Local Geography History and Industry


Typically 4 to 6 weeks are given to the study of one’s local geography in a Waldorf fourth-grade. The approach is to begin with one’s immediate surroundings—the neighborhood and city in which one lives and from there, move into the study of the surrounding county, finally leading to an overview of one’s state or province. The culture of indigenous peoples, local history, map making, the lay of the land and its flora, fauna, and terrain, and the rise of industries in one’s surroundings are the topics of study.

Local Industry

As teacher and student learn about the local industries that gave rise to the growth of the surrounding county, the student can make charts in his lesson book, for example, showing the process of making cement or tanning leather, or whatever may be the local industries. A chart showing how lumber is produced is shown on the next page. A few sentences in the lesson book could describe the process or its importance in the local history and economy.

The teacher should aim to create as vivid a picture as possible in the mind of the student of how the local geography gave rise to these industries, and how the people living there became connected to other parts of the state and the world through commerce.

This chart shows the various stages of lumber production from tree to house building. The undercut is made on the tree to direct its fall when it is cut. A great winch hauls the tree up the hill after the branches have been stripped away. Then it is transported to the mill where the bark is removed and it is cut into lengths with a rotary saw. A band saw then cuts the log into planks and then the sides are milled to make it into a smooth rectangular shape. The wood also needs to dry and cure before it is sent to the carpenters for house building.

  • Introduction
  • Getting Started with the Fourth Year Student
  • Maps
  • First Week: the Local Environment and the Home
  • Second Week: the County and its Industries
  • Third/Fourth Week: The State
  • Five Main Lesson Activities
  • The State: Intersections of Geography and History
  • Eleven Main Lesson Activities