Wednesday, June 30, 2010

oh the whining

unbelieveable whining today. oops as i sat to write this i remembered that i was supposed to tell her not to whine. i must remember that. simple, straightforward request. i think it's my guilt that makes me forget. i feel like i'm torturing her, so she has the right to whine...

so i'm torturing her so she can torture me and now we're even? far better for me to make sure i'm confident in my choices, and be firm in requesting that she speak in a normal tone of voice!
to be a bit fair to me, i'm pretty sure i requested no whining a few times but she kept lapsing into it, and towards the end she had so many complaints i was fielding them and forgot to take a stand on the whining.

the review part went fine. i graduated her 2 more pesukim, to be reviewed on monday. (today is wednesday). so for tomorrow, she has one tricky pasuk (14) that she's getting a nice handle on, and pasuk 15 that is pretty easy to translate but i want her to read it again because although she knows "ama" (cubit), length, width, and height from context, i want her more familiar with the words. definitely an advantage to her reading and reviewing it with the hebrew, even though she is violently opposing it. (point: she doesn't use the words length, width, and height; she uses "longness, wideness, and tallness.")

so the review went fine, and then she requested a 20 min break, which i granted, even though i was all revved up to go. then we had one new pasuk for today. (party time--the next 6 are MUCH simpler, back to what we were doing in bereshis). the words were not terribly complicated in this new pasuk, but stringing them together to make sense is. so her translation came out: window (precious jewel) you will make for the boat and to a foot you will finishe her (it) from the top. and door of the boat in her side you will put. under, 2nd, and 3rd (floors) you will make. so we discussed that. and in the middle of translating, she realized i was going to make her do it more than once. (so peeps, i guess we're making progress because she realized it herself which means she's coming towards accepting this as the way we are doing it--with chazara). and then the tantrumming began. the idea of chazara is totally overwhelming still. i guess eventually she will get more used to it and it won't be so overwhelming. so she whined while she translated coz she was thinking about chazara. then she whined before starting chazara, until i became firm. (lesson to me: confidence and non-angry firmness is key). so before i had her chazer it, i read it twice with hebrew, then english. she cried that she didn't hear it or remember it, so i did it again. then she started saying pieces from memory, kind of half joking. anything so she didn't have to read the hebrew and then say the english. finally, i insisted. and she did it. decently. (why oh why does she make such an issue and does it feel so overwhelming to her when in actuality she's very decent, it's not too hard, and it doesn't take so much time??? do i do this too? do we all do this??)

so tomorrow we will review pesukim 14, 15, and 16.

after that i'd love to zip through the pesukim like we used to, but i do think it's a better idea to stick with this chazara. hopefully it will go easier with the easier pesukim... we will see.

we still have rashi to do today. (i had her read the rashi on the window, just the words "window" and "precious jewel/good stone" but i don't think i'll chazer it w/ her).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

review review review

didn't get a chance to write up yesterday. it was pretty uneventful. we reviewed and did one new pasuk.

today, we reviewed more. we are up to reviewing 5 pesukim. that's a lot. chana didn't want to do a new pasuk. and as we have rocket launching today of the rocket she built last week, and it's summer, i'm inclined to agree with her.

so she did 1 pasuk well enough that she graduated until monday (it's tuesday now). and the next 2 she will review one more time, and the next 1 she'll review 2 more times, and the last one she isn't fluent in, but it's fairly easily translateable so i think we'll just review it every day for the rest of the week.

we did yesterday's line in rashi and i added a new line. just reading, no translating. i already told her the gist and the language is fairly easy, so if it's fluent enough on her tongue, one day she'll know what it means.
she said, "hey mommy, you didn't say 'good job' when i read hakadosh baruch hu correctly!" she's right, i didn't notice. she did it so smoothly it was like she had known it for a while. (it's an abbreviation hkbh and she kept wanting to say "hashem" and i insisted on the full version because i think chazal's choice of which name to use when is significant. chana has been thinking a lot about all the names of hashem and has brought it up in conversation about the different names and what they signify).

so i would like to do for today, review 2 pesukim one more time each and one pasuk 2x more. we'll see if i have time. jack woke up and i have class in 25 min...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

new way of teaching

so the deal was that chana could have a sleepover last night if she doesn't whine during chumash today. she almost made it. we reviewed those pesukim. first one, excellent. we will not do it again until next week. the next 3 were very decent, and i only had her do them once, and we will repeat tomorrow.

