Thursday, June 30, 2011

whew. total time 1hr 45 min today. including 2 long breaks. i'm wiped.
so yesterday chana took to the idea of index cards with the words and definitions. we couldn't find index cards so i wrote them on a small notepad. then chana reviewed them, of her own free will, a few times.

she was disheartened that she didn't know any words. but i told her that is the point; we wrote down the words she doesn't know! she did it until she knew a few of them.

then we did new pesukim, which she entered with full vigor because she wasn't emotionally wrung out from doing chazara. (we have, in the past, done new pesukim first, but by the end she is always grouchy no matter what order we do it). at the end she said, "i wonder what is going to happen next!"


this morning we could not find the notepad. i did find some index cards, so tomorrow's chumash chazara will be chana writing the words and definitions onto them (especially as she had trouble with my handwriting). so we had to do milim from the chumash. chana was doing ok, but then she got disheartened and cranky and stopped.

(oh, and today was designated once a week rashi day, and i wussed out and we did only chazara of 2 very small rashis...)

so we still have milim in half of revi'i left, and we have chamishi and new pesukim to do...

Monday, June 27, 2011

getting into summer mode. as per em's suggestion, we shall do rashi once a week only. chana said she doesn't want to do chazara, just new pesukim. but i'm not so pro that.

then i wonder if she really does learn new vocab from reviewing. i don't really keep track of how many words she remembers vs how many do not stick in her head. i just have feelings about it. which could be completely and wildly inaccurate.

but then i think, how can chazara be bad? well, aside from her hating it. but it has to help her remember at least some of the words, right? right? it seems like it does. i would estimate (perhaps inaccurately) that if she doesn't know X words, she learns, from chazara, about half of X. so if we didn't do chazara, if those words will show up a lot in torah, she'll learn them eventually. but otherwise she won't. and this way she learns about half the words she didn't know. so that's good, i guess.

Friday, June 24, 2011


we came to a resolution. when chana's tone starts to bother me, i will say, "your yelling is bothering me. scream 5 more times and then stop."

this was a process to get to. first i said, can i say, please stop, the yelling is bothering me.

chana did not feel 1. capable of doing this nor 2. desirous of not yelling.

so i said how about i say, "yell 3 more times."

we agreed to 5.

we are not sure how this will work. we will surely have opportunities to try it out. stay tuned.
so for the 3rd (? the days are running together) day, i'm providing her with the words. they are the same words, and i think she learned K.L.H in its various manifestations. and how vital is it that she learn the less commonly used words?

we did milim in shlishi, and are in the middle of revi'i, when chana started screaming and yelling. and now she's in timeout. again. i'm just waiting for her to come out. we have about 45 min until i have to go get elazar.

she's become much more confrontational in all areas of discipline, so chumash is just a side effect. it's like when people ask, "how do you homeschool your own child? we would kill each other!" it's just like any other area of interaction between us. what does a parent do in general when a child doesn't listen? there are a variety of ways to try to get cooperation. discipline, thinking about what i am asking of the child, making the task more interesting, etc (bribery, threats, yelling -- if you use those in other areas, you'll probably resort to them in homeschooling, too, and they are probably about as effective).

anyway, i'm gonna go chill til chana decides to come out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


so i wanted to tell chana i am proud of how hard she works, but i knew her reaction would be what it always is, "i don't know it, i can never remember the words etc."

so i asked sarah if, looking back at chumash, she had the impression that i was proud of her for working so hard. and she abashedly said, not really. and i asked if the impression was more that i was mostly annoyed. and she said well, she was annoying. i said, because i also felt like she worked very hard and i wanted her to know that, and i wanted chana to know that. and she said maybe i should say it very often. and i said, i did say it often to sarah. but the truth is, the overall impression she has is not that her mom was proud of how much effort and diligence she put in, but how annoying she was.

which means that I had better work on my facial expressions and my verbal expressions, and be more positive.

(devil's advocate--i do also think, though, that sometimes the tough stance is necessary!! conflicts of parenting...)


well, i waited chana out and she knocked on the door. i went over and asked if we should hug and start over. she said no, but she was mellower.

i said that we had 25 minutes until i brought sarah, and she has 2 pesukim and the new pesukim and the rashi. she said "it's so much!" i said the rashi is 5 words! i went to the chumash to see how many new pesukim we would do. the first one looked hard but the next 2 were easy. chana moseyed on over and i said the 1st one was hard but the next 2 were easy. she finished it all.

total chumash time (including a nice long time for sulking) 48 minutes.


