Friday, October 23, 2009

The Oak Tree

Our Nature Story this week was "The Oak Tree", a part of the Enki Education 1st Grade Nature Stories collection. I purposely picked a story that had a fairy-tale type feel to it, as the kids were in need of that type of thing after a block that has been a bit lean in the story department. (Zoo Boy objected slightly to working with another story, he thought we should just jump right into division, but I promised him "soon enough" that we would add King Dominic Divide to our drawings. Both boys are HIGHLY anticipating his arrival, J has been reciting his verses from memory on a daily basis.)

I gave free-drawing a try. Up until now, I've mostly been doing led-drawings with the boys for artistic story digestion. This is because they both, for their own individual reasons, had a problem really sinking into the drawing process. In J's case, he needed guidance in choosing an important scene from the story. In Zoo Boy's case, it was a lack of motivation to do any drawing at all unless he was following my initial lead. I've attempted free-drawing on several occasions, only to meet with some fairly disconnected work (when any work was done at all). However, the past couple of months, both boys have shown a lot of maturity in their artistic expression, so I decided it was time to give it another shot.

I was really excited at the results! I sat down as usual for our story work, we recalled the story (with the boys doing the vast majority of the retelling, I only jumped in when they were getting too bogged down in details), and then we unrolled our crayon rolls and opened up our good books. I simply stated "Now we'll draw whatever we want to from the story. I think I'll draw the princess sitting in the Oak tree." And then I went ahead and did my drawing. The boys immediately and enthusiastically set to work.

They both sank into the process immediately. J, whose picture is first in this post, started off drawing a castle, complete with King and Queen looking across the meadow, then added the oak tree and princess. As he was adding the tree, he said "And now I want to add some leaves clinging on." "That's what I'm doing!" exclaimed Zoo Boy, excitedly. Sure enough, he was working diligently on a tree with many, many leaves. He also added snow flakes falling from the sky (which are very difficult to see, since they were drawn in light pink), to prove that some of the leaves hung on all winter long.

This afternoon we took a nature walk in an area dominated by various species of Oaks. The boys pointed out the color of the Oaks and how different they were from the orange and red Maples and the yellow Hickories and Sassafrass that dominate our morning walking route. They also noticed that while most of the Maples are now bare, the Oaks are only just coming into their own.

My drawing, for comparison. This time the comparison to make is just how different the boys' drawings are from mine. They are truly starting to bring forth the parts of the stories that speak to them in their artwork. I'm excited to see where this leads! I think we're close to the point where I can just leave them to their own drawings without even having to start them out. The only remaining question is, do I want to? I very much enjoy creating alongside them.


Alisha said...

Hi, I've just started reading your blog and have been especially interested in your posts from last year. I was wondering how old your boys were last year when you started the 1st grade year? I've been considering buying 1st grade Enki and using it with both of my girls who are 6.5 and just about to turn 5 (in a few weeks). We probably wouldn't start until January or February though. Anyway, I'm enjoying reading all of it and seeing your Enki path!

Harvest Mom said...

Hi Alisha! My boys were 7 (going on 8) and 5 1/2 when I started 1st grade with them. My younger one was a bit young, wasn't really ready for full 1st grade until closer to his birthday in March, which is why we're spending another half year with it. My older one is about a year and a half behind developmentally, so 1st was a really good fit for him last year, as 2nd will be a good fit for him when we start it after the holdiays. Hope that's helpful! :)

Alisha said...

Yes, it is, thanks! My older is a little behind as well, I'm going to do a pre-purchase phone consult soon with Enki to see what they suggest, since I'm not exactly sure where to start. I'm very much enjoying reading your old blog posts though and getting a better sense of Enki and how it can be done with 2 close in age. :D