Main Lesson vs Unit Studies

This video is an excerpt from my Virtual Homeschool Co-op video; it was deleted for length, but it was informative, so I’m putting it here for you. No intro or outro! Just an excerpt of me talking about our approach to unit studies/main lessons and a brief commentary on the difference.

We use a Waldorf curriculum from Live Education.
This curriculum makes use of ‘main lesson blocks’ in which a particular subject area is studied for 3, 6, or more weeks (sometimes blocks are split into two smaller blocks instead of one large one).
I use the main lessons as ‘unit studies’. But there is a difference. Main lessons cover one subject area, whereas unit studies intertwine multiple subjects into one unit. However, much can be said about the main lesson approach. Firstly, it can resemble ‘unit studies’, but also, it can resemble Charlotte Mason. How??

In the Charlotte Mason education philosophy, lesson are suppose to be varied and short. Very short for young students, like 5-10 minutes long. They lengthen in duration as the student matures. Charlotte Mason advocates using ‘living books’ not oral retelling of information so that the richness and quality of the language is not lost on an inexperienced teacher. Conversely, Waldorf education advocates using stories as the primary means of teaching.
For those of you who don’t have the time to prepare a lesson ahead of time, reading aloud is perfect!

So, how do the two philosophies work together? Waldorf education incorporates many short and varied lessons in the day, with blocks of time dedicated to the main lesson (which includes lessons that teach the head, heart and hands), with more time in the day devoted to physical activity, the handicrafts/arts, and music.


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