Friday, December 31, 2010

we used the whiteboard a lot today because chana really needs work dissecting shorashim. this was intuitive for sarah, but not for chana. i love the white board and it really makes things clear. chana doesn't like not knowing things automatically. the word "yarash" came up in a bunch of different forms today.

shishi is very long...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

so we did half of revi'i spot checking words, and half the full pesukim. then i wanted to do the second half of chamishi, and 2 pesukim in shishi. chana was burnt out before we got to chamishi, and it got progressively harder and harder for her. i insisted on a break even though she doesn't like breaks. but then we went back to it before she was ready. so the end was pretty tough. she handled herself well considering how much she didn't want to do it (as compared to a mere couple of months ago, when she would have been tantrumming and flopping all over the place--is she maturing or just in an easier phase? either way). but her brain could hardly remember the words and translations. i decided not to do rashi today, for which she was grateful.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

snow day III

well after being away at sleepovers for 3 days, chana came home and we hit the book. she did shlishi. she didn't want to do the whole thing. we agreed to do 15 minutes of it. 15 minutes took her right until the last pasuk except for the last half. she was delighted because she didn't have to do the entire thing, and i was delighted that she did it all except that little piece (which she happens to know well-and he built a mizbeach).

then we did chamishi. chana wanted to start from the middle, so we agreed that i would point to the words that she needs to review for the first half, which she did, and which she (mostly) knew. then she whizzed through the second half. then i told her about my 8th grade cantata, where we did the pasuk "and he believed in Gd/and Gd considered it an act of righteousness." i demonstrated a booming voice.

in the middle chana asked me why, whenever i remember something, i look up at the sky. i gave her a very quick nlp lesson about how when we access visual memory we look one way, and when we access imagination we look in a different direction, and now chana can tell if somebody is lying.

then we did rashi. chana at this point was rather done, but she held her temper admirably and got through them. total time 45 min.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

snow day

well, for obvious reasons there aren't really snow days in homeschool. sure, we spend a bunch of hours playing in the snow but that would probably just be part of the curriculum. snow days actually end up being good days to have playdates because the kids that go to school are home. chana was invited to sleep over, which means i won't see her tomorrow at all. so i said i'd like her to do chumash before she goes, and she agreed. she pretty much zipped through chamishi, which is nice. we have one pasuk left in chamishi. she asked if we were going to finish it today, but i said no. may as well wait the extra day and get in another round of chazara. then she's up to shlishi, which she really didn't want to do. it is one of the longer ones. so we agreed to do 15 minutes of chazara. then i turned to shlishi in noach. as soon as she read the word "mabul" she said, "hey, wait a minute..." and we laughed. she did it even though she didn't want to. in 15 minutes she finished about half. there were a LOT of words she didn't remember. and a few she remembered that i was surprised. overall i am not that impressed which how much of noach she remembers. then again, i am a perfectionist. i was impressed that she quickly remembered "na" means "please," a result of lots of chazara. i was not impressed that she still doesn't remember "anochi." (i just did a quick check, though, and sarah knows what it means. so i guess she'll likely remember it at some point).

happy snow day tomorrow! with sarah home to keep an eye on jack and chana away so i don't feel like i should be working with her, elazar and i will hopefully hit the snow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

chana did shlishi today (specially requesting not to do noach). then she did chamishi up to where we are. i had her review the last couple of pesukim a few times. then rashi. 1 hr 15 min no break. now we play the rest of the day :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

and though it was within 5 min, chana read all her rashis pretty correctly. she had some trouble with the translating, but no more than usual. so her willpower beat her need for a break. she is very strong willed.


chana's objections to rashi:

mainly, no nekudos.

this creates all sorts of problems. she can't tell the name. she can't tell past/present/future. she can't tell when the yud is pronounced and when it's quiet. she can't tell when something is a prefix and when something is part of the word. it is very aggravating.

i have always thought that the way to do it is just practice, practice, practice.

chana says the way to do it is i should just tell her, tell her, tell her.
we did chamishi and one new pasuk. i am not feeling strong about the end of revii, and feel like it needs more review. i would have done the milim today, but i had chana review sheni of noach. she acquitted herself nicely, though she needed some words told to her. overall, she actually remembered some of the more difficult pesukim.

then she realized she was doing sheni in noach instead of lech lecha (which i thought would have been clear as it was speaking about noach the whole time) and she started crying (because she didn't want to review noach). i wanted to review another aliya today in lech lecha, but she's not concentrating.

chana likes to work without break to get it done, but at a certain point she needs a break. she said she wanted to do rashi (rather than the 10 min break i wanted to give her). so i started, but she couldn't get the words right and couldn't read the word "avram." so i stopped.

so then chana tried to do the milim from revii, and she's having trouble.

i read something interesting this morning, on a homeschool post about a program that does accreditation for high school homeschoolers, so that when they send their transcripts to colleges it's nicely recorded. you have to fill in instructional hours. somebody made an excellent point. she said: what takes me 2 hrs in the evening, i can do in 20 minutes in the morning, and the morning work is better! instructional hours make no sense without taking that into account.

anyway, so although i would like to do the milim from revii, and would like to do rashi, and have time before i pick up elazar, i am stopping now. maybe we can get back into it today, but chana will likely not be happy about that. she is willing to do the work now--her brain is just not cooperating.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the dreaded rishon

chana cried through the whole thing. she asked me to wait until 2:30 to do it, and i agreed. then, when the time came, she started complaining. i finally stopped her and said: you told me to wait, and i agreed. now it's time. i don't want you to complain about it. i made a concession that we would do only 15 minutes--whatever she covered in that time. (she finished it. i supplied words she forgot).

earlier in the day, we had this conversation:

mommy, i don't want to do noach! i finished it already! why do i have to do it?
do you know it?
then you have to do it so you'll know it.
but i don't want to know it! why are you making me do it?
why am i making you do it?
but i don't care about chumash!!
(hugging her) i know.
the king of sodom went out to greet avram-- chana asks: doesn't that mean hashem will bless the king of sodom, if he blesses avram? because hashem will bless avram's blessers?

chana also asked how the kings of sodom and amora got out of the wells of material that they fell into.

chana did revii and one new pasuk and the rashis (she was pretty burnt out by the time she got to rashi, and didn't do great). i want to do rishon of noach today but she doesn't; nor does she want a break (i want to give her an hour break; she's been working for an hour straight minus one 2 minute playing with elazar break). but jack is awake so an imposed break is coming. will we get to rishon of noach? tune in...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

today we just did revii with the map. we google imaged "plain" so chana could see "the plains of mamre." she asked about the survivor's motivation for telling avram. was he bad? good? so we did the little piece of rashi about him hoping avram would die in battle so he could marry sara. i read it and translated it.

then we did 2 new pesukim. chana is still having some trouble with a lot of the vocab, so i guess it needs more review.

we still have to do rashi. chana feels she worked too hard today (48 min no break except for 2 min toothbrushing) (she thinks it was 50) and should not have rashi. i'm going to give her a long break.

Monday, December 13, 2010

it took about 15 minutes to get through shlishi, though chana kind of ran out of steam for the last 2 pesukim. then we took an hour break, then did some highlight chazara for the first 10 pesukim of revii, then did the next bunch. then the rashis.

chana asked how k'na'an was a slave of slaves (and the kna'ani was then in the land). good question. they were not appearing to be the slave of slaves.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

we did rishon today. chana complained about having to go through it pasuk by pasuk, instead of just words here and there. i said that the fact that she was having trouble with it indicated that she needs to do it. she got through it nicely, and then we did revii starting from pasuk 10, then did one new pasuk, since the new one and the last one have enough new words and phrases to keep her busy. then picked out some tough words from the beginning of revii. then did rashis.

i brought up the idea of doing an aliyah from noach. she yelled, but not as loudly as one might think. i'll probably bring it up a few more days and then, when we are having a leisurely day, have her do it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

chana ripped through shlishi today. yesterday she reviewed the parts of revii that we have done, plus rashis, but no new pesukim and no chazara of other aliyot.

after shlishi, a small break, then we did rashi, then the first 10 pesukim in revii just by vocab words (which chana didn't really remember out of context), then reviewed 3 pesukim completely, then did a new pasuk.

the new pasuk is really confusing about rather a lot of information. the runaway came and told avram. chana was not clear what he told avram. she didn't understand that "ivri" was avram's "last name" (coz he came from the other side of the river) (i just wrote that because chana is reading over my shoulder). then it says "he" was living in the plains of mamre, which chana did not recall was referring to avram, and that mamre was a person and an emori, and emori is a nation, and he was the brother of eshkol (big kick out of his name being "grapefruit) and aner, and they are people in a bris with avram.

we translated, then i explained it in english. hopefully as we keep reviewing, it will help.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

chana was a delight today. this morning i wanted to get in a bunch of pesukim before i dashed out to the science museum. so i reviewed orally most of the pesukim of the 4 kings. then i did insist she point out the things on the map, which she did reluctantly. then we did 2 new pesukim. if we had more time, we would have done it more thoroughly and would have done more pesukim. but this way it wasn't too rushed and we did a bit and we'll do more tomorrow. i showed her the names of the 5 kings and showed her the puns we had discussed in the car. i had forgotten about sinav--sone av. hates his father in heaven. chana didn't realize that 'father in heaven' means hashem. she doesn't think of Him as a father, nor in the sky.

then when i came home, i asked her if she wanted to review rishon, sheni, or shlishi. she picked rishon. and she did a nice job. she still doesn't know all the words. she doesn't know all the words from noach either.

i'm not sure what exactly my goals are. if i want her to know 100% of the words, i'm not accomplishing that. and the chazara gets too boring for her. but the way i'm doing it she gets a decent review of the flow of the pesukim, many of the words, and the storyline. so i guess my goals are kind of half-hearted. we're not striving for perfection, we're striving for familiarity, i guess. and i think that's what we're getting. one of these days i'm going to have to go back over noach and see how much she remembers. i'm afraid to bring that up because of the tantrum that will engender. and then i think to myself, what kind of a parent am i. afraid of my own child. but it does pay to be strategic. she does want to earn money. maybe some parts of noach in small increments.

