Friday, July 30, 2010

we're back

so vacation is over and chana is home. it's friday, and i often have an urge to skip chumash on fridays because i'm busy preparing for shabbos. add to that that we have a science class, and i have double urge to skip. add to that that i just had a week of not doing it, and inertia compels me to skip. add to that that in general i don't look forward to butting heads w/ chana, and i think i have a lot of reasons not to do chumash.

i think i see why people fall out of the habit of learning torah. not that this is learning torah. this is just skillbuilding so that she can learn torah in the future if she wants to.

anyway, i decided a grand review was in order. so we spot reviewed all the difficult words from the beginning of the parsha. it took chana only 3 sittings, and she knew most of them. our more recent ones she doesn't know yet. she was wonderfully pleasant. (see, it isn't me. i was the same as i always am). i gave her a 5 min break whenever she asked, and she did great. the new pasuk we didn't even write down and she kept the thread. she still doesn't know that רב is the same as הרבה. hmm, maybe i should write that down on the white board each time and underline the reish and the beis so that she sees it in another modality. we reviewed the rashi. all in all, a nice way to get back.

Friday, July 23, 2010

follow up

well, that was not thoroughly uneventful (surprise, surprise :-P)

the word by word translation went fairly smoothly, because she knows most of the words. we had a bit of a tussle on the word "ha-ba'im." i wanted her to write down the shoresh and she didn't want to. and it was tricky, because it's a noun, not a verb. "the comers."

'asher bo ruach chayim' posed some challenges as well. firstly, chana has a tendency to translate "bo" as 'come' even though it means 'in him/it.' secondly, the literal translation lines up as "that in him wind life." and let me tell you, a cranky chana has no patience for that. i wanted to show her in the pasuk how it means that (has) in it (a) spirit (of) life. but no patience.

chana tends to translate the words she knows without reading the hebrew. as i mentioned a few times, i don't like this because it breeds no familiarity with the hebrew. but she is quite resistant to reading it. since doing it how i prefer (hebrew phrase, english translation) was becoming a bit of a who-will-win-this tussle, i gave in to her expressed preference that she do english, then hebrew. but now that is sliding and she doesn't do the hebrew unless she doesn't know the word. so then i ask her to read the pasuk afterwards, and that's not getting any happy points.

at a certain point, i stood up and told her that i'm waiting for her to be mature and stop behaving bratty. she requested that i not use the word "mature;" she is not an adult. i said she can behave mature like a 9 yr old maturity. she said the word mature sounds funny and please don't use it. i said tell me when you are ready to stop behaving in a bratty way. she said she was ready. and we went on.

i believe this whole thing took under 5 minutes. maybe 7.

these are pesukim that she doesn't really understand the translation of, but she knows the word by word translation very easily. i wonder if it is worth doing chazara for these or if i leave it alone, these kinds of things will eventually click.
hey, i know how to check that. i'm going to ask sarah to translate them. brb.
good news. no need to hock.

she will prevail

so. how did we do today. we started off with chana in a fairly good mood. meaning it was 11am and she hadn't shouted at me once :-)

she got through the majority of the chazara words quickly and correctly. when we got to the ishto, banav etc, things started to devolve. i had to remind her to stop whining. i feel like she gets into this mode where she's just whining. and she has to take a step back and realize it's not so bad. haha, such an adult and mature tactic. i also feel like i'm pushing her (not incorrectly), but she, who naturally wants things to come easy and not have to work feels anger and feels like screaming. the whining is her compromise. it is her controlling herself w/ great effort from shrieking how much she hates me and from refusing to do it. so go, chana. excellent control. and yet i request more. because i don't like all of chumash devolving into a whinefest.

anyway, we had a slight breakthrough. i feel like i've told her this before. but today she was receptive. she has to look for the ב.ן in the ishto banav, banecha, ishtecha, neshei words. if it has a ves and a nun, then it's ben--son. i'm sure i've told her that numerous times. but today it clicked. all 3 pesukim i showed her with those, she did correctly. here's to hoping it continues.

and i think we are graduating the rashi. onward to a new one! maybe a review 2 wks from now.

