Thursday, June 08, 2006

Integrating Enki

I wrote this post yesterday, but Blogger was having lots of problems. I tried to edit the date stamp today, but it didn't work (and Blogger is still having issues).

**********

I have spent a considerable amount of time today (6/7/06) thinking about how we are integrating Enki into our lives.

As usual, I jump into everything with both feet. Once I had Enki resources I was ready to "do" Enki. But doing isn't living. Enki has to become part of our lives, not become our entire life. It's so easy to be so focused on methods that you lose sight of the real goal of holistic education.

It's easy to get caught up in doing everything right; it's like a checklist (you know, like the AP checklist that people rattle off when they "meet" each other...breastfeeding, cosleeping, baby wearing, etc. and all of the non-AP things that make the list, like cloth diapering, eating organics, etc.). Movement? Check. Candle? Check. Verse? Check....only in the end you can end up trying to cram so much in that you aren't enjoying the days.

Whatever we do, we need to think about why we are doing it and how it can be integrated into our lives to enrich them and not overwhelm them. Home is not school; we don't have 6 dedicated hours and we homeschool teachers have many other tasks that we must attend to each and every day. At the same time, we have 24 hours and everything we do is part of learning. So we must practice balance. Certainly, my children learn much from participating in the running of our household - laundry skills, baking, cooking, cleaning, provisioning/marketing (I hate the term "shopping" because it has been co-opted by our culture and turned into recreation and entertainment). These are skills they need. But there is much more I need to teach them as they journey into adulthood and take over the reigns of their education. Reading, writing, arithmetic. Exposure to other cultures (as Beth says, living the culture rather than approaching it as a cultural "Disneyland"), artistic pursuits, music, movement, history. And much, much more.

One area I have difficulty with is perfectionism. I want to do everything perfectly and if I can't I sometimes think I might as well not even try. That's something I don't want to model to my children. I must always bring myself back to center, because perfectionism and procrastination are both off balance.

So I have to still the voice who thinks she isn't good enough if we haven't yet incorporated movement into the day, or when another week passes without a seasonal craft or watercolor painting. I have to remember that we have time...that is one reason why we have chosen the path of holistic homeschooling. None of our time is wasted, even if we just sit on the couch listening to CDs, or spend 2 hours building with Legos, or dig in the dirt. Again, it is a question of balance - we need time for lessons, but we also need time for family and friends.

A lot of these issues are explored in the Enki Foundation Guides. The blessings and challenges of homeschooling. Teacher health. The Enki web. When I was first purchasing the guides and was stressed out that the resources weren't yet available many people told me that the guides would be enough, and I didn't believe them. Now I think the guides, which encompass the Enki philosophy, would benefit any homeschooling family, whether or not they choose to follow the Enki curriculum and use Enki resources.

I'm not sure where I am going with all of this. I've just been thinking today, taking a step back and looking for the places where we live the Enki philosophy, rather than making sure that we're "doing" Enki right.

2 comments:

Blissfulbee said...

This is an interesting and true post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. I too feel like if we arent doing it all we are somehow falling short in some way, however I think it is important to not force a system into a home. A home is a home and the benefits of it being a place of freedom and comfort, a place to just exhale and feel good are really important. I know all the stress is mainly on the Mom's and that the kids actually thrive in the rhythm and feel almost more comfortable within it, we still have to be sure that we arent walking around all grumpy and annoyed because morning lessons fell apart (in our eyes) or because we dont have all the resources we think we need (like me with 3rd grade). Maybe not having everything is a blessing, and it makes us have to pull from within on things and remember to bring more of ourselves into what we are doing. Hmm, I dont mean that we arent doing that with Enki, because I actually feel like Enki really supports me bringing more of myself (especially the self I want to be) into my homelife, but sometimes we lose a little something in our striving for perfection or in trying to create something in our home in its purest sense. I know this sounds weird, but the last thing I want is to become like some other Waldorf families I know who care more about what crayons they use than they do the philosophy or the essence of the exercise, y'know? Sort of missing the point do to striving too hard for perfection. If that makes sense.

APKimberMama said...

Right now I often find myself thinking that we are falling short, rather than concentrating on everything that is good. This week we are busy with vacation plans, and we aren't doing crafts/projects or any planned movement.

Moving back into the guides is really helping me, though. I can see how we are coming together in the mornings, first snuggling and then eating breakfast together (even if there is some newspaper reading going on). That is our organic circle, even if it isn't movement. I'm finding more examples like that, but they belong in a new post.

It's funny, I do have a tendency to get caught up in using the "right" materials, but it stems mostly from frustration when we tried other things. Writing with the Super Ferby pencils is far superior to the old Prismacolors we were trying to use (the points kept breaking). We tried Stone beeswax, which I hated compared to Stockmar. But you're right, these are kust things and they are there to support us and not to be our focus.