ooh, that reminds me, i totally forgot to do rashi today. oh, well. tomorrow tomorrow tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


so today we had very little time before the US history movie club. 20 minutes. maybe a bit less. so we orally reviewed the pesukim, and i showed her the map and told her the 4 kings were from the north, and they attacked all the tribes on the way down, and circled back. then when we did the pesukim inside, i had her identify each thing on the map (btw, chori is NOT the same as horite in chana's mind). so tomorrow we will do the 5 kings coming to meet the 4 kings. she doesn't know who is going to win yet... or what this has to do with avram...

in the car i discussed rashi's comments about the names of the kings. she enjoyed that. and i think she enjoyed it more doing it outside the text because she wasn't bogged down with reading and translating.

tomorrow is science museum, so it looks like chumash is going to slow down a bit the rest of this week.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

so chana agreed to do rishon and sheni, and i wanted her to do one of them pasuk-by-pasuk, and one of them to just review the hard words. chana started off saying she would do everything pasuk by pasuk, because it is easier to remember the words in context. but then she actually started, got stumped on a word, and changed her mind. so we ended up doing both aliyas by targeting major words, except for a few pesukim here and there where i wanted her to do the whole thing.

she was in a good mood except towards the end. i felt that she should take a break, and she wanted to finish. so the last few pesukim in shlishi she screamed her way through. despite that, she did a decent job translating. (when i said "nice job" she didn't believe me, because she had been shrieking. i told her that despite the shrieking, she translated well.)

then she got upset because i still wanted her to do the 4 pesukim from revii from yesterday, plus one new pasuk, plus 2 rashis. so she lay on the floor for 10 minutes crying. and saying "this is not a break." i am not sure why she was so opposed to the idea of a break today. it's funny because often she wants to take a 10 minute break after every pasuk.

she got through the pesukim fine, and the new pasuk. i brought down the atlas (aharoni and avi-yonah bible atlas) and i looked up the map of the 4 kings/5kings battle, but haven't shown it to her yet because she is so resistant to maps. tomorrow. then we did the 2 rashis amidst great yelling.

tomorrow i want to do some of the rashis on the names of the 5 kings. i think she'll get a kick out of the puns.

at one point she asked, what were avram and sarai doing during all this? (there were 12 yrs service and 13 yrs rebellion). i explained avram was in chevron with his mizbeach, and then the story pauses and tells this story.
i think she'll be suprised when lot gets captured and the stories come together. i think because she for some reason can't keep sedom in her head, she doesn't realize that this is relevant to the lot avram story. i hope she puts it together and enjoys it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

chana did shlishi today beautifully. then we did 4 pesukim in revii. by that point, she was getting a bit cranky.

chana asked if it hurt avram's feelings that hashem keeps talking about his children when avram doesn't have children.

chana does not remember that sedom is a city. hopefully eventually she will.

all in all, a nice pleasant chumash day.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

chana blitzed through shlishi and rishon today. i still needed to provide some of the words, but we make progress. no new pesukim today. no rashi.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


today we started with shlishi, then did the rashis and the new pasuk. then i convinced her to do the last 2 pesukim in shlishi; they weren't hard. then break, then sheni. it went pretty smoothly. i still had to tell her some of the words, but i think she's improving. definitely the nasa (lift/carry) from the white board went better. she's still having trouble with nasa (travel) in all of its many forms. l'masa'av. vayisa. etc. all in all a smooth day and we only used 1hr 10min of the 2 hrs i allotted for it. rest of the day we chill.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

chana worked very hard today. we did rishon, which went pretty well.

we used the white board a lot. i finally wrote down the 3 shorashim she keeps confusing. nasa. travel. asa. make/do. nasa. lift/carry. they keep showing up. i also drew a map with east and west (and the yam on the west) and south and where avram was and lot. and sedom. and mitzrayim.

then we took a break and did shlishi. i probably should have given her a longer break. coz she had a bit of a hard time going through what we were doing. but as far as jack napping and just waking up now, it was the right timing. we did 2 new pesukim today and one rashi.

we'll have to review shlishi tomorrow. i was going to review sheni also, but it's a lot. we'll see. anyway, about 1.5 hrs straight of working. with one 10 minute break. good job, chana!

Monday, November 22, 2010

chazara. chazara. chazara.

chana threw a bit of a fit when i said she had to translate all the pesukim in sheni. i gave her 2 minutes to cry. then i had a bunch of things to do. she said she cried only one minute. i was about to threaten her no tv for the rest of the day if she continued like that. but she settled down and began to translate. she said it's not fair because she has to read most of the hebrew so that she can translate it.

i still have to tell her a lot of the words. looks like we'll be reviewing this more. we are about halfway through sheni and are taking a 10 minute break before the rest. i wonder how many breaks she'll need for the rest.

also, i forgot to do the new rashi. tomorrow?

ok, back from break. chana did ok until the last 5 pesukim, when she cried that she just can't do it. she tried to negotiate that she would do them later (when i'm hoping for possibly doing rishon), or sdo some of them later, and then she just refused. i said no computer until she does them. and she can do them, and they are not too hard for her. finally she asked that i review them first and then she do them. so i did the first two, and then she interrupted me to do them. she had been thinking i would do it, then she would just repeat it, and not really do it. but when i did 2 of them she lost the thread and had to review it. we did the last 4 that way, and then the 5th was pretty simple and she did it herself. whew. we are definitely not finished with sheni, but it was a good review.

i'm leaving rashi alone for now.

why doesn't she like maps?

so we did the new pesukim, and oddly, chana is reluctant to look at maps to get a visual idea of where avram lived and where lot lived. i feel like the map is helpful, and she just doesn't care. but i dragged out the maps and we looked, and then i found another map online with sodom. they are all near the dead sea, and chana remembers going there when we visited israel, so that was exciting.

she asked if lot was going to turn bad. and i said, we will see!!

we still have a rashi to do, and then i'd like to review sheni today.

i found a website that showed excavation of cities that are believed to be sodom and evidence of ash, an earthquake, and skeletons of people fleeing. it's a christian website.
we did rishon last night (sun nt) and i think it went well. the last 2 pesukim with a lot of new words were too much and chana got a little floppy, but til that point it went well.

plan for today is to start with shlishi, review the pesukim, do a few new pesukim (possibly a new rashi), and then take a large break and do sheni. i really want to do sheni by all translation (as opposed to just translating the new words) because the pesukim are generally words she is familiar with and i'd like to see how she does with overall translation. when i brought this up as the plan, chana objected because she said she still needs to read the hebrew of the words she doesn't know so that she'll learn it better. and that's a lot of work. so i said we'd negotiate.

so far we reviewed the pesukim in shlishi that we did, and she remembered a bunch of the words. we are now taking a food break before heading into the new pesukim.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

so my grand plan to slow down the pace today... i decided we were going review the few pesukim in shlishi pasuk by pasuk, then go back to sheni, then rishon. and not do new pesukim.

chana freaked out that we were doing entire pesukim and not just words. she freaked out that i don't tell her the words. (she "only" got 8 hrs of sleep last nt and she likes 10). i said i would tell her the words if she would review the words afterwards until she knows them without me telling her. (not long term, but you figure she just did them so she'll review them again after she translates the pasuk). she freaked out but i stood firm.

we got through 4 pesukim, with moderate screaming. then she went out to play in the playground, then i called into shiur, then she went to play with her cousin. and she's there still and will probably be there til bedtime. not one of our stellar days in terms of getting through material. but usually we are pretty good, so i guess it will slide.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

need to change the pace

feels like we've been doing chumash for hours... which we have. with lots and lots of breaks. did only 4 new pesukim. chana agreed to do 7, but it's really too much with not knowing all the new words. and the chazara takes a LOOOOOONG time and there are so many words that she doesn't remember.

we have not gotten the right ratio of new pesukim to old review such that she learns the old ones pretty painlessly and then we are ready to move on to the next batch. maybe we need to slow down until she knows the old ones very well and then we can move on to the new ones.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

so tonight's chazara went nicely. chana did the 2 pesukim and reviewed the rashi and remembered what it meant. and we went through the vocab from sheni. hard to say if she remembered more or not. i gave her the mnemonics. and so it goes.

where did the memory go?

and why was chumash so tough today? not because chana was contrary. she wasn't. she was pretty good-natured about it. but she didn't remember most of the vocab words. words she's remembered pretty easily, she didn't remember today. that just shows you how much of it is about "being in the zone" vs not. we did chazara of words from rishon and sheni, and it was ridiculous how few she remembered. so we did only 2 new pesukim, with difficulty. i hope tonight i'll have a chance to review these words again with her (maybe just sheni) and the 2 pesukim we did.

it was nice that she wasn't screaming :-)

Monday, November 15, 2010

vocab words from end of noach

i don't feel like reviewing them w/ chana today.
chana did all of sheni today. we did chazara and she remembered the words from rishon (mostly). there are a couple of words giving her a hard time, but i'm impressed with how much she remembers. the pesukim today were pretty easy. sometimes it was a bit hard for her to do the whole flow of the pesukim, but she just asked me to review it afterwards for her, which i did.

she wondered how pharoah found out that sarai was avram's wife, not his sister.

she was zipping along so nicely today it's tempting to just keep going without chazara. but overall i think chazara is useful because it gives her more vocabulary, which generally makes it easier for her to zip through things.

i haven't done a rashi in a while. haven't found one that jumps out at me. but we haven't been reviewing the old ones, either.