the new one, she translated fairly smoothly, and was then delighted. no whining.

but. i wanted to review the new pasuk. not just tomorrow. but do it again today. then the whining began :-P

but i stood firm. it's not unreasonable to go over it a couple of times. i started a new way of doing it, that i like. first she translated it the usual way, breaking it down by prefix and suffix and i wrote it on the white board. and she read it all together afterwards to get the flow and we discussed it.

then, i put the board away and i read it to her phrase by phrase and translated it. then i had her repeat it. it took 3 times (which she grouched through) until she had enough fluency (not perfection) that i feel it will be familiar tomorrow when i do it with her.

tomorrow's plan. review the 3 old ones and the one new one. we may or may not do another new one tomorrow. i'm pretty busy this week. hopefully this afternoon i'll do the new rashi.

i like this new way because it has the best of all the worlds i've been grappling with. she still slogs through and translates. but then she reviews and gets fluency and sees it as a whole and it's great! just gotta break her into this new way until she accepts it as the way we are doing it. remember, it took her four months to be ok with getting herself a spoon for her cereal when she was 4.

Friday, June 25, 2010


so i wanted to review the pesukim today. in fact, i decided maybe i won't even do a new pasuk. chana freaked out. crying, it's not fair... i said "what is not fair?" because i personally think it is fair to make a person review until they know it if the goal is to know it. that did calm her down somewhat. she remembered a lot of the words in the pesukim. i think we'll need to review a few more times.

i like the first read hebrew, then say the english. it familiarizes her with the cadence of the hebrew, which i felt she was lacking. otoh, if she can easily translate the words, she doesn't need the hebrew on her tongue. oh, i'm always dithering! that's the 'trouble' with being in charge of the education. since i have all the freedom and all the choice (and thus all the responsibility), i'm always rethinking.

we didn't get through all the pesukim because the whining was getting progressively worse. and i was thinking how unpleasant it was. so i asked her to please stop whining and speak in a normal tone. she said "you're making me do it" (which btw i know this is not a parenting blog but when yr homeschooling parenting does come into it, and me making her have feelings is, as i've read in books about therapy, an "invalid" statement because nobody makes you feel anything; you are in charge of your own feelings. she says that fairly frequently and i'm not a big fan, but i realize that addressing it directly is not going to help her). so i said, "how?" and she said i'm making her do things that are too hard. and i said i am asking her nicely, because the whining is bothering me. and i don't want to yell at her, and i don't want to say mean things, so how else would she like me to handle this. and she suggested that i stop making her do work. as per faber and mazlish (how to talk so kids will listen etc) i validated her suggestion, and then politely expressed my feelings about it. (i want to do chumash so that she learns the pesukim). she then turned back to the pesukim.

then she wanted to skip pasuk 12 (we had done 1/4 of it, and וירא אלוקים את הארץ was the phrase that sent her over the edge!! hello! and i wouldn't tell her what וירא was and told her to find the shoresh and she went ballistic). so remembering her penchant for control, i agreed we would do that pasuk this afternoon and she got through the next pasuk pretty smoothly.

for קץ כל בשר i have been saying in a dramatically momentous voice: END of all MANKIND. which she enjoys.

when she translated "came before me" she asked who wrote that, ie who was the "me" and i pointed to the "elokim said to noach" and she said, oh, yeah. then she asked why the torah wrote it twice.
i thought that was an excellent question (even more so since she refused to translate the previous pasuk, and yet somehow still remembered what it was about). why would the torah narrate the situation, and then narrate hashem telling the situation to noach?

i also found another rashi, but i'm not sure if i'll bring it up today. we'll see how the afternoon session goes. i want her to review all the pesukim again, which will probably annoy her. i'm looking for rashis that have common and simple words.

chana did a really nice and quick job translating the 4 pesukim. almost ready to move forward. maybe another day or 2. (an aside: people often ask me how i manage without tests. i'm sitting next to her; i can see if she knows it or not!).
the question is, will she know this in a week? in a month? is this part of her knowledge base? she's still struggling with 'corrupted' and 'violence.' which don't show up all too often. and i think she has the jist enough.

then i had her review the rashi, and she said that she thinks it's time for a new one, because she knows this one! (she didn't get it 100%--still has some trouble with the words. but i'm excited because she asked for a new rashi :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010


well, i prepared chana yesterday that we'd be reviewing. i told her we'd do only one pasuk, and then review yesterday's work. she was amenable.

