Sunday, October 30, 2011

unschooling chumash and rashi

today chana reminded me that we were not doing chamishi anymore. i just don't think she really needs to know a lot of those tough words that don't show up so many more times and i think she has the jist of the flow of the story. so we started from the new perek in the middle of chamishi. in the middle we watched some don music videos where he bangs his head on the piano. i told chana we'd do 4 new pesukim and she said, "and we'll stop if i cry." i agreed. after the first new pasuk she said she cried and i said she didn't. and she said she whined and i concurred. but we got through the pesukim.

now break. and then rashi. it's already 8:30pm and i'm not thrilled about still doing rashi tonight.

i'm fantasizing again about unschooling til the kids want to learn to read and understand chumash. what if i didnt' have to teach anything until they wanted to learn and then they learned quickly. what if they learned to read hebrew in a month and then worked at translating with my help and rashi reading. and it took only a few months because they want to?

but what if they never want to or they want to but then run out of steam? it's too scary to unschool.

but if it would work... it would be glorious.. so easy, so pleasant

but if it wouldn't work it would be so irresponsible.. i would not have my children prepared for torah learning..

one tempting thing would be they almost definitely would not be able to go to high school, because they wouldn't have the skills.. i would be counting on them picking up the skills in high school.

must give this more thought..

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

who wants to do chumash on a lazy day?
finally we have nothing going on today. one would argue perhaps that it's a great day to focus on chumash. lots of time and lots of time for breaks.

otoh, i'd rather do nothing and have no responsibilities. . .

anyway, when jack went in for a nap we did part of chamishi. a double review of the pesukim she's been doing with so many hard new words. she decided to do the ones i wanted to do twice, then the new ones. she was in a good mood. we did one new rashi trying to untangle what yaakov was doing with the sheep. then we did the new pesukim and she got kind of defeated. i think because the last of the old pesukim i made her do 3x, and she said, "you said only 2x" and i said i didn't say ONLY twice, i just said twice, but she needs another go. and she got truculent and then i said i'm counting to 10 and taking away your DS for the rest of the day. i don't love threatening but it's effective. she said i was mean and i agreed with her. the new pesukim went pretty straightforwardly. it's still ages to go til the end of this aliyah. it's been a looooooooong time.

left today is rashi (the review of the 4) and chazara of the beginning of chamishi. i'm wiped.

Monday, October 24, 2011

still slogging our way through chamishi. tough language. and we did rashis (the 4 we are in the middle of ) w/ nekudos. did it in the car, there and back, to ceramics. only did one new pasuk today. i realized afterwards that the next one is pretty easy but i had already spoken. tomorrow hope to finish the perek. that's 5 new pesukim. didn't really do chazara today.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

it's soooooooooooooooooo late

whew rashi was tough tonight. we did it w/ nekudos and chana did ok with it, but it was nearing 9pm and i'm wrung out by then. and every time she got distracted i got annoyed. and she told me that she feels i'm being too hard on her and it's coz i'm stressed. (and if i can get all therapy on you, the reader, this resonated w/ something ari told me this week about how i was riding everyone too hard). i think the whole rashi was about 20 min, but at the end of it i felt it created distance between me and chana rather than connection. i offered to read to her afterwards but she said she'd rather go to bed. i guess i'll give her an hour and then go try to reconnect.

i just can't stand working in the evenings. and it's chana's ideal time. aharon is having cry time, jack is still awake, and i am done. i want to be done but i have a few hrs left to the day. it's not the time to be doing chumash or rashi.

perhaps i should learn from this that the skills are not worth the negative interaction. or i can work on being more pleasant.

on the up side, these not so good days make me realize how much my constant evaluation of how it is going really does keep chumash pleasant overall. especially considering the very hard skill work involved.


today was one of those days with a lot of whining, with me asking her to take deep breaths, with her insisting that deep breaths don't help. both boys were asleep and i wanted to get it in. chamishi is pretty challenging with a lot of new words and complicated structures and i start wondering if it's worthwhile to press her on these words.

btw, there are frequency word lists "100 most commonly used shorashim in tanach" etc which makes a lot of sense. apparently if you learn those, you can translate about 80% of tanach. which is cool. i think chana probably does have most of those words. especially as the frequent ones show up enough for her to learn them just by their repetition.

we still have rashi left to do. i asked chana if she wants to do rashi w/ nekudos today. she didn't answer me because i offered that when i wanted to do rashi before chazara and she was pushing for chazara. i gave in and also allowed her to choose which aliyah to chazer because she can use chazara in all of them. she chose revi'i.

in the framework of today, i've been pondering a post about unschooling that i saw this week. a lot of it is about having a certain confidence that kids are interested in knowledge and will learn. and sometimes i wonder what i'm in such a hurry to do this in elementary school for. i read once on lookjed (jewish education message board) that kids go through 12 yrs of school and don't know gemara, and they can easily master the basics of skills in 2 or 3 yrs post high school. so why torture them? for years??

not to mention that i'm not all that excited about sending my kids to high school, and if they don't have the skills because i'm unschooling them, maybe they'll just keep going as they are going. the 2 people i spoke to who were themselves unschooled said they were interested in judaic studies in high school.

and it would seem like the joy might be more if i wait. (i always wonder that after a day of arguing).

but this goes against the rishonim and mesora of chinuch. and that is a big reason i hesitate.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

in the midst of chaos

today was one of those days where it felt like chumash dragged on for hours. though this was not the case, it was on my mind trying to get it done since 11am. chana didn't want to do work within a mere hour after waking. (when i later told her that rov haolam wakes up, goes to school, and does work immediately, she got insulted and began sulking, which led to me saying "do it or i'll leave" and her waving "bye" with her head still down, and me sending her to timeout and then threatening to take away her ds if she is not back within 2 minutes and reading rashi, and thinking the whole time how this is not conducive to pleasant associations with torah).

