Sunday, May 29, 2011

something to work on

and we finished amongst some crying and bad tempers. she kept ripping the plastic tablecloth (we were sitting at the table) in frustration and i got annoyed that for the 20th time she still has trouble with sadeh and ma'ara (field and cave). i should drill her or something except that many times i drilled don't really seem to work all that well. but i dislike about myself that i give her the impression that she is stupid or defective for not remembering it after a number of times. it's not like she's doing it on purpose. this is, i think, one of the nastiest and most insidious things that i do as a teacher. and i would hate it if a teacher in school did this to my child.

overall, though, i did manage to keep my voice fairly even keeled. perhaps i should have let it go for today. but would it really be better tomorrow? i have to change my attitude.

sometimes there are days like these

who is responsible for the snarling dynamic that sometimes ensues? me or chana? we had a half an hr to do maftir of vayera and rishon of chaye sorah. neither of them difficult. chana had eaten and had plenty of notice.

i get irritated that she whines and has a headache and eye pain, even though i know from yrs of education that this is a common ailment that afflicts children who feel that the work they are doing is too much for them. i am irritated that the pesukim we have been doing and doing are still not sticking in her memory. what can we do to "make" her remember??

my negative expressions and implied disappointment are surely horrible in terms of a pleasant learning atmosphere.

then i asked if she wanted a break. she said no, then yes. then she went back to the tv and elazar started crying because his show wasn't over. and i said never mind, let's do the 10 more min until his show is over. and she grew furious (i'm being inconsistent, aren't i? completely). and i sent her to timeout. neither of us feels good about how this went.

there is still rishon to do. and new pesukim. i have a wedding today. who knows if we will get to rishon. let alone rashi.

today has left a bad taste in my mouth. it is unfair that chana is feeling bad about her own loss of control, and about her inability to remember the words (which surely is not her fault), when i am the adult in this interaction.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

chana noticed yesterday during chazara that hagar was wandering around in beer sheva before it was named beer sheva in the bris between avraham and avimelech. good catch.

regarding the efron-avraham dialogue, chana said: "he listened to him but he gave him money?" yep.

Monday, May 23, 2011

chana reviewed revi'i today which is VERY long. and pesukim in chaye sara.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

so we finished vayera and started chaye sora. chazara has been reviewing the aliyos of vayera. today we did shlishi. she actually remembered most of shlishi. rishon and sheni were a little more disappointing. she remembers the story but not really a lot of the words and phrases that originally gave her trouble. it feels like she remembers about 50% of the tough words/phrases. it's a little disappointing. i was thinking about what my goal is for her. ideally, i'd like her to remember these things. but despite our chazara, a lot of them are not sticking in her head. otoh, a lot of them are...

Monday, May 16, 2011

today's chumash went pretty uneventfully, though chana didn't want to do more than 3 new pesukim and i would like to push her. we only did shevi'i, no review, so she didn't spend so long on it, but she was still burnt out. then we did a 2.5 hr break, and headed into rashi. she acquitted "b'asher hu sham" admirably. and was furious through the new one. she got through the words fairly easily, but didn't really grasp the concept. i'm not sure i'll go back to it.

i got annoyed when she started whining and negotiating how much of the rashi to do and jack started waking from his nap. i said firmly that i had been asking to do rashi since 1, and now it was 10 to 2, and we don't have time for this since jack is awake, and she knows that i get annoyed when she pushes it off and pushes it off and then jack is awake. so she was so furious she couldn't even read, and said she was waiting until she could do it w/o screaming. i appreciated that she was controlling herself. but in the meantime, minutes are passing and jack is wanting to come out. so i then said that jack is awake and she has to do it.

this is one of the tough things about homeschooling. all this talk about individual attention is great, but sometimes the siblings interfere and you can't give the attention you want. or the mom is frazzled because of something going on with the siblings, and it affects the learning interaction and it's not the student's doing. (well, this time it was a bit chana's doing. but if there were no siblings, there would have been no issue).

afterwards, chana stomped upstairs to sulk. she did a nice job, though.

she asked today if hashem would have killed avraham if he would have refused to kill his son. also, the classic question--how was it his "only" son when he has yishmael? this irks her.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

we've been zipping through akeidas yitzchak. a lot of the words are familiar, and even with the new words, i've been supplying them and in context they are fairly easy to remember. i see that a number of words that she had trouble with in the past are now part of her basic vocabulary, which is nice. such as "bno/bni" etc his son, my son. she had so much trouble with that in parshas noach, and it's finally sunk in. also the plural of mountains used to throw her off, but now she knows it. things like that.

naturally there are still words she doesn't know despite our numerous reviews of previous aliyas. today i decided to just do shevii, even though she really doesn't know shishi or even parts of chamishi to my satisfaction. but i'm not sure that her putting in the extra hour really makes a difference in her long term memory, and it definitely makes things unpleasant.

i think it's like a pendulum. sometimes it feels right to let go, take it easy, keep it pleasant. and then enough time goes by and it feels like it's time to tighten up, get more serious, hit the books more.

anyway, chana wants a loooooooooooong break before we hit rashi. as usual, i'm wishing i had more of a plan regarding rashi.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

yesterday we did chumash in the car on the way to gymnastics. my favorite, because it's a finite time with not too many distractions (other than feeding jack when he asks). i asked chana why she thought after avraham agreed to the bris with avimelech, he lectured him about the well.

she guessed an interesting answer (i should've written it down yesterday because by today i've forgotten). i said a good try. she asked me to tell her. i said no, keep thinking. she said, you're never going to tell me? that's right.

today instead of doing major chazara, we just started from shishi w/ avimelech making the bris with avraham. because i made her do 8 new pesukim today. which she was not thrilled with. but they weren't very hard. she rightly said, "but then i have to do them all again tomorrow, plus more." true dat.

i was thinking of doing the famous rashi on "he planted an eshel" but i don't know that she'd really grasp it. and there is a very long, not so difficult rashi, about how many years avraham spent where. so i said we'd do part of that. but we had to review yesterday's rashi (for the first time with no nekudos), and chana then asked if we can do only part of the new rashi, since it's so long. since she asked nicely, i agreed. and now she is on break. i hope to get to it today. i'm hosting playgroup for elazar in 15 min, so hopefully some time early afternoon.

