In Part Two of this series I commented: “ Once I get a general flow, I start thinking….. Which biographies or stories will I pick to accomplish these goals? What will our warm –up be, our practice be, what will our recall be from the day before and deepening this older material be, what will the new material be? It sounds daunting, but once you get into it and start planning, it will flow..”
This is where you get to be an artist.
A great artist for the child in front of you.
So, for example, if I am looking at the Fifth Grade story of Gilgamesh, I will be thinking of academic capacities (what does my child need to work on with conjunction of this story and what will lead up this — for example, are there forms that would tie in with Gilgamesh that would prepare the eye for writing, things we could do to prepare the body and hand for writing if writing is our goal or rhythm if our goal is skip counting, etc). You really need to know what you are trying to accomplish academically in each grade and in each block.
I will also think of artistic capacities in conjunction with the story, biography or subject matter (will we model in clay? Paint? Make a diorama? Carve clay flat or model in some other way? What is needing deepening or a foundation in using art to express the inner qualities of ourselves and the saga of Gilgamesh?). Lastly, I think about moral or spiritual capacities – does my child need to hear about the spiritual descending to earth of this culture, the despair of Gilgamesh and what happened to overcome it, the anger of Gilgamesh and the aftermath of that (– look at the child in front of you and that will tell you what you need to spend more time or detail upon in telling this story! A good storyteller can read his or her audience!)
And I think of the spiritual capacities….Where does this really fit in with the archetypal journey of human development and with my specific child?? Am I developing goodness, truth and beauty? Wonder and awe? Love?
Once you read through all the materials pertaining to a subject, you let it rest and digest it, I think the answer will come as to what you want to emphasize. The parts that you emphasize are the parts that you end up working with and deepening. This cannot be found in a curriculum, but by looking at your child.