so we chazered words in pesukim, then took a 5 min break. then chazered the 2 newish pesukim, and took a 5 min break. then did the new pasuk (she did not remember "min" species which perhaps i should have chazered but it probably wouldn't have made a real difference because she doesn't quite process the hebrew to english, no matter how much i want her to). i have 2 more easy pesukim that i want her to do. she pitched a fit when i suggested it. so now she's having, as per negotiations, a one hour break, whereupon we will (hopefully) do 2 more pesukim without great fanfare.

next week she's staying with my parents and her cousin. i'm looking forward to a little vacation. theoretically we can do vacation anytime (one of the perks of homeschooling) but i do feel a responsibility to teach her if she's willing to learn. and i know it's hard to believe, but this is chana willing to learn. she complains, she whines, she yells. but she does it.

OT, when chana plays video games, she is often frustrated and screaming as she loses a life or it doesn't go how she wants. she shrieks through nintendo ds games and through gamecube super mario cart etc. so her frustration and her shrieking is in no way an indication of unwillingness. she pushes through the anger and frustration and she succeeds. so too with torah.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

it's only a phase

and chana just brutally shrieked her way through the chazara of this pasuk, and frankly it doesn't feel like she knows it any better than before chazara. and even though i skipped the previous chazara, i feel that she really needs to review a bunch of those words. i guess tomorrow.

as usual, i'm caught between wondering if there is a way to do this while making it more pleasant (maybe it's time to open alfie again) and feeling like we just have to get through and no matter how bad it is for her, the important thing is for me to not lose my temper.

i don't usually discuss these aspects, but this is not in a vaccuum. chana is losing her temper right and left all around town these days. it's a phase that happens to her periodically, which i wonder if it corresponds to her growth spurt and being hungry all day long. or maybe it's some emotional psychological thing. whatever it is, we have to ride it out w/ me being as pleasant as possible while being screamed at all day long, and remembering to be pleasantly firm about how i let her speak to me.

today continued

so we are doing the review of the last pasuk. it's a doozy. 7:11. has words like "nivka'u" (they were split) which has the delightful aspects of 1. a new shoresh. 2. being passive and 3. the vav at the end being "they" and not "him/his."
other new words: tehom (useful so i'll drill it), raba (for some reason she never remembers its relationship to הרבה), ma'ayanot, and niftachu (same problems as above except that the shoresh is familiar even though chana has thus far been unable to recognize the shoresh in other forms except liftoach!).

so i told her we'd have to do it 3x. and i asked her if she wanted me to run through it first. at first she said no, but then she said i should. so i did. she reviewed it w/o reading the hebrew. this has been a constant tussle between us. i want her to read hebrew, then translate. to become familiar with the hebrew, too. she prefers to look at the hebrew, then translate it into english. sarah preferred this as well, and i think she ended up with less hebrew reading fluency and familiarity. so i try to insist, and she resists. etc.

so this time chana did it with mostly english, and i restrained myself from forcing the hebrew because she was having so much trouble with the pasuk. and she didn't notice or appreciate it. then she said "and now review 5 more times" which i readily agreed to, and she got upset because she was making a joke. she then spent a whole bunch of minutes attempting to negotiate less than that.

i finally told her she can review the pasuk 2 more times or do the new one now. then break, then more review. she chose the new pasuk, which blessedly, as anticipated, was a breeze. we are now having break and then back to the pasuk.

i'm in a bit of dilemma (as usual ;) because i am beginning to feel like maybe i should spend more time before abandoning the chazara of the first bunch of pesukim. basically, any fluency that she acquires now is a favor to her for later. imagine if we could go through chamisha chumshei torah and she is basically fluent in all the pesukim. ah, is this a pipe dream? in my post 9 av musings, i am sad that in this state of galus it is a pipe dream that children should be fluent in the 5 books by the end of 8th grade. (let alone that mishna needs to be done between 10 and 15! zoinks). (or were chazal referring to all 24 books? double triple zoinks). otoh, on a happier musing note, how fortunate are we that i can just open up a website and have the translation to all of tanach. the internet is beyond even the printing press in its potential good for humanity.

