Imaginative thinking, which is characteristic of early childhood, begins to undergo a metamorphosis from which will emerge the ability to form abstract concepts. This thinking that has ripened from a healthy imagination is a "warm and mobile thinking." Thought is imagination's child. The ability to form abstract concepts is normally born in the late pre-adolescent period. Whereas in the Fifth Grade year, the child seemed to move with grace, lightness and agility, now his/her movement becomes heavier, angular, and loses rhythm. The human spirit begins to penetrate the organism as far as the muscle and skeleton.
Only in Grades Six, Seven and Eight can all aspects of life and science that depend on mechanical laws be rightly presented. At this stage, when the soul-spirit being connects itself to the mechanism of the bony system and to abstraction of thought, a whole realm of new subjects and new ways of observing the world can be introduced to the class.
HISTORY: This year, there is a transition from ancient to modern history. The child is able to grasp history as a sequence of cause-and-effect relationships. Our study begins with the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. The character of this period is presented by describing the destinies of real people who helped to shaped this time. Many aspects of the Middle Ages are brought to the class through the personalities of the times.
LANGUAGE ARTS: The class reviews much of the English grammar and punctuation that was studied in previous years. The children work to develop a strong feeling for style through the use of conditional sentences and the subjunctive mood. There is much work with composition and dictation in relation to history. Weekly spelling words are given. Work is done in speech and poetry, and the class works on the long epic poems, for example, "Horatius at the Bridge,'' by Lord McCauley. A class play is performed.
GEOGRAPHY: The child's horizon is extended from our own country to Canada and Central and South America. The plant and animal life, as well as the lives of the people in each area, are studied. Map-making is done with the greatest of artistry. Each child writes a research paper on one country.
MINERALOGY: The attributes and qualities of minerals, metals, gems and crystals are compared and explored. The characteristics and formation of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks are studied in relation to geography and plant life. Minerals' uses to mankind are discussed. The geometrical aspects are explored. The presence of minerals in the organism of the human being is also presented.
ASTRONOMY: A geocentric and phenomenological approach to naked eye astronomy is taken in this study of the stars. Constellations are observed, and the stories about them from various cultures are told. The ability to place oneself anywhere on the globe and to know how the night sky would appear is taught along with the phases of the moon, eclipses, the apparent movement of the stars, and the progression of the seasons.
PHYSICS: Acoustics, optics, magnetism and heat are all studied through experimentation. Powers of observation are developed; jumping to premature conclusions is discouraged. Students create lab notebooks that reflect the phenomena studied and include a description of the processes observed, the equipment used, detailed observations, and conclusions.
ARITHMETIC: The class reviews the work from previous years. They work on all aspects of percentages and its practical applications. Simple and compound interest and work with formulas are done as an introduction to algebra.
GEOMETRY: Geometry develops out of the form drawing work done in Grades 1-5. How to use the tools and terminology of this exciting world is learned. The class works mainly with the circle and all its divisions, but also works with finding areas and perimeters of other geometrical forms.
DRAWING AND PAINTING: Drawing with colored pencils continues, with themes brought out of the Main Lesson work. Some work is done with black and white drawing, drawing objects from life, and working with shadows. In painting, much work is done with light and dark in connection to the study of optics. Many exercises with the color wheel and complementary colors are experienced.
READING: There are required book reports approximately every six weeks. Books with historical themes and biographies are chosen for the class.
SPATIAL DYNAMICS: At the age of 12, the inner soul-life pushes through to the muscles. What was formerly done in a playful mood can now be taken up with precision and regular practice. The children learn the Bothmer Gymnastic exercise called "The Triangle." They do rod exercises and rod fencing. They prepare for the Medieval Games by running, jousting, jumping, and throwing the javelin at a target, archery, and obstacle courses. Team sports such as basketball and volleyball are introduced, and many other games are played, including soccer, softball, and kickball. Basketball, volleyball, and soccer teams are formed for an after-school sports league.
WOODWORK: There are four lessons per week for one third of the year. The class splits a log, and the grain tree growth patterns and the nature of wood are discussed. A shave horse and a draw-knife shape a spatula or a spoon. Green wood (a living material) can also be used to shape spoons or spatulas. Gouges, rasps, knives, scrapers and sandpaper are used to finish the project. Discussions focus on learning to gauge thickness, smoothness, shape, and texture; efficient and safe use of tools.
HANDWORK: The Sixth Graders are given the task of making a three-dimensional animal. This develops and requires new abilities, from drawing to imaginative picturing of how a three dimensional creation can be formed from cloth. They are working, for the first time, at looking at the parts towards the whole. There is much careful attention to detail every step of the way, including hand-sewing techniques.
MAIN LESSON BLOCKS IN THE 6TH GRADE: Roman and Medieval history; astronomy; geology; physics (acoustics, optics, static electricity, magnetism); geography extends, usually to South America; beginning algebra; geometry, geometric drawing; business math (interest, percentage, profit/loss).
Spanish: Grammar, Latin American Poetry, Reading
Farming: Double Digging, Compost, Garden Design
Handwork: Stuffed Animal (designed & sewed by hand)
Painting: Weather, Contrasts, Geology, Moods
Circus: Juggling, Acrobatics, Mini-Trampoline
Instrumental Music mixed 6th, 7th and 8th Grades: Orchestra, Flute Choir or Instrumental Ensemble (Woodwinds, Brass, Flute, Violin, Viola, Bass, Cello)
Values and Virtues: Elemental Virtues, Development of Values, Social and Life Skills
Music: Singing, Music Theory, Soprano and Alto Recorder
Practical Arts: Woodwork/Carving
Sports Teams: Soccer, Basketball & Vollyball