I am looking at a few alternative homschooling options and an very interested in Enki. Does anyone know how I can hear what parents with experience using the Enki curriculum think of it?
I found this thread to be helpful!
I have been using Enki for the past few years and really love it. It has really changed my children's view of homeschooling and "education". The literature that they use for storytelling is amazing, it really seems to target the child's developmental stage in life. The Enki site just set up "interviews" with women using the curriculum, and it is on their website under "teas". These are helpful to review to get a general understanding of how the overall curriculum works. Hope this helps.
Hi winniethefred, I think posting your question here is a great way to start finding out more! I see several people have already made suggestions. There is such a wealth of information in the "video tea" chats recently added to eee.enkieducation.org, I agree with others here that these are a must see. Also, please expand on specifics of what you are wondering about and/or your child(ren)'s ages. It looks like there are several already following this thread and perhaps we can respond here with more detail in regards to what you are wondering about.
A bit about me, I'm finishing up Kindergarten with my 6 year old, working on my 1st Grade planning, have discovered that my 4 year old is met by the same curriculum stories as my older child (I'm still surprised by this, two very different children!) so learning more about adapting a single curriculum to meet the developmental needs of two ages.
I was introduced to Enki by a friend who had found it on the internet many years ago. By chance I went to a brief presentation that Beth Sutton (owner and developer) gave for a bunch of parents with preschool age kids who were looking at the available (home)schooling options around here. My parents were both teachers and I grew up with dinner-table discussions of didactics and school-policy. Beth Sutton's presentation intrigued me and I looked further. I ended up buying my first package of Enki materials at the end of 2007 and have read, tried out and worked with it and three subsequent packages since. I continue to learn (big-time) and to be amazed at the depth of exploration and process that this approach takes me to while at the same time being extremely useful on a nuts-and-bolts level.
Until recently, I gave not much thought to the serendipitous chances that put our homeschooling journey on its course and I am not a particularly tech-driven person, but I feel that I have finally caught up to the way information travels these days and I have come to appreciate customer reviews (be it on amazon, yelp, or here) as a way to help me find important resources. So, in the spirit of 'paying it forward' and 'civic responsibility' (can you tell that I'm teaching the American Revolutionary period right now?), I am posting a review of the Enki curriculum.
Whether you want a clear, easy-to-follow layout of how you could teach in a fun and meaningful way or whether you are looking for guidance in developing a profound understanding of learning, teaching and human development, Enki could fit the bill. Two disclaimers are in order, however: First, even if your curriculum guides are easy to follow, homeschooling is still a job, IMO, and Enki does not make it less of a professional one, rather the opposite. And second, with Enki, it's not only the kids who are called to learn; every Enki parent I know has come into contact with her/his own learning edge at some point. That said, I have found Enki to be both an extremely well thought out 'how to' guide for teaching elementary age kids (with solid 'materials libraries' available for grades K to 3), and a blueprint for delving deeper, for examining how the choices we make in parenting and homeschooling affect everything else in our children's (and our family's) lives.
Enki education is a wholistic, developmentally focused, global cultures curriculum, in which all academic learning is introduced through the arts. In less technical terms: In Enki education everything we teach hangs together. There is no traditional division into 'subjects' (although in the instruction manual, for the parent and for sake of organizational clarity, things are spelled out in terms of math, language arts and science.) However, my kids have not experienced this disctinction in their school-days and certainly do not 'compartmentalize' their understanding that way.
Developmentally focused: What I bring to my kids each year relates to where they are in their development – intellectually, emotionally, and in terms of where they are in their path towards individuation. Enki teaches to watch the children for cues to determine when to teach what, or when to move into first grade, or second grade. This can be tricky at times, but I have found that the awareness of these developmental shifts and my interest in observing them already makes a huge difference. The kids certainly respond very differently to me when I operate from an honest desire to meet them where they are. I still face grumpy mornings and boundary-testing, of course, but I don't have to make them sit down to do something that is not relevant or engaging to them.
Global cultures: Over the years, we meet and engage with many different cultures from around the world. In K and G1 this is done lightly, reading folk and fairy tales from all over the world. In G 2, we typically spend 2 months with one culture, reading traditional tales and a carefully crafted story about a historical character. From G3 on up, we go even deeper, spending 4-5 months with each culture and meeting many historical personalities. We engage in traditional crafts, cooking, building projects, song and dances from the culture in focus. – We have sewn doll-sized scrap-quilts, made various different types of pottery (and fired some ourselves in an open pit), harvested wood and built a longhouse, experimented with soil and clay to find a good mix to make bricks (and watched our adobe mini-shelter slowly disintegrate when exposed to New England weather), woven beads, built a brush-hut, sewn leather and birchbark, woven baskets, felted thrum-hats, drummed, tapped, built bamboo stilts, and cooked and eaten all sorts of dishes that the kids would never otherwise have consented to even try. By now they are really good with their hands (and tools) and assume that anything can be made. Through our cultural 'journeys' we have met a number of interesting people and I have been amazed at how many people are happy to help when they see that we are honestly making an effort to make a relationship rather than study their culture as a 'them' kind of curiosity.
The children not only do a lot of things that are fun to them, but are engaged with what is occupying them on a developmental level. In this way, they experience their own deep interest mirrored in stories from many cultures around the world. They learn (on a subconscious level) that what occupies them is both valid and shared: As humans, we are all on the same journey. They also learn that there are many different ways of doing things, and mine have come to look at differences in a surprisingly nuanced way.
All academic learning is introduced through the arts: We do a lot of movement, singing, story reading, drawing, painting, dancing, cooking, making things - mostly fun stuff (so motivation is not usually a problem for us (but lack of time may be)) and very effective in learning to boot. As much recent research demonstrates, movement develops the brain (and as a bodyworker and movement professional, I see this all the time). Enki gives great guidance on how to use gross motor movement (with songs and verses to engage the kids) to further sensory integration and fine motor movement (through crafts and building tasks as well as academic work) to build brain and memory. (It also improves mother's stamina, since I do quite a bit of singing and talking while jumping around. - Of course you could also tape things and save yourself that particular challenge.)
All in all, I am very satisfied with how Enki has worked for us. When my kids are elsewhere (taking a class or with other people) they are typically commended for their focus and their ability to listen and to engage with what they are doing. Enki has showed me how to teach the usual grade-level skills (and more) in a very thorough (and fun) way. (I grew up speaking German and how in the world anyone could teach reading in English was beyond my imagination. (I love the language, but spelling rules? oy!) - As it turns out, the way the Enki materials lay it out was clear, fun, and worked great.) At the same time, Enki has given me enough background information for every step on the way that I now feel confident teaching fourth grade and prepping for G5 even though the materials libraries are not (yet) available. But for K to G3, all the details are spelled out. The materials are comprehensive and beautiful and I can highly recommend the program.
Wow Simone - that has to be the most thorough Enki review that I've ever read! Thank you! I am researching Enki along with some other things. I did a classical/living books approach for my son in Kindy and definitely feel we need a change. I just can't decide if that change should be Waldorf or Enki, and if Waldorf, which program....lol. Thank you for giving some more information on Enki!
Crystal (34) married to LPN DH (38) , mama to (7/07), (1/09), and (7/11) and (12/28)
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