Sunday, August 30, 2009

Postponing Start Date

For anyone waiting with baited breath for our tomorrow start LOL, I've decided to postpone the start until next Tuesday. We have two more morning errands we want to do (get driver's licenses and I want to go to the wood store to get everything for the craft board - I could send Jer but the neighbor said it's a cool store so I want to go) plus Friday Jer is taking off for a Bat Mitzvah party we're going to and he's off Monday for Labor Day, so too much chaos for our first week! Also, tonight (in half an hour) is my first monthly Enki conference call, so I might need to incorporate some stuff that I learn from the call AND most importantly, really, I haven't completely memorized the Movement verses and I don't want to read them out of my book during the Circle. I want to really have them totally memorized and comfortable before we start. I think I have all the Transition Songs down and we practiced Frog today - Elie enjoyed doing the hopping - he actually did better at it than Yoav...

Negative Socialization Experiences

I just wanted to write briefly about our difficulties so far with finding new playmates for Yoav. A big part of the problem I think is that he seems to be becoming more sensitive :( He sulks sometimes and digs his head into the couch if Jer or I say anything to him at all off-kilter - it's helping me to really stay connected *but* it's difficult when it's around other people. We had a playdate with the homeschooling 5.5yo who lives in our town and I think Yoav was trying to hug him or some similar cuddle activity and the boy pushed him away. I said, "I don't think S likes that, Yoav" and Yoav slinked over to me and dug his head into my arm and then didn't want to play with the boy anymore. They stayed for a little bit while I talked to the mom and the boy played on the trampoline and then with the playstand, but then they left when Yoav repeatedly said he didn't want to play with the boy (he wasn't yelling at him or anything, just quietly told me he didn't want to play with S).

Next, yesterday he had a negative experience with his cousin Yonatan - Yonatan and a cousin of his on the other side were playing with cars and Yoav asked if he could play. Yonatan said, "Maybe yes and maybe no." Yoav asked me to ask Yonatan if that was a yes or a no. I didn't ask, but saw that Alex was playing so I said maybe he could just go ahead and play. So he started playing and picked up a car and moved it on the toy parking lot and Yonatan snapped that it was supposed to go in a certain place. Yoav missed the tone (or maybe not) and said he would line all the cars up for Yonatan if he told Yoav where to put them. Yonatan responded with, "Can you just not play with us?" My heart sank :( Good thing Yoav didn't look over me because I was nearly in tears. Maybe he was too which was why he didn't look at me. Nothing against Yonatan - he's an awesome kid - but he's 6.5 and kids just don't have much/any empathy yet at that age. Enki claims true empathy isn't developed until you're a teenager when your frontal lobe becomes fully developed. I've been keeping that in mind when Yoav shows a complete lack of empathy, like when he sometimes laughs when someone gets hurt!

The next event was at Alex's birthday party also. Yoav was playing with the playsilk we gave to Alex and she grabbed it and yelled out, "That's mine!" Blah. Again Yoav kind of slunk now. I think that one hurt more than if it was something else, since it was the playsilk we dyed and Yoav was so excited making it for Alex and also made a few other things out of paper for her and was excited to give her all his hand-made gifts.

Oh one more - we had friends over who have three kids including a 10 yo girl who Yoav used to LOVE. The three kids were in Jer's office playing a computer game. I wasn't there, but Yoav later relayed that he went in and T told him to leave. After that he kept saying (actually still does) that he hates her and on the day it happened he said he wanted her to leave and not to come to our house again.

I talked to Jer last night and we're going to try to set up some experiences that we're pretty sure will be positive. There are two little boys - one 6 and one 4 that are kids of Jer's good friends who live nearby, both of whom are amazingly sweet and unlikely to say/do anything to hurt Yoav's feelings. So we'll set up playdates with them so Yoav hopefully has some positive play experiences under his belt before he gets turned off of kids in general!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Enki September Block

I'm going to lay out all my (edited) plans here - each month I'll have one post with all my Block plans so I can easily reference it:

WEEKLY RHYTHM:
M - Painting; T - Nature Walk or Special Adventure; W - Craft; R - Nature Walk or Special Adventure; F - Baking (challah)
Core story will be read M, T, R

