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.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


today went pretty well. i was dreading it, for some reason. i just didn't want to do school. i wanted a day off. but i figured i have the whole day ahead of me, no major plans, so i would relax in the morning and do things i needed to do.

in general, i find that chana learns really differently depending on the time of day. i like to learn in the mornings, she prefers to learn later, the later the better.

chana was playing gamecube for hours today. i don't know what time she woke up, but it was close to 2pm when we finally settled in to do chumash. and she was playing animal crossing the entire time. (that game has a whole curriculum attached to it if i wanted to--economics, social studies, writing, botany/biology and i'm sure a host of other subjects).

so we started off reviewing. that went smoothly. then i decided to do the rashi. chana remembered almost all of it, which was a pleasant surprise. she did it 3x w/ no protest. to the point where tomorrow we will do it once and then move on to the next 6 word phrase. then i turned a page back and reviewed a few words from that page, and then i did a runthrough of our old rashi, which she read almost all correctly, which was nice. and she didn't complain about that. then a break. then the new pesukim. she doesn't remember them yet, but there was no complaining. i had her do yesterday's pasuk 3x after she did it once, and that nearly set her off, but luckily she almost woke elazar who had collapsed on the couch and she shushed herself. for yesterday's pasuk, which she was having difficulty with all but the last 3 words, i had her read the hebrew then repeat after me the english. we'll have to do that a few more times tomorrow, too. the new pasuk was pretty easy and went quickly.

had i known it was going to be so pleasant, i would not have dreaded it.

My (Current) Educational Philosophy

i tried to formulate my educational philosophy. it came out more as a series of somewhat disjointed premises. so i wrote them down. i believe there is a unifying theory behind it, but for now i'm satisfied enough. i realized also that my homeschool teaching, my classroom teaching, and my public lectures all have slightly different approaches and premises, so i wrote the homeschooling ones separately. (#1 is not actually a goal, but i wanted to put it down). as i've mentioned before, it's useful to have your goals set out explicitly before (or in the course of) homeschooling, because that clarification helps make decisions much easier. if you know your goals, it is easier to decide what to focus on and what to let go of. because there is never enough time to do everything!

My Premises

1. Every human being is a tzelem elokim, capable of abstract thought [1]. Thus it follows that every student, no matter how uninterested, has the ability to think and the natural tendency to have curiosity and ask questions, find questions interesting, and seek answers. It is my job to activate this ability and interest.

2. Torah is designed in a way that asking questions opens the door to its knowledge. With only a small amount of guidance or presentation, students can be led to the question and to discover the joy and excitement of questions.

3. It is preferable to start where the student is at (emotionally, intellectually, and regarding skill and ability) and to build incrementally and expand on that.

4. Torah is relevant, extremely practical, and useful. It is a gift from Hashem and it is l’tov lanu, for our own good [2]. My job is to show this to the students.

5. The Jews are the gatekeepers of the knowledge of Torah, preserving its philosophy via the halachic system, so that they can be an Ohr L’goyim, a light unto the Nations [3].

6. Torah functions to refine the individual and the world [4].

[1] As Ramban says on Bereshis 1:27, “And Gd created Man in His image, in the image of Gd He created him, male and female He created them,” the ‘image of Gd’ refers to wisdom, knowledge, and excellence of deed.

[2] Devarim 6:20-25. When your child asks you about the commandments, you answer they are for our good, and it is a tzedaka for us.

[3] Haftorah of Bereshis, Yishaya 42:6-7

[4] Ramban on Devarim 22:6. “The benefit is to Man himself to prevent him from harm or a false belief or a degrading character trait, or to remember the miracles and wonders of the Creator, Blessed, and to know Hashem, and this is what it means “to refine by them,” that they will be like refined silver, because the refiner of silver’s actions are not without reason, but to remove from it all dross, and so too the mitzvos are to remove from our hearts all false beliefs and to inform us of the truth and to remember it always.”

My homeschool goals and objectives:

1. If I am pushing something that the child is resistant to, it should have a reasonable purpose.

2. For the child to be capable of making a living. This covers skills necessary or the capacity/motivation to acquire those skills. And the emotional/psychological capacity i.e. work ethic, sense of responsibility, ability to work with others and have a boss, etc.

