Main Lessons

I recently had a question about main lessons-what are they/what does that mean? We are eclectic homeschoolers.  I would not call us unschoolers because my kiddos definitely follow “a plan,” but the plan is fairly open with some requirements.  Daily math, spelling and reading are requirements.  In addition to these subjects, we work through other interests and subjects in blocks.  Insert main lessons!

I use Melisa Nielsen’s Waldorf Essential’s program loosely.  I read the curriculum for each grade and each year.  Then I divide the subjects into blocks.  I really love the way Waldorf works with the developmental stage of the child.  Every child delves into age-appropriate worlds filled with history, lessons, science and folklore.

Each child has a main lesson book.  In the past, we used nice sketch books.  This year, we tried actual Waldorf main lesson books with one blank page and one lined page.  The books are very nice, but we all decided that we like the sketch books more.

So the steps we take are:

1. Read a story.

2. Discuss a creative avenue to depict the story

3. Draw a border around the page (this makes it less intimidating than having a blank page.  the border is also a terrific place to practice form drawings)

4. Create with either paints, pencils, crayons, sculpt or cook (if we do something that cannot be “put” into the book, then we take a picture of it and paste it into the book)

5. After at least 24 hours(this allows the story/information to sit with the child), we write out a summary of the story on the same page as the picture.  The summary also includes a good bit of discussion and how the story relates to each of us.  This is by far, my favorite part of Waldorf lessons.

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At the end of the year, the main lesson book serves as a terrific portfolio of the lessons.  I must say that I really cherish these books.  The kids love looking through their old books as well.  The main lessons comprise the majority of our homeschool time and energy besides being outside!

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11 thoughts on “Main Lessons

  1. So if I want to know more, should I Google Melissa Nielson’s Waldorf Essentials or Waldorf Main Lesson Books? My upcoming first grader’s school could use something. Maybe we’d like this. Are the stories what you select from the subject–do they recommend stories–or are they in the Waldorf Essentials and/or Main Books?

    Love the idea of the border to help overcome intimidation of “the empty page.”

    Terri

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  2. I LOVE our main lesson book. I feel like it compiles snippets of a lot of what we’ve done through the year. It’s great to keep and look back on for the memories and to see how my daughter has grown as we “school”. And, it is so beautiful and artistic. It blends the art and beauty into the learning–which is what’s so great about Waldorf. I order actual books from Paper, Scissors, Stone. I feel like for the price, it’s just easier to order them. We have enough on our hands as homeschooling parents!

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  3. I really think main lesson blocks and books are one of the gems of the Waldorf approach. It sets up the space for delving deeply into a subject for a time and then moving on to another. And I personally love seeking out the stories; finding beautiful stories brings me such delight. North Carolina Parade looks like a great resource! Sometimes for main lesson books, we’ve just used drawing paper and then put the book together at the end of the block. This allows for the length of the book to be determined as we go rather than having a book with a set number of pages. Lots of alternatives. The key is what Steiner expressed: that the stories and the artistic activities make the learning memorable!

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