DAILY RHYTHM:
Wake Up / Snuggle
Dress
Breakfast
Clean while children play indoors
Movement/Circle Time - Will start with Jeremy playing with Yoav - some bike riding, going to playground, maybe running/skipping home; Then they'll return home and we will continue with our Movement Verses (see below). On days that Jeremy isn't here, we'll do "Sally Go Round the Moon" after "Come Follow". They both really love the Sally song - I might have to teach it to Jer.
Snack
Creative Play (indoors, while I prep lunch)
Lunch
Quiet Time - I cleared out our guest room for this - I'm going to put the gnome home, wood animals and gnomes in there for Yoav to play with during this time
Core Story on M,T,R - start with lighting a candle and chiming pentatonic xylophone
Project on M,W,F or Creative Play while Elie naps
Outdoor play (trampoline, slide, nature walks around our house)
Settle together (picture book)
Creative Play (indoors, while I prep dinner)
Dinner
Bed Prep - make sure towels are in bathroom, little potty by bed, sippy with water in fridge to bring to bed after snack
Bed Routine - bath, brush teeth, snack, stories ("Time of Wonder" and "Wild Child")
Children Sleep
Clean, relax, prep for next day

TRANSITION SONGS (all are from Enki except the ones noted):
Wake Up / Snuggle / Dress - Morning Song
Wash Hands - Wash Hands, Wash Hands (Waldorf tune we learned in Mommy/Me and have been doing for years)
Meals - Blessings on the Blossom
Clean Up - Earth Who Gives
Movement - Come Follow
Outdoor Play/Nature Walks - Golden in the Garden
Core Story - Ting-a-Ling
Nap (for Elie) - Swing Low
Quiet Time - Sing Me a Song
Baking: Sleeping Seeds
Craft: Wond'rous Hands
Painting: Painting Song (in Mary Schunemann's "This is the Way we Wash a Day")
Settle together - Lovely is the Evening
Bath - My Big Blue Boat (English Folksong - I'm singing the version as sung by Mary Schunemann in "Sing a Song with Baby")
Brush Teeth - Pigeon House
Heading upstairs to read/sleep - Gone to Bed

MOVEMENT ACTIVITY:
Calling Song: Come Follow
Jeremy will play outdoors to get their heartrates up - biking, running/skipping, playground play
Midline crossing activity: Grand Old Duke of York
Balance activity: Horses (balance)
Base sense sequence/s: Stork (vestibular) and Frogs (proprioceptive)
Two to four Hebrew activities: haven't figured this out yet, but will add during this block
Closing: Owl

CORE STORIES:
Week 1: The Bojabi Tree
Week 2: Tiddelick the Frog
Week 3: The Magpie and the Milk
Week 4: The Straw Ox

CRAFT PROJECTS:
Week 1: Tissue Flowers
Week 2: Jingle Strings
Week 3: Pressed Leaf Bookmarks
Week 4: Modeling Wax

Friday, August 28, 2009

Dyeing Playsilks

We dyed playsilks today using the natural dyes from Dharma Trading. One of them (Sandalwood) turned out really beautiful - a peach/pink color, the other (Alkanet) seems like it should have come out purply but was really more grey than purple. We basically followed the directions on the Dharma site which actually suggests soaking overnight for roots, which might be the case with the Alkanet - we'll try that next time. I have to order more silks. We have one huge silk that I think I'll dye with the Sandalwood and hang in the playroom. I'm going to order a bunch more to dye and use as birthday gifts.

Yoav's People Preferences

Yoav just said, "I like Safta better than Saba because I like her hair better. Saba's hair is so white. I don't really like it so much. I really like Safta's. Can I make mine that color one day?"

Updated Transition Songs

I've been listening a lot to the Enki songs this week and am changing a few of my transition songs so I use only my favorites. I changed the baking one, left my morning song the one I've been using instead of the Enki one

Transition Songs (all are from Enki except the ones noted):
Wake Up / Snuggle / Dress - I'm going to use the one Jamie taught me that I've been using for a long time - it goes "The morning sun is shining; Up in the sky so blue; Good morning, Happy morning; Good morning sun to you."
Wash Hands - Wash Hands, Wash Hands (Waldorf tune we learned in Mommy/Me and have been doing for years)
Breakfast - Earth Who Gives
Clean while children play indoors
Movement / Circle Time - Sally Go Round
Outdoor Play - Golden in the Garden
Snack - Earth Who Gives
Enki Story - Ting-a-Ling
Wash Hands - Wash Hands, Wash Hands (Waldorf tune we learned in Mommy/Me and have been doing for years)
Lunch - Earth Who Gives
Quiet Time - Sing Me a Song
[Project on M,W,F] or creative play while Elie naps

Project songs:
Painting: A Painting Song (Waldorf, Mary Anne Schunemann, from This is the Way We Wash-a-Day)
Baking: The Mill
Crafting: Wond'rous Hands
Nature Walks: Plants Grow Upward
Special Adventure or Playdate: Make New Friends but Keep the Old... (I'm so happy with this one - I was thinking and listening to songs and couldn't find one to fit but finally thought of this one and think this is perfect!)

