Kytka’s Reviews: Spiritual Syllabus & Golden Beetle Books: Geneii of Language
Geneii of Language (was curriculum/math stories)
From the Prologue, “The miracle of words calls on the ego forces of the writer, speaker/listener, and reader – it calls on the Self. The potential in children for self-expression is enhanced by a comprehensive, consistent, and creative language education – this small manual is directed to these high ends.”
Like most of the Golden Beetles, the Geneii of Language is a small booklet, about 90 pages and about 5″ x 7′. It focuses on the language arts main lessons and middle lessons for the first and second grades.
For 1st, the Mains are The Capital Alphabet, Writing of Nature, Letter Combinations, and the Middles are Foreign Language, Story Speech & News, Letter Structure and Spacing
For Second, the Mains are Lower Case Alphabet, 12 Word Families, Reading and Library. and the Middles are Word Games and Lower Case Writing Practice. (The Drama lesson is in a separate drama book.)
Each section gives you an essay on what the general ideas are behind each main lesson, and usually one or more sample lesson ideas is broadly presented to get you started. The rest is up to you to create. Every once in a while you’ll find a complete lesson plan (as in his grade one music book) but usually not. He is chock full of really great ideas that you can then adapt for your own child, but you have to do lots of creating. If that is what you’re wanting to do, then Golden Beetle might be what you’re looking for.
Often, the information is presented in a story or a wacky narrative. Whitehead is an excellent writer. To me, this sort of helps to pull me into the creative brain mood I have to be in to write lessons. Lots of other people either like the style or hate it–sort of like Monty Python or Kurt Vonnegut. He also believe strongly in embracing the home culture, so Australian culture runs deep throughout, thus inspiring me to bring in our unique culture.
These books also completely embrace Waldorf ideas and thus attribute different lessons to different body forces: the language stream of main lessons is a “head” stream; where the middle lessons are really a literary “chest” stream–thus the emphasis on speaking and doing. It sounds odd at first, but then it really helps to remind yourself what type of lesson you are teaching and where the child should be taking this information in. The different streams combine to awaken the child to language holistically.
I can’t really do the book justice other than to put in another quote (from The Writing of the Bush-writing of nature main lesson), “Now let me see, the essence of a language of Nature main lesson is to expand the child’s horizon to realize that language is indeed a universal principle. A bird inscribes a message in the air with its flight pattern; a koala leaves tell-tale scratches in the bark of a smooth gum tree; a tiny pile of sawdust tells of a witchetty grub inside a stump; ants hurrying their eggs to the penthouse indicate heavy rain on the way. Nature is, as a first principle, language.” – Alan Whitehead
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The Spiritual Syllabus Series is by far the most comprehensive catalogue of the Rudolf Steiner teaching program ever produced….