Around the time of our visit to Otto Specht School, I became interested in learning more about Waldorf education. Joaquin had such a great experience at the school, it was easy to convince him to incorporate the concept of Main Lesson Books into our daily lessons. These 30-minute lessons are the only structured learning time in Joaquin’s routine at home. We use books and videos to learn about a subject and discuss it, and although sometimes we’ve used our lesson time to practice writing, the Book was interesting to me for a few reasons:
- Since many times it takes us several days to complete exploring a subject or watching a documentary, Book time would be a great way to review the information and—through the exercise of writing—give it a better chance to be remembered long-term.
- Waldorf Books incorporate text and artwork, and children are encouraged to do their best effort at working neatly and carefully to produce beautiful pages for their book, a document meant to express the child’s individuality and serve as a personal handmade textbook on the subjects learned. Joaquin tends to move fast and not very neatly or carefully when writing or creating a document, so I thought this practice would be great to slow him down and help him refine his skills.
- Composing a book page involves planning, designing, awareness and conscious use of space. All of these would be wonderful new food for Joaquin’s development.
- An established Book routine would ensure consistent practice of writing and a nice way to enjoy production of Joaquin art, which I love.
Joaquin has felt challenged by different aspects of this exercise, but he’s done amazing. His Books have stretched his skills to draw margins and stay in them; plan the layout of his pages, which may require extra planning for the text (see the 2-page spreads below); write and edit his text beforehand; transcribe his writing neatly, clearly, following invisible horizontal margins and leaving even space between paragraphs.
Here is his work from the three months during which we’ve done this. I’m so proud of him!