Category Archives: Grade 4

Main Lesson Books in the Waldorf Homeschool

Standard main lesson book work: picture and summary. Teal, grade 2

Standard main lesson book work: picture and summary. Teal, grade 2

Spore prints from Teal's 5th grade botany block inserted into a 3-ring binder we used as a whole-year main lesson book.

Spore prints from Teal’s 5th grade botany block inserted into a 3-ring binder we used as a whole-year main lesson book.

Sun prints from grade 5 botany.

Sun prints from grade 5 botany.

The cover of a main lesson book we made from drawing paper for Pintail's grade 3 gardening block.

The cover of a main lesson book we made from drawing paper for Pintail’s grade 3 gardening block.

One of the pages in the grade 3 gardening book.

One of the pages in the grade 3 gardening book.

Weaving from Pintail's grade 3 fiber block that was stapled into the MLB at the end of the year.

Weaving from Pintail’s grade 3 fiber block that was stapled into the MLB at the end of the year.

A tiny six inch by six inch MLB full of songs and poems learned as we studied the seasons. Pintail, grade 1 or 2

A tiny six inch by six inch MLB full of songs and poems learned as we studied the seasons. Pintail, grade 1 or 2

A leaf rubbing from the season MLB.

A leaf rubbing from the season MLB.

Pintail, grade 1. The letter "c" and some paper bag puppets that we made for the story and keep in the MLB.

Pintail, grade 1. The letter “c” and some paper bag puppets that we made for the story and keep in the MLB.

What is a Main Lesson Book? It is a compilation of the child’s work from a block of teaching that might be over a period of time…The MLB [Main Lesson Book] is a blank book or pages that are completed and created by the wonderful child. It should reflect the unique qualities and capacities of that child and be a reflection of the ‘best work.’…It creates a picture of the whole-block or whole-year of lessons in both an illustrative and written form…You can think of it as a visual picture of the time spent on a subject or a topic, and the MLBs are often cherished and enjoyed for many decades.

from “Waldorf Main Lesson Books: A guide for creating beautiful memories and a record of work.” by Marsha Johnson

Here are some of my thoughts regarding Main Lesson Books in a Waldorf-inspired home school:

  • Your child’s artwork may not look like something you have seen online! Each child is blessed with their own strengths and weaknesses. Drawing may be your child’s (or YOUR!) weakness. That’s OK!
  • How does your child’s main lesson book reflect their unique qualities and capacities? Find ways to include your child’s artistic strengths in their Main Lesson Book. Take photos of their sculptures and glue them into the MLB. Paint something that will fit into the book and glue it in. Print out a recipe you followed and a photo of the finished baked good and glue these into the book. Staple a finished weaving project into the book. Remember, it’s not just about drawing and summarizing!
  • Main Lesson Books should show progress over the years, and not just in drawing! Is your child’s handwriting improving? How about the clarity with which they write? Punctuation? Grammar? Is the composition of their pages more complete? Are you teaching them techniques that they are incorporating into their pictures?
  • There is no right way to do a Main Lesson Book. Steiner believed teachers should be guided by “spirit-vision or spirit-driven responsive and artistic endeavors” (from Marsha Johnson’s aforementioned work.) This is an area I really need to work on! Often, it’s convenient and safe to find images online or in books for our children to copy into their main lesson books, but how often do we take the time to really respond in our own spirit-driven or inspired way?
  • Sometimes, a child just won’t do their ‘best work’ when working on the MLB. Do you do your best work every day? I would say you need to decide when to push for more and when to hold off.

I would love to hear some of your thoughts on creating Main Lesson Books in your home school! (I apologize for the shadows in all the photos above. Oops!)

Tidbits

IMG_5802 The tomatoes above are all from my garden (so are the cute little thyme sprigs!) In addition to plenty of cherry tomatoes and slicing tomatoes for regular use, I had enough extras this year to make two quarts of tomato passata. I saw the recipe for tomato passata on Soulemama’s blog and it seems to be one of the most useful tomato products ever. It’s basically tomatoes roasted with garlic and thyme that you puree and pass through a sieve to get a delicious tomato puree that’s perfect for any recipe.IMG_5752 These tomatoes are from the farmer’s market. I decided this was the year that I was going to try putting food by. I do make and freeze my own stocks, but I had never done anything with tomatoes. I made eight quarts of Tomato Basil Marinara using this recipe from Nourishing Meals and fourteen pints of salsa using a recipe from my mother in law. Teal was a huge help in chopping up all the peppers and onions!IMG_5824

IMG_5762 IMG_5788 IMG_5792 IMG_5795 IMG_5799 We attended an enjoyable local event to honor the United States Constitution last week. There were people dressed in costume who presented little monologues about historic persons and events. We listened to Joan of Arc (perfect for Teal who just finished studying Joan,) Columbus (who did an exceptional job!), a woman from the Mayflower, a boy from Jamestown, Thomas Jefferson and more. My favorite station was the one in which the children participated in six different games to learn about the phrases in the Preamble. Above, you can see the kids picking puzzle pieces off of a string to “form a more perfect union” and Pintail is “providing for the common defense.” It was a fun event that I hope to attend next year – especially as Teal will be studying US History.IMG_5817 IMG_5819 IMG_5820 We finished our first blocks! I hope to write some thoughts about perspective drawing soon, and Pintail was so excited for Norse Mythology. He has been eagerly anticipating this block for a LONG time. I have been so pleased with the effort he is putting into his drawings and projects.

Thank you for visiting me today! I would love to hear what has been occupying your days!