but. today, she didn't like the idea of review. why do we have to review. i want to do new ones. over her litany, i asked if she wanted to start with the new one or with the review. then i thought it would be better to start with review, since 2 of the words (shachat and chamas) were in yesterday's. she immediately insisted that she wanted to start with the new one, and i had given her the choice. we started with the new one. i had to tell her those words and "ketz" (end)(which i think i'll stick onto the memorization list tomorrow).

then we started review. and the whining and crying came full force. i feel like i must be doing something wrong. or should i say that i go back and forth between feeling like i must be doing something wrong, because in yeshiva she wouldn't do this, and there must be other homeschoolers who are managing to teach their children without this whining drama (maybe boys are different? coz sarah wasn't that much different and i must say she's getting a huge kick seeing it from the outside). and then i feel like i'm not doing it wrong, children are resistant to learning skills and drills and fairly boring work that requires this type of discipline, and the best thing i can do is soldier through it, keep it as pleasant as possible, and make sure i don't get angry (thanks, sarah, for hours and hours of practice on that front).

it is not pleasant to be whined/cried at the entire time it takes to review. why can't she speak in a normal tone of voice??? (note to self: request this of her in a respectful tone of voice). i feel like it takes all of her energy to force herself to do it, and her feelings come out in the whining. and how much can i stomp down on that? but it is really getting to me, so i'm going to have to empathize a bit and then crack down. no whining.

anyway, we tried something a bit different today. she was moaning that she didn't remember any of it (hello! that's why we are reviewing) and i have to tell her what it means. so i did. i had her read a hebrew phrase, then i translated it in english and she repeated it. she did that a few times.

in the middle she had a full-blown crying jag, why are we doing this, it isn't fair, she shouldn't have to. that's when i sternly said that she was wrong. learning it is not going through it one time and barely remembering what it means and not being able to translate it in the future. learning it means you know what it means. and that's why she needs to review. and these are famous pesukim.

so she was fairly fluent in the first and third pasuk of noach (the second one is so easy she can translate it just fine w/o review) by the end of our session. by the fourth pasuk she'd had it and wasn't really processing it. so tomorrow we'll review them again, and pasuk 12, and today's new pasuk (13). all of the next bunch are pretty complicated with new words.

now we have rashi. and i want to drill her on the vocab words. i will review the old rashi, and i'm not sure if i should give her a new one or review the old one that we'd let go (about chanoch).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


the usual conflict today. chana was hungry and grouchy, but i fed her first. elazar was jumping off the wall, and happily my neighbor took him and jack was sleeping. i decided to do 4 pesukim, the first paragraph in noach.

there are a LOT of new vocab words. i had to tell her "toldos" even though she's seen it before and knew the shoresh. for some reason, she doesn't know 'tzadik' and i told her 'tamim.' shachet--corrupted, showed up 3x and it will show up tomorrow and she won't remember it. chamas-violence.

she zipped through the rashi. maybe time for another one. maybe tomorrow.

the question is, although we went over the meaning of these pesukim in english after she translated them on the white board, i know for a fact she won't be able to translate them tomorrow. should i review them a few more times? i say this because my homeschool friend has her son memorizing the translations of the pesukim, and it's nice that he remembers pretty much most of the translations that he's learned. as opposed to chana, who won't remember this at all. it would take a couple more days to review them. i think if i said that's what we are doing, she'll do it. especially if i do only one new pasuk tomorrow. i'll have to discuss this with the principal and get his opinion.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

siyum bereshis!

woot! chana nailed those last 4 pesukim of maftir. (it helps i counted wrong and thought there were only 3).

she still doesn't realize any thing with a רב shoresh is like הרבה--i think i have to devise a mnuemonic fo rthat. yetzer she didn't know, and i translated it for her. regret and erase i translated for her. everything else she did pretty smoothly. prefixes, suffixes, etc. she did 4 pesukim in 15 minutes.

she liked that noach matza chen because "chen" is the shoresh in her name, chana. she said, "does hashem even have eyes?"

and she read the rashi w/ almost no mistakes, too. it's genuinely odd (though obvious, when you think about it) that sometimes she's so "on" and sometimes she's so not. you'd think it would be a matter of: do you have the ability or don't you. but it's so much more complex than that. mood, time of day, hunger, all contribute to whether a person is "in the zone" or not.

anyway, kol hakavod chana for finishing the first parasha in bereshis!!!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

hoo boy

there is great difficulty unraveling this translation:
the giants were in the land in those days and also after thus that they came sons of officers to daughters of adam and they gave birth for them. they the strong ones that from always famous people.