Monday, May 9, 2011

we started off innocuously enough with doing the milim from perek 21. for the last 5 or so, i asked chana to do the full pesukim. we are in the middle of 2 new pesukim in shishi, and chana neared her limit. she forgot the word "chessed" so i showed it to her in 2 places where we had done it previously. she still didn't remember it. this got me thinking about how she probably doesn't remember a lot of the previous material, and i want to see if she can translate the entire pasuk with the word "chesed" in it (from shlishi). at this point chana stormed off to cool down. we've been working for about an hour and a half. jack was pretty distracting today. elazar is out, but jack's been both adorable and demanding. ah, and from the rustling i hear in the kitchen, it seems chana is hungry. though she did eat before we started.

for rashi, we went through the large rashi again of "b'asher hu sham." i told her today is the last day w/ nekudos and i'd like to try tomorrow without. i think that she'll generally remember the overall content of this rashi (judged on now, not the future). (chana made a good point that it's not even yishmael's future actions that were being judged, but those of his descendants). and she'll be able to read the easy parts of the dialogue. but the difficult parts will not stick in her head.

i'm fantasizing about unschooling chumash again. though i honestly cannot see how a child would ever be motivated to put in the hours it takes to build decent skills. when i spoke to a young man who had been entirely unschooled, he said he and his siblings expressed interest in learning to read and understand torah between ages 10-15. chana is currently 9; she'll be 10 in june. maybe if i left it alone she'd be motivated to work on it. i've made my choice and i'm going to stick with it, but it is tempting to just leave the boys alone until they beg me. if they do.

anyhoo, we still have 2 more pesukim if chana ever makes her way back here, and i will insist on that pasuk from shlishi, and then chana has about 20 minutes to review revi'i. it's a lot.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

so today we did 3 new pesukim and all the rest in perek 21. when we got to review, chana, though reviewing to herself, got very frustrated and begged not to and said she remembered it and cited many pesukim's translations by heart. it's very nice that she knows the translations, but i'm also interested in her knowing the hebrew words and their translations so that she'll know them if they show up again.

for example, in rashi today was the word "maasim." deeds. and in the pesukim she was supposed to review, avimelech says to avrahama "you did deeds that are not done."

anyway, today's rashi was a doozy. i decided to actually introduce it with the nekudos. chana definitely had an easier time that way. after a couple of days of doing it w/ nekudos and punctuation, we will transfer over to the other chumash so she can do it w/o.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

yesterday's rashis didn't go so well. we reviewed one from bereshis and 2 from noach, and they were almost completely unfamiliar. in both content and syntax. kind of depressing. we'll do them again today.

for pesukim, we did perek 21, 14 pesukim (1 new one) and i want to go back and have chana do just milim in revi'i. revi'i is VERY long. we won't have time to do it because we have to go to gymnastics. hopefully she'll do it in the car. and i'd like to review those rashis. but she's eating breakfast now. we'll see what we get to.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"the learner will"

ok, let me drag up my memories of the one education class i took a million yrs ago.

by the end of 8th grade, the learner will:

read rashi correctly (letter recognition and reading without nekudos)
translate rashi decently

and possibly

know some of the more common abbreviations


how have i been trying to achieve this? i pick a rashi that is pshat oriented and whose language is fairly simple. then either i tell chana what it means outside, or i read it to her and explain it, or she reads it and tries to understand it, depending on complexity and her mood.

then we review it and review it until she knows it pretty fluently.


what is the problem with this method? i have been a bit lax at finding rashis. i have been using them to enhance chumash--to provide more explanation of the plain meaning of the text. while this is nice, it is not giving us sufficient practice at rashi reading and translation.

i wonder if i should construct a rashi curriculum on its own, aside from chumash, for chana to work on the skills i would like her to acquire. i need to find rashis that stand on their own and are pretty simple. the down side of that is that rashi really is best in the context of the pasuk.
today took 35 min for chana to do perek 20, because we just did the words she didn't know. we are making our way into chamishi, and chana started getting whiny. we just finished yesterday's new pesukim, and now i'd like to do 5 new pesukim that i think are not too bad. chana is sulky at the thought. so we are taking a break. jack is just waking up. elazar is out of the house. chana's preference is to do those 5 pesukim this evening. evenings are so crowded that i prefer to do it now. if only we could just do those 5 pesukim now, when it is quiet and nothing else is demanding my attention. but chana doesn't have the mindset for it, after working so hard. i asked her how long a break she would like, and she said 10 min. by then jack will be out and about.

we didn't do rashi yesterday. i'm often wrung out by the time we finish chumash, since i'm pushing chana to the limit, and i don't have the energy to push for rashi.

bli neder after this i'm going to draft a "goals" for rashi and figure out how to meet those goals.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

it took chana 1.5 hrs to do chumash today, including a half hour break. she wants to know why avraham made a party for weaning yitzchak. she's taking a break before doing rashi. i just don't know which rashis to do. i have a feeling that asking for help in rashi curriculum won't be so helpful because i am so specific about what i want. then again, it can't hurt to ask for input.