Form Drawing


Form Drawing is a subject unique to Waldorf Education.  It is done in grades 1-5 and then morphs into freehand geometry.  In a previous post I wrote about one way we chose to approach mirrored forms, but today I hope to write a more generic “how we approach from drawing in our homeschool” post and some tips I have found useful.

I teach form drawing as an individual subject and generally follow Barbara Dewey’s suggestions in Form Drawing for the Homeschooling Parent and Donna Simmons’ suggestions in Form Drawing for Beginners.

  • I draw the form first on the chalkboard or on our giant pad of newsprint purchased at Michaels.
  • Sometimes I have a story that goes with the form, but often I do not.  Donna Simmons recommends giving a pictoral image for the child to work with imaginatively, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a full-fledged story.  It can be something as simple as, “The leaf falls slowly back and forth, back and forth,” to accompany a descending line that swings from right to left.
  • I ask the child to practice the form in various ways; tracing it in the air, tracing it on the ground with toes, walking the form on the floor, drawing it into salt sprinkled on a cookie sheet, drawing it gigantic on the driveway, or any way I can think of that will engage them in the form.
  • Next, I have the child draw the form on the chalkboard or on our newsprint while standing.
  • Then we move to a piece of paper laid flat on the table.  We practice it until I feel like we’ve had enough for the day.
  • Now, here’s something I feel is key: LET IT REST!  Leave the form for the day. Letting material rest is a hallmark of Waldorf, but for some reason I didn’t think it applied to form drawing. It does!  Barbara Dewey says, “Form drawing works on the etheric body so that in sleep the forms are ‘corrected.’ ‘Correction’ brings harmony to the etheric body, which, in turn, brings harmony to the physical body.”
  • On the next day I redraw the form and then I have the child practice again on a regular piece of paper.  Then, if they feel ready, let them put it in their Main Lesson Book. Voila!

In first and second grade, I prefer to do form drawing in blocks of two weeks which I combine with other subjects like fables or nature stories.  In forth and fifth grade, I have tried to slip form drawing in when it seems to go well, i.e. knot drawing with the Norse Myths, but I know a lot of people recommend having one day each week for form drawing.  I think that would be helpful for me to try.

Homeschool Glimpse: August and September 2012

I recently purchased the book Painting and Drawing in Waldorf Schools by Wildgruber on the recommendation of Sara.  It has the most beautifully colored forms.  You can see an example of what I mean by reading Sara’s post.   I hope to incorporate this into our form drawing.

What are some of your favorite ways to approach form drawing?

Mrs. Mallard

p.s. This post was requested by Sheila.  I hope it was useful!  Shared as a part of Waldorf Wednesday.

5 thoughts on “Form Drawing

  1. Sheila

    This blog gives excellent service with amazing turn-around time!! lol
    Thanks for this. We did some form drawing today and I guess it went ok. I’m going to try your suggestion of letting them sleep on the form, and draw it on the good paper tomorrow.
    Thank you again!!

    1. Mrs. Mallard Post author

      Ha ha, Sheila! You know here at Ducks in the Pond I hope your experience is spec-quack-ular! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it.) I hope you find results with letting the forms rest. I should have mentioned that I let my fifth grader work on forms for a week sometimes if they are especially difficult. Best!

  2. Lisa

    I usually start the year off with a 2-week form drawing block, though I didn’t this year for my 4th grader. He dislikes form drawing and I knew two solid weeks of it would do him in. After that, I try to do form drawing every Monday. We are pretty regular with it. I did it more often with my son in the Norse Myths block. He was having such a hard time with the braids and knots. I felt like it was very important for him to master at least a few of them, so we worked at times every day for a week or so. I like your idea of having them sleep on it–I haven’t done that so far.

    I just purchased a form-drawing e-book for 1st and 2nd grades from Marsha Johnson’s Magic of Waldorf website, and I have to say I am thrilled with it! I finally get the concept of how to come up with a good form drawing story. She has stories for a whole year’s worth of forms for each grade. I haven’t been using all her stories as-is, but her examples really spoke to me and now I can make up my own stories easily. She also has the most comprehensive list of “active” form drawing activities I’ve seen anywhere, so we are having much more variety in how we’re working with the form before drawing it.

  3. Mrs. Mallard Post author

    Ooh! The resource from Marsha Johnson sounds fabulous! Thank you for recommending it. I should have mentioned that we often spend up to a week on the harder forms in the upper grades, too. Thank you for mentioning that. I hope people see it in the comments! I look forward to seeing you again soon.

  4. Pingback: Grade 1: Fairy Tale Block | Sure as the World

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