well, i thought we started off ok. today i was in a mood where i just supplied chana with the words she asked for. usually i put more effort into trying to coax it out of her, on the (possibly flawed?) theory that the more neurons that fire, the deeper the pathways of memory. or i have her try to remember herself. it was going smoothly since i was just telling her the words, which got me thinking a. maybe i should always give her the words and b. does she really learn them any faster the other way? coz it definitely gets her more frustrated.

at the word "אדע" i said "what is the aleph and what is the shoresh" like i always do. and she started getting upset. and it went downhill from there. i think it finally blew up when we did "mispo" and i told her to look at rashi (we did it yesterday) and she yelled/whined that she can't find it. and i got annoyed and snapped at her to cut it out. (i had already tried to coax her out of her mood, joke her out of her mood, and told her gently that she's in a funk and has a negative attitude as soon as we start chumash, regardless of how it is actually going). i had had it.

what i need to be aware of (and i went through this phase with sarah, too, though i think it was age 11 and not 10), is that chana is hitting the point where when i speak strongly/firmly/harshly she is getting old enough and independent enough that she responds rebelliously. oh, yeah? speak to me that way? well i'll just slam my chumash shut and refuse to work more! and then we escalate. i (hopefully) learned from sarah how to quickly de-escalate the situation instead of making it worse.

i sent her to time out, she refused to go and started to go upstairs, i made it an issue, she backed down and went into time out (which probably means she locked herself in the bathroom so i can't "release" her).

i have 28 minutes left until i bring sarah to her regents. wish me luck in reconnecting with chana and possibly even getting any chumash done. we have 2 pesukim left to the aliyah and then a new pasuk. and a review of that rashi on mispo.

grr. i'm tempted to just leave it and do it hours later.

Monday, June 20, 2011

one of the things i like about chazara is that chana often asks questions after seeing the same information a few times. today she asked about eliezer's test: did hashem control rivka? because rivka said exactly what eliezer asked that she should say! and chana was under the impression that hashem gave free will.

so i said that rivka did control her own speech there. i gave an example. if i was looking for someone in the playground, and i was looking for someone with a DS who was good at pokemon. and i asked chana, "can you find X pokemon?" and i say to hashem, "and if she answers, 'not only can i find X, but i can also find Y and Z' then that is who i'm looking for." and just as i finished saying that to hashem, chana came to the playground and i ask her if she can find X pokemon, and if she answered, "yes, i can find that one and also Y and Z" is hashem making her say that?

so she understood. but then she felt it wasn't such a good example. (i supposed because why would i want someone who is good at finding pokemon? she said a lot of ppl can find pokemon). so i asked why she thought eliezer was looking for someone who would water all the camels. and she said he was looking for someone nice.

by the way, we did just sheni the milim and then shlishi today, and we were doing just fine and chana was in a good mood until we got to "kada al shichma" her jug on her shoulder, and chana yelled at me that the way i was trying to jog her memory was NOT right and i should have done it in such-and-such a way. and it felt to me that she was just yelling at me unjustly and i was not wrong for saying it the way i did. so i did not apologize and thereafter she became sour and dejected and slammed the chumash shut. i did not indulge this (but happily i did not feel anger and was able to remain emotionally even-keeled and respond in what i thought was best for her, vs responding from annoyance. also happily, my response wasn't much different--i was not accommodating to her hissy fit). so the last bunch of pesukim were less than pleasant. but we got through them.

then we did a very small piece of rashi which is a definition and we did it with nekudos. and i did not have the energy to fight with her to review one of the old ones. which she says she is sick of and she did so many times. {insert usual rashi lament here}

Sunday, June 19, 2011

good cop, bad cop?

did just shlishi today since chana wants to go to the beach. first she asked to do just milim instead. then she asked to just do chazara. then she asked to do it after the beach. i got into a rather fruitless argument for a couple of rounds when i mentioned that whenever she says she'll do it later, she doesn't. i guess maybe we do it later 50% of the time (though i'm not sure of percentages), so maybe she's right that we do as frequently as we don't.

anyway, then she pleaded a headache and then she asked what some easy words are and then she slammed the chumash shut and said she's not doing it because she can't remember it. admittedly her focus was particularly not good.

i reacted annoyedly and not compassionately. i can't help but think that my annoyed reactions are a major contribution to negative associations w/ the skills. though i must ask sarah. i wonder if it really makes a difference. if i reacted compassionately and lovingly and w/ understanding but still made her do the work, would she like it any better? probably not. it's hard work.

and i'm not talking about getting annoyed for her not knowing the words when it really is too much for her. (i wrote about that recently, and i do think there is no justification for that). i'm talking about not coddling her when she's having an immature hissy fit. i could have done the faber and mazlish empathy about how it's hard when you can't remember. instead, i curtly told her to cut it out and keep translating.

oh, and aharon was kvetching the whole time, which didn't help my reserve of patience. elazar was actually extremely helpful, sitting quietly next to me putting his finger in his mouth and keeping the kvetching to a minimum. jack was napping. not too bad, considering the chaos that can be.