Friday, November 12, 2010

chazara went nicely today. she remembered a lot :-) :-) this is from lech lecha; we still have to review those 30 words from noach. maybe later.

the last 2 pesukim from yesterday, which were pretty complex, needed a lot of review and i did it for her and then asked her to repeat it. then we did 4 new pesukim, until sheni. even with breaks, towards the end, chana was getting quite cranky. having trouble with yitav (shoresh "tov") etc. but she remembered the story of avram telling sara to say she's his sister. she said, "but then sara will have 2 husbands!" i told her she wouldn't accept any offers, just say, "maybe... i have to ask my brother.."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

good news and bad news

the good news is that chana happily acquiesced to running through those 30 vocab words from noach.

the bad news is that i still have to provide her with the mnemonics! how long will this take?? i have hope that if we keep doing it, eventually they'll stick...

we are swimming in vocabulary

it took us a while to sit down to do chumash today. well, it took me a while. chana rarely jumps up with glee to do chumash, and when she would say, "not now," and i would say, "ok," that's not a way to get it done. but we finally sat down after a brief tussle over who got the blanket (that's her and elazar, not me).

and we made it through 4 pesukim with a decent number of new words, plus a pretty thorough review of the words from yesterday. i don't feel like there is a full handle of some of the main words in noach (maybe i'll orally review them in a bit) and here we are, piling on new words. i'm going to count how many we have to review in 9 pesukim which is 2 days of work.

20 words from yesterday (many of which she is familiar with but needs review, like ishto, her old nemesis). and 8 from today, give or take. it's tough to go forward when i really want to get these down.

we haven't done rashi in a while.

the screaming was there, but not as bad as it's been, considering chana's dislike for not instantly remembering things. she still refuses to use the white board to identify shorashim. considering that bana in "vayiven" is missing the "hey" and nasa in "vayisa" is missing the "nun" and considering she yells about not knowing it, i feel like insisting but that is a whole 'nother battle. it disturbs her that the nekudos are not universal. i tried to explain to her that the nekudos are not essential; she just has to learn to identify which are the shoresh letters and that's the clue to the word. but that drives her nuts. interesting because i think sarah picked up that concept and its application pretty painlessly. every kid is different. sarah also never minded writing down the shoresh on the white board.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

lech lecha

we started the new parsha with much fanfare. and by fanfare i mean the usual screaming. although she knows the shorashim, there are lots of prefixes and suffixes and the nekudos are confusing, which chana objects to. i had her reviewing some of the words a few times, and we know how she likes that (that's sarcasm, folks). we did 6 pesukim in 1hr 45 min w/ about half the time on breaks. i would have gone further but i think it's a lot to process.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


we finished chazara of parshas noach! chana was pretty upset that i made her do a couple of pesukim over. words that are still giving her trouble: eishes (wife of), bas (daughter), ben (son of and age), b'no (his son). sigh. one hopes that with the many times they repeat, she'll get them.

onward to lech lecha tomorrow!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

chazara VII

the last bit of shishi didn't go that smoothly but we finished it. i'm too wiped out for rashi. we also reviewed those 30 words which she still doesn't seem to know noticeably better. and there's more work to be done this evening but i feel like throwing in the towel.

Friday, November 5, 2010

chazara VI

chana sped through chamishi in under 10 minutes, yelling a bit after each pasuk that she really wanted to be watching tv.

she said chamishi is REALLY repetitive. why does hashem say so many times he's making a bris and it's a rainbow, and the rainbow is the sign of the bris. she's right. it is repetitive.

we still have to run through the list of vocabulary. but not til after the show.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

chazara V

knocked off revi'i. went remarkably smoothly. possibly because i didn't start til after 8pm.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


chana decided to illustrate the beginning flood scene. there is a concerned sun being blocked by angry clouds. the sun says "i can't get in." noach is making some last minute preparations, and there is a bubble from the sky saying "hurry up, noach!" there are a couple of snails rushing to the teiva, one saying "wait for me!" and the other saying, "you're as slow as a snail!"

chazara IV cont

just as i was girding myself to approach chana again to do some more, she came over and apologized. i asked her if she realized that she isn't supposed to remember all the words, that the brain needs chazara. she said she just doesn't like not remembering them. then she did 5 1/2 more pesukim. i think we'll call it a day.

chazara IV

chana did about 1.5 pages of shlishi before hitting total meltdown. she was just fine until she hit things she didn't remember. it's a bit sad to me. i remember reviewing and reviewing and reviewing these pesukim, and yet she just doesnt' remember.

and if it's sad to me, it's infuriating to chana. she gets very angry when she doesn't remember words immediately. i am not sure if she gets upset because she feels i am pressuring her to remember, or if she has an idea that she should just know everything, right away. i think that's a bit her personality. i don't remember sarah getting so furious when she didn't know a word or couldn't remember words. but chana has plenty of stamina to keep going as long as she knows the translation. if she knows the words, she'll translate and translate and translate. but as soon as we hit a few in a row that she doesn't remember, the shrieking starts. then she went on about not wanting to do chazara, sarah never did chazara, why can't we move on to the next parsha, she's never going to finish, it will take 5 yrs to finish, etc doomsdaying all over the place.

in the meantime, i'm not sure what to do. so now we have a bunch of pesukim, phrases and words that chana doesn't remember. is there a point to me reviewing them again? do i move on? do i drill her some more? the sheer unpleasantness is making me want to just move forward. but maybe that's not fair. because there has been plenty of unpleasantness until now involved in reviewing those pesukim over and over, and drilling words, and i think she has made really nice progress. i guess i want perfection, which is maybe crazy. (maybe?). i want it to come easy. i want to ignore my daughter's nature. i want it to come without shrieking and without pain.

לפם צערא אגרא
according to the pain is the reward (benefit).

how much i put in, is how much she gets out. (assuming, of course, that i'm not pushing too hard. but there is no way i'm pushing too hard).

although many of the words she doesn't remember, there are an at least equal amount of words that she now knows smoothly enough that they seem to be (halleluja) part of her long term memory base. i see her easily translating some words that i remember her shrieking over, and that keeps me going.

Monday, November 1, 2010

chazara III

we did sheni today. pretty happily and uneventfully. didn't get to rashi. and reviewing the list of words (that list of 3o words, remember) went a bit more bumpily. not too bad for a day's work.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

noach chazara I and II

never quite got to write up what happened when we started on friday. so even though i kind of thought that chana would get annoyed if we just plunged in and started translating, i couldn't really think of a better way. i asked her, and she couldn't think of one, and so we started. we did ok the first bunch of pesukim. she remembered a lot. then, when we got to one where there were a few unfamiliar words and i had her do it again, she got snarky. eventually she got thoroughly annoyed.

but we got through a fair amount. i would have done more with her but it was erev shabbos.

today, sunday, we sat down to do it and she has an overall negative feeling about it. i took out baby island and asked if i should read it. she said no. she started. she did again a decent amount. we made it a little past sheni. (and she asked what sheni was, and i showed her all the aliyahs).

she definitely does NOT know it 100%. but how well do i want her to know it? there are a few words that she didn't remember, like "zachar u'nekeva" species, command, gather.. these show up a lot so i'd like to review them. chazara chazara chazara.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

it's working...

we started with chazara of the 22 of 30 words. i asked chana to please do the pantomimes with me. she remembered more than i thought she would. so we are on our way.

we'll probably finish up noach this week and then we'll do chazara if i can figure out how.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


did all but the last 8. the last 8 are the newest so are the most unfamiliar. i think we'll stick with all the others til she gets them. basically we have a hand motion for just about every one. so i tell her what each word is with the hand motion. (they're actually very cute).

for island i point to my eye with my fingers in the shape of an L
for split i make a split with my fingers
for lashon i stick out my tongue
for goy i make an N with my fingers (for nation)
for palag i roll my hands around each other (mixed up)
for east i point to the right
for safah i stick out my tongue
for travel i mime a basketball and the ref signal for "travel"
for split i make 2 mountains with my hands and move them apart
for re-ehu (his friend) i just tell her :-P. oddly, i think she's beginning to remember that one (with sarah, i used to say "you think it's ra [bad] but it's not")
for hava, i make a "come on" gesture
for bricks, i say "brickettes" which is a joke from the rashi we've been doing
for chomer, i make an M with my fingers for material
for migdal, i gesture high up
for spread out, i put my fingers together and then expand them
for city, i touch my ear (for some reason this works ;)
for am, i make an N
for "hachal" i say "hitchil"
for now (ata, she knows achshav), i point "right now"
for stop, i hold my hand up
for plot, i make a little evil plotting gesture with my fingers (if you know what i mean)
for "nerda" (we will go down) i tell her to identify the shoresh, which she ALWAYS says is r.d.h. groan. instead of y.r.d
then i tell her

and then there are the last 8

i wonder how many times of reviewing these til she actually learns them.

daunting list of words

so i just copied out of the chumash a list of the words chana's been having trouble with. there are... addition to the 7 words/phrases we've been working on... THIRTY new words to work on. groaaaan

i think that's too much to drill chana at once. gotta figure out what to do about this.

almost done...

i haven't posted in a few days. we have been doing chumash. we are up to names (oh happy joy) and avram was born today. we are still having some trouble with a whole bunch of new words in the last few pesukim of the tower of babel. chana decided to write a graphic novel depicting the mixing up of the languages, with a few humorous scenarios that she keeps envisioning in her head.

i wanted to make flash cards, but chana requested forcefully that we learn the words the way she is most comfortable--verbal drill throughout the day. sigh. we aren't really done with the last batch. and now add on another 10? 15? i'll make a list this evening. the truth is, she does find this way the least painful and she is willing to do it at random points throughout the day. so who am i to say no?

and i have to figure out how we are going to review noach. i guess i'll ask her how she wants to handle it...