3. For the child to feel that the Torah is a useful gift from Hashem.

4. For the child to be able to function in healthy and satisfying emotional relationships and friendships.

5. For the child to view the Torah as a source of objectively discernible wisdom [1], rather than have an idolatrous or superstitious view of the world.

6. For the child to find learning interesting.

7. For the child to have the skills to pursue advanced learning.

[1] Devarim 4:6: It is your wisdom and discernment in the eyes of the nations, who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘This is only a wise and discerning nation, this great people!’

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

evening chazara

chazara went sooooo smoothly this evening. dang, chana is so much more "on" in the evenings. which is why before jack was born i used to teach her only in the evenings and let her do whatever she wants all day long. but now my evenings are too jampacked for me to give her an hour or 2 from 7-9pm. but boy oh boy is her mind alert and her mood to learn fabulous in the evenings..

happy times

i was rushed this morning. as a result, i was a bit impatient and chana felt a bit bad that she didn't remember the words. i did a bunch out of order because i thought she knew most of them, then saw a couple that could use a review, and since they weren't in context and in familiar order, she had no idea what they were.

she did very nicely on the rashi. she read it mostly correctly, and generally remembered the translation. she did such a good job i only had her do it 2x. (remember, we are only doing 6 words). when we finished, she said now she's never doing it again. i said tomorrow she is doing it 3x. if she does it nicely, we can add on a another phrase.

the new pasuk went uneventfully. and chana agreed that she could use another chazara of the words since this morning didn't go so great. so after our errands we'll give it another go.

Monday, August 9, 2010

i do not unschool chumash

the chazara went well this morning. as usual, the newer words/pesukim need more review. the review is working out nicely because words are coming up again.

today's conflict came about during the new pasuk. there were the words arubot, tehom, and maayanot. i kept flipping back to where they were in the pasuk we had done in the past. in addition to not looking familiar in their new surroundings, the grammar was slightly different and it was throwing her off. in the old pasuk: they were split, all the wells of the great deep, and the openings of the sky, they were opened. in the new pasuk: and they were dammed, the wells of the deep, and the openings of the sky.

anyway, things got a little intense and chana told me to shut up, and thus ended up back in time out. thankfully, i don't recall exactly what she said as she slammed the door, but it was funny. i think it was something like "i'm going to snap this pencil and this pencil represents you." excellent usage of the word "represents."

after timeout we finished up the pasuk uneventfully, had a break, and skirmished briefly over rashi. in my incessant meaniness, i am doing 6 words with correct pronunciation AND translation. 5x repeat. chana was still peeved from our earlier interaction and came into rashi in a bad mood. though from last weeks' me sticking to my guns, she was accepting that she was going to do it 5x.

i was asked why i am struggling so much with chana about this. this seems in opposition to my generally relaxed attitude about education, and my general unschooling approach of allowing the child to pursue knowledge when it interests him, and my general confidence that this leads to a human being who is equipped for life with curiosity, a thirst for knowledge and information, the ability to pursue and acquire the skills and knowledge that they are looking for. if i believe all that, then why am i spending so much time fighting chana's natural inclinations and not following her lead on this.

i think that with chana's personality, she and i are bound to have daily conflict. over this or over something else. unless, that is, i am willing to let her do whatever she wants. which i'm not; there is going to be something she and i don't agree on. for chumash, i have certain skills that i want her to achieve. so i work towards them. and her shrieking at me and how i handle it is really a parenting issue more than a chinuch issue. the irony is that it's not a struggle in the sense that she's not refusing to do it. (and i have been the recipient of her refusals in the past :-P). it's a conflict, but not a struggle. i guess that's probably semantics. what i mean is that basically she yells and screams, but it's really just her venting her frustration and not actually refusing to do it. it's very much like her shrieking through her video games. when she plays ds or nintento gamecube, and the game is hard but she wants to master it, she keeps going and going but she screams and screams and screams. (it bothers sarah; she always wants chana to stop). but if chana is willing to keep going, who are we to tell her to stop, despite the shrieking? and it's not like chana is shrieking at anyone when she plays video games. she's just being frustrated and having her feelings. during chumash, i'm actually there so i get yelled at. so it becomes a parenting issue of me coaching her through handling her frustration without being chutzpadik. i am doing ok in the not yelling at her department, not doing as well in the stopping the behavior department. but she's so frustrated it's hard to ask for more. and i think the frustration is a natural result of her not being automatically good at something. which, with her personality, she tends to shy away from and would not like to work on things that she isn't naturally good at. (who does? but some ppl are more irritated and shrieky about it than others). some kids don't mind putting in the time practicing and practicing, let's say, writing letters until they have nice handwriting. chana and i used to have battles about learning her letters, too. after consulting my sister, the OT, i wanted her to write them from top to bottom (which is supposed to make it easier and quicker to write) and she didn't naturally do it that way and she would get so angry. i wonder now if i would unschool writing and just wait until she figured it out herself.
anyway, my point is that shrieking in frustration does not necessarily mean that we are in conflict. when i say "let's do chumash" she does not refuse, and she doesn't tell me she hates it and doesn't want to do it. when i push her to exercise her abilities further than is comfortable for her, she shrieks in protest.

