Tuesday, November 22, 2011

what negative things am i teaching in the course of chumash lessons?

so today i violated "never go against a sicilian when death is on the line!!!" again!
today it took the form of "never do chumash when chana hasn't eaten."

she woke up 11am. she was babysitting at 12:30 (ok, we also violated "don't do chumash when you have to crunch it into a small time"). i spent the first 20 min of her learning doing fractions. having nothing to do with chumash, we have dropped her math curriculum since last year before pesach because fractions were confusing. i have been feeling like maybe she might grasp it better, so yesterday i suggested it, and the idea was well received and so i did a little lesson this morning.

then we took a break and did chumash. ideally, we would have left chumash until after she babysits. ideal for her. for me, i like to get it done so it's not on my mental list of "things i have to do today." as always, this becomes a conflict of better for my emotional state as the one in charge of the household vs better for her emotional state as the learner. although i believe that you will get the best "bang for your buck" ie "intellectual work for the effort" if you go based on the learner, if the teacher's emotional state is not taken into account in this imperfect world, ain't nobody happy.

but truly, whenever i push because i don't want it hanging over my head (which begs the question: if I feel like it's hanging over my head, and it's a responsibility i want to get over with, how am i possibly supposed to imbue chana with love of learning?), it ends up sort of backfiring because chana is not in an optimal state. and really, for me to be rushing to get it over with is not an optimal state for me, either. ideally, i'd like to be relaxed, have nothing else to do (ha! haha!) and look at this as a time for me to chana to enjoyably explore the torah.

anyway, i asked her if she wanted to do new pesukim first or chazara first. she chose new pesukim. we decided to finish sheni since it is pretty short and simple. we did the new pesukim pretty easily. and we reviewed the story of yesterday's pesukim outside.

then it came time for chazara. there were, what, only 6 pesukim and not difficult ones? (i didn't mention in yesterday's post that chana accidentally did an extra pasuk because she just kept going). she started whining that she didn't know one of the words. (which was from that brutal chamishi from last parsha that i didn't push). i told her what it was, but she kept whining. she had a headache. she doesn't know the words. she can't do this.

then i got annoyed and said i'm not listening to you talk to me like this.

which was fine with chana and she just sat there. this is a dynamic that we get into often
("how do you homeschool your child?" like you do any other parenting! with all its attendant conflicts, mistakes, etc). but then we only had 10 min until she was being picked up to babysit and i still had 5 rashis to get to, 2 from yesterday and 3 new ones.

so i said to her i wanted to get going. she, rightly but obnoxiously, countered that i was the one who told her we weren't doing more until she calmed down. and now i wanted her to go. but she wasn't calm yet. naturally, she said this in a rude voice because she wasn't calm and i was pushing her. you gotta love (not) how you (me), the parent, create these ridiculous scenarios by saying one thing and then pushing another. i sent her out of the room (thereby being more ridiculous and punishing her for her tone which happened because i was not giving her time to calm down). then i followed her out of the room and told her that we don't have time, and i'm being pushy, and i apologized and told her to eat, and i was choosing 2 slices of american cheese because we don't have time for her to leisurely eat a bowl of cereal (which i knew she'd prefer and which takes her 5-10 min to eat). she looked daggers at me (she's got a finely honed "evil eye" or "look of death," as i like to call it) and took the cheese.

then she came into the room with no cheese. my first thought was that she threw it out in a fit of standing up for herself (or defiance, as the textbooks call it :-P). i asked her where the cheese was, and it was all crammed into her mouth. she broke the ice in our dynamic by being comical about this. kudos to chana for not sulking. i latched right onto that peace offering and appreciated her humor. we giggled about it and settled in to finish chumash.

the food helped and chana was perfectly happy to do the rest of chumash. as an added bonus, her ride was running late and we even had plenty of time to do the rashis.

chana asked which camp yaakov was going to be in: the one that would get killed or the one that would escape. i did the rashi (not inside) with her where he said he would fight.

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