Outdoor play: Golden in the Garden
Settle together - Lovely is the Evening
Wash Hands - Wash Hands, Wash Hands (Waldorf tune we learned in Mommy/Me and have been doing for years)
Dinner - Earth Who Gives
Bed Routine
Bath - Sailor Boy
Brush Teeth - Pigeon House
Snack - Earth Who Gives
Heading upstairs to read/sleep - Gone to Bed

Now I just have to memorize them all by Monday :( I feel like I'm studying for an exam.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Enjoying the playstand



The boys are LOVING the new playstand arch - totally changes the way the playstand is used - they're using the inside area as a fort, kitchen, doctor's office - unfortunately, they're also climbing up on the arch. Makes for great photos, but I don't know how sturdy it is... Elie's always climbing on things anyway, so it probably doesn't matter.

Life is so much easier here. Right now the boys are playing outside with some boxes that aren't strong enough to reuse and we haven't brought for recycling and I'm inside on the computer. Not only is it great that I don't have to help them, but they're actually playing together. The weather seems to be shifting here a little. It's 4pm and there's a nice breeze. Still sunny, but with a breeze. Our backyard is pretty shady so where they're playing now, there's no sun. At 5, we head out for trampolining, visiting the bunny and chickens and playing around the house. We've only been twice to the playground (that is across the street!) because there's so much fun stuff right around the house - trees to examine, dead sticks to play with, boxes, border walls to walk along and jump off of, rocks - oh, and of course the trampoline and slide! I haven't gotten any sand yet for the sandbox, because I want safe sand (www.safesand.com) but don't know where to get it here. I posted to one of my new Israeli natural groups, but no one knew... I guess as long as we go to the beach every week or two the kids will get some sand play time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Felt Cat


I made Yoav a new felt cat from Feltcraft. This was the product of him wanting me to make something yesterday - he wanted me to make a game after he made a few odd games with complicated rules. I said I didn't want to make a game and he started sulking (which he's started to do lately) so I said... "but, I'd love to make a felt animal." Hence the cat. It came out well per the pattern, but I actually don't really love the pattern - Yoav chose it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Craft Activities for Block

First, I'm going to read "Brush Tail Story", a story written by Barbara Berry and Beth Sutton (founder of Enki) in the next few days, maybe twice in preparation for our painting day on Monday - we've been doing wet-on-wet watercolor painting for about two years, but we haven't done any since we've been in Israel and so the story I think will help get us ready for our first painting day in a while.

Projects for our Blocks will be:
1. Our first craft project will be Seasonal Sachets (p. 93). Yoav will enjoy that one and we can just use rosemary from our garden as the filling. We need to paint the fabric so I'll add that to our painting activity on Monday.
2. Second week will be Leaf Cards (p. 110 - page numbers are just for my benefit for easy reference or for other Enki Kindy people who might be looking here) - it's one of the only projects we have all the materials for! We'll do the leaf pressing soon because it's supposed to stay pressed for at least a week. We'll also look for long flexible branches or vines to use for the Seasonal Garlands (p. 87).
3. Next will be Knot Chains/Jingle Strings this Block - I just need to find a source for more bells - p. 63. This craft teaches knot tying.
4. Then we'll do the Ribbon Staff (p. 65), which I need ribbon for. I know there's a few stores in Tel Aviv near Sheinkin that have cheap ribbon/fabric, so maybe one day we can go there when we visit Dave and Nahama in Tel Aviv. I also emailed a friend who lives nearby for craft store options in this area.

So I think I'm all set on my planning! Now I just need to memorize the movement verses and re-read the first story a few times so it's easy for me to read and maybe I can even memorize it.

In preparation for the art projects, we're going to go to a store this week to get wood to make our craft board - I'll take a photo when we're done. It's like a strong clipboard that Yoav can use to attach parts of projects to for ease - like to clip yarn on to tie knots and such.

Other things I need to get for the craft projects:

Enki recommends this:
http://www.garrettwade.com/a-real-solid-hand-drill/p/89B04.01/
I really want one! I wonder how heavy it is and if Jer would be willing to bring it back on his next trip...

