Saturday, May 15, 2010

Malidoma Some, part 1

This week we began working with an Enki Education story about Malidoma Some. In the first chapter, we became familiar with the life in his village in Burkina Faso as it was when he was 4 years old. His Grandfather was a very significant figure in his life. J's drawing is of a time when Grandfather told him that the chickens were plotting to upset a millet basket, and sure enough, that's what happened!

Zoo boy drew the same theme. For some reason he's been coloring in the background of all of his drawings with a black stick crayon before starting his drawing. I asked him about this, and he told me it was gray, not black, but couldn't give me a reason why. I'm interested to see where this might be going, so I'll keep an eye on it.

Our chapter summary, written by J.

Zoo Boy's abbreviated chapter summary. He's finally starting to inject a few lower-case letters into his writing.

The boys work on mashing some millet so we could make millet cakes like Malidoma's mother made in the first chapter.

Munching on millet cakes. Neither of them were particularly thrilled with them (and I don't blame them, they're pretty bland), but both of them ate more than one bite. They were both very interested in eating what Malidoma ate.

This week we also began learning a cultural dance -- in this case the "Gahu", which originated in Benin. We are using an instructional DVD called "Traditional Dances of Ghana", by Nana Yaw Koranteng and the Aziza Music and Dance Ensemble. J and I are loving it, Zoo Boy is choosing alternate exercise during that time frame, although he enjoys watching the group dance with us. There are 4 dances on the DVD, we're going to switch dances every 2 weeks so that we can learn them all. We're just getting the hang of the "Gahu" after a week's work with it, so next week we'll just enjoy actually knowing what we're doing while we dance!

My story drawing, of Malidoma waiting outside of his Grandfather's quarters while he is counseling another village member.

We did run into one speed bump during our work this week. J suddenly realized that Malidoma Some is a real person (he saw the photo of him on the back of the book that I am reading, Of Water and the Spirit, written by Malidoma Patrice Some), and for some reason he found this very upsetting. Best as I can figure, based on how he tried to explain it to me, he assumed that all of the stories we read are fiction and was just shocked to find out that some are real-er than others. We talked about St. Francis and Laura Ingalls Wilder, and he seems to have adjusted to it now. But we had some moments of distress over this initially. It made me a little uneasy about reading some of the further chapters in the Malidoma Some story, as there is quite a bit of strife and struggling there, but so far he's been OK with it (sad where appropriate, but not that over-the-top reaction that concerned me).

We're finishing up work with the 2nd chapter today and will be continuing our work with this sage story next week.


Anonymous said...

the dance sounds great

Alyss said...

On a Waldorf yahoogroup I'm on the other day someone asked about "saint" stories for 2nd grade. The mentor/moderator noted that in Waldorf curriculum they really do use saints who date back to before 1500 because these are still similar to fairy tales in their magic and lack of groundeness in reality. She said this meets 7/8 year old where they are developmentally. She strongly cautioned against using modern people for these stories for that reason.

I know you aren't doing Waldorf, and you obviously trust the Enki curriculum (with good reason - I'm almost as in love with it as you are just from watching! :) but I wonder if the Enki folks address this issue in their materials. Are there other options besides modern "sages" for these blocks? Do you have any other thought on this? Just wondering... :)

Harvest Moon said...

Alyss, I'm really not familiar with what Waldorf says (about anything, really, LOL), as I came to Enki via an unschooling philosophy rather than a Waldorf one, and in what little I know about Waldorf, there's a lot I don't agree with (of course, there's a lot I do agree with, too, since Enki takes some of their stuff from there). I think the difference (between Enki and Waldorf in this respect) is in what age the kids should be when certain aspects are brought to them. Since Enki is a much "newer" philosophy than Waldorf, it's based on more recent child development research than Waldorf could possibly have been. So the ages vary -- in Enki our typical 1st graders are 6 yrs old, rather than 7 yrs as in Waldorf, the researcher supporting that the Fairy Tales are best heard via the ears of a 6-7 year old, then a 7-8 year old would be listening to 2nd grade trickster tales and sage stories to meet their particular energies and needs, and to bring them various cultures at a level where the child can relate via their own experience with the world as they know it. (In other words, they are experiencing the cultures as part of their own experience, rather than as a study of "them" as opposed to "us".) By this age the children have moved beyond hearing Fairy Tales in that magical way they did when the year before.

But to answer your other question, yes, both ancient sages and modern sages are used, and if for some reason someone wanted to only stick to sages from a prior period in time, that is entirely possible. I just don't see where it's desireable at this age. (And especially not in my case, where I'm using the same core story material with both an older and younger child.)