my head is reeling. i think we'll move on. chana read it on the white board twice, and asked me if i understood it, and i said not really, and she said: then how are you going to explain it to me?

a couple more reviews of rashi...


i forgot to mention that a lot of the phrases were difficult from literal meaning to anything that made sense:

started the adam to a lot on the face of the ground
6:2 gave her particular difficulty:
and they saw sons of the elohim the daughters (of) the adam that good they were and they took for them women
(that's not terrible to untangle but chana really doesn't have the experience yet)

back to the grind

so before we hit the circus today, chana read the rashi 4x (and what a battle that was). actually, she ended up reading it 3x and negotiated to do a previous rashi (easier) once. she remarked the other day that she's a better negotiator than i am, and now it often diffuses our arguments when we start getting heated and i use the word negotiate, like "i see you are negotiating..." so that was that rashi, which i hope to have her do again a couple more times before shabbos. we have basically let go the one about chanoch, and i'm having her read the noach one a lot because there are words i want her familiar with like "shelo, ba, lo, v'hu, and lahem." she is nowhere near the ability to translate. actually, after she read a bunch of it this morning i said it out loud and asked her to translate it (because she's used to me speaking hebrew, she can do it more easily auditorily than if she's reading it) and she pitched a fit that this is not rashi. and i said, yes it is rashi; rashi is reading and understanding. hmph. we're still in negotiations about that.

(pitching a fit is in general a sign that i'm pushing her; whether or not i'm pushing her too much and should back off or whether it's just her crying out as i properly expand her abilities and "brain muscle" so to speak, has to be determined in every single instance).

then we went to the circus, and now we're doing chumash. the names and generations are over, so we are back to the slower pace of harder translation work. it happens to be that this next bit is not terribly difficult to translate, but very cryptic.

at this point, chana isn't troubled much when she doesn't understand it. it's a little sad to me. she's taking up so much energy getting through the labor of literal translation, that she has little inclination to enjoy the oddities of the text and what puzzles they are revealing. (she did wonder why anyone on earth would name their child "name." it's odd that the sons of elohim (we translated it as officers as per rashi and onkelos) married the daughters of adam. isn't everyone the children of adam, including the officers? what does it mean that hashem isn't going to fight (rashi, not onkelos) w/ adam anymore because he is meat? chana started puzzling that, but it got too complicated.

these 5 pesukim are taking us quite a while with breaks. we did the first one, then break. then the second one, then brak. then the third one, then break. then the fourth, and i didn't want to do a break, but chana desperately wanted to go to the playground so she negotiated. so now we have one very long pasuk left and then hopefully some rashi. (but i'll bet a break in between...). then we are up to the maftir of parshas bereshis! go, chana!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

mutter mutter whine and mutter

hmm. lots happened. first, i asked chana to do chumash and she blew up at me. screaming and crying. whoa. so i took elazar to the playground.

she went to get cereal. i reviewed her vocab words, which she got immediately. when she finished eating, i reviewed the 2 rashis. first one, zoom. second one, decent. yesterday's rashi was a mess, she whined through it, and was generally unreceptive. plus i found a good rashi with easier words for today's pesukim, so i figured i'll drop the translation of that one but work on the reading. (oh, yeah, she asked to not do the last 2 words and i agreed. and she didn't do them).

then i left her alone for a while because she was cranky.

then i asked her to do chumash again. she was still resisting. i gave her more time.

then i asked her again, and as i asked, i heard jack on the monitor. then i got annoyed. i said, chana, this isn't just about when you want to do it. i wanted to do it when jack was sleeping because it's hard for me to do it while i have to keep elazar from jumping on top of jack.

then she felt guilty and said ok, i'll do it now. i said no good because jack is awake. but jack fell back asleep and so we got done.

then she asked how much, and i told her, and she started to cry that it's too much. grooooaaaan. and i said i'm not going to tell her if she's just going to say she can't do it. (hello, yesterday's conversation).

so she blitzed through the first bunch. then went out to the playground.

then she went through the pasuk on why noach was named noach. back to prefixes and suffixes. she whined her way through them. back to the ol' grind.

we have yet to review the reading for yesterday's rashi and hopefully a new rashi for today. i probably shouldn't introduce new rashis while still having trouble with the most recent one. i'm tempted to drop it in favor of the new one. we'll see.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

rashi 5:24

so chana wanted me to tell it to her in english. so i summarized it for her (actually, in simple hebrew, because that's what i speak to her in). i said:
why did chanoch die so early?
why did hashem take him?