Other tools we need are:
saw
clamp
vise
Maybe we can get all that at the place where we'll get the wood (my neighbor told me of a good place in Ra'anana to get wood).

Ooh, Jer's gonna be excited that Enki craft projects involve woodworking!! He's always dreamed of doing more woodworking ;) Seriously - he mentions it at least once every few months.

Also, I have to add a cute random Elie story. This morning Jer hurt his back and wanted Advil. We had a bottle of children's Advil that we've never used but have on hand as part of our medicine cabinet. Elie tried opening it (it has a child lock) and couldn't so then stuck his hand into his shirt and tried opening it with his shirt. I love to see modeling in action! He did it exactly the way I open tough-to-open jars and such. I've seen him try it before, but haven't written it. Once he opened a cardboard box this way and actually managed to get it open with his shirt over his hand. I know he knows why I do it b/c he only did the shirt method today after he tried it first without. Too cute.



Oh, I forgot we finally got the parts we needed for our playstand arch and I put it together and Yoav said he LOVES it!!! We played doctor a little with inside of it being the doctor's office (it worked to calm him about a cut on his finger - he had so much fun w the game that he forgot to scream at me to make the band-aid stay on better LOL).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why did I choose Enki?

A friend of mine asked me to give examples of why I decided to get the Enki curriculum instead of continuing with pure unschooling.

First, this is a blurb about Enki written by Enki - it is a brief paragraph explaining the philosophical difference between Enki and unschooling (note that the Enki founder started off inspired by Holt and the Free School Movement):

"In the Enki approach, we are not looking to "create" or "generate" something. Rather, trusting the natural wisdom of the world, we are looking to perceive and understand it's inherent rhythms and patterns. ... By definition, aligning ourselves with the natural flow of life is the seat of connecting to ourselves and the world around us. In the homeschool a central part of this is finding the rhythms and patterns that support the energetic flow of family life."

Enki is very much about the child's natural learning. High quality free play is "both the goal and the path in early childhood". Enki helps you to provide a nourishing environment that supports this creative play to ensure that it is happening in a healthy, integrating way. Enki says that if the child does nothing but creative play, he loses his rhythmic balance which is exactly necessary for his creative play! This may very well not be true for all children, but it is definitely true for Yoav. He gets agitated and frustrated just playing alone for too long. He'll play happily for a while and then suddenly it will deteriorate and he will want to do an art project with me, which, when he comes up with them, are generally way too complex to actually do in the time we have (like he'll want to make a felt shark while Elie's napping and Elie's already been asleep for an hour and I don't have a pattern or a good idea about how to make a felt shark in the first place (for example)!) Or we just have an unhealthy rhythm and he starts breaking down about seemingly mild issues - he'll spill a little water on his shirt and start crying and wanting it off and saying he needs the very same shirt (but dry). These sorts of things don't happen when we follow a healthy (IMO) contraction/expansion flow.

Kindergarten with Enki involves the following:
Daily: Creative Play; Exercise and Sensory Integration activities; Story
Twice a week: Projects (paint, bake, color, crafts, etc.)

So the only things that are different than most unschoolers are the rhythm, inclusion of sensory integration activities and the specific type of stories that are read.

Rhythm I've already discussed - the basic idea is just that, when well established, the rhythm supports you and helps enable the healthy play which is the key to learning. Enki is much more flexible than Waldorf - there are no times to the schedules - really they're not schedules at all, just routines. Outside play time can be three hours one day and five minutes the next depending on weather or any other reason. With Enki, the important thing is that the order of the day remains unchanged as much as possible - especially the morning (having a strong rhythmic morning can help get through a more chaotic afternoon).

I'll leave sensory integration for last because it's more complicated for me to summarize from 700 pages to one little blog post in any sort of meaningful way :)

