High School Courses in the Home School Setting

As the Waldorf Home School movement matures, a growing number of home school educated students are approaching their high school years. Hundreds of families are posing important questions:

Should we send our youngster to a Waldorf high school?

Although there are nearly 200 private and over 100 public Waldorf schools in North America, the great majority of them focus on Early Childhood and Grades 1 - 8. There are relatively few Waldorf high schools, and and most of them face financial challenges. The number of teachers needed always exceeds the number of those who are Waldorf trained, which can result in an emphasis on academics without the artistic and spiritual integration that give all subjects meaning and context. And, like all institutions working with today's adolescents, Waldorf high schools are confronted by screens and devices, drugs and alcohol, and the psychological distresses of our time. By and large, even Waldorf high schools struggle to find creative responses.

If our youngster attends a mainstream high school, is there a way to supplement his or her education with Waldorf experiences?

At this time, there are no such experiences to be had. Faced with low enrollment, Waldorf high schools offer nothing to students are who not full time, tuition-paying students.

If we want to continue homeschooling our high schooler, where do we obtain the expertise, or even the resources, for each subject?

Although the "generalist" nature of the Grades 1-8 class teacher makes it possible for many parents to assume that role and capably guide a Waldorf 1-8 home school, the high school curriculum poses greater challenges. Rudolf Steiner expected every high school teacher to be a specialist in a field of knowledge, and the intellectual demands of the Waldorf high school student grow exponentially. Even the best-educated and most gifted parents will need a lot of help to work with Grades 9-12.

This may all sound discouraging, but . . . .

. . . . What if there were online Waldorf high school classes?

Don't despair! There is such a class, and it is available right now. Scroll down to learn more.

Online Classes: A Twenty-First Century Solution to the Waldorf High School Dilemma

In 2009 Eugene Schwartz introduced the Online Conferences for Waldorf and homeschooling teachers of Grades 1-8. Within four years, these online courses were the best-attended teacher conferences in the English-speaking world.

At the request of many home school educators, Eugene has now begun to develop an ambitious program of online classes on the high school level. These are classes in which your students will participate, giving them a full main lesson block's worth of high school-level content -- and a great deal more.

History Through Drama (also known as Tragedy and Comedy) is the first course that we are pleased to offer. It is a ninth grade block, though like all other blocks that we will present it can be of inestimable value to high schoolers at any age. Indeed, parents and even experienced high school teachers can derive a great deal from Eugene's presentations.

The courses that we will be offering are not merely substitutes for "real" Waldorf high school blocks. Rather, they represent a re-imagining of what the Waldorf high school can become in the twenty-first century. Each course can meet a variety of needs and serve as:

  • A full three-to-four week main lesson block for students. This is the first time that Waldorf school content has ever been offered directly to students via the Internet.
  • A comprehensive introduction to the subject for home school teachers, providing a foundation if they choose to teach the course themselves.
  • A comprehensive introduction to the subject for parents of students who are attending a Waldorf high school, to help provide insight into what their youngsters are learning and how it is presented to them.
  • An after-school or weekend "supplementary class" for students attending a mainstream secondary school.
  • A Master Class for Waldorf high school teachers seeking resources and inspiration.

Course participants will receive:

  • Five weeks of online access to 20 half-hour presentations by Eugene Schwartz.
  • Five weeks of online access to the interactive Timeline that accompanies each course.
  • A Teacher's Guide with summaries of the presentations, suggested discussion topics, and suggestions for essays and main lesson book drawings.

History Through Drama: Our First Online Course

Athenian "Mask of Comedy"

History Through Drama, also known as Tragedy and Comedy, is a pivotal main lesson block in the Ninth Grade Year. It is the first in an interwoven series of main lesson blocks that are taught throughout the four high school years (including History Through Art, History Through Music, and History Through Architecture). Eugene Schwartz's lectures begin with the priestly performance-rituals in the ancient Mystery centers and culminate with the impact of technology and the movies on modern drama. "Drama" is taught not as a subject apart, but rather as a cultural experience that is deeply linked to the artistic, political, economic, and religious forces active in (among others) Sixth Century BCE Athens, the Roman Empire, Elizabethan England, nineteenth century Europe, and twentieth century Broadway and Hollywood. This is a class that hearkens back to and recapitulates much of the history that Waldorf students learned in Grades 5 - 8, but one that also sets the scene for the documentary study of history that they will be experiencing throughout their high school years.

How Do I Begin?

When you register you will choose a period of five weeks in which you will have unlimited access to the course. This will give you a week or two to view all of the lectures, read the Teacher's Guide, and familiarize yourself with the Timeline (more about this below). There is enough material in the course for a four-week block, but you can fit it into three weeks as well.

What Comes with the Course?

In addition to the 19 lectures by Eugene, each of which is 30-40 minutes long, you will receive a 15,000 word Teacher's Guide, which gives a succinct summary of each lecture, along with suggestions for discussion, dramatic readings from some of the plays that are covered, composition topics and subjects for drawings that students may create in their main lesson books. You and your student(s) will also receive a link to the Interactive Timeline that will provide them with a dynamic visual accompaniment to Eugene's lectures, integrating historical events, short biographies, and insights into the culture, political, and scientific life that lived in and around the masterpieces of drama that they will be studying.

How Does this Online Course Work?

The Teacher's Guide will have many suggestions about how to proceed, but we also honor and respect the freedom of the teacher to decide how he or she wishes to use the full and comprehensive material that we offer. You may wish to have your students view one or two lectures by Eugene every evening and come to class the next morning prepared for a discussion that you lead, followed by dramatic readings and writing and/or drawing assignments. Or you may want to begin every morning watching one or two lectures along with your students. You may also choose to have your students watch only half or a third of the lectures, while you teach other mornings yourself. There are endless possibilities! And both you and your students will probably find the Timeline to be an especially helpful resource that can be integrated into a number of activities. The five weeks of access that you receive when you register will give you ample time for preparation, even if you have never taught or studied this subject before.

How Much Does It Cost?

Course Tuition is $250. That fee includes five weeks' access to all that is described above. Payment is made by credit card when you register.

Questions? Contact us at iwaldorf@icloud.com

Over the next few years, in addition to History Through Drama, we will be producing a number of High School Humanities classes, including:

History Through Art (Grade 9)

The Bible as Literature (Grade 10)

Epic Poetry (Grade 10)

Dante's Divine Comedy (Grade 11)

Parzival (Grade 11)

History Through Architecture (Grade 12)

Goethe's Faust (Grade 12)

We hope that you will join us online.

Questions? Contact us at iwaldorf@icloud.com

Created By
Eugene Schwartz

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