Monday, October 18, 2010

defeatist attitude, a bit.

rashi didn't work out so well. i thought maybe if she would just repeat and repeat the words a bunch of times, the pronunciation would sink in better. but it isn't. i even did each word/phrase with a body action (jumping jacks, pointing, gesturing, foot wiggles etc) to help anchor it. but 5 minutes later it's like her brain didn't process it.

so i said ok we'll just read it like usual. and she seemed ok with that. til she tantrummed and i put her in time out. and now we still have rashi left (oh and chazara, which i was half thinking about dropping today anyway since she reviewed all those pesukim) and she's annoyed and i'm annoyed and now jack is awake.

it just seems somewhat an exercise in futility that she reads the same rashis every day for 3 weeks already and she can't pronounce the words right. what am i doing wrong? am i not accessing her preferred modality? we did it visually. we did it auditory. we did it kinesthetically. what else is there? how can i get her to remember the pronunciation?

i know the answer with the remembering words is drill drill drill. practice, practice, practice. how do kids in school end up with skills? do they?

what's a metaphor?

chana had a mild screechfest when i said we were starting by her reviewing the pesukim in the perek today. like after yesterday, it was still a surprise. but she got ok with the idea.

she has 2 questions:

1. why didn't hashem just stop them from making the tower if he thought it was a bad idea?
(actually, chana said her question was why didn't hashem just prevent them from going into the valley before they got there). (i answered because hashem lets people make choices and do what they want)

2. why does the pasuk say hashem went down when he doesn't go down to see and he already knows?

i began to introduce the concept of metaphor. chana can't quite grasp it yet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


chana was happy enough to do rashi this morning. i realize we still need to hammer down and drill the pronunciation of some of the words. it feels like no matter how many times i tell her, she just reads it how she thinks of it in her head and doesn't even process that i'm telling her the correct pronunciation.

then we were going to do a new pasuk. i realized, though, that ever since we started the new story (tower of babel), i've been going over all the pesukim from the beginning of the perek. i think we are up to pasuk 5 today. so i warned her that she was going to be furious, and said we are doing all these pesukim, and she shrieked as i walked out of the room to tell ari to catch the spider on the ceiling that was freaking her out. so ari caught the spider, and she was sort of used to the idea.

i am in the middle of reading her a book, and i told her i would read after each pasuk. she did the first one, and i read a page. then another, and i read another. then she started flopping. and screaming etc.

and as she was tantrumming, i was thinking about how for years, when people find out i homeschool, they say, "you must have so much patience." and i always replied, "not really." if you take all the hours of the day from 8am to 8pm, or even later, then you really have lots and lots of relaxed time to hang out and to get work done. it never seemed to me to take nearly as much patience as, say, getting kids off to school in a morning rush and fighting over homework in a very short amount of time while also trying to make dinner, feed everyone, and put everyone to bed.

and yet, as i sat here today, i thought, "yes, i am patient. i am very, very, very patient." and i've noticed that i've been thinking that a lot lately. i guess patience is described as wanting to lose your temper but not. because if you're not upset, then that's not patience, is it? if i know that i go to disney world and the line will be 45 min, and i'm not upset, that's not patience.

so as chana is screaming (and oh, how i want to video this so she can see it when she's older) and i'm thinking about how patient i am and patting myself on the back and calling myself a saint (which as you know, i don't have all good days like that and particularly a week or so ago i was decidedly impatient). and i was thinking about how important it is for me to do this.

i value torah. as a jew, i want chana to have the skills to read the torah in its original language. this takes work, and effort. chana is having particular difficulty putting in the work and effort. she gets frustrated.

my voice is the voice that she will hear in her head throughout life, as she has challenges. when she confronts something difficult, that she wants to give up on, i want her to hear my voice, patient, loving, and firm. you can do this. you will do this. i see how hard this is for you. i see you struggling. you will do it. you will succeed.

not encouraging, like a life coach. but implacable, sure, sympathetic, and firm. to carry her through the frustration, through the screaming. the voice of her mom, who doesn't let her back down in the face of her own frustration, who supports her through it, who guides her through it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the last couple of days there wasn't much to say, just the usual. today, too. chana came in after parkour and was ready to work. we did the 2 pesukim easily, and discussed why bricks have a shoresh of "lavan" even though they are red. we looked up making bricks online, and apparently they use sun to dry, not libun. i suppose we could have kept looking for oven roasted bricks. then we checked out rashi who talks about bricks being made in a furnace and he said it's called something-or-other in french. chana got a big kick out of rashi being french and when we do the rashi, instead of reading it as whatever word he uses, she says "bonjour."

she did run out of steam during the rashis. she is sick of the ones we are doing, and she remembers the translation as a whole, but she is still having trouble with 1. the pronunciation and 2. the translation of specific words or phrases. i would really like her to get that down, but it seems like no matter how much review we do, unless i specifically force her to do it that way (which invariably sparks some tantrumming), it doesn't register in her brain. advice from anyone is welcome.

it just seems like every way i turn, acquiring skills is boring drilling and review, review, review.

that didn't set the stage so great for chazara. i did a bunch of the words orally and outside (which she doesn't mind). i actually find that orally promotes more versatility. because when she reads a word, she searches her brain and knows it if she has learned it orally. but if she is asked it orally and she has only seen it, she doesn't know it. i think i've mentioned that before. perhaps it's only in her, and in more visual students it would be reversed. but she is not nearly as auditory as sarah is. sarah is an extremely auditory learner.

anyway, we limped through chazara. chana is finding the new batch to be wearying and challenging. i wish i could think of a way to make it less so. i think maybe because i didn't give her enough break. she had been active all morning, so we did it in one sitting, and maybe she would have been more mentally able to do it if she would have had more breaks or if we did it in different sessions.

oh, and i forgot to mention. my rabbi had sent me pictures of this fundamentalist christian who actually built a life sized replica of the teiva in real life. so i showed chana pictures of it. and that was pretty darn cool. (by the way, if i were teaching in a school, that is exactly the kind of thing i'd be using the smartboards for).

Monday, October 11, 2010

part II

chana came down herself. i offered a hug and she refused. i gestured for her to sit down, and we sat close, and i put my arm around her. i said i really don't think this one pasuk is a big deal. she said why do i always make her do sooooo much. i make her do too much work all the time. (which reminds me, when sarah finally went to high school, she said she couldn't believe how little work she had been doing all these years. and we laughed about how she screamed and complained about this. the truth is, though, in homeschool, you can't mentally check out when you need a break and start daydreaming. the teacher notices immediately :-P so in some ways homeschool is way more intense and focused, even though it's for shorter time). she did the pasuk in about 3 seconds. i wanted her to do the 2 others, but said should we do one today and one tomorrow, or both tomorrow. she opted, of course, for both tomorrow. hopefully it shouldn't be an argument since she agreed. and now a 7 minute break before rashi.

i don't know if anyone reads this, but i often wish people would suggest approaches or methods when i wonder how to approach teaching something.
for example, memorizing the vocabulary or suggestions to get something into long term memory.
another thing i'd like a suggestion on is that after we finish noach (and i think we have about 4.5 pages left, so it's coming up) i really wanted to do a review. i want chana to be able to fairly smoothly translate the pesukim. all of them. BUT. i know this will be an exercise in frustration. although she definitely learned a lot of vocab throughout, there is i would estimate at least 1/3 of the new words that she forgot (it will be interesting to see how many of them she actually remembers compared to my estimation). i don't want to start her translating and have her get frustrated and then furious.
so should i spend a week or 2 reviewing the vocab? should i read the pesukim and translate them first, and then have her do it? what's a good way to do this so that she is reviewing before she does the official chazara on her own, where she translates it?

part I

at a loss how today blew out of control. i was spending happy time with chana, and we agreed both last night and this morning that when jack goes in for nap, it's time for chumash. he went in, and chana sat down. i showed her the pesukim i wanted to do today. she did the first couple, which were names. the next 3 were all words we have done before. she started pouting and whining that she isn't doing a new pasuk with words.

as per our earlier discussion, i reminded her that she had 5 screams and then... i actually forgot what we had agreed. chana said i would take something away from her. was it all multimedia? (i wonder if i wrote it in this blog). she was getting very angry and i said she negotiated me down; instead of the 3 pesukim we would do one. i thought that was a decent compromise but she was refusing to do any. i said i do not understand why she is so angry; i think one pasuk is not such a big deal. she broke a keychain she was holding, told me that i made her break it. (this was something she hasn't said in a while). i said, i made you break it? she apologized for saying that (it's not that i want an apology as if she insulted me, as much as i want her to be able to recognize her responsibility for actions that she does when motivated by fury at others). as she apologized, she threw the pieces across the room. when she got to 4 screams she got up and left the room. so i guess i'm waiting now for her to come back. i hope jack naps a long time. maybe i'll give her 10 minutes and then go and insist, possibly started the cycle all over.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

didn't finish by bedtime

it was a glorious day and sunday so til chana and i sat down to do some work it was evening. she was chugging along beautifully but she really does need breaks. so she did her new pasuk just fine. and then she did it again when i asked her to, without a whimper or whine. then she plowed through the chazara. but then she had done a solid amount of chazara, and she needed a break. but it was 10 min to 9pm. and i sort of have a nonofficial policy that we don't do schoolwork after 9 coz chana would happily do work for quite a while to avoid bed. as i read that, i think to myself, well, is that a bad thing? maybe it's a good thing. ok, maybe it is a good thing, and maybe we will get back to that when i am sleeping through the night a bit more regularly and have enough brainpower to accompany her educational journey after 9pm. but nowadays i want to be done and her upstairs by 9pm (which is when she reads). and i know from experience that once i let that 9pm deadline shift a bit, it's hard to re-establish. so even though it's 8:50 and she could really use a 10 min break (and i can see from how antsy she is that a 2 or 5 min break will not cut it, since she's been powerhousing through everything and now she's saying it's too much and she keeps chatting about other things), i say that's it for tonight.

so i tuck the chumash into my pocketbook, and tomorrow when we are at her dentist appt in the waiting room i will try to chap 5 or 10 min to finish up these words. and we didn't get to rashi.

so tomorrow will be the end of this chazara, plus tomorrow's chazara and everything else. happily we aren't doing much else tomorrow so we can spread it relaxedly throughout the day.

