Thursday, November 5, 2009

Presence and Workboxes

One result of our return to a more traditional Enki/Waldorf format is that we don't really need the workboxes. They have been a great way to organize the daily learning materials, but Enki and Waldorf education are both based on the presence of the teacher, or in the case of homeschooling, parent. As I brought my full presence back to our home learning I found that the boxes seemed rather superfluous. It makes sense; I never needed them before when we were using Waldorf and Enki methods. Now that I am no longer trying to teach 4 - 5 different subjects each week I can hold the main lesson in my mind.

Our focused work has a rhythmic flow: journaling, practice work, assigned reading, reawakening concepts, main lesson, skills practice and/or physical education. We then break for lunch and quiet time before beginning our afternoon lesson.

I am choosing to be present with the boys even when they are doing practice work than could be done without me. I am in the room, writing in my own journal or doing handwork, available to answer any questions. I am making a conscious choice not to be cooking, baking, or doing other chores in another part of the house. Writing, reading, drawing, or knitting are all things that I can do in the family room and can put down easily when there is a question or when it is time to reawaken concepts or present the main lesson.

There must be balance, of course. One of my goals this year is to give the boys more independence and responsibility when it comes to their learning, and I certainly do not want to take all of that back onto myself. I want to participate in their learning with them, and to guide them, but I don't want to pull the train by myself. The workboxes have served to organize the work that the boys are responsible for on their own, such as assigned reading and practice work. They are working beautifully for this, but it may be that we can move to a weekly binder system and reclaim some of our bookshelf space.

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