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I'm just getting a feel for this right now. My kids are 4, 3, and 1, and I've been doing Letter of the Week (letteroftheweek.com) with the older two but want to start a 'real' curriculum with them when my son starts kindergarten. If you don't use a curriculum at all, or you make it up yourself, I'd love to hear about that as well. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Off to go search the forums to figure out what unschooling is, exactly...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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We use <a href="http://www.enkieducation.org" target="_blank">Enki</a> and <a href="http://www.oakmeadow.com" target="_blank">Oak Meadow</a>. We are finishing up our first year - kinder. I love both curriculums very much. Here is a pasting of why I love both and choose to use both as opposed to one.<br><br><span style="color:#000000;"><span style="font-family:Verdana;">I love the openness of Enki. I love the massive amount of resources in Enki. I love the multi-culturalism, and the sensory integration through music and movement. I love the rhythm. And I need a bit of structure.<br><br>
I love the flexible structure of OM. I actually had Staples cut the bindings off all my OM books, three-hole punched them, and put them in binders like my Enki materials. I love that I can pull out the lesson/activities/suggestions for this week's letter/number from one part and the spring nature lesson/activity/story from another part. I love the different suggestions for activities to do, as it frees my mind to take care of my three boys without fretting over lesson planning. I love that OM is so flexible that I can take the basic outline and put in my own activities if I feel. I love that I can still mesh the stories, movement activities, and songs from Enki with OM.<br><br>
To me, the strengths of Enki are ...<br>
*the sheer volume of information - both in the guides themselves and in the resource libraries. There are so many stories that I can read through them and find the ones that I think will best suit my ds and our family. This week I found a great folk tale from the middle east that was about three brothers. He loved it because there are three brothers in our family.<br>
*the sensory integration built into the songs/movement/circle time activities. We don't do a full-blown circle (ours is about 10-15 minutes max), but I can take the suggestions and build on them (for instance, maybe not using an Enki song for vestibular movement, but I can take the idea and incorporate some spinning into the fun obstacle course we are making up outside). I love the reasoning behind the SI stuff and it really resonates with me.<br>
*the multi-culturalism. I love the stories from around the world.<br>
*the relaxed nature. My ds#1 (he's 5 1/2) probably would be reading and spelling now if we pushed him. But he doesn't like workbooks (I workbooks! ), and doesn't like to be pushed. Enki is beautiful for him (as is OM).<br><br>
What I see as the weaknesses of Enki, and these probably are very particular to me rather than a program-wide weakness are:<br>
*the lack of structure. From what I've seen in the guides, there is more suggestions on how to schedule learning blocks starting in first grade. They do have rhythm examples for Kinder. But I would have liked more "instruction" so to speak for *me* in terms of what it means to work with a story for a full week, ways to really bring the story home (not really like Five in a Row but maybe something along those lines; I'm not sure).<br>
*the sheer volume of resources. For me, the amount of resources is both a blessing and a curse. There are weeks or days that I don't want to find the story that "speaks" to me. Or times that I don't want to try that hard to put together the best "rhythm" for us.<br>
*the Nature stories don't always address anything present in our "natural" surroundings. We live in southern CA. This winter we had a whopping 2.5" of rain. The mountains near us would hold snow on the tops for about 2 days and then they'd look brown again. It was hard reading about snow fairies and King Winter when it was 75 degrees and sunny outside.<br><br>
Strengths for OM are:<br>
*the gentle structure. It gives me what I need without feeling overwhelmed or claustraphobic. I can take what I want, use what I want, modify how I need, and still come back to it. The lessons/activities are very gentle towards Kinder; they aren't pushing academics at all (my ds knows basically all his upper case and many of his lower case letters already but is enjoying discovering that the capital B can become a bear or a butterfly for instance). I like that the academics (A-Z capitals only and 1-10) are more holistic than anything I've seen in other Kindy programs. I love the philosophy of really nurturing the entire child (much like Enki).<br>
*the suggestions for activities. Like I said above, I really like the ideas. I use some and I don't use others. And OM gives me the freedom to do that without getting "lost" in the curriculum (there's no feeling, at least so far in Kinder, that if I skip something that we'll realize it later down the road).<br>
*the nature stories. I feel like my son prefers their stories a bit better. They aren't as abstract as Enki, imo, and aren't as mythical/magical. They do personify various aspects of nature (for instance, personifying a raindrop or a flower) like Enki does, but they have a totally different feel. We did not use OM for winter though, so I'm not sure if we'll run into the same issue of winter=snow and cold like we did with Enki.<br><br>
What I feel OM is lacking is:<br>
*multiculturism. It does not have the multicultural emphasis like Enki. We do love all the Beatrix Potter stories. The Goldilocks story was a bit odd, but then again, we often read various versions of stories, so it wasn't something that made my boys think, "huh, what was that about?" I do wish the reading selections had more of a multi-cultural feel to them, but since we use Enki as well, I'm not too concerned about it.<br>
*SI. OM doesn't have much in terms of sensory integration. Since I'm not sure yet how much of an impact SI is having/will have on my boys, it may not be a huge deal. But based on the information in Enki regarding SI, I would rather have it than not. OM provides a "Wee Sing" cd/songbook with their curriculum. It's okay, but if I were using OM exclusively, I would probably try to find other movement/SI resources through a Waldorf bookstore or order the Enki movement portion of their curriculum.<br>
*not as many resources. There are less stories/resources with OM. This is a blessing and a curse for me, much as Enki's sheer amount is. I like sometimes that there is one story for each letter, one story for nature, etc. I don't have to think too hard if I don't want to. But there are times that I don't particularly like the selection given and if I were only using OM, would then want to search for a different story that would yield the same result.<br><br>
With all that in mind, I feel each program, on their own, are excellent programs. My hope is that Enki continues to put out later grade levels so it continues to be an option for us. If I only had OM to use, it would be a wonderful program, and I'd only have to supplement a bit. If I only used Enki, it too would be a wonderful program, though I would have to invent the wheel in terms of structure and progression. That is why, for me (and my boys), using both seems to work so nicely.<br><br>
Oh, and not to confuse things further, but we are also supplementing, in a very relaxed way, with Singapore math. We don't actually "do" the pages, but I use the books as a spring board for furthering activities with different topics or as a discussion of math concepts being covered through OM and Enki. For Kinder, I've used the "EarlyBird Kindergarten" workbooks simple to find some fun ideas to help with the concepts in OM - things like opposites, pairs, shapes, etc. It's kind of hard to explain exactly what it looks like, but like the rest, it works and I don't feel like I betray my desire for holistic education with them (probably because we don't sit down and "do" math, yk?). HTH</span></span>
 