Friday, October 8, 2010

so today i spent a glorious morning in the playground w/ elazar while jack napped and chana played at home. it was good spending some nice one-on-one time with elazar. it got me thinking that i could use some of this nice time with chana, without me trying to teach her. i hope to get on that.

anyway, then i cramped her new pesukim into the time right as jack was waking up. and although it was name heavy, there were also a bunch of familiar words like "gave birth to" and "sons of" which irritated her tremendously. i would have kept going because it there were a few more like that, but as frequently happens, i overestimated her capacity and stamina.

then we stuffed in some rashi. it's erev shabbos so i hope to get chazara in before shabbos. at least i can drill her orally, which i will. and i want to put on a couple of new words: ervas-nakedness of; iyay-islands of, and goy-nation. oh yeah, and vayishkon b'ahalei shem-and he dwelled in the tents of shem.

chana asked a great question. if kanaan lived separately from shem and yefes (we were discussing generally where their lands and the lands of the descendants were), then how was kanaan their slave? (plus she doesn't understand what "slave of slaves" means). good questions!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

the ants go marching 2 by 2 hurrah, hurrah

today went quite nicely. i still don't have an answer as to how to get chana to remember these vocabulary words long term. with sarah, i always just figured the ones that show up the most are the ones that get remembered, along with whatever quirks make the brain remember some words and not others.

but at any rate, chana has become quite amenable to me drilling her at random points during the day. plus it has the benefit of accessing more modalities. when we do it in the chumash, she recognizes it by sight, but not by sound. yet if she knows it by sound, when she reads it in the chumash she knows it. (kind of like comprehension of a foreign language is easier than speech, i guess in the mind things go one way but not the other. so if she knows it verbally, then she knows it visually, but if she knows it by seeing it she doesn't necessarily know it by hearing it).

we were pretty busy today, doing a science class and parkour (which is incredibly cool, if i can digress off of chumash for a minute) and then we went to pay a shiva call and then visited my fil after he had eye surgery yesterday. so not much time for chumash.

but chana did 7 pesukim today, with no new words, though she kept getting annoyed that only the majority of them were names and there was still some simple translation to be done. she zipped through her rashis, though she still doesn't pronounce them perfectly and still cannot translate certain random phrases. she does know the translation as a whole, which is a good step. and we are currently working on 3 rashis. which she can do in under 5 min when she's in a good mood.

then i futzed around a lot and forgot to do chazara, coz i don't like it and it's a little depressing sometimes. but chana asked me to please drill her on the words. and then eventually we did it and i picked a random pasuk from a while back and she remembered it after a closer look. and the pasuk that's been soooo slow she's gotten almost 100%. and so we continue to make progress.

she asked me when the tower of babel is coming up. pretty soon!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

how to open the long term memory vault?

things went better today. we are being much more careful with each other. she only yelled once, and that was at the very end, when we were doing rashi, and i asked her to translate it by phrase instead of as a whole. she got furious, but i asked her if she knows the phrase. no she doesn't. which is why i asked her.

pasuk 23 is slaying us. she knows it all together, but cannot remember each word. so we keep practicing and practicing. and this bunch of words is not sticking. but happily, her idea of testing her outside the chumash is working. we are up to 5 words that i drill her randomly through the day.

and we are finally up to the names. the next 6 pesukim are just names. so that should give us some time to work on these vocabulary words.

sadly, i flipped open to a page today and i'm pretty sure she would not know what the words that caught my eye mean. even though we reviewed them plenty. how to get these words from short term memory into long term memory? i feel like i had an education class that may have discussed this...

definitely some things are becoming part of her skills and knowledge, like riding a bike. but a lot of these words are just like studying for a test, and then you forget it. all that time drilling and how much is retained? is this the best way to do this?

anyway, i am just relieved that we got over that little hump of misery and are back to our usual interactions.

this is one of the things i love about homeschool. sure, we can work on how we interact with each other if she were in school. but we have so much opportunity this way. and so many moments where i can shore up the loving to help provide background for the more difficult moments. and i really see how we are practicing our relationship. working on it. dealing with things that aren't working. trying new things. taking into account both our positions. what nicer backdrop to learn about relationships and how they work than our Torah? והגית בו יומם ולילה

Monday, October 4, 2010

conflict. it's parenting, not teaching

absolutely brutal today. yesterday did end up devolving into a screamfest (i'm happy to report largely on chana's end, not mine, though i'm sooooooooooooo tempted). after these things happen, i think it over and feel like it's my job to enforce better boundaries and not let her scream like that. it didn't happen in chumash, it happened in math and i sent her to time out and she stayed there of her own volition until it was time to go to bed. (we were working at night).

today we did the new pesukim; they went fine. we started doing rashi, it went ok until she has this idea in her head that she doesn't have to translate, so whenever i make her it leads to tantrumming. then we were a bit pressed for time because she likes to meet some kids in the playground. and for some reason, even though we've been doing chazara for the same words the last 5 or so times, it seems like nothing is sticking. and then she shrieks i have to tell her, etc etc. i asked her what she thinks we should do since she's not remembering them, and she said do it like we did "bilti" and "lachen" because she remembers those. the way we did that is by drilling randomly outside of chumash.

so i compiled a small list for drilling. zarachem, kares, naftza, and kotz. she was getting annoyed at me about repetitively asking, but i said that's what she told me to do so she's accepted it.

at one point, she told me i don't care about her. she said i'm only trying to get her to stop crying coz i want her to learn. i said why does she think i want her to learn. she said I DON'T KNOW!!

we still haven't finished rashi. she's stomped off with the door slammed.

please note. this is not a teaching issue. this is a PARENTING issue. it happens to manifest in the teaching, since that is something we are having conflict over. but this latest stomping off was actually because i told her to go shower. she's screaming at me and not speaking nicely about a lot of things.

ps she woke jack up, too. boy do i want to go stomping up there and get into her face and hiss at her. but i won't. we did have a lovely poignant moment earlier where i tried to hug her and she plaintively cried that she wants a hug when she's so angry but she's so angry she doesn't want a hug. i knew exactly how she feels and was very understanding, and i suggested that i hug and she withdraw, or she hug and i stand still, and she said no but kept kind of hugging and withdrawing and i followed her lead.
i think i'm going to silently go upstairs and mime to her that she woke up jack. unless she's already in the shower.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

post chag

we got right back into chumash. chana agreed to do it now in exchange for me paying for a membership on some online world for her. (she pays me, and i use paypal).

how long how long how many repetitions does it take for her to learn new words? can someone just tell me? then i'd know and i would know how long it took instead of wondering why it is taking so long to sink in.

but of course, there are so many factors. she learns some more quickly than others. and some she remembers because of certain things. and some she confuses. and some just don't click.

anyway, today i told her we'd be doing 4 pesukim and she flopped and flopped on the couch before we started to get it out of her system (which was funny for both of us). she asked if she knew all the words and i said yes.

which she did. BUT she didn't remember aleh is these (like eilu) and she didn't remember toldos and she didn't remember l'holid nor did she recognize it in the form it was in, even if she would have remembered it, which she didn't. and she didn't remember banim are sons. coz she usually doesn't. so she was quite annoyed. let alone me.

some benefits of chazara. she was musing about "their faces were backwards" and she joked, does that mean their eyes were in the backs of their heads? and their noses upside down? and to smile they'd have to frown?

and she realized that slave of slaves was a difficult notion. because do slaves have slaves? good question. and how is kanaan a slave to his brothers? isn't it his uncles?

now i have to do membership and then chana gets a FIFTY minute break (negotiated) and hopefully we will get back to rashi.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

on memory

it's been a bit tough to sit down to do chumash, especially with everyone home from school and chana having so many ppl to play with. so it's about 1.5 hr before yontif, and she wants to get on the computer. i chapped her to do chazara. she remembered a lot of the words, and she's going crazy as to what k'naan did that noach cursed him. i said the pasuk doesn't say anything. she said, yeah, he could be playing with toys, picking fruit for noach in his vineyard, anything!

then she said, please, please, what did he do that noach cursed him. then she looked up to shamayim like she was asking hashem to tell her.

so i said that rashi says that he hurt noach. she said where did he hurt him? i said, well, he was naked in the tent.. she didn't deduce. (which is interesting because she's been a bit shy about translating "nakedness"). so i said he hurt him in his private parts. she frowned a bit, thinking. and asked how? now i'm wondering if this was the best thing. and i'm thinking of the rashi with 2 opinions, he castrated him or raped him. so i said cut. and she said, that's weird.

she verbally chazered what noach said, remembering about k'naan being a slave and good about shem, but not the part about yefet dwelling in shem's tent. she wanted a break and started flopping, but i told her if she finished it she was done done for the day and she pressed through.

in an interesting association, she always thinks the word "avi" (my father) is bring ('l'havi'), and then she forgot and thought it was "between." because between is "beyn" ie son with a yud in the middle, and she was confusing "son" and "father." cool how memory works.

i wish wish wish it didn't take so many repetitions for a human being to remember a word translation! sigh. i guess reality is reality and we can but work with it.

hmm, i guess this never published. it was supposed to be erev 2nd days yontif.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

moadim l'simcha

yesterday i was not looking forward to chumash. and if i dread chumash, how can chana possibly look forward to it?

then again, the things we dislike about it are different. i dread the conflict. she dreads that she doesn't know it naturally, and has to work at it.

i decided i would have in mind to do a minimal amount, and then it would be more relaxed. we did one new pasuk and we did review, and it went fine. chana even asked permission to flop at one point, when i asked her to review a pasuk for a 2nd time, and we laughed and then she flopped.

