What is a Main Lesson Book Anyway? Do I Need One?


main lesson books do i need

I don’t like rules.

When I started with Waldorf Homeschooling I kept hearing Main Lesson book, Main Lesson Book, Main Lesson Book.

Do this in your Math Main Lesson Book, do this in your Science Main Lesson Book and do this in your Literature Main Lesson Book. (Don’t even get me started on Form Drawing)

Listen lady, that’s too much for me to remember; let alone have, or spend money on, because my kid is a drawing fiend and I can’t say, “Hey! No! Don’t draw in that one, draw in this one!” That doesn’t seem very Waldorfy to me.

And don’t tell me only your best work can go in your main lesson book, because I am the child of a narcissist and when you say those things I feel the micromanager wake up inside me, and it says “The child must only put his best work in the main lesson book.” (in a scary voice) And by best, I mean best.

Back when he was in first grade I tried, that was before I realized it was okay for me to think outside the box, I was still trying to conform.

It was a nightmare. Yes, a nightmare. Don’t tell me I am exaggerating, because I most certainly am not.

My son is a drawing machine, if you don’t belive me check out this video. I cannot EVER tell him he can only draw on one page, or he needs to draw this picture just like me. Nor would I want him to. But I tried and it was bad….

Not to mention the fact that organization does not come easy to me.

So what is the solution you ask? The best one EVER. 100 page sketch books! For those of you who like to use drawing and creativity as part of your curriculum go to Michael’s when sketch books are buy one get one free. Like right now. And do what I do.

main lesson book or sketch book

Grab the first one and write the start date on it. Ours stays on our home school table, and by home school table I mean coffee table, with the box of colored pencils next to it. Whenever it’s time to draw he opens his sketch book and gets going. And if he wants to draw later in the day, he takes the same sketchbook and keeps going.

I know some Waldorf people will not be happy with this set-up, I’m not sure why. I think most might be relieved.

My understanding about the point of Main Lesson books was that all of your child’s work would be in one place and you or he, could go back and look at all of it. With Main Lesson books that’s a subject by subject deal, and if you run out of pages, then what?  I know that when you’re working on the alphabet you want to look back to yesterday, but if you are using the block system, then most likely all of your alphabet pictures will be grouped together anyway.

When you use a sketch book all of the lessons are in one book and when you run out of pages you just start a new one, and lessons continue. At the end of the year you have maybe two full sketch books, and ten years from now that will be much less cumbersome than dragging out 8 main lesson books, no?

main lesson books do I need


3 thoughts on “What is a Main Lesson Book Anyway? Do I Need One?

  1. First you are my hero for homeschooling. I would need a lot of wine for that. And the child might not survive the process. I just do not have the patience needed for homework. But that is why I get this post so much. why does my child have to do math THIS way if THAT way works for her and she gets the same answer? In your case I thought the premise of the Waldorf school was similar to Montessori where the child leads. If you child learns by drawing then I say go for it. He will retain more and learn more that way for sure.

    • Thanks Kerri, I am surprised Isaiah has made it to 9, so I must be doing something right! Waldorf and Montessori are more different than you think. A lot of people lump them together but it’s not very accurate. While Montessori is primarily interest based, Waldorf isn’t. While Waldorf is providing my outline for the school year, I through a ton of my own stuff in there. And for sure, Isaiah’s interests are key!

  2. Been homeschooling for years, but just now plowing through the MOUNTAINS of information and websites to get a grip on this idea of Waldorf. After hours & hours, this post is my favorite. And it may have changed my future life & that of my childrens’…. meaning it may have saved us all from a sure, spiraling death beneath piles of rules and Main Lesson Books. Having at least one crazy-creative 6 year old daughter who has already filled countless sketch books and will NEVER agree to simply duplicate what I, in my pathetic artistic abilities, will (attempt to) draw, this is post represents good news! So I agree and with new-found freedom will follow suit. 🙂 Lisa

Comments make my day!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s