A peek inside of Waldorf math

  • imageMath was never my subject in school. I got by until grade 10. I approached my teacher at a time I was struggling, and he told me he didn’t have time to explain things to every individual student, and fair enough. He had a lot of students. It was at that time that I “quit” math.  I figured I wasn’t “good” at math, and I decided not to take it any further. I was “good at art and english”, and it can only be one or the other, right?

If there is one thing that I feel Waldorf does right, it’s math. Elijah is 5, and is imagelearning all four processes with no problems so far. It isn’t because he is more intelligent than the next kid,  or because he is wired that way, but because of the way Waldorf introduces math.  It doesn’t teach, it uncovers the magic of numbers and patterns. In grade one, the numbers are revealed very slowly through nature, intuition and social conventions, always whole to parts.

  • One is the sun and a circle. It encompasses all other numbers. One is the self.
  • Two is me and you. Two eyes and two hands. Two is opposites; night and day, high and low.
  • Three is a triangle. It is sun moon earth. breakfast lunch and dinner.
  • What is 6? six is the sides of a honeycomb cell. It is 2 3’s and 3 2’s. It is 4 and 2 more.

Hana’s last math block (Grade 3 math block 2, or “November”), was on Measurement of time. I will skim through it here, as an illustration of what Waldorf math looks like for us.

We opened up the month with a discussion of what measurement means. We began in

imageEgypt, Mesopotamia, Iran and the Indus Valley where evidence of the earliest whole systems of measurement have been found.

Next we began to look at patterns of seasonal changes as time markers – animal migrations, temperature changes,  and deciduous   and fruit bearing trees cycles.

Then came moon phases.  The earliest evidence
I could find of recording time measurement is that an ice age hunter 20,000  years ago carving lunar patterns into a stone near modern day Scotland.  We used  lumps of clay to emulate this, and discussed the moons effects on the earth.

Next came constellation based calendars, or zodiacs. We learned some of the constellations, and discussed how they “move” around our sky.

Lastly came the sun.We watched several Youtube videos of the earth traveling around the sun that highlighted different things such as the solstices and equinox, which hemisphere experiences what season when, and night and day.

We explored several calendars including: Babylonian zodiac, Chinese zodiac, Aztec calendar, Hindu calendar, Islamic lunar calendar, Ancient Celtic “Ogham” alphabet/calendar, and we learned the “Song of Amaergin”.

We then focused on the Gregorian calendar and how it came to be.We learned the origin of the names for months and days of the week in the languages we are currently studying.  We spent the last week on clocks and measuring time in seconds minutes hours and days.  We learned about many different time telling devices, such as the sundial and the Chinese candle clock. All in all, it was a great block.

Waldorf has certainly changed what math means for me personally, and I am so glad that my children will only ever see the magic and beauty of it.

“Math is art, math is movement, math is nature…math is everything!” – Hana

3 responses

    • Good evening! I primarily use Christopherus Math and Bearth Institute Math blocks. I combine them, and create themed blocks (ie: measure, fractions, etc.), and flush them out with supporting activities, readings and projects. We rotate Language arts and Math a month at a time.

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