chanoch was a tzadik, but it was easy for him to be a rasha. (she didn't know rasha and i said somebody who does bad things). she asked how it would be easy for someone to be a rasha. i said, maybe if he had friends who were bad, and he was with them, and they did some bad things, and then he would, too...

and that's why hashem killed him, before he did anything bad.

chana accepted that surprisingly well. (there are lots of questions on that!)

then i had her read the rashi. i decided to only do the first half of the rashi, and to take out the word "v'silko" because salek doesn't come up that often. the purpose of the first reading was mainly for letter recognition. tomorrow we'll work on getting the words right. then after about a week of that, we'll work maybe on translation?

kvetching and more rashi

why do we always have to have 5-10 minutes of arguing/negotiation before we do chumash? it was the same with sarah. i say, let's do chumash. then maybe a negotiation about when. let's do it at this time, no at this time. back and forth. that's not what gets me.
then it's: "how many pesukim are we doing?" i say the number, and the whining, negotiating, metaphorical (and sometimes not-so-metaphorical) kicking and screaming begins.

as i said, we are in the middle of the toldos adam. easy shmeezy repetitive pesukim. so i tell chana today that we are doing 3 generations. (remember last time we did 2 and she did a mini hiss over it). so she starts in. so i said, "why does it have to be a negotiation and complaint every time?" it's like she asks, so that she can feel that it's too much, so that she can complain it's too much, then have the overwhelmingness of it all hover over her head during even the simplest of pesukim. i said, "how about i don't tell you how much, and we just start? i don't want to tell you when it starts this whole thing." i meant to get her actual input on an actual plan of how we can work this out. (other than "let's do fewer pesukim."). somehow, though, just my bringing it up diffused it so we started.

i reviewed the 5 words, which she nailed. yay! a few more days and i think we can do it only once in a while. then we did the first rashi. then the second rashi. she started muttering that she didn't want to do all the words. chana's personality is extremely anti-authority, so i decided it would be best if i gave in and let her not read the entire rashi. so she saw i thought about it, and agreed with her. she just didn't want to read the last word. that's the way she is. anti-authority. not anti-work. so she read the rashi, and then read the last word, too. only coz she didn't have to.

i had been wanting to translate this rashi for/with her. but there are a few complications. it is a drash, and i don't think she has enough grasp of pshat to comprehend a pshat/drash diyuk. the pasuk says "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man" and rashi says he started having children the day hashem created him. it's a short rashi and the words are not so complicated, and chana's been practicing reading it for a few days now. but i knew there would be 2 steps. 1. literal translation and 2. understanding.
and i thought understanding would be difficult.

but today we did chanoch, and she noticed that he lived MUCH shorter and naturally asked why, and why would hashem take him. so i know rashi addresses that. so i'm thinking about attacking that rashi. just have to figure out how.

Monday, June 14, 2010

names and rashi

so we are in the generations of adam. i like it because it's very repetitive. chana is getting good at the verbs that keep coming up. i am still reviewing the words on our list every day: bilti, lachen, and sign. i added on "yemei" because chana keeps forgeting it's "days of" and i added "ishto" because i keep getting annoyed that she can't remember it's "his wife." i have to keep saying "what is the vav at the end." then "the taf is a substitute for ה" and then maybe she gets it. now it's coming more quickly.

we are onto our second rashi. i taught her וגו' is etc which i knew she'd get a big kick out of, which she did. for 2 or 3 days we've been working on pronouncing the words correctly. she mostly gets the letter right (we started with rashi letter flashcards, and there are about 5 somewhat tough ones and 6 pretty confusing ones, and the rest are obvious). after a few weeks of that, she knew the letters. the big challenge is reading without nekudos. since she isn't really able to. (sarah is fairly abysmal at that, so i hope to ramp that up for chana's education). whereas with sarah, i always had her dissecting the rashi herself and translate it (which often caused me the same problem i was having with chana, which was she would lose the thread of the whole in the nitty gritty of translation), i had an epiphany this morning that the reason i did that was because i had this fantasy that the student should be capable of doing every step of the process herself (which is somewhat absurd, considering i had to hold her hand the whole time and even doing it herself, there was a lot she didn't get). now i'm more laid back about that, and i'm inclined to give her the answers and i'm working a little more on chazara. so i will translate it for her (though the first attempt, i do want the student to break it down into its components and try to translate), and then we will go over it a bunch of times until she reads it correctly (something i didn't really work on with sarah) and until she can translate it somewhat smoothly (which sarah wasn't willing to do after breaking her teeth on it by herself). so to sum up, the changes i'm making: 1. more help in translating 2. chazara a number of times of pronunciation and 3. chazara in translation.

chana fought me on the idea of doing 6 pesukim today, even though she's been doing that much AND these were easy! i keep reminding myself it took a month of tantrums to get her to serve herself her own cereal.