For the stories, obviously we all know the benefits of reading to our children. There's a few specific things that are followed in terms of the stories with Enki that might be different:
* In Enki, we work only with stories that use high quality language because children at this age absorb even very subtle nuances completely (this is what I came to want with Yoav anyway, and is why I stopped taking him to the library long ago!)
* Stories are repeated three times during the course of a week - the first time, the story is simply read on the first day, which represents the "open intake". Then the child "sleeps on it" (the second part of the three-part learning process) and finally the story is read a few more times during the week for the child to really be able to take it in and make it his own (the third part of the process). The repetitive storytelling helps develop the desire to deeply absorb the material rather than to simply get entertainment.
* Enki stories are designed to strengthen the child's perception of pattern (a key to strong mathematical skills) - they do so with their strong element of repetition and ordered unfolding.
* Enki says (and this is supported by the Gessell Institute books) that Kindergarten aged children are developing their sense of separateness and independence. However, their is anxiety and loneliness with this exploration and, above all, Kindergarten children need to have a strong sense that life is dependable. They want to know that they can leave home, face challenge, and return home safely and unchanged. The Enki stories provide this.
* Enki (much like Waldorf), says to wait on the real Fairy Tales because they often involve a real separation like death of a parent and a change in status upon completion like becoming king or getting married, which is not what children are (generally) looking for / needing at this age.

Okay, now for Sensory Integration! I'll keep this brief because I want to go to sleep and want to finish this tonight while it's on my mind. Again, we all make sure our kids get exercise, but Enki makes sure specific sensory needs are met. One thing I learned is that starting the day (after breakfast is digested is ideal) with rhythmic activities that get the heart rate going are very supportive of the child's learning and healthy play throughout the day. So with the Movement, we start with something like skipping around the house. Enki Movement Activities also ensure that each of our three base senses (vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile) are nourished and integrated. Also, according to Enki, the brain has several different areas that focus on different skills. To function optimally, we have to be able to move freely between the different areas. So the Enki Movement activities also include midline activities to help with this. Some activities that might be done outside of Enki that would support the senses are moving furniture, hauling wood, mopping, raking, jumping on furniture, horseback riding, playing in sand and mud, kneading dough, swinging, etc. The issue is that it requires strong awareness to ensure that the child's base sense systems and midline development needs are being met. I certainly cannot ensure that myself IMO. I like that the Enki movement activities each clearly show their specific neurological focus, so you choose a few activities to meet the various developmental needs. Enki comes with lots of activities organized by type: Opening Activities, Midline Activities, Base Senses Activities, Fingerplays, etc. There is a DVD that shows exactly how to do each one.

For anyone reading this for whom it resonates for and they want to learn more, there's an Enki Yahoo group called EnkiExperience that has a lot of information about Enki philosophy, rhythms, etc. Also, the Kindergarten book called "Enki Homeschool Teaching Guides: Early Childhood Education" is 250 pages and provides a wealth of information! You can check out the TOC online to get an idea of what it includes.

And, finally, for all my unschooling friends who might be reading this, I just want to make sure it's totally clear that I in no way think there's anything wrong with unschooling in general. I've read hundreds of posts on AU and I've seen people for whom it works beautifully. Just FOR US - somewhat for me and definitely for Yoav - we NEED rhythm to get through a day with no meltdowns and truly Joyful living and learning :)

So there it is. HTH J!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Stories for first Enki Block

The stories for my first Block (I'm doing montly blocks to make it easy for me to remember):

The Bojabi Tree (West African Folk Tale)
Tiddlelick the Frog (traditional Aboriginal Folk Tale)
Persimmon Monster
The Magpie and the Milk (Turkish Folk Tale - it's a "nesting" story - Yoav LOVES this type - like The Old Woman and the Pig, which Yoav had completely memorzied a year ago)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Roasted Eggplant

WOW - I just made roasted eggplant with tahina dip from the Janna Gur "The Book of New Israel Food" and it is AMAZING. It was my first time successfully roasting eggplant over a flame on the stove. Oh, maybe it's because of the awesome Viking stove I get to use :) Usually I roast it in the oven, but this was is MUCH better - tastes smokier and heavenly especially with the tahina! Needless to say, Jer was pretty psyched with me when he tried it :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Movement Activity

Next I have to plan out my Circle. I'm planning to do a formal Circle, because we were doing a Circle for a while when we were doing Waldorf and it seemed to be working pretty well at home. Yoav didn't always do it all, but often he was mesmerized by the movements and would participate fully. I think since we did a formal Circle in our Waldorf Mommy/Me class, he knows what it's about and enjoys it.

The format is:
Circle Calling Song: Come Follow
One or two group forming/ body engagement activities (openings): Sally Go Round the Sun (we'll skip around the house to get the heart rate up)
One or two midline crossing activities: Grand Old Duke of York
One recorder prep or balance activity: Horses (balance)
One or two base sense sequence/s: Stork (vestibular) and Frogs (proprioceptive)
Two to four Hebrew activities: will ask friends this weekend who do Waldorf for ideas - Jeremy will lead this part
One closing: Owl

The Calling Song and closing will be the same all year - the rest will change monthly each time we start a new Block.