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We are using some bits and pieces from the WTM, Earth School, Everyday Waldorf (Seasons of Joy), and Math U See.<br><br>
I just bought OM 1st grade, and I think that we will start using some of the informal stuff until this fall when we will start the "big" stuff with my oldest. But reading through it, it looks more my son's level, so I might have them both do it and supplement my dd's. She is reading chapter books, so I have a feeling going over the alphabet will bore her socks off her.
 

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We are unschoolers who use a curriculum for math. My younger kids are using Singapore and my older kids Teaching Textbooks.<br>
We use a math curriculum because:<br>
1. My kids like figuring out the problems.<br>
2. It's a subject where there are right answers and my kids like the pride in getting the answer right.<br>
3. My kids like "playing" with numbers and this gives them a chance to do this.<br>
4. They don't have to listen to mom explain everything.<br>
5. They can see that they're learning something.<br><br>
If they really don't want to do math I don't force them, but I do encourage them and try to sneak as much math as possible into real life.
 

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I am interested in this as well, and curious to find out if anyone uses Calvert, because I have heard a lot about it. I just got the Handwriting without Tears preK stuff and it looks really cool though we probably wont try it for 6 months or so. I also like the look of the Explode the Code stuff vs 100 EZ lessons and Phonics Pathways though I'm not sure what we will use. And I love th Kumon workbooks we have, but perhaps later Math U See or SIngapore or Miquon will be better. I like the Noeo (sp?) science and Minimus Latin but have yet to see any of this in person, so who knows? I have read WTM and have mixed feelings about it, but like the idea of Story of the World. I guess my main question is does Calvert (or another company) really do a good job of teaching all the subjects or is it better to pick and choose? I really wish I lived on the same continent as a homeschooling store.<br>
ETA: I'm not really a Waldorfy person, so I think Enki is probably out, and I'm not really a Montessori person, though I think there are a lot of great things in both philosophies. I refuse to deal with anything religious because I believe there must be a secular answer out there if I just look hard enough. But it is oh so confusing<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">.
 
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