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

Once upon a time, there was a boy who wouldn’t form draw

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I think one of the most eye-opening events for me was when I tried to start our form drawing block.  Up until now we had been doing Waldorf kindergarten for two years.  Well to be honest, Waldorf kindergarten as we had been doing it was no different from our day to day anyway.  We went for walks, we visited the forest preserve, we spent a lot of time at home.  It was just our life.  Enter first grade, block one, form drawing.  Hmmm…. coloring was never very appealing to my boy, neither was painting for that matter.  (insert pre-dread for water-color block)  I was truly excited to do form drawing.  A little concerned that I didn’t understand it, so I did a few online tutorials with the various Waldorf voices out on the web.  I studied the form drawing book I obtained as part of my curriculum, and I reached out to the experts in the various Waldorf yahoo groups.  By the time we started first grade I felt I was truly prepared.  We would start slowly, we would notice the shapes in nature, we would walk the shapes, draw them with our bodies, move to making them with large muscle movements in our arms and legs.  It all sounded so beautiful.  I was ready.

That’s funny.  It didn’t matter how ready I was, I wasn’t the one who needed convincing.  From the third day of my attempt at Form Drawing the resistance set in.  I reached out to the experts.  These were the responses I got “you must be using a fake sweet voice” (because I said I was being so gentle about it), “you just tell him this is what we’re doing today” (sure that works really well with this kid) “just skip it and come back to it” (best advice I got).

So we skipped it.