but back to traipsing through this pasuk with chana. and hopefully then rashi,

post 9 av

so yesterday being 9 av, there was no learning torah even though i'm sure chana would have suffered doing it and would have rejoiced not doing it. i didn't tell her that learning torah is assur on 9 av. instead i told her the story of r' yochanan ben zakai sneaking out of yerushalayim. she very comedically enacted his face inside the coffin as he braced himself for being stabbed through. i was thinking it must have been extremely nervewracking, and quite tough to talk themselves out of that situation.

this morning i have finally decided to stop all the reviewing. chana doesn't know all the words cold, so maybe i'm making a mistake by not reviewing. but the amount is getting daunting.

this morning she reviewed a pasuk that had 3 words she didn't know. happily, with context, she remembered them all. she is STILL having trouble with the "his sons" "his wife" "wives of." groan.

we have one more pasuk to review today, then a new pasuk which is thankfully easy.

and we are still clomping our way through that rashi. she is improving. and the good news is i had her review an old rashi the other day, and she read it beautifully. so far so good.

on another note, sarah and i had many interesting discussions on 9 av. yet again i see how all the years i spent learning with her and teaching her at home has had a profound affect.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

a laugh a minute

so chana's been in quite a silly mood these days, which is faaaabulous for chumash. and especially nice after being in a rather bearish mood the couple of weeks? days? it feels like weeks :-P before that.

so instead of reviewing pesukim, i've been spot reviewing the words she needs to review. we are both happy with that. it takes shorter, and i already know she knows the ones she knows, and i just want to practice the ones she doesn't. for pesukim where she's having real trouble with the flow, or with certain phrases, i have her review them as pesukim or phrases.

she's been cracking jokes and it's been very pleasant.

yesterday, i was miming 'asaf' by gathering with my arms and i accidentally collided with her forehead. she thought that was uproarious. and now our hint for asaf is me elbowing her in the forehead. good for lots of laughs.

we reviewed the word zera (and i can't help thinking, if we would have reviewed bereshis more she'd know zera and min etc, but no big deal--she'll learn it now). and i said seed and she remembered it was seed/babies and then thought it was very funny see babies. see babies??
so i made a hint miming "see" like making my hand a visor over my eyes and gazing off into the distance and then "babies" rocking my arms. and now when we see zera i'll mime see babies and that makes her laugh and she says seeD/babies.

today's new pasuk had 3 new words and it was long. but the white board got us through. also i told her what the new words' definitions were before she started, so when she saw the new word and asked what it was and i told her, she was familiar. after the pasuk i had her go over those 3 words again. the rest of the pasuk was simple enough that we can just chazer those 3 words tomorrow.

and joy of joys, the next 5 pesukim are easy! so i told her she has to do those 5 today and tomorrow. naturally, she chose to do all 5 tomorrow. i said that's not an option. she can do 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 today. guess how many she picked to do today? yup. 1.

so she pretty much breezed through that. though oddly she had trouble with vaya'as. come on. so i had her write down the shoresh. which she hates. but in her new and delightfully giggly mood she decided to do the shoresh with her left hand. sure, it took longer, but she enjoyed it (yay, alfie!) and is it longer than arguing with her?

then i begged and pleaded for her to at least look at the next pasuk, just the first half, coz it's so easy. which she did. and then said, "darn, i'm translating it to myself." so she did it. when she had trouble with the last word "shana" i suddenly remembered we forgot to do rashi. and she laughingly said darn, she was hoping i'd forget and she wasn't going to remind me. but i remembered. so soon we'll go through that rashi again.

we're not making fabulous progress on rashi. but it's the summer.

Monday, July 12, 2010

fights and giggles

today i made a real effort to keep things light, giggly, and fun. we started with our usual. i gave chana the option of when she wanted to work, she chose "later." then when later arrived, she asked how many pesukim, and the whining began, escalating into her speaking disrespectfully, and a timeout.

after a somewhat rocky start, we decided instead of reviewing whole pesukim, i would point to the words she's been having trouble with, and she'd translate those. she did that very nicely. then the last 3 pesukim she did completely. there were easy pesukim.

the new pasuk was so easy in terms of vocab, i didn't even pull out the white board. she translated ever so smoothly, but definitely didn't have the thread of the meaning. i reviewed the meaning, but i could see she wasn't really processing it. hopefully as her skills improve and she gets older, she'll be able to keep the thread better.

we took a small break to watch jack creep/almost crawl across the floor. one of the precious moments of homeschooling.

we are still hacking our way through the rashi. i wanted to do all the lines, but chana dramatically declared that she's not up for that, so we did the last 3. still need work.

tomorrow more vocab word checks, and a new pasuk. i think we'll keep it to one new pasuk instead of trying for more during the summer. and keep up chazara.