I just chose these based on the movements/finger plays meeting the appropriate neurological requirement and I read the verses and related movements and I think Yoav will enjoy them. Next I'll watch the Movement DVD to make sure they all look do-able for us and fun/engaging for Yoav.

Next steps are to choose crafts and stories for the Block and memorize the story and movements.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Updated Schedule

I'm changing the schedule around a little. I'm thinking/hoping that Jeremy can/will take part in the Morning Movement so he can do a few activities in Hebrew.

Weekly Rhythm: M - Painting; T - Nature Walk or Special Adventure; W - Craft; R - Nature Walk or Special Adventure; F - Baking (challah)
Daily Rhythm:
Wake Up / Snuggle
Dress
Breakfast
Clean while children play indoors
Movement/Circle Time (this will include 2-4 activities led by Jeremy in Hebrew)
Outdoor Play (pool on Tuesdays, maybe beach on Thursdays) - I'm thinking this will sometimes/often be led by Jeremy while I prepare lunch which will be our big meal
Snack
Enki Story (from Block - a new story per week)
Lunch
Quiet Time
[Project on M,W,F] or creative play while Elie naps
Outdoor play (playground and trampoline, will be creative play on Fridays)
Settle together (will test over the next week to see if a picture book or drawing works better here)
Dinner prep
Dinner
Bed Prep - make sure towels are in bathroom, little potty by bed, sippy with water in fridge to bring to bed after snack
Bed Routine - bath, brush teeth, snack, stories ("Wynken, Blynken, and Nod" and "Grandfather Twilight")
Children Sleep
Clean, relax, prep for next day

Transition Songs (all are from Enki except the ones noted):
Wake Up / Snuggle / Dress - Morning Song
Wash Hands - Wash Hands, Wash Hands (Waldorf tune we learned in Mommy/Me and have been doing for years)
Breakfast - Earth Who Gives
Clean while children play indoors
Movement / Circle Time - Sally Go Round
Outdoor Play - Golden in the Garden
Snack - Earth Who Gives
Enki Story - Ting-a-Ling
Wash Hands - Wash Hands, Wash Hands (Waldorf tune we learned in Mommy/Me and have been doing for years)
Lunch - Earth Who Gives
Quiet Time - Sing Me a Song
[Project on M,W,F] or creative play while Elie naps
Painting: A Painting Song (Waldorf, Mary Anne Schunemann, from This is the Way We Wash-a-Day)
Baking: Sleeping Seeds
Crafting: Wond'rous Hands
Outdoor play - Golden in the Garden
Settle together - Lovely is the Evening
Wash Hands - Wash Hands, Wash Hands (Waldorf tune we learned in Mommy/Me and have been doing for years)
Dinner - Earth Who Gives
Bed Routine
Bath - Rub a Dub Dub, Three Men in the Tub (not Enki, but we've been using this for years)
Brush Teeth - Pigeon House
Snack - Earth Who Gives
Heading upstairs to read/sleep - Gone to Bed

For Nature Walks, I'll use Golden in the Garden

Preparing for Homeschooling

I've been really busy using all my free time to prep for our year to start on Sep 1. I'm so excited. Yoav disintegrates pretty quickly when we stray from a healthy routine, so I have high hopes (hopefully not too high LOL).

We're doing Enki Homeschooling, which I've decided for so very many reasons is better than unschooling for now. There's so much I think could be missed with unschooling - so much stuff I didn't even know about until I read the 500 page Enki Teacher's Guide - sensory integration, proprioception, etc, etc, etc. Enki comes with so much material - two huge movement books plus CD with a zillion finger and circle movements, each with a description of it's neurological focus. I'm really glad I've come to find Enki and got the curriculum - thanks R for the push!

So far, I've got our daily/weekly rhythm worked out (I think). I'll try it for next week without specific stories and crafts to see how it feels. For the school year, I'll do monthly blocks which will each have a set of movement activities for the Exercise Walk (which is a way of doing Circle Time at home without it feeling contrived or strange) and I'll do a new story each week and new craft each week. I'm going to work on choosing Transition songs tonight.

