Monday, April 23, 2007

A Post For the Enki Users

We're a little behind on our second block. I did some planning for the next four weeks, and thought I'd share it here. As I posted before, my boys are in desperate need of more rhythm and focused learning while we are in the midst of trying to find some sort of normal after the death of my grandfather and now having my grandmother as a house guest.

We've already completed the trickster tale portion of this block cycle, although I may sneak few in here and there. I'll also try to pull one or two Western European fairy tales in. We're working grade 1 and grade 2 (the boys are 7 and 8).

Other things we're planning to weave into the block: making shortbread and bannock, working with fleece/wool, and seasonal crafts. We're spending a lot of time outdoors, and we are exploring the idea of joining our local Sierra Club chapter.

Humanities: The Sage Story Process – John Muir

Language Arts Skills: Revisiting, Summarization, Writing Sentences

4/23 Tell John Muir Ch. 1
4/25 Revisit Ch. 1, Draw from story, Write sentence, Tell Ch. 2
4/27 Revisit Ch. 2, Draw from story, Write sentence, Tell Ch. 3
4/30 Revisit Ch. 3, Draw from story, Write sentence, Tell Ch. 4
5/4 Revisit Ch. 4, Draw from story, Write sentence

Practice: Word Journals, Number Verses, Math Games, Reading

Mathematics: Fact Families

5/7 Tell Grandfather’s Family
5/9 Revisit Grandfather’s Family; Draw from story; manipulative play
5/11 Write Fact Families verse; manipulative play
5/14 Continue Fact Families manipulative play
5/16 Introduce Fact Families in written form
5/18 Fact Families worksheets

Practice: Word Journals, Word Families, Reading, Word Games

Seasonal Crafts/Projects:

Nest building project, bird feeder project, bird bath project, planting a butterfly garden.

Modeling:

4/24 Hand Gestures, Creating in the Shared Space of Two Hands
5/1 Hand Gestures, Elongating
5/8 The Human Form
5/15 Animals in Small Format

Watercolor:

4/25 Tell Brush Tail
5/9 Paint Brush Tail
5/16 Free Painting

Handwork: Child’s Choice

Spanish:

4/26 Sonrisas Lesson 2 ~ Los Colores
5/3 Sonrisas Lesson 3 ~ Los Numeros
5/10 Sonrisas Lesson 4 ~ Mi Cuerpo
5/17 Sonrisas Lesson 5 ~ Grande y Chiquito

Nature Stories:

4/27 Pretty Poison
5/4 A Call in the Night
5/11 Sun Bathers
5/18 Camping Out

Friday, April 06, 2007

Rhythm

Rhythm is the big word when it comes to Enki and Waldorf living. Finding rhythm, keeping rhythm, creating rhythm. Why rhythm is important...all things that we talk about over and over again.

When your life moves into what appears to be total chaos (and it will...it always does), rhythm is what brings you back to center. The rhythm of your breathing. The rhythms of night and day, of sleep and wake. The rhythm of meals, even when you don't necessarily feel like eating.

Rhythm is what got me through the days between my grandfather's death and the viewing and funeral. Rhythm is what will help me through the next few days and weeks. Rhythm, I believe, is what will help my grandmother through her grief.

When it all feels chaotic, I stop moving and let myself be still. I figure out where we are in the day (and believe me, right now I am often confused as to what day or what time it is, the result of hours in the car, in hotel rooms, from waiting in airports, away from home and away from rhythm) and I go from there. Right now we've just finished lunch, and the boys are having quiet time. I have things I probably should be doing (there's much to catch up on), however quiet time is when I rest, or read, or write. I step into the rhythm, I let it wrap around me like a warm shawl, I let it comfort me.

The boys need the rhythm as much as I do. They were with us when my grandfather died, however we brought them home and asked my father-in-law stay with them while we went back for the funeral. We knew that they needed the stability of home and the rhythm of regular meal and sleep times. We'll take them back in a week, and visit the grave site.

When this all happened we had moved away from formal lessons. Our days were more organic and less planned, and it was working beautifully for us. Now, however, I sense the need to pull the rhythm tighter, to give us all security (and really, to keep me from letting hours slide into days without doing the necessary tasks of living).

The beauty of stepping away from the school system is the freedom we have to live and learn in whatever ways work best for us, and to get to know ourselves and our children so well that we can sense when more or less is needed. If my children had been enrolled in school they would have missed that last day with my grandfather (their great-grandfather), as it would have been a school day. We wouldn't have had the freedom, on a Sunday evening, to say "Hey, I think we should get up there so Grandma isn't alone." There was no call telling us the end was near; Grandpa unexpectedly let go once he knew we were there to take care of Grandma, and we were there because living is learning is loving.

Since we've been back we've had a birthday party (part of our yearly rhythm). We met with friends in the park, as we do most Thursdays. We walked to the farmer's market. Tonight we'll have our family movie night, tomorrow we'll color eggs, Sunday we'll gather with family. Rhythm will carry us along.