Enki Education

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Simone

  • Reviewed on Sunday, March 16, 2014
  • Grades Used: K-G4
  • Dates used: 2008-present
A friend introduced me to Enki Education 7 years ago. Since that act of serendipity has profoundly changed my parenting and my life in many positive ways, I am writing this review to “pay it forward.” Enki is not just an extremely well-thought out educational method, it is also a philosophy of life-with-kids, and a wellspring of personal growth for me.

I bought my first Enki package 6 1/2 years ago when my older daughter was 3 1/2 and have been working with the method since then. Currently, there are complete packages (guides and aptly named 'resource libraries') for Kindergarten, G1, G2 and G3 available. Each package came with a support structure of group phone calls (with the developer of the method available to answer questions), online discussion fora, Q+A databases, etc. While the Enki method is not equivalent to the materials (an easy misconception, given that the materials encompass several fat ringbinders full of stories and detailed how-to instructions, DVD's, CD's with songs and academic verses – EVERY YEAR), the resource libraries have allowed me to 'learn by doing,' so that I now teach fourth grade by pulling my own stuff together. In short, I have learned a tremendous amount, while teaching my children (G1 and G4) in a fun and exciting way.

One of the first things that impressed me with Enki-as-educational method was how seeds for understanding are planted (usually through movement) often years before the concept is “officially” taught. For example, I have just done fractions with my fourth grader, planning to introduce the common denominator next week. - It turns out, there is no need for me to introduce more than the technical term, as my daughter has figured out the concept herself. But then, we have been clapping multiplication tables (with specific different clapping patterns for all that are divisible by 3, or 4, or 5), color coding, and messing around with manipulatives for years. As a result, I see her pulling ideas from deep body-knowledge and remembering concepts not in isolation, but as part of her own explorations.

Before I had kids, I used to teach study skills, text analysis, memory and thinking techniques to kids and adult alike. I have always been fascinated with how we learn and how to make the learning process efficient and enjoyable. The three fold learning process that Enki uses and lays out in detail has taught me the importance of open attention and digestion times, long before we try to nail down specific skills, for the formation of cross-connections and transferable understanding. It has allowed me (in hindsight) to understand when and why my own learning (fortunately only in grad school) became a chore. I now organize not only my kids' schooling but also my own professional continuing education according to the three-fold learning process. - Who knew that efficiency could be so enjoyable!

My biggest recommendation for anyone considering to use Enki would be to give yourself time to familiarize yourself with the material leisurely (it comes in a big box, which can be quite overwhelming if you feel that you need to teach from it next week, - or next month). I happened to buy my first package so early (just couldn't wait) that my kids were not 'school-age' by any standard, and I was able to spend half a year sorting out the rhythm of our days (they are big on that) and browsing where my interest took me. The (sense of) rhythm that I developed back then has carried us through many rough parenting spots, kids' growing pains and tired-mother times and may well be the most foundational of all the gems I have found in Enki.

rootchildren

  • Reviewed on Sunday, April 18, 2010
  • Grades Used: K/1st
  • Dates used: 2006-present
I bought Enki on a bit of a whim-- which is not like me especially because there is a higher cost to this curriculum (you truly do get what you pay for!)-- I had never purchased a curriculum before and my son was only 3. I knew we wanted to homeschool and I love a lot of the waldorf philosophy and I was very interested in the multicultural aspect. We ended up using the K curriculum for two years and I will likely use the 1st grade curriculum for 1.5-2 years, before we move to 2nd. There is a lot of stories-- and I love that I will most likely choose different stories for my subsequent children-- stories that will speak to their differences.

I am so glad I purchased Enki. I am in absolute awe of the materials and in awe of the flow of my family.

Enki is not a cookie cutter curriculum-- it is much deeper. So with that there is an 'overwehlm' When the boxes arrive it does seem like so much read and so much to plan and figure out. But once I got into it I could not imagine life any other way. I would say that we do not follow enki to a tee... and if you did get caught up in doing it 'perfectly' it could be frustrating. But like in life there is no true 'perfect' and if you have that kind of simple, joy driven lifestyle... this would be great for you. I use my children as my meters and if they are not drawn to something, then we move on. -- but seriously that rarely happens, because the enki stories are captivating.

I also think it is good to note that there is a small starting up booklet now that helps with that first planning stage and that has proved helpful for many people. There is also an amazing online community-- yahoo groups-- where enki families share ideas, support, good books to read, recipes :) -- it is really a community (even materials!! one awesome mom sent me some boxes that I will use in 2nd grade...) And the monthly conference calls are wonderful ..

I highly recommend this curriculum for any family wanting to enjoy simple living and learning with their children, and to watch their children discover the world in holistic way

taimarie

  • Reviewed on Sunday, April 18, 2010
  • Grades Used: k-2nd
  • Dates used: 2004-present
I discovered Enki Education about 6 years ago. As a new teacher and self-proclaimed education junkie, I was reading everything I could get my hands on that could offer a more holistic perspective on educating children. I was searching for an educational philosophy with depth and heart, and without dogma and I found it in Enki.

