Eric Fairman’s A Path of Discovery

A Path of Discovery is a curriculum resource written by Australian Waldorf teacher Eric Fairman. I have found his work to be inspiring and full of great ideas. From Bob and Nancy’s Bookshop website,

Eric Fairman is a delightfully creative (and amazingly well-organized!) Waldorf grade school teacher in Australia who has done us all a great service by publishing the lesson notes he has kept through the years. In this as in all the Path of Discovery books, you will find suggested lessons, examples of ways of presenting the subject matter, verses, poems, songs – and, most importantly, a priceless amount of support and inspiration.

He has written a volume for each grade, in addition to an overview of the math curriculum and a book titled Food, Nutrition and Health that is dedicated to the eighth grade chemistry block. The books are affordably priced (just $21.00 each) and provide a wonderful framework for each block.

When I taught 7th grade I used A Path of Discovery as a resource and found it quite helpful when it came to planning the block. Though there is a fair amount of information in each book, I did not find the information so thorough that it could exist on its own. Instead, I mostly used A Path of Discovery as a planning resource and then I gathered information from other resources to provide the content of the block. All through my teaching I found this to be necessary. There were certain books that were excellent at providing the framework for a block, giving me enough information to know what to look for at the library. If you’re looking for a book that you’ll be able to open up to page one and begin teaching from, A Path of Discovery is not it. I never found it satisfying to teach in this manner, though, and I enjoyed the search for information.

What A Path of Discovery does very well, though, is provide inspiring, interesting ways to work with the material. As Fairman describes his experience teaching the block to his students he describes activities that they did that helped to bring the material in a new, interesting and holistic way. There are any number of books at the public library that can provide factual information for every block, but resources that inspire new and creative ideas of working with material are few and far between and these are the Waldorf-specific resources that are worth spending a little extra on.

At least in the upper grades, A Path of Discovery does not provide material on every block that must be taught in the year. The seventh grade book, for example, covers Chemistry, Physiology, and Physics, in addition to child development information, verses and poems, a reading list, block test samples, a bibliography and information on a few other various topics including morse code, Pythagoras and Thales. It does not, though, cover Astronomy, Algebra, History or Creative Writing, blocks that are important and should be covered in seventh grade. What it does cover, though, it does quite well and if you are a teacher who finds the sciences to be a weak spot, A Path of Discovery can help you find the new, inspiring and interesting way to bring the sciences to your students.

Comments

  1. You have a wonderful blog! Thank you for including our blog in your list. I’m going to feature you on our blog, as well. Happy New Year!

  2. Thank you so much! I enjoy your blog, too! And thanks for the plug!

  3. I agree that these books are an excellent resource. I have used mine this year constantly. It will certainly be well worn when I pass it on. While not a curriculum perse, the books provide a huge amount of ideas, and inspiration.

  4. Thanks for sharing your take, Jenn. I think the Path of Discovery series is one of the best bargains out there.

  5. I’m just wondering if such book exists? What comes the closest in your opinion? Thanks!!

    “If you’re looking for a book that you’ll be able to open up to page one and begin teaching from, A Path of Discovery is not it.”

  6. Hi Kristen. I’m not sure if there is a great resource that you can open up and teach directly from. If anything, one of the more expensive complete curricula would be the best option — maybe Oak Meadow or Live Education!. But there’s nothing that can replace doing your own research and building up your own enthusiasm for a subject.

  7. Eric Fairman says:

    Thank you all for your kind and generous remarks!

    You may like to know that a large percentage of profit from the sale of these books goes towards helping the less fortunate, eg: my new ‘Boudha Shack Village Project’(details under that name on Facebook), the aim of which is to help relieve the affects of poverty amongst immigrant Indian families living in plastic covered shacks in a beggar village on the outskirts of Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal.

    Eric Fairman

Speak Your Mind

*