Jeremy's working from home from about 3pm to midnight, so we're going to have a bigger lunch and a small dinner so he can join us for the big meal. So I should be able to prep lunch while he plays with the kids if they need/want him. I'll probably go to the grocery store on Tuesdays or Thursdays at the time when I'd otherwise do a project (in parentheses). Or maybe Jeremy will just go for me in the mornings ;)

Weekly Rhythm: M - Painting; W - Craft; F - Baking (challah)
Daily Rhythm:
Wake Up / Snuggle
Dress
Breakfast
Clean while children play indoors
Circle Time (starting with skipping around the house and singing transition song)
Outdoor Play (pool on Tuesdays)
Snack
Story (from Block - a new story per week)
Creative play and lunch prep
Lunch
Quiet Time
[Project on M,W,F] or creative play while Elie naps
Outdoor play (playground and trampoline, will be creative play on Fridays)
Settle together (story - picture book chosen by the kids)
Dinner prep
Dinner
Bed Prep
Bed Routine
Children Sleep
Clean, relax, prep for next day

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Too busy to update :)

Just wanted to post that for anyone coming here looking for updates on our move, you're unlikely to see much in any sort of timely manner :) I've been so busy unpacking, organizing and reading and preparing for homeschooling to start, that I have too little time on the computer. We haven't even set up our computer with our photos yet, so I haven't been able to download pictures and get them onto Flickr! Sorry for that! Maybe I can pester Jeremy to do it tomorrow!

Homeschooling-wise, I'm starting Enki homeschooling on Sep 1, which is when public school starts here. I'm LOVING everything I'm reading in preparation. I'm currently reading the Teaching Guides and am up to page 400 but still have 300 pages to go plus I have to figure out our rhythm, so I have a LOT to do. Information is at enkieducation.org for anyone considering Enki and there's also a Yahoo group called EnkiExperience for people considering purchasing the curriculum. I'll be posting a lot more about it as I get closer to starting and then will be posting my schedules and updates and activities as I go.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Yoav and Competition

The only update on our move is that we are sifting through all of our boxes and getting the house in order. We set up the playroom today and it looks great. Yoav seems very happy with it. I had gotten each of them a new toy from Nova Natural (Yoav got two little animals and Elie got a stacking toy) - they got them today when the playroom was set up and they were both happy with them. Although Elie's favorite new "toy" is the plastic bag holder that was left under the sink. It's a plastic vertical bin thing that the plastic bags get pushed into. I wrapped the bottom with a thin towel so it won't scratch the floor and he pulls it around all over the house, even up and down the stairs and once brought it with us on a trip! Oy! And the boxes and wrapping paper of course are a huge hit. We have two playrooms - one on the main level that's really pretty and then the basement playroom that has a limestone floor. The main one is for most play - playstands, kitchen, books, vehicles, animals, gnome home and the basement one is for blocks both so we don't end up with blocks all over the living area and also so the blocks don't scratch the wood floor.

In other news, yesterday Yoav made up a game to play with me - he drew a picture on a piece of paper and crumpled up that piece and a blank piece and threw one to me. Whoever had the one with the picture won. We played twice so we each won once and he said, "I'm going to draw a picture on this one (the blank one) because it's not happy to be the person who doesn't win." He's a few years younger than Alfie to figure it all out :)

Yoav and Elie also had a lot of fun together today on the playground. We went for a dessert/coffee at the home of the sister of the man who we're renting from. She has a husband and a 16month daughter. It was pretty fun and I got to ask her a lot of questions about the neighborhood, which was helpful. They're only a few blocks away from us. On the way home, we stopped at a playground and Yoav and Elie were going on the slide together. It was so cute b/c they would climb up it one after another and then would play a little on top and then come down either together (once with Elie in Yoav's lap) or one after another. There was a lot of laughing and bonding going on. It's interesting to watch them play together outside of the house because sometimes Elie takes the lead. For instance, Elie started climbing up, then going to a ladder thing and hanging and hovering over the ladder, then jumping a little and then going back to slide down. When Yoav noticed, he began to imitate Elie, so they'd both do the same sequence.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yoav's Occasional Empathy