today, she asked why noach would curse k'na'an if cham was the one who saw him naked. she asked why he would be a slave to his brothers if he didn't do anything. and how come noach didn't say anything about cham if he was the one who did it.

yes, i'm aware of the midrash that it was k'na'an. but that's not pshat. and i don't like to teach midrash as pshat. i asked her to think about it. she begged me to tell her. i said there was more than one answer.

i asked her what happens if a father is a not so good person. she said: ummm.. . his children become slaves?? she's trying to figure out how it fits into the pasuk. (i was hoping to say that maybe the midos of the parents are the same midos in the children, which causes certain results, but i guess that was too many steps).

anyway, then i told her we were doing 3 more pesukim til the end of the paragraph, and she said she needed to go flop. i promised her they were easy, and they were.

she asked if shem was the favorite.

we still have chazara. maybe tonight.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

sof kol sof

chana asked today why noach was naked in the tent. why did shem tell his brothers.

chana did finally sit down to do the pasuk, right as soon as jack woke up. groan.

we talked about her flopping, and she comically took many deep breaths to relax her body so she wouldn't start so rigid and irritated.

we reviewed "avi" father of and "erva" nakedness. it went just fine.

i'm not up for rashi! chag sameach!


ps. we are still "negotiating" the repetition of the pasuk. she thinks that just reading it on the white board should be enough. i want her to do it again. she left the room, came back, tried sooo hard not to yell, and ended up losing her temper and storming off. i'm holding firm, though. i think a review of a pasuk with pretty easy words that she had a lot of trouble with is not too much to ask.

and i wanted to add that i think that she had trouble today because of the overload from yesterday, causing her to come into today feeling as though chumash was too heavy to bear.

another example of how it's not the work itself; it is the thought of the work that makes it too much.

ki lekach notzarta-because for this you were created

sometimes i feel that the tantrumming is understandable. like yesterday, i was trying to cram all of chumash into an hour, with a lot of chazara and the new pesukim and rashi, and she was doing really well (and taking 5 min breaks when she got overloaded, which frankly i can see was simply not enough time for her to decompress). but i wanted to get it done, and by the end she was writhing. that's her latest. she throws herself onto the sofa (yes, she's 9) and writhes.

sometimes i think to myself that i am a saint. and i also think to myself that is it considered sainthood to not abuse your child and to behave as a mature parent, helping the child through her conflicts. yes. i'm a saint.

anyway, that was yesterday and i did push her too hard.

today, i did not push her too hard. instead of full chazara, i decided to just review the pesukim from the beginning of the paragraph, and then do 2 new ones with only a couple of new words.

i should remember that chana doesn't like to be told she is doing more than she expected. even though in a sense it is less than expected, having to read and translate fully 4 pesukim that she already did was not something she would accept without being forewarned. so then she devolved, even though she acquitted them nicely, and even with a break, the 2 new pesukim had many tantrums. she's still in time-out. (oh, wait, she's not. she's hiding under a blanket on the couch. well, that's like time-out).

she didn't know the word "avi" or "avihem" even though it showed up 3x and i had just told her what it was. she didn't know the word "sim" was "lasim" to put. she didn't know "vayelchu" was halach. she threw herself on the couch each time i told her she knew it, and then staunchly defended how she didn't know it even after i told her what it was and she saw that she knew it. etc etc.

plans for later. rashi (maybe) and reading and translating that last pasuk again. she threw herself on the floor when i told her that.

hopefully now that she's mentally prepared, she'll do it later if i give her a few hours to recuperate.

Friday, September 17, 2010

just wanna say that chana has not tantrummed in a couple of weeks (lol as far as i remember. perhaps a more careful scrutiny of this blog will show it's shorter than my memory. either way, it's been pretty smooth lately. i'm sure a combination of her easing out of whatever difficult phase she was in, plus her exercising a great deal of restraint, plus of course me being extremely explicit, clear about consequences with a large dollop of compassion and kindness).

i noticed as i opened the chumash to prepare for today's work that we didn't finish chazara yesterday. it got too difficult, she asked for a break, and we never got back to it. when i mentioned this, chana's grin told me either she was aware of that or that she was happy to get away with it.

anyway, as it's erev yom kippur and i have a lot to do today, and jack is asleep now (though elazar is panting for the playground so he'll be disruptive), i think we will just go over the pesukim she blitzed through the last couple of days. no new pesukim. no chazara of tough words. just another experience of her doing those pesukim to see if she can navigate them without my help. let's see. 9:11-15. i would have her do pasuk 16 but there's some grammar there that would necessitate me pulling out the white board.

chana did very nicely. turns out we hadn't done the last pasuk i thought we had, i did pull out the whiteboard, and she did that and through the end of the paragraph.

she still confuses "ben" son and "beyn" between. even though i show her the yud. sometimes she gets it, sometimes she doesn't. she wasn't in the mood for the complicated grammar and asked me to just tell it to her. i did. i wonder if she'll remember it next time. guess we'll see next week.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

more chazara

wooo blitzed through the 3 pesukim today. not so short, either. chana knew every single word. needed a bit of hand holding through "yotzei" reminder of shoresh yatza and the suffix of the "ay." all in all an excellent job.

then i introduced a piece of a new rashi, since it gave context to the pesukim we were doing, that noach was worried about doing pru urvu until hashem promised he wouldn't destroy mankind again. it has the nice benefits of having pru urvu in a slightly different grammatical form, and the shoresh ש.ח.ת. i said it outside, told it to her, and she said she could understand that noach would feel that way. we didn't read it inside yet. coz then we reviewed our old rashi. chana insisted that she knows it already, and i sa ould seem, when there is enough sleep and 2 bowls of cereal for breakfast and a 10 minute mental preparation time of her choosing and no other kids around).

then she wanted a break for the next rashi, which she keeps pronouncing wrong but i have hopes today will be better (?? maybe?). and then the new one. and then probably another break and chazara.

rashi went well. i started chazara an extra 2 pgs back because i thought she needed it. and she needed it. despite her fairly excellent mood, she began to flag. why do i need to do this. i pointed out that she didn't know them all, so it was clear some review is needed. she did know more than half of them.

then we stopped and we still have chazara left. hope to get to it this evening. we're off to tour AC moore plus art project, and i have to do lunch and get some of us dressed and jack needs to be ready.

oh ps i forgot chana and i were wrangling good naturedly about pronunciation of the rashi, and she always reads hashem knowing the future as "ro-ah" instead of "ro-eh." when i corrected her, she said that hashem is neither male nor female, so why was i being makpid. :-P

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

playground work

it's been a long day, so i'm not even sure how much i remember. let's see what i can reconstruct. we were heading out to the beginning of no-school picnic, and i wanted to do chumash first. i think i've written before what a terrible idea it is when i try to get us dressed, make food, and do any type of academics when i'm trying to leave by a certain time. add into the mix that elazar got a phone call for a playdate in the playground this morning, and we're batting .000. anyhoo, i told the playdate "sure" and threw together some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some apples and carrots (chana won't eat pb&j btw) and ran out to the park.

it actually was a nice idea to do work in the playground. i started out doing chazara from the beginning of noach. she forgot the first couple of pesukim, and i began to despair, but happily it was premature. (not that despair is really appropriate anyway). she got into a groove and did remember a significant amount of the pesukim. which is delightful. we couldn't chazer all of them because it was too much, so after a bunch we went to our usual chazara.
every time she needed a break, she would pop onto her scooter and do a few rounds. or climb up the monkey bars a bit. or swing a little. then she'd come back ready to do another pasuk. it was really really nice.

then, this evening, we finished up chazara (just the last 2 pesukim). the new pasuk was complicated. as much as she translated it, she had a really hard time decoding it. i don't blame her. even reading rashi, i wasn't 100% sure what the pshat was. ("spill blood the person in a person his blood will be spilled...") the gist was that murder is not allowed and as per rashi, the murderer gets the death penalty.
the second half of the pasuk is that this is because hashem created Man b'tzelem elokim. so chana couldn't even comprehend what that meant. hashem has no form. that got her started thinking about what was before creation.
i wanted to convey to her that the pasuk was saying that murder is not allowed because Man is b'tzelem elokim. it was complicated getting her to comprehend that. i asked what if a person kills a dog. she said no, killing Man is worse. why? because he gave birth to all people. no, i said, not adam harishon. all people.
i said tzelem elokim is the ability to think. i was wondering if she'd say that animals think, too, and then we would have discussed the difference. but i think just grasping the basic idea of the pasuk was too much.

we did another pasuk, too, which was easy. yay. and tomorrow's are easy.

rashi she is still having trouble with the pronunciation of the one we are in the middle of. but i think she's getting better. hopefully by the end of the week. and we are still in the middle of the big one.
if she had already known the pronunciation of the one we are in the middle of, i may have started a new one that elucidated the pshat of some of these tricky pesukim we are doing now. but she didn't, so we didn't.

