpages with all of the resources I used in planning and teaching.
The Riverside Shakespeare
So, here are the photographs of Natalie's Shakespeare main lesson book.
We really enjoyed this block!!! We did two plays: Romeo & Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing. You can see in her work how much fun she had with Romeo & Juliet. She chose to write a diary from Tybalt's point of view, explaining what had transpired act by act, and decorated the borders with little stick figure drawings of all the ways Tybalt fantasized about killing Romeo and getting his revenge. Morbid but darling.
Her front cover to the Shakespeare block is the love letter Beatrice wrote to Benedick but then tore up, with the pieces glued back together. I think that you really get to know your children better when you homeschool them. All the little quirky things about their personality just come out in full force when they get to do something as creative as a main lesson book, which is essentially writing and illustrating their very own book about what they think is important each day about what they are learning. Seeing what they think is important is so telling!
Click on any picture to enlarge it and scroll through the pages with ease.