As both a teacher, and now a homeschooling parent, Enki provides so much that just isn’t available elsewhere. The guides are an amazing source of information and philosophy on children and education. The Developmental Immersion Mastery approach to learning, with concepts chosen to meet a child at their developmental level and then to immerse the child in knowledge through stories, arts, projects and manipulatives is unique and allows not only for a depth of knowledge, but also connectedness to the subjects being taught.

The curriculum materials themselves are of exceptional quality (again, I am an education junkie, I have seen a lot of materials!) and though their sheer magnitude might seem overwhelming at first, this allows a parent to choose what their child needs and will be drawn too. The value for your money for the homeschooling resources truly is incomparable.

I am constantly amazed at how integrated this curriculum is. Nothing is taught without being linked to the whole. Art is woven through science and math. Music and movement are part of every day, and the rhymes and songs are chosen to meet children’s sensory needs and to teach curriculum concepts. Culture and world issues are lived through the cultural units that include all subject areas. Stories teach math concepts and science concepts and language arts concepts, yet they are not preachy or didactic, they are beautiful, quality tales that allow a child to feel a sense of deep understanding and discovery.

As well, the level of support and the community that surrounds Enki is unique. Families choose Enki because they want their children to experience the rich and profound education it provides, and they are therefore excited to share with other Enki families who are on the same journey. The yahoo groups and conference calls are a regular source of information and inspiration. And to have Beth Sutton, the founder of Enki Education, available for consultation when you get bogged down with the realities of homeschooling is a lucky thing indeed!

Enki Education has been a great gift both to me as a teacher and to our homeschooling family. I feel the philosophy and contemplative nature of Enki weaves itself through our days and shapes our family life in a beautiful and profound way. This feels like the very best education I could offer my children and the children in my care.

connectedroots

  • Reviewed on Saturday, April 17, 2010
  • Grades Used: Kindergarten and 1st
  • Dates used: 2008 - present
My experiences with Enki Education have surpassed my expectations. I was attracted to Enki because of its holistic approach to education. What I didn't realize was that this approach not only applies to my son and to me, his teacher, but it applies to how our whole family operates. It has been transformational.

The Enki resources are impressive in their depth and breadth. It would take countless hours to amass the diversity of stories and activities that meet children at the different stages of development, which mirror the human experience as told from many different cultures. What really stands out, though, is the educational theory, which resonated strongly with my values and intuitively felt very “right” in terms of my feelings about how my children are developing and learning. Though the language felt a little foreign at first, it was easy to make sense of the ideas through the use of examples and metaphor. Applying the educational theory requires work, challenging and meaningful work that can leave a parent feeling a little vulnerable and raw, but in the end, the work manifests an openness to creating an educational experience with the child that goes so, so far beyond the three Rs. Someone looking for a quick to implement curriculum should probably look elsewhere.

Enki provides a different approach to education and child development, like Waldorf and Montessori are different views of how a child learns and develops. Though pieces of other educational theories are interwoven in Enki, it is a totally unique incarnation of holistic education. Because the ideas might feel foreign to traditionally educated parents, people might feel a rigidity to the application of Enki – that its application requires certain toys and adherence to specific life choices. In reality, the application of the theory is as diverse as the families and children that practice it. The reality is that Enki is about developing skills and using tools to respond to the unique development of each child to maximize his/her educational experience and optimize his/her wellbeing. In fact, Enki is about maximizing the whole family’s experience. It is so deeply recognized by Enki that, especially in the homeschool, the family’s wellbeing is inextricably tied to the child’s wellbeing. This is very affirming to a homeschooling parent.

Enki is not for everyone. However, for someone whose interest is piqued, I encourage further investigation. One cannot understand what Enki is by reading a website or review, or even by participating in discussions, it must be experienced. For a family that is interested in what Enki represents, it is advisable to purchase the foundation guides first to determine whether the ideas resonate with the family’s ideas. Even if the decision is made to not purchase any of the grade level materials, the foundation guides are rich with meaningful ideas and information that are of value to any family, even if they decide to use another homeschooling resource.

The value of the Enki materials is far undervalued. It would take years of reading educational theory to gain the interwoven knowledge represented in the guides and many more hours and dollars than I have to amass the curriculum resources. It is all there, with extras. The real-world support, in the form of respectable online communities, monthly conference calls, and support from the director of Enki, is the heart of Enki’s flexibility, providing acknowledgement that educating our children is a dynamic process, which presents many questions, requires much reflection, and necessitates support.

As we navigate the experience that is Enki, in our unique way, it is clear that my children’s innocence and awe is fostered and respected, that form them learning happens while living, not while “doing school”, that their motivation to participate in their education comes from deep within, and that as they are learning to respect and know themselves, their sense that the community of earth, humanity and self are an interwoven whole is affirmed.
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