In Sixth Grade the students’ world is expanding rapidly, and things no longer look so rosy. The children are increasingly able to perceive the laws underlying phenomena. They dimly sense they are leaving childhood—exciting, but unsettling.
As certainties and self-confidence falter, students feel secure in a group. In History they study the Roman Empire, built on standardization and the subjection of individual will to the state. As they experiment with willfulness, the rigid structure of Roman law satisfies their unconscious longing for rules and order. The collapse of Rome and the chaos of the Early Middle Ages echo a growing fascination with darkness in the teenage soul. In Geography, to feed students’ hunger for the new, the boundaries of the known world expand dramatically: South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania are studied over the course of Grades 6-8.
To balance a tendency toward inner darkness, students are challenged to look beyond themselves. Self-centeredness is met with the vastness of Astronomy. Their physical and emotional “weight of the world” is met with the ultimate in heaviness and lifelessness in Geology and Mineralogy. Exciting Physics experiments require exact observation and reveal the truth behind natural laws, no matter how one happens to be feeling.
A surge in intellectual capacities is met by increased challenges. As a balance to self-absorption, Business Math brings awareness of humanity’s world interrelatedness and meets the students’ desire to feel competent as they begin fundraising for their Eighth Grade trip. They discover a newfound patience and discipline in Geometry, where they create beautiful, complex precision drawings using only compass and straightedge.