Friday, June 11, 2010

in the zone

chana blasted through the 5 pesukim today. i thought they'd be harder for her. she needed no break, and we took a break only because i had to pull challahs out of the oven and make another batch.

she started asking if she could have money for doing it so well with no breaks, and i said i guess so. then she asked how much, and i said a dollar. then she spent a lot of time asking for $1.50.

she reviewed yesterday's rashi. i wanted to do another rashi with her but maybe i'll try to do it over shabbos. or maybe not.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

a loooong day and lots of work

today was many hours of work. i think we started before 11am, and with breaks it is almost 2pm. this was to do 6 pesukim. which is a lot. and we reviewed, and i wanted fewer breaks, but we breaked when she needed to. and "nashim" seems to present her a problem, as well as "ishto." we did a few reviews and her first rashi. at the end of the day, we are wiped. and a bit grouchy. but i feel like chana worked really hard and accomplished a lot. we don't have that many days where nothing else is going on but us working on and off all day. i think i've been pushing chana harder and our days are less pleasant as a result, but this is the kind of long-term work that will hopefully reap benefits in terms of skills.

i made her read the rashi (היא אשתו של נח)
5x till she got it right. we'll review it tomorrow. we finished perek 4. looking forward to long lists of names coming up...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


we are halfway through our 6 pesukim for today and she needs many many breaks. when i "unschool" her ie let her do what she wants, the relationship is so pleasant. when i push her to learn, we have conflict. does it always have to be this way? my rabbi says learning, especially skills, is not in the nature of a child and it goes against their inclination and their desire and they fight it. and yes, i should make it as pleasant as possible, but it is against human nature. (though another part of human nature is to enjoy accomplishment--but that's after it's mastered, not during the work of mastering).

i'm itching to work, and chana is at the playground. i think i'll practice trope.

another day

i took a lot on today. first, i wanted to review the 2 phrases from yesterday that chana had difficulty with. she translated them literally again easily, and again had trouble figuring out what they meant. i told her, and she remembered from yesterday. then i decided to do 6 pesukim, since 5 were fairly easy.

chana looked at all the pages she had covered and was impressed with how much she had done. but she still fought me on the 6 pesukim. the first pasuk was a bit unwieldy and we went through it and then took a break. (also, i gave her a white board and a marker and although she scowled, she has been writing the shorashim and that's been going well). then after the second pasuk, she wanted a break even though i thought it was quick. i denied her a break, and after the third pasuk pasuk she was squirmy so she's off having a break now. i hope the next 3 will be quick and easy. (i wanted to work without break because jack is asleep and elazar is playing with his cousin; but chana prefers to spread the work out more).

3 words came up that i feel are worthy of review, so i'm going to drill chana on them:

אות sign
בלתי not
לכן therefore

i think chana got squirmy after one pasuk thinking about all the ones she was going to have to do. i don't think that one pasuk in and of itself was enough to make her antsy; it's the thought of all of them that got her antsy. as an adult, i also feel overwhelmed not by the inherent activity, but by the thought of doing more than i feel capable of, even if what i'm doing at the moment is doable.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

more thinking about the process

so today we didn't get to chumash until evening. i looked at the pesukim and they seemed challenging, so i decided to do 4. chana tried negotiating a few times, then finally settled into it. it turns out i was confused as to which was the last one we had done yesterday, so we did it halfway and realized that she had done it yesterday. so she only had 3 for today.

she actually didn't translate them with as much difficulty as i thought she would. however, the transition from the literal english to the meaning was beyond her (partly, i think, because it was late in the day and she wasn't sitting down fresh). phrases like: big my sin from carry/ and it will be all find me he will kill me

looking at them, i can see how they are confusing.

also, i perhaps need to make it a practice to have chana write down the shoresh. usually she reads it w/ all 3 letters and i write it down. and if there is a word where not all the letters are there, (today at least) she tantrums that i should tell her. i'd better get her used to writing the shoresh. theoretically, with her own white board and marker, it should be fun.

