Thursday, November 16, 2006

Grade 2 Blocks - Block 1

Kyra wants to hear about the blocks I am planning, and rather than lose them on the comments page I thought I'd do a proper post (actually, this has now morphed in 6 posts as I will detail each block in its own post). Remember, this is still very preliminary planning. I don't even have most of the Enki grade 2 resources or the instruction guides.

Block 1: Winter Holidays and the Christmas Tradition

This is an easing-in block, just 3-4 weeks to start moving us back toward the rhythm of structured learning. Compared to our other learning blocks it will be short, and will not focus on any new academics nor immersion in a different culture.

The plan is to choose 3-4 stories (1 for each week),and to take each story through the intake-digestion-output cycle. I think we might read The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader, The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens, and perhaps the story of the three shepherds as told in Donna Simmon's Practical Waldorf at Home: First Grade Syllabus. However, we're just getting back into Isabel Wyatt's The Seven-Year-Old Wonder Book and make take all 3-4 weeks from those stories.

We will stay within our own culture for this mini-block. The underlying goal is to firm up the daily and weekly rhythms with crafts, songs, and stories. I want the boys to get familiar once again with hearing a story, recalling the story, drawing the story, and writing a sentence or verse.

Honestly, I see no reason to step outside our own culture during a season that is full of tradition. I also do not believe is taking on other people's religious traditions as my own, so we won't just jump in and light a menorah. If we are invited to spend an evening of Hannukah with our Jewish friends that is within the context of community and is integrative, but doing so without connection makes no sense. We do celebrate the solstice in a non-religious manner, as I believe the turning of the seasons is something that all people in all times have found meaning in.

We'll reinstate practice time, alternating between reading skills and math manipulatives, along with daily handwriting practice. I'm ordering this lovely Christmas pop-up book to use with J-Baby and his alphabet sounds.

Crafts and art come easily at holiday time. There are gifts the boys can help to make, a tree to trim, cookies and treats to bake. We're planning to roll beeswax candles, to make bath salts and soaps, and to make olive oil lamps (we bought the basics from Lehman's and will use jars we save from food). We're searching for some good gluten-free,vegan recipes to make treats (I'll probably have to concoct my own). We can definitely make vegan GF rice crispy treats and vegan GF Fudge.

Holiday and seasonal songs abound. We'll listen to old favorites and pull some from the Enki materials as well. One thing we love is making music, and Papa has gotten very good at playing many holiday songs on his guitar.

I won't be released to full activity until right before Christmas, so we'll probably focus on fingerplays for our movement, along with slow, easy stretching movements. I'm hoping to talk the doctor into letting me take an easy walk around the block each morning starting the week after Thanksgiving.

My goal is to use this time of holiday, when we do so many integrative activities, to act as a springboard for the rest of our grade 2 year. I'll be slowly moving the boys back into rhythm, but gently, much like warming beeswax and then softly pressing here and there to create shape.

Okay, so this probably isn't the block Kyra was most interested in. However, my point was to illustrate that the holiday season is a great time to ease into Enki, whether it is for the first time or just transitioning to a new grade after a break.

I'll add a post for block 2 later this afternoon.

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