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South | North

Settling In

Push and pull, the sawyers
Sawing down the trees.
Back and forth, the toothy blades
Cut the branches free.

~Enki Movement


Like our woodcutters finding their rhythm with the cross-cut saw, I am starting to find my way through first grade.  A little over a month in, and we're settling into the new work and starting to weave a tapestry of arts-based learning.  To call it a tapestry might sound romanticized, but it fits what we are do remarkably well.  Enki believes, like Waldorf, in a sleep cycle for learning.  In the first block, we introduced letters in the main lessons and used our practice time to play with math a little.  Now, we are working explicitly with numbers and using our practice time to reinforce the letters we did in the first block.  Back and forth it goes, with letter gestures becoming a part of our poety memorization, with hidden forms in watercolor work, and with the addition of the recorder.

Recorder Warm-Up

Oh, The grand old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men;
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.

And when they were up, they were up,
And when they were down, they were down,
And when they were only half-way up,
They were neither up nor down.

~Recorder warm-up, Traditional

Afternoon is our recorder time, with Laurel asleep and Roan at work on some focused quiet play.  He's our recorder caretaker, as well, until it is his turn to have one.  He helps to dry and oil them.  I have come to treat the recorder and pentatonic flute very carefully.  If they're blown with too much gusto, the wood swells and they won't play the low notes for some time.  I guarded Willow's recorder until just the moment when it felt right to introduce it and we store them away up high when we're done with our work.  It might have seemed strict, but children model the respect that we show them.  The tools of first grade are definitely different from those of kindergarten, where there were very few.

Learning at home, of course, can be incredibly freeing.  Not only can we choose to spend a day in the woods or on practical life work, but we can also find those pockets of time best suited to certain tasks.   We worked on letter sounds (practice work!) while I folded the laundry in the dining room, thinking of as many words as we could that go with the letters we've done that are posted on the wall.  The new school year is taking shape, though there are still threads that need more focus from me to work out.  The laundry letter work was a big help for me on the gestures--I've been having a hard time internalizing them.

It really is a different thing to work explicitly on academics, since that's not been a part of early childhood at our house.  Willow is doing really well it and I can see the fruits of seeds planted in kindergarten.  She is being pushed enough to make progress without shutting down.  This week, she learned to make a five-point star, which was a form that gave her some difficulty at first.  She learned other things, too, but I really appreciated that one, in particular.  I think my star improved, too.  This education style is as healing and helpful to me as it is to the children, perhaps more. And, really, that's what it's about--learning and growing to be our own people, no matter what our age.

"It may sound paradoxical, but the greatest teacher in the Waldorf School is the child himself."
~ Rudolf Steiner :: Education as an Art, as taken from the Christopherus Homeschool Planner


( 2 trees — Plant a Forest )
Oct. 11th, 2015 12:58 pm (UTC)
Oct. 12th, 2015 03:11 am (UTC)
I loved reading this.
( 2 trees — Plant a Forest )

A Blessed Wilderness

It was just like being in heaven, being in there. In those days there was no road. The park was all a blessed wilderness. I have often thought what a wonderful people we would have been if we had wanted to keep it that way.

~Adolph Murie, biologist, on Denali


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