Sunday, May 30, 2010

the neverending battle

sometimes i think every homeschooling teacher must ask herself at one point: what am i doing wrong? she would NEVER carry on like this at school in front of a bunch of her peers and a different adult.

so as per plan, i was doing one pasuk today. with 5 new words. so we started off amiably enough. i told her i wanted to do a pasuk, she picked a time, we started. i got out the dictionary because there were a couple of nouns i had the gist of, but didn't know specifically, and figured i'd see what would happen if i had the dictionary out and i didn't know the word either.

so we hit the first new word. i wrote it in hebrew and left a blank. she wanted me to tell her. i said, let's do the rest of the pasuk and then you should be able to guess from context. she started whining that she wanted me to tell her. i said i want her to guess. she started crying that she never guesses right (which is not true). i said let's wait and see and then i'll tell you if you don't guess right. then we got to the first verb i didn't know. i said there are 2 i don't know, so you do one and i'll do one. she agreed. she decided to do the first word (ably remembering the prefix "i will"). so i wrote down שית on the white board. she asked me to open the dictionary. i said nope. she opened it to shin. interestingly, she didn't look for shin yud, but turned to the end of the shins. i scanned the page and saw that שת was there, and had the right definition. great. i said, oh, there it is! this was a mistake. she then wanted me to point out the column. i said no, which was perhaps another mistake coz why the heck do i need her to be able to use the dictionary? i thought i decided a month or more ago that all adults can pretty much use a dictionary, so why torture her now?

anyway, she went into full blown tantrum. literally lying on the floor and rolling around crying. seriously. she's going to be 9 in a few weeks.
the new me, confident that asking her to do this amount of work is reasonable, said, "here's the white board and the marker. when you find the word, write it on the board." and i left the room.

do all homeschoolers tantrum? coz i have taught in school. they don't do this.

soon i hear her calling me, that it's all shins and no sins. then i realize that she misread the yud that i put for the shoresh as a dot on the left side. i called back that it's a shin; check the pasuk. she does, and begins berating me for writing a sin. i told her it's a shin and a yud in the shoresh, and show her in the dictionary how the shoresh is written with a yud. she says she thought that one was it. and how come i wrote a sin. and how come i wrote a yud looking like a dot. ya know what? next time i'll have her write the shoresh.

she did nicely on the rest of the prefixes and suffixes, but the whole thing was a nonstop whinefest. i could tell she was strongly controlling herself, because she was softly whining instead of screaming, like she wanted to. so i didn't call her on it. because from experience i know that if i told her she's whining, she'd start crying harder about how upset she is. so i let it go but it was pretty unpleasant.

the pasuk says "between you and between the woman, and between your seed and between her seed." chana felt all those betweens were annoying. i felt happy that it was repeated so much and maybe she'll learn the word.

she found confusing the translation "he will crush you head" meaning "he will crush you (on the) head."

after translating the pasuk, she didn't want to read the whole thing to see if she could get that first word from context. again she cried.

(and she was away for shabbos and surely did not get enough sleep, but again, if i would wait for the perfect storm conditions she'd be grown w/ no education).

i was planning to walk away again until she calmed down but she grabbed onto me, so i asked if she wanted to read it while i sat next to her. she did. she read it, and it was tricky enough to follow everything and figure it out so i did tell her the word.

the end.

i'm wiped. why is this so hard? why so much energy? why so much unhappiness? what am i doing wrong? i am NOT doing things beyond her capability.

maybe i'm doing nothing wrong. maybe translating is hard work. maybe i'm guiding her through the frustration of putting in hard effort for a valuable goal.

there were a lot of days like this with sarah, too. and we survived. and she can translate chumash.

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