shout out to sarah for watching elazar and preventing him from jumping on top of jack and/or trashing the house while chana and i worked.

i'm currently grappling again with the question of whether or not to work on the translation to the point where chana knows it fluently before going further. it calls me like a siren, the idea that if i review enough chana will know the translation of any pasuk we've already done. but realistically, how much chazara will that take? and how long will she retain it? if i spend time reviewing until she knows it, and then come back to it a few months later, will she know it? and if you say i have to keep on doing chazara, then we have to review and review and then it takes longer and longer. it ends up that the time i would spend on it doesn't seem worth the result, and i may as well continue for now as i'm going.

i feel like maybe if i could get a handle on trope, it would be easier to sing the pesukim and translation a bunch of times?? who knows.. i'll continue to think.

any input would be helpful. i seem to remember the last time i asked for feedback on this question i got zero. thinking of calling the rav and asking his opinion one of these days...

Monday, June 7, 2010

acting out

i made an extra effort to be cheery today since i wasn't so cheery in the morning and then chana responded to that and then got hungry so we got our usual her whining, crying, snapping at me thing over with before chumash started. i thought it could easily flow right into chumash time, so i wanted to shake it off.

it's such a gorgeous day and i was in so much conflict today. who wants to be doing school when i'd rather we just sit around outside in this stunning weather.
i go back and forth about unschooling and letting the chips fall where they may and having a chilled-out, enjoying ourselves time, vs putting in some effort and demonstrating that torah is a priority.

anyway, i decided to do 5 pesukim today. the first one was tough, and i figured i'd tell it to chana and we'd move on. i even wondered about skipping it.

הֲלוֹא אִם-תֵּיטִיב, שְׂאֵת, וְאִם לֹא תֵיטִיב, לַפֶּתַח חַטָּאת רֹבֵץ; וְאֵלֶיךָ תְּשׁוּקָתוֹ, וְאַתָּה תִּמְשָׁל-בּוֹ

but she got a giant kick out of the mistake crouching by the doorway, and we enacted that a number of times between me, her and elazar. then we talked about being king over our mistakes.

then she translated the next pasuk about kayin killing hevel and was quite surprised considering hashem just told kayin he could master. so then we enacted the mistake crouching and jumping (she was the mistake and i was kayin) and me killing hevel with the mistake sitting heavily on my back. then i was the mistake and she was kayin and i jumped on her and she fought the feelings off and didn't kill hevel.

grammatically, there was the same noun with 3 suffixes to work with. אחיו. אחיך. אחי i had her review them afterwards. now she's having a break and then 2 more pesukim.


she did them quickly. and remembered the diff אח suffixes. had trouble w/ דמי

Friday, June 4, 2010

discipline intertwines with learning

so last night chana asked to play with her cousin at 8pm and i said yes. i realized after she left that she hadn't done her work for art class, which means she'd have to do it in the morning, which cuts into our chumash time. i called her up and in the heat of the moment she promised she'd do it all tomorrow. i said no tv no ds until all work done tomorrow.

well, here it is, tomorrow, and she woke up furious because she didn't want to do it. oh, she gave it the ol' college try because she gave her word. but in true chana style, when she is unmotivated she is weepy and stubborn and molasses. her art calligraphy consisted of the words: "i want to die." i have never heard her use such extreme language. some kids do; she never did before.

so into that atmosphere enter chumash. we have less than half an hour and a weepy, furious (suicidal in a 9 yr old way) child. and i have to leave soon, putting me under a time constraint.
should i skip chumash?

well should i?

save it for later?

we did 3 pesukim. i basically told her all the words she didn't know. she didn't keep the thread. she wept. c'est la vie.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

another good day

another fabulous day! i decided to do 5 pesukim today, none of them terribly difficult. a bit of haggling, where i told chana that i WANTED to do 6 but out of concern for her sensibilities, i chose 5. she said it would take her a billion breaks, and i said fine.

we had a lovely time illustrating the flaming rotating sword. first we did flame and chana said it should say אש. then the sword. then she isolated the shoresh הפך and knew it meant opposite, and that fit into the sword flipping around. the rest of the pesukim went nicely.

chana wanted to know how hevel was a shepherd if he was just born. as sarah did before her, she saw that kayin's name had meaning and asked what hevel means, and henceforth called him "nothing."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

bet you never thought after a week like this there would be a day like this

today was one of those magical days that makes a person love homeschooling and marvel at her good fortune to have the privilege of seeing her child learn.

