Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Getting Back to Enki

I apologize to those of you who come to my blog expecting to read about holistic homeschooling and Enki, only to find that I have once again veered off to the topics of simple living, veganism, special diets/allergies, and well just basically chit-chat about our lives. I used to keep a separate blog, but that was just too hard.

Today we resumed our studies after a long weekend. We're finishing up the number qualities block with a 3-day cycle on odd and even. In fact, our story this afternoon was Todd and Evan, taken from the Enki Grade One Math book. I must say, I am very glad to hear that all of the grade one resources are now ready and that the Grade One Instruction Manual will be shipping soon. Luckily I have a CD copy of the old guide, because I wouldn't know how to teach the math without it. Those of you who have been waiting for the Instruction Guide will find that you are finally receiving the missing puzzle piece. I applaud Beth for being able to finish the guide and get it to us. Really, if you look at how much has been finished since March you will be amazed.

We will be slowly rebuilding our homeschooling schedule over the next two months. It seems I've always been able to do some of it, but haven't gotten the hang of putting it all together. For instance, back when we did Oak Meadow kindy we painted each week without fail, and did our morning circle each day. When we started Christopherus we kept up the circle, but switched to other crafts (mostly handwork and nature crafts) and stopped painting regularly. As I transitioned from Christopherus to Enki we got into a good rhythm with our morning walk and we also had the afternoon practice session going regularly, and for a few weeks we managed afternoon crafts and projects. But movement/circle completely fell apart.

Looking at it, I recognize that we have made a lot of changes over the past 18 months, although we've always been arts-based and have used a block cycle. Also, the boys grow and change and suddenly they are less receptive to certain things (like circle), but more receptive to others (writing).

Still, I want to find a way to fit in most things (crafts, music, main lesson, practice time, painting, handwork, foreign language, etc.) most of the time. I know we can't be perfect, but I do think we can try harder. It is easy to wander away from the rhythm and to do our own things instead of coming together to learn and create. It is easy to get into the mindset of doing just enough, without pushing a little and doing more. I need to find the balance between barely squeaking by, and filling the days with so much that we hit burnout and overwhelm.

My plan is to start practice time again next week (maybe even this Friday). We only dropped off right before our last vacation, so it should be easy to pick up again. Also, we'll be moving into language arts for our main lesson, so practice time will be handwriting and math, which the boys love. We have lots of manipulatives such as pattern blocks, tan grams, Cuisenaire rods, rocks, acorns and acorn caps, wooden beads in differing sizes and shapes, a counting frame, and a fun pegboard set.

I'll give that 2 weeks to get set in the rhythm, and then I'll add in wet-on-wet watercolor painting once a week, and at least one other craft/project. Eventually my goal is a nature craft one afternoon, painting one afternoon, handwork one afternoon, and modeling or another project one afternoon, with one afternoon left free for play dates or errands.

After a couple of weeks of that we'll add a nature story and drawing each week. This may be a bit tough, as there are no summer stories in the grade one Enki books, and the pickings look slim in the kindy book. If after I look at the resources I don't find enough we'll just put it off until fall and do nature study instead (a la Charlotte Mason). Even though we'll be on break in the fall I think we'll continue with nature stories, as they aren't hard-core academics and I'd hate to miss out on all of the great fall stories. Really, you can't leave an entire season out of your science for the year.

Doing all that will give me enough time to learn the Enki movement and music, so we'll add that in after the nature stories. That should be mid-August. I'll choose year-round activities and only one or two summer songs, so that we can transition easily to fall. Luckily, we know all of the fall songs from Sing a Song of Seasons, and I know the boys, especially J-Baby, will be happy to revisit those songs and movements.

However, I don't want to wait that long to get moving again, so in the meantime we are going to resume our morning walk, and I intend to weave in Enki games and verses while we walk. Also, taking a cure from Kari (Blissful Bee), I am going to order a yoga DVD and get started with the boys. I am a beginner yoga student myself, and the boys are interested, so it will be beneficial to all of us.

I'd really like to start Spanish, but other than adding a song or two to our movement time (using Cante! Cante! Elefante!) it will have to wait. I'm going to order Sonrisas Spanish School in time to have it when I start planning grade 2 in October.

That leaves music. I think realistically we'll have to keep it organic for now, singing as a family, learning movement songs, and having impromptu ukulele lessons from Papa. That gives me time to get a little better at both ukulele and recorder, and it gives J-Baby some time to mature (he is still really goofy when we try recorder lessons). I'm going to let go of the fear that we aren't doing enough, and just recognize that we are naturally a musical family and that will carry us through to the time we can get more formal about lessons.

Of course, the tricky thing will be to find a way to do all of this and still keep our home, do our laundry, and cook all of our meals. But that is another post!

1 comment:

Blissfulbee said...

"I need to find the balance between barely squeaking by, and filling the days with so much that we hit burnout and overwhelm".

That is the golden question isnt it? Balance, balance, balance!!! Sometimes I think that the balance can only come once wereally get our priorities straight, for instance your recognizing that you are a musical family, and that your children are being surrounded by it in a natural way. Trying to squeeze it into your day in a formal manner, may throw your balance off. Im recognizing more and more that we have to move with the ebb and flow of our life and our interests. Like you said, when you look back at the past 18 months you have done a lot and progress is being made, even if it is just in the little tiny seeds that are resting beneath the soil. Im trying to remember this for myself too. I have ben really inspired by the mp3 lectures and discussions on buddhanet.net there are some wonderful talks about mindful living etc. Its great for doing dishes and listening to.