Monday, September 13, 2010


forgot to mention that last week chana did work at night, and she is ON at night. she works so so so much better at night. it's a pity that i'm all wrung out at that time, and usually still putting the littles to bed. she remembers the vocabulary better. she makes connections more easily.

anyway, this morning she did a new pasuk. frankly, i'm not even sure what the pshat was. 9:5. the basic idea being no killing people. but some odd stuff about animals killing ppl. it didn't bother chana that she didn't understand it.

that's kind of one of the sad things about working on skills. it is so enormously consuming that there is little intellectual energy left to think about nuances of the pesukim. but i guess this is building the foundation, and later, if she has the skills, she can process the nuances.

chazara is dragging. dragging dragging. but we slog through. chan's been pretty good natured about it.
here's an oddity. although i've been having her read the hebrew, she recognizes the words visually and based on their location on the page. if i read her the word and ask her to translate it, she doesn't remember it. she has to see it, and see it in it's home. i wonder if she would recognize it in a different chumash. i think perhaps tomorrow i might try that.

i also would like to do a grand chazara of words from the beginning of the parsha. i told her i want to, but this week is a busy week with trips. and if we do that she may need a lot of breaks.

we reviewed the rashi on lo yishbosu, which she is having trouble remembering the pronunciation but not being difficult about reviewing it more than once, and added on a phrase in the rashi about hashem knowing the future.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


so this morning we did 2 new pesukim with minimum fanfare. chana didn't understand how there were 2 words for "fear" (and hashem will place the fear of people on the animals) and so i substituted the word "terror" for one of them. she also noted that people do not eat grass.

then, instead of chazara, i decided to do a grand rashi chazara today. we went through all the rashis we've done since the beginning. they are:

4:22 dh "naama" (which has the word 'ishto' in it, chana's kryptonite).
6:6 dh "and He was sad to His heart" which she is still in the middle of
6:14 dh "make for you an ark" (chana did not remember that ק"כ was 120)
7:13 dh "in the middle of this day"
8:22 dh "they will not cease" which she is still having trouble with pronunciation

i was pleasantly surprised how much she remembered and how generally accurate her pronunciation was.

i decided to give her a 4 hr break and do chazara later. hopefully we will get to it.

she brought up again about hashem knowing everything and knowing the future (i can't remember now why she brought it up) and i said that's the rashi we are doing. and she remembered that sarah answered the question and with more thought she even remembered sarah's answer. (another nice thing about homeschool is that sarah was around when chana was doing the rashi and it became a discussion amongst the 2 of them). i remember now. chana was imagining hashem creating chava from adam. and imagining the rib. and thinking it was gross. and figuring that it probably floated out of adam's body (because if hashem took it out, He probably just floated it with telekinesis) (and she fluttered her hands, making a floating rib). and then she said that hashem, if he had known that all this was going to happen, could have made a different adam. and i said that is an excellent point. and THEN we got into hashem knowing what is going to happen. or something like that.

then i said i would give her an enormous break. of 4 hours. is that satisfactory? and she said no (kidding). and i said what would be a good break. thinking she'd say til tomorrow or til after rosh hashana. but she said til she died. and then i guess i made a sad face and said, really? it's sad to me to think of you going your whole life til you die and not learning any more torah. then she started crying and hugging me and said she was kidding. and i hugged her back and thought that was an excellent opportunity to point out that so many times i'm kidding and she takes me very seriously. and that now that i understood it was a joke, it was clever. and we talked a bit about how i want her to know torah and that's why i teach it to her. and she said daddy told it to her (when he used to do parsha stories in the evenings) and she knows it already. curious, i asked her if she thought i knew all of torah (figuring if she said yes, i'd ask her why she thinks i keep studying it, hoping to lead into a discussion about basic knowledge of torah and infinite knowledge of torah). and she said no. and i asked her if she thought she knew all of torah. and she said no. but she knows a lot.
then she started asking about hashem's favorite. i wasn't sure who she meant. avraham? yaakov (yaakov is chana's favorite). no, it was moshe. and did moshe know the whole torah. and i said yes that moshe knew the whole torah.
but then i told her 2 stories that i remembered from the gemara about moshe rabbenu and rabbi akiva. one about moshe being in r' akiva's shiur and not understanding it, and hearing that it was halacha l'moshe misinai. chana asked a couple of times how it could be that moshe was dead and in r' akiva's class. i explained it didn't really happen, it's a story to explain something. (she did not ask what it meant that r' akiva was teaching something that moshe didn't understand and quoting moshe, and i didn't push it). then i told her the story about moshe seeing hashem drawing the crowns on the letters and asking hashem why, and hashem saying that r' akiva will learn things from them. then we went to google and google imaged "crowns on letters torah" and found a picture of klaf and were able to see a bunch of words with crowns on them. chana got a big kick out of the little crowns.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

how to handle chazara?

we were doing just fine until i decided to do a second chazara run today. the new pasuk was good. i was on the fence about doing 2 new pesukim, but decided for my own sake as i'm cooking for rosh hashana i'm not going to push it.

but i think i'm having trouble with chazara. we've been sort of zipping through it, just doing the new words instead running through the full translations of the pesukim. plus, as i said, the words are piling up and we sort of move on before she's really very fluent in the past ones. plus, even if she is fluent, we haven't been going back to the beginning and reviewing. so she forgets.

i wonder how memory makes the transition out of short-term-memory into 'permanent knowledge.' how much practice/drilling would one need? we do not seem to be hitting it.

i'm toying with making a list of all the words of noach that she needs to review and just going through them every day. i imagine the same problem will arise; that the length will get too overwhelming. maybe when it gets too long, i need to cut back on new pesukim and spend more time on fluency? do i keep asking this question?

in happy news, chana continues to enjoy the rashi. we also are doing a new rashi on yasbisu meaning day and night won't stop. simple pshat. she's not so happy to be doing 2 rashis at once, but she's tolerating it. and i really want to review our old rashis. gotta get on that.

Monday, September 6, 2010

the anti-alfie

i asked chana how much she would like to earn (she's been asking for ways to earn money anyway) to do a massive chazara of parshas noach when we finish. ie going through every pasuk and translating it. i had in my head 10 dollars, and chana said 20, and i said deal. her eyes rounded. really?

it is yet to be seen if it will actually motivate her sufficiently. not to mention that we're only about halfway through noach (but the last bit is a lot of genealogy).

i would like to state for the record that i agree with alfie that a reward means to the child that the money is more valuable than the skills of translating chumash. i agree that ideally a teacher would make learning skills so interesting that the child wouldn't need the motivation of rewards.

i am taking an "easier" way out. alfie maintains that this will end up with the child having a more negative attitute (acc to his research, rewards de-motivate in the long term).

it is true that the child may be demotivated to read and translate simply for the sake of reading and translating. reading and translating IS difficult and painful and can be boring. i'll have to hope that the glory of the ideas of torah will provide motivation, and she'll call on the skills i bribed and pushed for.

and she'll realize that when she was 9, she valued money more than skills. but her parents valued torah so much that they were willing to pay her to have the building blocks.

Friday, September 3, 2010

yes it's the 18 minutes before shabbos but i'm sitting here nursing and there is so much i wanted to share. chana was so on today. we had a trip to see animals so i tried to get some done before we left. we did a massive pasuk (32 words!) and she translated fine, but it was a lot for her to keep track of, even with the white board.

she asked some good questions. regarding hashem smelling, i asked how He could smell. she said he can do anything! i said can he make himself a body? oh. i asked how he could smell, and she said, "he can smell something fishy!" which i enjoyed because of the metaphorical use of the word smell.

then she asked about adam being Ra from youth. but adam didn't have a youth! (after i explained what "youth" means ;). then she said she didn't think that young children who can't control themselves are bad. good questions.

and it turns out my rashi is a good choice after all. because she kept getting stuck on the lashon of "don't you admit that hashem sees the future?" she said it should be "do you admit that hashem sees the future." saying "don't you admit" implies you don't.
that was an excellent catch, chana. so i explained to her that somebody was trying to trip up the rabbi. don't you agree hashem knows the future? YES. but it says hashem was sad when he was going to destroy Mankind. yes. but why was he sad, if he knew the future.

oh, seeing chana's eyes light up with total agreement and understanding is a joy to behold.

good shabbos. this was one of those erev shabboses where jack and elazar are crying and i'm trying to cook while doing school. ha. we're going to finish chazara on shabbos.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

and so it goes

went through 2 pretty big pesukim today with minimal fanfare. chazara of words went well. had to take a 10 minute break before rashi. we are slooooowly working our way through the rashi.

chana has been working really hard at reigning in her temper.

we did find an oddity in today's pasuk. it says the animals left the ark "l'mishp'choteyhem" according to family. first chana surmised that meant all animals were one family. then she figured it was with their babies. i said the midrashim say they didn't have babies on the ark. (though now that i think about it, some animals whose lifespans are shorter than the time of the flood would need to if they were going to survive the flood. the more you think about this, the more complicated it seems. noach had quite a task).
chana suggested i daven and ask hashem for the answer.

there is a veeeerrrry long and complicated new pasuk for tomorrow.

i wonder if when we finish the parsha, if it would be worthwhile to take a few weeks and review the whole thing. we aren't even halfway done, so maybe it's premature to think about this.

so for rashi, i wanted to do 1 1/2 lines which chana thought was an outrageous affront. and she always attempts to negotiate. i told her i would translate it for her, and i said it to her in english. she screamed that she had no idea what i just said. i said i would say it again, and again, and again until she understood what i was saying. it was at this point we decided a break was in order. when i came back, she was used to the idea. she read it pretty smoothly (again, i try to choose rashis specifically that are pshat oriented and that have easy words in them). she got stuck, believe it or not, on ששאל. she insisted she didn't remember the shin prefix. i had to use it in a sentence before she sullenly figured it out. then sha'al was no problem. and ro'eh gave her trouble. she wanted me to translate it for her. i wanted her to read it and then i thought she'd be able to figure it out. she didn't want to read it. (this is one of those things where i wonder if maybe i should just tell her because she is SO adamant, but i feel like she ought to know it and i don't mind waiting while she figures it out and i think it's important for her to push through the frustration and through the feeling that she can't do it and see that she can. who says in homeschool there is no training of this sort?). she begged me to tell her. i kept saying that i know she knows it. (in the past we have had blowouts where she INSISTED that she doesn't know it and i am positive that she does. finally, it happened enough times that she saw i was right and i pointed it out afterwards and told her that she yelled at me but she really did know it, and i finally built up some credibility that when i say she knows it, she doesn't stubbornly dig her heels in that she doesn't know it). she kept saying, "i can't read it, mommy, i can't read it. please tell me." and i asked her to tell me letter by letter. which she finally did, and then realized she knew it. whew. this is her personality.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

blitz blitz blitz

today chana blitzed through 3 pesukim with no white board. yay, easy pesukim! also, zero tantrums. :-) :-) :-)

we started a new rashi. it was actually extremely difficult to find a rashi that had easyish language. i'm not sure i made a good choice.

also, despite the many reviews, chana still had difficulty with the words ishtecha and banecha. she did remember neshei, though.