well. ok. not all was perfect in eden. but it was overall glorious. first chana asked how much we were doing. i ambitiously said 3.5 pesukim, which was almost 9 lines. the pesukim overall seemed pretty easy. she started tantruming and refusing, and i gave her a warning. (then elazar deliberately started throwing raw macaroni and we took a break so i could enforce him cleaning it up. then we needed to make popcorn for breakfast).

there was some haggling over unfamiliar words. chana cannot understand why i don't just tell her the word. why do i have her guess. why do i have her try to figure from context or give her hints or draw it. why n0t just tell her. i have a suspicion that the more mediums a person uses, it attaches into the memory by more hangers, so to speak. it follows diff neural paths. or some scientific thing that it helps her remember better. as i was trying to discuss this, elazar was rolling jack around and around and jack wasn't so happy and i was a bit distracted (these details i usually leave out because i was sticking to educational theory and practice, and not all the attendant practical things that go on during homeschooling). i told chana we'll see.

anyway, back to the magical part. chana remembered שוב when i used it in a sentence, whereas yesterday it was like i was speaking greek (or some other foreign language ;-P). her breakdown of the various grammar prefixes and suffixes was masterful. she didn't remember all the suffixes, but found them easily in r' winder and plugged them in expertly.

when she got to the word חי, she immediately said: "chai, מת" and perked up and drooped like i always do and then said "life." in other words, her neural pathways were grooved in the path i had paved and she remembered the word using the little trick i always do :) :) success.

we talked about the word פן and i told her how i always told sarah it means "lest" but sarah had no idea what that meant. and i said it meant to be scared something will happen. like don't go into the street, פן you will get killed by a car.

chana made a fabulous cognitive leap why would hashem be worried something will happen if a) he knows everything that will happen and b) he can control everything. a delightful question. i wrote it down and did tell her that hashem doesn't control people and he lets us choose our behavior. she said, though, that He can stop the car from hitting. she thought that hashem would certainly do such a thing for moshe rabbenu.
i did mention that moshe ran away from a snake, being worried it would bite him. she said, the nachash was still around then?! i said, no, a regular snake. poisonous? yes.

we also had a fun time physically enacting "he will send his hand." at first, chana didn't know what that means. to detach your hand and send it somewhere? i showed her how it means the brain sends the hand with will. seeeeeeend the hand (and i stretched it out) and we did it a few times, and she had jack do it (though technically she sent his hand, not him, since his will doesn't do that at our command). she said jack was "he" so it fit into the pasuk better.

tomorrow we will see how hashem will handle is "fear lest."

and chana did not need a single break for all this.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

more of the same

btw, yesterday's pasuk went uneventfully. today we have nothing to do. first half pasuk of chumash went well. i was thinking about doing 4 pesukim today, w/ many breaks.

the second half, though not terribly difficult, had 3 unfamiliar words, and enough conjugation to break chana's teeth. she started tantruming about looking up נה meaning her/it. she said it meant "us" which is a good guess, considering the nun. after a bunch of tantrumming, i walked away. it's really hard for me to remember a so-to-speak zero tolerance policy meaning i should walk away when it starts, but a) i sympathize with her frustration and b) sometimes i don't even consciously notice it, believe it or not.

after we finished, i decided that maybe we should review this pasuk. it wasn't terribly hard, and i thought she'd benefit from chazara. i was in conflict, coz i know she hates chazara. but i felt it would solidify it a bit.

she wasn't thrilled at the thought. but i said "this is today's work." she kept saying "it's on the board." so i erased the board. and she pretty much whizzed through it (if you discount the time when she accidentally knocked her ds on the floor and it froze, and she hadn't saved it, and she needed to grieve...). she negotiated that she will do only another 1.5 pesukim today. i feel like she should/can do more but frankly i don't have the energy to fight this.

she wants to be done by a certain time so she can go out and play. i wonder if that will make her more motivated or more time crunched. we'll see.


so she pretty much whizzed through the pasuk and a half. i told her the new words. no tantrums whatsoever. she had to hassle me to sit down because i was doing other stuff and she wanted it done. as usual, when she chooses how much to do and when to do it, it's so much easier.

i really wanted her to do the second half of the last pasuk, but she was adamant. it's easy and so are the next 2 pesukim. so hopefully tomorrow will be pretty smooth.