Friday, July 9, 2010

this past week

been a slowish week and my computer is broken. we've done reviewing, and i think 3 or 4 new pesukim. they weren't tough pesukim. but i like the review thing because i want her to be more fluent. today, instead of reviewing pesukim, i spot reviewed the hard words she's been having trouble with. we'll continue next week with review and more pesukim. i'm easing up on new pesukim. maybe one every couple of days. and sticking with the fluent review.

happy days, she remembered the shoresh means corrupted :-)

we did the rashi and are still hacking our way slowly through it. it's 3.75 lines and she's making lots of mistakes. fewer in the last 2 (we started backwards and are making our way up).

and so it goes. no major drama this week. a bit of whining when i asked her to do the rashi 2x and she negotiated for once and a review of an old rashi. one day she even giggled a lot. and she keeps remembering it fondly. me, too. giggling is way preferable to kvetching.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

pulling back and taking it slowly

friday chana agreed to do chumash in the car ride. it was an over 3 hr ride, so i gave her an hour break in the middle which was pure joy and delight. we decided just to review pesukim, which she did.

she said she was NOT doing chumash on sunday. so she didn't. monday i sat down with her 3 or 4 times and she reviewed again in very small chunks.

today she was in such a growly mood i was hesitant to bring up school. but then i asked her when, and she said in an hour. so she was willing when we sat down to it. we reviewed. she is still having trouble with some of the words: she finished her, on her side, wives of. so we'll continue to review.

her energy has ebbed. for a while she was in an upswing, and we were accomplishing a lot. now she's in a downswing. i have found with all students i have home taught that there are times when they are really focused and into learning, and times where it is pulling teeth. and if you catch the upswings and ride them, you can get a LOT done. and the downswings it's best to do the minimum. (for example, chana seems to have forgotten her multiplication tables. but if i wait a couple of weeks, she'll go back to an upswing and they will suddenly be back in her mind).

so she hacked her way through that rashi we are working on. since she's on a downswing, we'll continue chipping away.

my plan for tomorrow. review 4 or 5 pesukim that she knows mostly but is still having some trouble with. and maybe do a new one. or maybe leave it till the day after. and read that rashi.

she is still absolutely refusing to translate the rashi. but i think learning to read fluently is important. and i think she knows what a lot of the words mean.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

moving right along

so we started off ok. we reviewed the tricky pasuk, which she did nicely, the one she didn't like (with length width etc), but did fine on, and the one with the window, which needs more review. then i want to do 5 new pesukim today, since they are not difficult. and i wanted to review the last one again, since it needs it. she didn't like that, but agreed to do 1 new pasuk, then break (i wanted 5 min and she 50, we negotiated to 13 min), then do the review, then another new pasuk and break.

so we started reviewing pasuk 16, and it was ok. things deteriorated a bit when i told her to repeat תכלנה three times with 'you will finish her (it).' she gave me attitude, i knocked the number up to 5 as a penalty for chutzpa, she asked for 3, i agreed. she asked me why i agreed to 3, and i said that's what i wanted. then we got to פתח and instead of me miming it like i often do, i waited for her to figure it out, which sparked negativity. i told her to read and she said NO and i sent her to time out. which i assume was because she wanted a break. she just came out so we will resume.

we reviewed the rest of the pasuk and did a new one. the new one has a lot of suffixes that i want chana to have more fluent, so we'll be reviewing that tomorrow. neshei, ishtecha, banecha, etc. then 10 min break.

the question is what to do after the break. review? do another new pasuk? hmm.

i decided one more time to review pasuk 16. then we did pasuk 19, and left the next 3 for another time. we are done with chumash today. we still have to do rashi. and tomorrow i want to review 14, 16, and 18 and 19.