Monday, August 30, 2010

the boot chart

she has already finished all the borei nefashos because they are short.

makes it all worth while

wooooooo chana was ON today. she remembered every single vocabulary word. she zipped through it. she translated a ridiculously long pasuk. she asked incisive questions. 1. how come we don't live 600 yrs anymore? 2. how did the jewish people start? did a bunch of people just decide to keep kosher?

oh how i wanted to keep her in suspense.. i said if we keep reading, she'll find out. but she begged me to tell her. (rightly so, coz til we get there, she will forget the joy of the moment of this question). so i asked if she remembered avraham. she didn't really. i said hashem started the jewish people from him.

we just have rashi left. i think i have to pick another rashi for us to do.


every once in a while i wake up in early morning and start thinking about the general direction of my kids' schooling and areas that need shoring up and areas that need more focus. i realized chana is 9 yrs old and we haven't paid attention to tefila all that much. she still doesn't like to read a lot of hebrew, and i kept putting off davening until she was more fluent in reading. but i think it's time to start some memorization. i started making a mental list of what i wanted to get working on, but what better place to write it down than here.

asher yatzar
birchas hatorah
shemona esrei

the reason for those choices is because i want to prepare chana for keeping halacha fully when she is bas mitzva. she will need to be fluent in the longer brachos.

that reminds me to put

al hamichya
borei nefashos

on the list. we've already done some of that, and some of bentching, and the first paragraph of shema, and asher yatzar a few times. but mainly, if not this year, then in the next year or 2, i'm going to have to get started on shemona esrei (preferably plus translation) so she'll be prepared to daven with kavana when she's chayav.

with sarah, i used to daven every morning for 20 minutes or so. the kids were very bored, but i think they learned all of it, like ashrei and birchas hashachar etc. with chana's stubbornness and the more unschooling approach, that kind of fell by the wayside. i still have a twinge about not doing hallel with her on rosh chodesh.
the theory in my mind is that she's not chayav, and if she can read fluently, she can pick it up easily later. this wars with the part of me that feels that elementary school education should entail having all this fluent on the tongue.

anyway, in a non-alfie kohn move, i bought chana a pair of boots and she needs to earn them. (that part is not against alfie; it makes sense for kids to earn luxuries. what he's opposed to is making something a reward for education, implying that education is inferior and something you do in order to get luxuries...). so while i would like to make chana a list of household chores for her to do to earn the boots, she's already doing a lot of household chores and it might be easier for her to read those things on my list until she's fluent. i'm thinking of making a chart with boxes and she has to read it out loud and check off the boxes, and when she's finished, she earned the boots.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


tonight was one of those nights where i reminded myself of my infertility days so i would appreciate how blessed i am. 3/4 kids were screaming plus the smoke alarm. as much as i love alfie kohn in theory, chana was crying and crying about missing "the princess diaries" to do school. she had been putting me off and putting me off, and finally i said it's time. eventually i had enough of the crying and told her she has one minute to cry hard and then if she keeps this up it's no more tv for the rest of the night. so she sobbed and sobbed, and it was going so well i figured i'd give her another minute. halfway through she said, "hey, i thought you were only giving me a minute." then she settled in. she wanted to do the new pasuk first but i wanted to review since 2 of the words in the new pasuk were words from a few pesukim ago that she still didn't know yet.

i'm finding in general that although chazara is expanding her vocabulary more than if we were doing no chazara, she is still not learning the new words to my satisfaction before we hit the point where the list of new words is overwhelmingly large. my choices are 1) do more words of chazara even if it takes longer. 2) go slower and don't even do a new pasuk each session, until she learns the new words. neither of those is so appealing.

but it took me a while to get used to the idea of chazara all together. i'm not convinced it's really helping chana's vocab, and it is slowing us down a lot. but i'm not convinced it's not improving her vocab, so i'll stick with it a while longer.

Friday, August 27, 2010


so we reviewed the 4 rashis. she pretty much remembered most of the words and a lot of translations. so good for her. i wish we weren't going so slowly, but it is a process.

also, although she got through the new pasuk pretty easily today, it seems like every few days there are just more and more words piling on that we need to review. and it seems like i leave the ones behind that she is familiar with, but she doesn't know them cold. i wonder if i am doing her a disservice by not making her learn them more fluently.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


so here's an example of a lesson that was great in theory, but didn't quite pan out in practice. i chose the rashi on "b'etzem hayom haze." that noach entered the ark in the main part of the day. rashi says that people had in mind that when they saw him enter the ark, they would break the ark and kill him. and hashem said that noach would enter in front of everybody, and we'll see whose words stand.

i thought chana would really enjoy the conflict and how hashem "got one over" the people who wanted to kill noach for claiming they needed to do teshuva.


it has taken us so long to get through the pshat of the words. i can't remember how long we've been doing this rashi. weeks? the nice thing is that the words aren't too difficult, it has a lot of familiar words and the conjugations of verbs are different enough that she has to work and easy enough that she recognizes them. it's a great rashi for teaching skills. and she's not finding it tough. we've been doing it phrase by phrase, adding on 4-6 words each time as soon as she masters the previous phrase in terms of reading pronunciation and translation. we still have the last 4 words left but it's been smooth.
but by the time we get to the end, having spent all this time on translation, she doesn't appreciate the concept. i tried to discuss it a bit with her, but she didn't really get it. if i would have just told it to her like a story, she probably would have enjoyed it. it does seem like day to day, a lot of the enjoyment of the story aspect gets lost in the drudgery of the translating.

overall, though, her skills are improving. today's pasuk was easy and she did it without fanfare. what i'd like to do now is have a day where we just review all the rashis we've done since we started rashi. i think there are only 4 or so. but it would be nice if she reads them all fluently and knows their translations. i was going to do it today but she's playing with her cousin. perhaps tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


chana wondered if ducks survived the flood, seeing as they can fly and swim. and she wondered why noach sent so many birds.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"how do you teach your own child? what if she doesn't listen?"

so the week off was nice for me. i had a lot more time to putter around. but without constant chazara, chana didn't remember most of the words. we did our usual her screaming and me keeping fairly calm . she was frustrated that she didn't remember the words. i only did the most recent bunch. we still have to go back and do a major chazara of all the words in the parsha. i'm thinking maybe spread it out over a few days. days 1 and 2 review the words, then days 3-5 go through the pesukim? or some version thereof.

the beginning of rashi went well, but quickly devolved. as usual, i wonder if i'm not handling her screaming properly and that's why it continues, or if i'm handling it very well and she's screaming in frustration. as usual, it's probably a combination. the ever so delicate balance between compassion and boundaries. between her expressing her frustration and her mistreating another human being. between me pushing her to stretch herself vs pushing her too much.

my sense today is that i was pushing her appropriately and that she was frustrated that it wasn't coming easily. and that i should be more strict in not letting her speak to me this way. such a challenge. i did finally tell her (she wanted to be finished by 10am so she could go walk some neighborhood dog) that every time she yelled at me, she was going to have to wait 2 minutes after 10am and be late. she immediately converted her furious yelling to crying: "but i'm angry, i can't control myself, it's too hard." and i said that i understand how angry she is, i can see how upset she is, and that if she yells she will have the consequences. i have genuine empathy for her. i know it's hard. but i'm not doing her (nor myself) any favors by letting her speak to me that way. if i can model being calm under extreme provocation, and be sympathetic and compassionate to her feelings, while being firm about how she talks to me...
the challenge is that i often barely notice her speaking disrespectfully. and the other challenge is to find an appropriate but not overly harsh consequence. and then consistently apply it.
(haha, alfie kohn would say to make it more interesting! then there would be no battle!)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

another day

chazara went well today, the new pasuk went well today. we still have to do rashi. i was thinking how nice it was going, and decided to review a pasuk that we had done earlier in the summer that chana had found tough, that we spent a lot of time reviewing. the question being, if we spend a lot of time reviewing, but then move on, how much does she actually remember a month later?

well thus the screaming began. we made it through moderately well until we hit the words "mibayis umichutz" inside and outside. chana insisted she did not know the word, and i knew she did. come on, bayis? she knows it. it got a little escalated, and she decided to put herself into time out coz she figured she was headed there anyway.

i definitely raised my voice in that interaction. it is pretty annoying when she gets so insistent when i know full well that she knows the word.

anyway, she calmed down and came out an apologized (which is fairly unusual for her). then i showed her that the word "mibayis" is "from" and "house" and i asked for an apology. she said she apologized already. i reminded her of a discussion we had a little while back where she agreed if she was unduly insistent and then turned out to be wrong, that i was due an apology.

then she cried for 5-10 minutes about how this is extra work, it's not a good day for this, why does sarah get to sleep late, she cannot remember what v'kafarta means (even though she did it correctly right before she blew up), she doesn't want to do this, why does she only get a 5 minute break.

i decided that no matter how much she cried, we were going to sit there until she finished that pasuk. it's not unreasonable. it's not too hard. soon she settled down and did it. i agreed to give her a 10 minute break before we do rashi and a review of yesterday's pasuk.

it's been a while since she got that upset, and it's because i added on unanticipated work. i don't regret doing it. it's not bad for her to learn that sometimes she has to. (though detractors from homeschool would have you believe that there are no opportunities for a homeschooled child to learn these lessons :-P)

so i'm mildly disappointed that she didn't remember the pasuk smoothly, but i guess that would entail another level of review that i'm not sure i want to get started with. also, given the interaction between her emotional state and her intellectual abilities, maybe with warning and mental preparation she would remember it better.