Friday, June 17, 2011

finally chana in a good mood! not a whine today. we did rishon and sheni just milim. and shlishi (we are about 2/3 done) pesukim.

chana was eager to get through it because i told her when she finishes, i will discuss w/ ari whether or not she can download a texting app on her ipod.

yet again, "bribery" or "reward" makes a difference. though this is more the "love and logic" approach. not presenting as a reward. just saying, "sure i'll discuss it w/ daddy. right after we finish chumash."

still not doing rashi. thanks emily for your suggestion that once a week we do rashi. the question is, do we do only rashi that day or also pesukim? maybe in the summer we can do rashi on fridays or something...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

the shoresh k.l.h (finish) showed up in 3 diff forms over the few pesukim we did today. hopefully after a bunch of reviews, chana will remember it. maybe.

we didn't have time to do chazara of rishon and sheni milim. maybe in the car on the way to parkour. and we haven't done rashi in ages. maybe i'm already mentally on summer schedule and not doing rashi this summer? is that a bad idea? it's just so much easier. but i hate that i'm falling down on the rashi skills. blah blah blah always singing the same sad song.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

i didn't do rashi today or yesterday. i'm as crabby as usual because chana keeps procrastinating to the point where i get annoyed at her but chana isn't. she complains but not too much and it goes pretty quickly. i'm sorry she is lacking a general positive attitude towards the translating, though, because the story is pretty darn awesome. eliezer is davening for a girl. and chana is not enjoying it because she is busy telling me how much she hates translating. but for all her kvetching, her heart is not all that negative and it's more lip service and memory than actual difficulty today.

we did do a rashi outside because she asked why avraham needs to tell eliezer it's the Gd of the sky and the Gd of the land. i told her that rashi says Gd of sky ie Gd of everything and Gd of land ie that ppl know He is Gd.
but then she said, but why is avraham saying that? doesn't eliezer know that? um, yes. i think so.

i guess even in basic conversation avraham conveys ideas about hashem.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

chana did not want to do chumash. understandable from yesterday. i said rishon we would just do milim. sheni is pretty short. we got through the milim pretty quickly. then we did sheni, which she needs review on the words since there are a decent amount that we need to go over, but overall we went through it quickly. then she said she didn't want to do any new pesukim. so i said just one. it went pretty easily, and she said, "let's do one more." (!!!!!) so we did.

rashi yesterday we only did one simple rashi. today we have to do rashi still. in my usual lament, i have not settled on how to do rashi and therefore am not delighted with how rashi has been going. maybe next year i'll get on that?

Monday, June 6, 2011

btw, why homeschoolers don't need to be tested!

it's been almost a week where chana had no chumash. so getting back into it has been a stretching exercise for her. elazar had playgroup at 9:30. chana does not like starting before 10. or before 10:30 for that matter. in fact, as i've mentioned, her ideal schedule is actually after 8pm. so i warned her before i left that we'd be doing it when i got back.

before we even started, she was whining. i told her to go sit down, w/o tv, and to come back when she's ready to not whine. she's starting with a negative attitude about how hard it will be.

i'm of two minds regarding this attitude. is it that i'm pushing her too hard, that i myself am often too tense, that it really is too much for her?

or is it that the work is tough. it requires effort and self-discipline. and chana prefers the easy road of not working those muscles?

today it seemed to me that it was the latter. i do rely heavily on intuition and self-reflection to determine the answer to issues like this.

i told her we were reviewing rishon, which still has quite a few words she needs to review, and i wanted to finish sheni. both pretty short. sheni had 5 new pesukim. with only 1 new word, and in the first pasuk of the 5.

chana whined and screamed a lot today. she kept saying she doesn't know it, and i would say she does. she accused me: you don't know what i know and what i don't know!
and i said that i do know what you know and what you don't know. i sit next to you every day and i know the words you know and the words you have trouble with and the words you will remember if you think about them and the words you did and the words we haven't done yet. (btw, why homeschoolers don't need to be tested!)

she later said, i thought you said we would stop if i screamed (and boy was she screaming).
and i answered, if i thought you were screaming from frustration because it is too hard for you, then i would stop. but this screaming is because you don't want to do it, not because it is too much for you. (i sensed that to be so. it's a different kind of edge when she's overwhelmed).
at this point, she lay on the floor and started yelling that her head hurt. she sometimes does get a headache from it being too hard. but today i just felt that it was a matter of not wanting to do it. so i pushed forward.

we finished sheni. we have yet to do rashi.

today was not a fun day, but we got it done. and i think i was right to push through it.