To Correct or Not to Correct

This is a post I wrote on my yahoo discussion group, Waldorf_At_Home in response to a question a list member had about how to get her reluctant and somewhat perfectionist daughter to do form drawing. She also was interested in the question regarding whether to correct a form or not…
 
Here’s a major controversy in the form drawing field – to correct or not to correct. This is one of the gray areas I mention in my form drawing book, a topic which has fierce advocates on either side of the fence. And (as I point out in my book) as form drawing is both an art form and a therapeutic discipline, there is bound to be a variety of ways to work with it and many, many good reasons for people doing it in their different ways. My opinion tends to be that one should NOT correct – neither should a form be drawn, say, in yellow  first. This is because, for me, form drawing is akin to eurythmy – and eurythmy is about movement and gesture, neither of which can be "corrected" but rather need to be worked with.  Eurythmy, unlike some forms of martial art or forms of dance, is not about "getting the position right" – it lives in the dynamic flow of movement. And for me, form drawing can be understood as a moment of eurythmy come to rest on a page. So the point would be to try and try again until one gets satisfactory results – which may sometimes mean leaving go of a form completely for a while, going back to a simpler one and then revisiting the difficult one at a later time.
 
Again, I see eurythmy as a human expression of organic forms found in nature – an example I sometimes give people is of water. If you watch the way water moves (or a leaf gently falls) there is no correction, no sense of a correct form which must be followed. It is as it is. But…. one has to work with the child where she is. So if, as you say, your daughter is being critical, is displaying a streak of perfectionism, is doing her 9 year change thing, then one wants to see how one can work with this (I always suggest to people that they work homeopathically with children, starting with what present and trying to ennoble it – not opposing it with something different).
 
So why don’t you and your daughter spend some time watching water move or leaves fall – and draw what you and she see. Let her experiment with  how nature does form drawing – currents, ripples, streams etc. Do non directed form drawing for a while, that which is called for by nature. Let the power of your child’s observation – and her desire to do what is true and beautiful, find expression in a way that takes it out of the potential head-to-head conflict with you. Work sideways (there’s mantra number three for Christopherus, closely following "not school at home" and "homeschooling is about family"!). Don’t get into her stuff or into an unnecessary conflict.
 
Then let form drawing rest for a while. Do none for a time. When you judge the time is right,  spend some time talking about the forms in nature that you two drew and then perhaps let her look through your form drawing book for a for a form that reminds her of the water (or leaves). Let her copy it – and if she’s still being a tricky customer, let her copy it directly out of the book – otherwise, I’d suggest you do it in the usual way with you drawing it large on the board and then her copying. Maybe recite a verse about water or leaves while she works – (though some children would prefer not to have a verse, would prefer to remain in the memory of what they experienced in nature) let her work with it in her own way. This might just help break any stalemate that could be forming over this issue between you two. And, assuming all goes well (??!!!) you can see what to do next – "Here’s a more complicated form – let’s try this".
 
By the way, while usually I recommend that form drawing be done only with first graders and up present, that littlies can destroy the meditative mood so important for form drawing to work deeply on the child doing it, there is no reason why your little guys can’t join in with "nature form drawing", drawing, coloring, tracing in sand or just playing about while his sister does her nature drawings. Somehow the mood of being outdoors seems, to me, to make this ok and beneficial for all.
 

Posted on April 25, 2006 in Active and Therapeutic Education, Waldorf Curriculum

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