at this point in my life, i don't think that a child of her age naturally inclines towards hebrew reading and translating skills. thinking and analysis are things a human being naturally desires, but slogging through translation is not something she would be motivated on her own. and if i wait until she is motivated, then it will likely be past the time when i would be educating her. it's true that a person can acquire translation skills in a few years as an adult, with tremendous motivation. but if a person doesn't have the skills, and only has moderate motivation, lack of skills makes for giving up more easily.

maybe this is an extreme example. let's say i thought that fighting skills were necessary for saving chana's life. maybe she'll use them, maybe she won't. maybe she'd never meet someone where she needs her self-defense skills. but i'm not willing to let her go off out of my r'shus without me equipping her with the skills i think are life-saving.
i think torah is vital. she may choose not to use her skills for in-depth study of torah and mefarshim. but it won't be because she isn't properly equipped.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


chana did her hour of origami in the morning, and because of a bunch of things going on, we didn't get to chumash until after 3pm. we started out fine. perhaps we should have taken breaks. but chana didn't ask, and it eventually deteriorated into a major shriek-fest. with a time out.

the new pasuk and a half went pretty smoothly because it was easy. rashi, done after a break, didn't go so well. even though i didn't really ask for chana to translate. the couple of times i requested the shoresh she screamed. and did comply, because i stood firm.

i pat myself on the back for some excellent parenting (or lack of atrocious parenting, which is really all i can ask for under these circumstances) in trying conditions.

i figured for next time in rashi, we'll do the first phrase 5x until she knows it. she screamed when i suggested it and said she'd rather do the whole rashi (which has more than 25 words). i really think it will be easier for her to do it in chunks.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

origami motivation

today went nicely, mainly because chana is immersed in origami and we were sticking chumash in between paper cicadas and cranes and horned helmets (i don't say viking helmets because i recently read an article about how horned helmets are terrible in battle, giving the enemy something to grab onto, and the vikings did not have them, despite the popular image. kind of like horned jews, i suppose).

so we continue reviewing. my goal for today was that chana become more familiar with vayirbu and vayigbru. i went over that a few times with her, and she is definitely more familiar with them. we did chumash in 3 or 4 chunks today. first, reviewing words from a while back. 2nd, reviewing the last bunch of pesukim. she's familiar enough with them that we mainly did words, not pesukim.

although i had warned her that we'd be doing 3 pesukim today, she balked. she started whining, and insisted that she could only communicate via whining. i stayed pleasant and firm. she negotiated translating a review pasuk quickly in exchange for permission to whine. i granted. she whined that 3 was too much. looking over the pesukim, after all that we had already done, i relented. we agreed to 1.5 in classic negotiation. she asked for 1, i came down to 2, we agreed at 1.5

when she saw how big the half was of the second pasuk, she started whining, but i laughed because i knew she'd react that way. it's a monster pasuk, but extremely easy. 24 words. she realized that 24 was three 8s, but couldn't figure out what 2 even parts were. finally she decided to put her finger on the first word and the last, and count them. they met in the middle at 12. she said she'd like to do 12. i said she has to do all the way until the asnachta, because it's all about one topic and stopping in the middle and starting it tomorrow will be confusing. i didn't budge, and she flew through the pasuk so quickly i couldn't keep up writing it on the white board.

delightfully, all those phrases we've been reviewing and reviewing have been coming up again and she knows them. we had מחה erase, and yekum--living creatures, and ruach chayim--spirit of life. it's nice to see the review pay off.

