HISTORY: History tells the story of human striving and deeds, and stirs children to an experience of their own humanness. The children live through the history of ancient cultures as though they were involved in every happening. As children study the progress of humanity through many different phases of consciousness, they are led to see themselves and the age they live in as heirs of an evolutionary process they will take into the future. The study begins with the more mythical aspects and leads into the actual history. We study the development of civilization from India, Persia, Chaldea, Assyria, Babylonia and Egypt, to the Golden Age of Greece.
GEOGRAPHY: As the children's horizons widen, the study of the geography of the United States presents wonderful possibilities. The configuration of the regions of our country and the people and economic conditions of each region are studied and contrasted. Elements of Native American life and U.S. history are woven into these lessons to help show the connection between the human being and the part of the earth they inhabit. As the children's looks farther afield, they also take a giant step away from their teacher. As part of this new experience of independence, a research paper on one state is given. In-depth instruction on how to do research, outlines, bibliography, write letters, take notes, and write a report is given. Each child also learns the capital cities of the 50 states.
LANGUAGE ARTS: The class experiences the difference between the active and passive voice of verbs, and learns to distinguish between direct and indirect speech. Much work is done with the parts of speech, verb tenses, diagramming sentences, punctuation, and the writing of different types of sentences, paragraphs, dictation, composition and poetry. Weekly spelling words are given. Daily speech exercises through recitation of poetry and tongue twisters are done. A class play is performed out of the history study.
ARITHMETIC: Work with common fractions and whole numbers is continued. The main work of the year centers on decimal fractions. Word problems and mental arithmetic become more complicated. Work is also done with estimating, rounding off, averages, and numbers: square, triangular, prime, perfect, and abundant. The children learn to find the area of a rectangle and square, and to figure out, for example, the price of covering a floor with a carpet.
PAINTING AND DRAWING: In painting, many themes are taken from the main lesson work with an emphasis on strength and lightness of color. Shaded drawing is done with stick crayon and pencil.
BOTANY: A scientific overview of plants, in general, is presented, beginning with the non-flowering plants and including evergreens and conifers as well as flowering plants, with the lily and the rose as polarities representing the monocotyledons and the dicotyledons. Students develop observation skills, notice patterns in differentiation within the individual plant, and grasp the way in which plants are grouped. The changing form of particular parts of the plant is studied in relationship to the growth of the plant upwards toward the sun. Students draw plants, observe plants in nature, and learn to write their observations succinctly.
FORM DRAWING: The drawing of complicated Celtic designs with the element of weaving is continued. The drawing of Greek shields and some Greek designs in perspective is also introduced. A few steps are taken into the realm of geometry, which will begin in Sixth Grade.
SPATIAL DYNAMICS: The ''Heavy/Light'' or ''Wide/Thin'' Bothmer Gymnastics exercise brings a strong rhythm through its dramatic quality that plays with the forces of gravity and levity.
Much work is done with the Greek exercises: discus, javelin, wrestling, running and long jump. They are all done for the glory of the gods of Olympus with beauty, speed, grace and strength. Several Waldorf schools gather for the Pentathlon, a competitive display of the Greek exercises learned in Fifth Grade. Gymnastics and tumbling continue in Class Five. Each child learns to fall, tumble, and do cartwheels and handstands. Many perform in the Circus Waldissima.
HANDWORK: The Fifth Grade children return to knitting, something most of them did in First and Second Grade. They knit socks for themselves, now using four needles. With the intricate shaping of the heel (involving mathematical progressions), it is a yearlong project. This project requires a good measure of perseverance, concentration, and patience.
MAIN LESSON BLOCKS IN THE 5TH GRADE: Ancient history and mythology from India, Persia, and Egypt; Greek mythology and history; North American geography related to vegetation and agriculture; botany; decimals, ratio and proportion.
Painting: Scenes from Ancient Cultures
Spanish: Reading & Retelling of Short Stories, Basic Vocabulary, Play Performance
Music: Singing, Music Theory, Soprano Recorder
Circus: Juggling, Acrobatics, Mini-Trampoline
Handwork: Knitting Socks (with 4 needles)
Clay: Themes from Main Lessons
Farming: Broom Making, Animal Care, Fall Harvest