Tag Archives: waldorf homeschooling

Seventh Grade: The Age of Exploration and Discovery

IMG_7111 IMG_7107

Ocean Currents

Ocean Currents

Watercolor of Africa

Watercolor of Africa


Routes of the Explorers


Teal did the cutest little gold blocks for Pizzaro and then we noticed she had spelled his name wrong! It was still a great effort.

Teal did the cutest little gold blocks for Pizarro.

I used Charles Kovacs’ book The Age of Discovery as the main text for our Age of Exploration and Discovery block. I also liberally used the internet to find background information, maps, etc.  The Kovacs books are excellent for short biographies. They really seem to capture the spirit of the historical figures, which is important because in the Waldorf pedagogy during grades 1-8 the teacher brings history to the child using biographies. In reality, for children aged 7-14 there is far too much to cover if you look at history as events only, but if you can capture the “feeling of the age” by studying a few notable people who lived during that time, you help your child develop a sense for how the human race is unfolding.

Here is a list of what we studied and did during this block;

  • Henry the Navigator with summary
  • Because Henry’s sailors were mapping the coast of Africa, we had a nice segue into a short study of Africa. Teal painted a watercolor of Africa as suggested in Creative Pathways by Auer and wrote a summary of some things we studied about Africa, including the geography of the land: deserts, jungle, mountains, etc. We also located places we had already studied in earlier history blocks.
  • This led to a discussion about why it was so darn difficult to sail down the west coast of Africa and northeast to India: ocean currents! This was a very fascinating part of our block and it was easy to see why it was so hard to sail from Portugal to India.
  • Vasco da Gama with summary
  • Amerigo Vespucci with summary
  • Christopher Columbus with summary
  • Pizarro with summary
  • Magellan with summary
  • Teal made another map of the world and mapped the routes of each of the explorers we talked about. We compared their travels to the ocean currents map, which was cool.
  • A title page drawing of a ship which was inspired by a main lesson book I saw at a workshop several years ago.
  • We made a little backtrack to talk about Marco Polo who was an explorer on land. Teal read a story about him from a book I found on mainlesson.com and wrote another summary.

Teal did a lot of summaries during this block! They were each fairly short, but our goal was to have beautiful main lesson book pages. We picked her favorite work to showcase in this post, and after all of her effort she was very pleased with how her main lesson book turned out saying she thinks it’s her best one yet. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by!

Seventh Grade Perspective Drawing

IMG_5817IMG_5730IMG_5744 IMG_5746We started the seventh grade year with Perspective Drawing. I intended to follow the sequencing in Perspective Drawing by Herman von Baravalle, but determined there were some activities in other books that I wanted to include. I ended up sequencing the drawings in a way that made sense to me; getting progressively more complex over the course of four weeks. My seventh grader also had no experience with perspective drawing so the sequence I chose was pretty basic. We ended up doing only two finished drawings per week, but each finished drawing included one or more rough drafts. (During this block we were also making our way through Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc by Mark Twain, which I believe I mentioned earned the honor of being the worst book my seventh grader has ever read!)

I bought some fancy pencils and erasers and a T-square, but stacked painting boards on top of each other to give my seventh grader a drawing board. (A T-square requires that the surface you are working on {the drawing board} have a little depth so that the “T” end can sit below the level of the paper.) The fancy pencils and erasers were unnecessary in my opinion, but the T-square was a must have for perfect parallel and perpendicular lines!


  • Perspective Drawing by Herman von Baravalle, PhD
  • Painting and Drawing in Waldorf Schools by Thomas Wildgruber
  • Drawing with Hand, Head and Heart by Van James


  • Perspective division exercises: Finished row of trees (single vanishing point) pp. 9-11 Baravalle
  • Diminishing perspective drawing: Beach highway scene (single vanishing point) Fig. 3.51 James
  • Renaissance floor tiles (single vanishing point) Fig. 3.52a-f James
  • Floating cuboids (single vanishing point with views of different sides of cube figures) p.307 Wildgruber
  • Glass Cube (single vanishing point, but looking through the ‘glass’ to all sides) p. 308 Wildgruber
  • Three cuboids on a plane (single vanishing point, but three-dimensional shading) p. 309 Wildgruber
  • Basic city scape (double vanishing point, cubes as buildings, 3D shading) fig. 34 Baravalle
  • More complex city scape (double vanishing point, shading, finished buildings with windows, etc.) Fig.3.56a James

In addition to the perspective drawing itself, I tried to focus on coloring the drawings with shading related to a light source. That was a lot harder for my seventh grader than I thought it would be!

Do you have a favorite exercise you use for perspective drawing? Thanks for visiting!