Wednesday, January 27, 2010

jumping in with 2nd grade

We celebrated the start of our winter semester with a trip to the Jump Zone with our friends Tr, Q and O yesterday afternoon. Enjoy a few photos of the boys' fun while I talk about the Enki approach to 2nd Grade.

In 2nd Grade we start working in cultural blocks, about 2 months at a time. Within each block we'll work with Language Arts, Humanities, Math and Science.

For Language Arts and Humanities, we start with Trickster tales (light, playful tales of animals who outsmart other animals) from that culture, to meet the 2nd grader's trickster energy. After that energy is met, we connect with their deeper needs by working with Sage stories, which are longer stories about the life of an important person from that culture, which take us from his/her mischievous childhood through his/her development into an adult who serves humanity. Men and women, scientists and artists, religious leaders and freedom fighters are all included in the Enki Sage collection. We'll be reading the stories in chapters, and recalling, drawing, and writing summaries for each chapter as we go along.

Then we shift on to Math, while keeping with the same cultural themes for crafts, cooking, movement, etc. I'm going to be bracketing our Language Arts block and our Math block with Nature Stories rich in sensory language about Natural Disaster Phenomena (which also mirror that 2nd grade energy) and stories that address various Language Arts rules.

I've chosen Western Europe as our first culture. Since Zoo Boy isn't completely ready for 2nd Grade (although he's close), I thought the easiest transition for him will be through a culture he's already familiar with. Also, the Sage story (which is about St. Francis of Assisi) starts with Francis as a child who plays at being a knight, which will appeal to The Boy right off the bat. We'll be spending the next two weeks reading and working with some of Aesop's Fables (the Trickster Tales of this culture), although the Enki versions of the stories do not include the "moral", but rather leaves that up to the child to discover on their own from the story.

In addition to this 2nd grade work, we'll be working on 1st grade painting stories (I'll blog about separately), learning and reciting seasonally appropriate poems, writing/drawing in journals, and using the alphabet-8s method of working on Zoo Boy's mid-line crossing problems while at the same time working on proper lower-case letter formation. Hopefully we'll be doing more woodworking projects with them, as well as a variety of culturally appropriate crafts and cooking projects.

J is participating in a lot of classes to help meet his need for a bit more contracted work, and for further social interaction with other kids, which he also craves. He's taking classes in drama, music, dance, history, the human body, and states of matter. He'll also have more books and stories to read on his own, and he'll be doing more handwriting copy-work than would be appropriate for Zoo Boy. I'm also hoping we'll have time for him to participate in more advanced type nature classes in the spring.

Looking at the long-term, my plan is to continue with a 2nd Grade structure until after Zoo Boy's 8th birthday next March, then wrap-up next year with our first 3rd grade cultural unit (which are about 3 months long).


michelle grimes kindig said...

This is a great...can I link from my blog to this post? I love how you sum it all up so gracefully! We are approaching our second sage block. We started with Mourning Dove. It was appropriate for Annie since she wants to be an author. And we are moving on to Harriet Tubman now. I know they are both from our culture...but they just fit. And I plan on using these trickster/sage stories for years.

Harvest Mom said...

Yes, Michelle, feel free to link to it. You know, I really wanted to start with West Africa, because J is actally in a theatrical production an Anansi tale right now, but the Malidoma Some story just feels too intense for Zoo Boy right now. By the same token, when we do our Native American block next, we'll be using Stalking Wolf because I know his story is going to appeal to J very strongly. I love how much flexibility there is in creating our blocks to meet our specific children! And I agree, we will eventually read all of these stories, because they are just WONDERFUL and completely unequalled by any other story sources I've seen.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you guys look like you have so much fun learning. Nathan and I have really tossed around the idea of homeschooling. If I do, I'm so coming to you for advice! Oh, and a turkey update: Wes (girl), Me, Mindi, Jena (boy), Jennie, and Krystal are all preggo again. Not all have been announced in the "real world" lol :) I hope you're doing great! I really miss you!