she also did a quick rashi: in the dry: and not the fish in the sea. i helped her with the pronunciation and she was easily able to translate it. i'd like to review the pronunciation, though. and we have to do the rashi we've been working on.

she asked why the birds would die. then she envisioned them on the trees. and the trees being covered with water. and then going up to the mountains, and the mountains covered with water. and then them flying, getting tired... and falling exhausted and drowning in the water. i felt sad thinking about it and about all the creatures dying. she didn't appear to.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

origami stimulus

chana was raring to go today because she wants to go buy origami paper. she begged me and begged me to start chumash (hmm, alfie...). we zipped through the review. making progress on the vocab. then we reviewed more thoroughly those last 3 pesukim. and then she zipped through the new pasuk so quickly, i told her to do another one and she had a fit. she said i said only one new pasuk. (which i didn't say; she assumed coz that's what we had been doing). she got through it pretty easily. we used the white board.

now we have to fight through that new rashi.

the interesting thing about rashi is that chana was crying that she isn't good at it. i'm not sure why she expects to be good at it (except that this is her personality--she wants it to be smooth and gets annoyed when she has to struggle). start off with a bunch of letters that are unfamiliar. add to that the lack of nekudos. and insufficient familiarity with hebrew for her to know what the words are without nekudos. then, on top of that, she has to break down shorashim or do translations. (and i'm not even working towards translation of phrases or understanding it as a whole. right now my goals are correct reading, identifying shorashim, and translating isolated words here and there that she is familiar with). she starts with nothing, and it is a slow process to even read it correctly. perhaps i wasn't clear with her that i expect every rashi (especially in the beginning) to be a long drawn out process.
i didn't bother explaining it to her because she was in no mood. i just asked, as usual, that she stop yelling. after shrieking obnoxiously that she didn't know the shoresh of הרג, i requested an apology after she saw that she did. which i got.

Monday, August 2, 2010

the new rashi.

ok, anochi still wasn't remembered today, but at least chana said, "oh yeah!" when i reminded her. progress, progress, incremental progress. she did nicely reviewing the words and took a break before reviewing the pasuk from 2x ago. she fought me pro forma on the half from yesterday plus a whole one today. she was good-natured about it all, and it went smoothly.

i introduced a new rashi. 7:13 b'etzem hayom hazeh. and thusly began the shrieking. you see, chana is under the impression that rashi is just to be read and not to be translated. i have perpetuated said fantasy by my unwillingness to fight her and by often letting her off with a smooth reading. first she negotiated to do only half. i agreed. then i had her dissecting the shorashim of each verb. this was distasteful to chana, and by distasteful i mean she screamed. she asked if she could break her ponytail. i said yes. we soldiered through, her screaming, me asking her to please stop screaming, me not relenting in the demand for the shoresh. since believe it or not she was well fed and had enough breaks and not in a bad mood, she screaming was minimal.

i told her the backstory of the midrash. that hashem told noach to build the teiva 120 years before the flood. (please note: chana and i pronounce "flood" as rhyming with "rude"). she asked if that was how long it takes to build it. and realized no. we discussed that hashem wanted people to ask. i used the words from the previous rashi "מה זאת לך" which she recognized. and i told her how rashi says the people threatened to destroy the ark and kill noach. she didn't know why they would do that. i left that to her future comprehension of human nature. i asked if she were threatened, what time of day would she enter the ark. she said she'd sneak on when nobody could see her. as opposed to the main part of the day.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

mismatching words and definitions

so chana was going to the movies and i decided to get 10 minutes of chumash review in. i started with anochi mamtir. she still doesn't remember that anochi is "ani" so i showed her to take out the chaf. we'll see if that helps. she remembered mamtir was something about rain. she kept guessing that the words were "gather" and "baby/seed" but i started reviewing things more recent than those. so she knows that there are words that mean those things, but doesn't know which hebrew words match to which definitions. so we still have plenty to review. but it went fairly amicably. she didn't want to do a new pasuk. we did the second half, which was easy. i suppose tomorrow she will only want to do the first half, not the first half and a whole nother new one. and i must find a new rashi.

the new pesukim are coming up faster than her learning the old ones. maybe it's time to slow down and review. i'm a broken record. slow down and review, or keep going forward?

i think that the last couple of weeks of her shrieking and me practicing requesting that she keep a respectful tone of voice has had a positive impact on my soul. onward and forward to tomorrow!