So for anyone reading who knows Yoav, OF COURSE I know he's usually a pain in the neck!!! :) BUT, he does have moments when he's pure heart. Two recent examples:
* The other day when I was sick, he was so sweet to me. He kept kissing me and hugging me and telling me he loves me. He even asked me if he could get me anything - he said he could make me a sandwich or get me a drink. I asked him for a cup of water and he managed to get a cup and open the fridge to get water out and pour it and put it all back and bring it to me!!! Not so impressive, but he's certainly never gotten HIMSELF water!!! And the way he asked was so sweet. He was trying to think of something he could do to help me.
* In a similar vein, today we went out for dinner at a friend's house nearby (they actually live on the other side of Hod Hasharon). Elie doesn't want any help getting into and buckling his car seat - I have to put him down outside the car and he climbs into the car, then into the car seat and then attempts to buckle himself. The problem is that he can't actually do the main buckle himself, so I did that part, which upset him terribly. I validated and got into my seat and we headed home. Yoav said to him, "But it's night time, Elie. See, Father Sun has gone to sleep. And Alex and Yonatan went home. It's time to go to sleep." Then after that, he told Elie he loves him and blew some kisses.
These are the moments I try to keep in mind when he's torturing me!

On dinner, we went to Noam and Nicola's house - they have three kids - 12yo boy, 9yo girl, 4yo boy. They live on the other side of Hod Hasharon, which is about a five minute drive. They had a lot of people over that we know and had salads and barbecue outside. A few people asked me about learning hebrew. One woman, Stephanie, who is originally from Silver Spring, MD and moved to Israel when she was 12, was really nice and said to just take it slow. She told me about a friend of Nicola's who has been in Israel for three years and only knows a few words of Hebrew - probably an exaggeration, but the fact is that I can get by without Hebrew (not that I *want* to, she was just letting me know that I *could*!) Two other people, though, were pushing about the kids learning Hebrew and I felt a little uncomfortable. I chose to homeschool long before I chose to move to Israel, so I'm certainly not going to put the kids in school just to learn Hebrew. I'm just going to wait and see what happens. I assume/hope we'll make some friends in the neighborhood so the kids will play with other kids at the playground. We have a homeschooling friend on the other side of town (near Noam and Nicola, I think) who we can meet up with some to play - they also have three kids - 13yo boy, 10yo girl and 5yo boy.

In other news, Elie jumped today for the first time - a real jump - from standing on a hard floor, two feet off the ground.

No more news - we're busy unpacking - so far so good with that...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trip to Ramot / Yoav and Math / Organic Food

So many updates!

First, we took a three-day trip up to Ramot, in the Golan Heights. It was really pretty up there - just across the Kinneret from Tiberias. Unfortunately, it was still really hot - we were hoping for a reprieve from the hot weather, but it wasn't to be found! We were in little cabins with a king bed, jacuzzi, separate room with two small beds and a bathroom. Each family we went with had a separate cabin, which included Dave/Nahama and family, Dan & Livnat, Jer's parents and Nahama's mother. The first day we just went to the pool when we got there. Yoav went with Dave and Yonatan and Dave helped him with his swimming a lot. By the end of his time with Dave, Yoav was comfortable putting his head under and lying on his back in the water, jumping in (very small jump to Dave!) and seemed close to being able to doggy paddle. I think he'll be swimming fairly soon. He's been to the pool very few times in his life and really enjoys the water now. We might join our local pool - just trying to decide if it's worth the money...

Mathwise, there were a few comments. One day when Yoav was with Jeremy at a store, there was a sign with the numbers 1, 2 and 3. Yoav said, "Look, they're all prime numbers!" I love that his mind thinks like that!!! And another day Yoav said he wanted 100 of something and he said he already had one and asked Jer what the number one less than 100 is. Then he said he wants 99 more. It might not seem interesting at first glance, but it's a different way of thinking than just asking how many more from 1 it takes to get 100. He realized intuitively that 1+ (100-1) = 100. And yes, I know it's not a genius equation, just that it's not the way most people think...

The last good news is that we went to the awesome organic warehouse store today!!! It's in Moshav Adonim, which is really close to us (a few minutes drive). They don't have meat, but they have almost everything else I need (95% organic and mostly kosher) - produce, fresh herbs, dried beans and grains, oils, vinegars, spices, honey, tahina, eggs and cleaning products. They don't have any pricing, you just have to buy and assume it's decent. As a comparison, I bought the same jelly I bought at Bio-Center - it was 23 Shekels at Bio Center and 13.90 here! The tomatoes are an amazing price - 5.90 per kilo - it's so great here with tomatoes - they're good enough and cheap enough that you can make your own sauces instead of having to rely on canned tomatoes because the tomatoes in the States are usually so poor!

Back to unpacking. I've unpacked most of my sewing stuff in my new sewing/guest room - my favorite room :) The family we're renting from left a huge wardrobe thing in the room, which has a lot of shelves and turns out to be perfect for all my sewing baskets :)