i wanted to start with rashi; she wanted to start with pesukim. eventually, she did 4 rashis. she did them ok. then a break. then i wanted her to review some pesukim in sheni and shlishi that she had had trouble with in the past. i'm glad we reviewed them and she did them nicely. then revii.

in the midst of this, aharon was crying and and screaming. i had asked her to do it during his morning nap and she had refused. so i was doubly annoyed. she said she wanted to do it during jack's nap, but jack is much easier to have around (when he's in a good mood).

blessedly, aharon fell asleep in the middle but it was only a short time. he woke up again and now he is asleep again and STILL we are not finished.

we have 3 new pesukim to do. in chamishi. they are tough. i'm getting grouchy and maybe i should feed myself before we dive into them.

chag sameach!

Monday, October 10, 2011

neufeld "collecting"; comparison w/ sarah; rashi

we skipped yesterday. this morning chana didn't want to go to ceramics. she was tired, she doesn't want to go, etc. we battled about that and therefore i felt it would not be a good idea to bring chumash in the car. as per neufeld, i decided to use the time to emotionally attach to her. especially considering that one of the things she said to me is, "i feel like you don't care about me!"

i said in the car, "i want to be doing chumash." and she said back, "well, now we are even. because i don't want to be doing ceramics." (just quoting this exchange for those of you who may be reading this and feel that you are the only ones arguing with your children. and this was not even a bitter exchange, and didn't even escalate ).

anyway, for some reason she didn't have her ipod with her (maybe she also wanted to connect with me) so we spent the time there and back conversing. then we agreed on a general time for chumash.

when both boys went down for naps, i told her let's do it now because they are napping. because of the numerous times in the past where she asked to wait and then someone woke up and i felt very annoyed, she agreed immediately. she settled down into revii, which we finished today. she did it to herself except for the new pesukim. and she asked me for the words she doesn't know.

(by the way, comparison with sarah: 1. sarah looked up every word and either wrote it down in a notebook looked it up in the heb/eng dictionary every time. i tell chana the words she doesn't know. i almost never told her a word. 2. sarah did not do chazara. 3. sarah translated half of every pasuk and i did the other half, and chana does the entire pasuk.)

so that was about 3 new pesukim.

then we did rashi. i had her do 3 rashis, 2 reviews and 1 new one. she didn't want to do the 2nd review one in the harder chumash (bli nekudot). so she did 1 in the harder chumash and 2 in the easier one. aharon woke up in the middle but i didn't feel annoyed with chana because she started chumash immediately.

i feel pretty good about rashi today. she covered a nice amount. "and it isn't even rashi day..." she cited as her reason for trying to refuse to do it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

we started w/ revi'i today on the way to parkour. there were only a few pesukim that we had done, and chana continued merrily on for a bunch of pesukim before she realized we were in the middle of new ones. they were leah's children. she mentioned a couple of times that rachel hadn't actually taken leah's husband, and how they all had to wait turns for their husband. on the way home, she wanted a break from car chumash. (we don't homeschool, we carschool ;)

so at home, she did sheni to herself, which is pretty short except i noticed she still doesn't know those few words she didn't know last time. and she probably won't learn them unless we do some more serious review of just those pesukim, which maybe i should consider doing.

then we did rashi. review of yaakov talking to the shepherds, which she acquitted gracefully, in the one w/ no nekudos. and 2 w/ nekudos. minimal whining about how it's not rashi day. whole thing done pretty quickly, though.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

when a pshat oriented rashi turns out to not be pshat

today is rashi day. we did just shlishi today, and 3 new (difficult) pesukim. chana convinced me that even though there are a bunch of things in sheni that she doesn't know, she can do sheni tomorrow.

so for rashi, we did the large rashi about yaakov asking the shepherds why they are back so early. even though i had her read it 3x with nekudos, there are still a number of words she doesn't know, and when we go to the other chumash, there will be abbreviations like af al pi chen, that she still doesn't know nor know the translation.

she argued quite a bit about reading it 3x. but eventually did. i also chose the rashi on "rachel bitcha ketana." i thought that it was a decent pshat oriented rashi, which shows why certain nuances of the text are there. ie your daughter and the younger.

BUT chana made an excellent point. she said she does not understand the point of the rashi. lavan did not cheat yaakov in that way; he said that it was not done in this part of town to let the older marry before the younger. and how could he know lavan was a cheater anyway; he just met him. excellent points and i think it demonstrates that she is taking the torah seriously and it showed me there are a lot of midrashim that we take for granted that actually are difficult to understand and take as pshat.

(she also mused yesterday that she is glad in our society men don't marry more than one wife).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

sunday i traded no chumash for chana taking jack out to the playground a number of times. i was recuperating from the 3 day yontif and i think it was a fair trade.

monday chana chapped rashi before we headed out to ceramics, and did sheni and part of shlishi in the car and new pesukim at home.

today, we did just milim for sheni, and entered negotiations for shlishi. i want to do the whole thing. she wanted none. i said 15 min on the timer. she demurred. i said why is 15 min too much for you. happily it did not devolve into the last time we argued over 15 min. (i made sure she was fed before we started). we got happily distracted by aharon and jack a number of times. they are very cute. (elazar is down the block playing). we compromised on doing 4 pgs out of 7, and now break, and we will do the rest later (and rashi).

in the middle, chana pretended to be a robot that was breaking and said in a robotic voice, "shutting down... cannot do work..." and then dropped her head. funny.