Oh how easy it is for me to fall in the three day school trap of only getting to: Day 1 - tell the story, Day 2 - draw the story, Day 3- summarize the story all in a main lesson book. I read a wonderful post by Carrie at "The Parenting Passageway" before Christmas and was very inspired by the blogging conversation that continued between herself and Lisa at "Celebrate the Rhythm of Life". Carrie's first post, "The Three Artistic Pillars of Waldorf Education" says, "Yet I so often hear that “all we can get through is the Main Lesson” and that doesn’t seem to include drawing, painting, or modeling, unless the child is drawing and summarizing on the second or third day of a two or three day rhythm." Ummm, yes, she basically hit the nail on the head for an average day in our schooling.
I like to take stock of our school year so far in that natural break of time that happens over Christmas. This year I was pretty pleased with how things were going, but also definitely saw a need to enliven our learning, and break out of the rut we fell into most days.
Lisa replies to Carrie's post in on entitled "Expanding the Pillars and the Conversation" where she adds 5 more pillars. So, the pillars together are: drawing; painting; modeling; speech; music; movement; drama and handwork. Carrie follow up to her post here.
I was so inspired by this series of conversations to really think about where I place importance and how I prioritize our school day. Its not that I don't plan to get to those pillars, but I tend to schedule them in the afternoon and honestly, we don't often get to my afternoon plans. One of my main reasons for homeschooling is so we have time to be and do, and doing school work for 6 hours doesn't really fit in with that. So, the bulk of our schooling time is spent creating Main Lesson Books. I had an a-ha moment where I realized that the main lesson book is not the vehicle for learning! Yes it can be a great way to record and document the learning, but learning can't start and stop with it. How much topic related learning is happening before we get out that blank book in the form of modeling, movement or speech? How much learning is happening after the few sentences are written? In our case, not much.
So, I have begun the second half of our school year with a new emphasis on the pillars of Waldorf education as the main focus during our morning school time. I'm still working my way into what this looks like and will share when I sort it out a bit more. I'm also thinking a lot about the main lesson book's role in the homeschool.