Sunday, March 4, 2012

2 unexpected things

i was thinking of skipping today.  last night, motzei shabbos, we had to pay a shiva call that took 3 hrs travel time and 1 hr there.  i brought the chumash in the car but 1. it was night time and there was no light and 2. chana was hungry and thus grouchy and even if we could have seen, she wasn't in a good state.  then today we had a bat mitzva (awesome fun :) and getting ready took all day.  (not really, but i realized this morning that elazar and i wake up raring to go, whereas chana doesn't).  and then we had a purim chagiga, and i was feeling like i was just going to let today slide.  but chana came in and asked if she would be permitted to use her computer in bed this evening just to do some movie making thing. 

(side point: usually chana is not permitted on the internet in her room, which i was happy about yet again this morning as she has her youtube channel and someone kept asking her about being friends on facebook and she consulted me on how to respond: "my mom doesn't let me be friends with people i don't know in real life.")

so i said she could use her computer this evening in bed, and she looked at the clock, and said, "ok, so i have time to do chumash." 

well.  that was unexpected.  so i asked her what she wanted to do.  and she said, "new pesukim and rashi."  so we did new pesukim.  i said they were difficult.  she asked how many we would do.  i said however many she wanted.  we ended up finishing chamishi.  at one point she said, "why are these taking so long?  oh, yeah.  you said they were hard."  and then when she got through the tough ones (5) there were only 2 or 3 more til the end, and they weren't so difficult.  afterwards, i really wanted to review them again.  because even though she wasn't in a bad mood, her focus was not there.  one rashi which she found hard but we had been making some progress on, she didn't know a single word.  and til now, she'd been improving every reading.  sometimes she doesn't learn well because she is angry or in a bad mood or has different expectations.  but today she was just not concentrating well.  maybe because she went to bed after midnight last night and woke up early and she has a cold.  it was interesting because most usually she has trouble translating or understanding for emotional reasons; tonight it seemed to be physical.  come to think of it, when she's hungry she has trouble too--but that usually expresses itself as her being in a bad mood or grouchy.  anyhoo, she asked if we could review it tomorrow instead. 

i felt, perhaps incorrectly, that the neural pathways would be more easily treaded if we reviewed it right away.  i have intuitions about these things based on hazy memories (no irony intended) of scientific articles i read about blazing neural pathways.  so i asked her if she would pay attention if i read it.  she assured me she would.

so i read it with a lot of expression, reading and translating.  i watched her to see if she was paying attention.  she was actually mesmerized, which i gotta tell you is unusual regarding chumash.  i asked her afterwards if she liked it, and she said it was like i was reading her A Little Princess (which i am in the middle of reading to her).

i wonder if it might be a good idea to mix up chazara with me reading it to her like that.  as a general rule, i don't like to do that because it is passive not active, and the student has a tendency to mentally wander off.  but if she'll enjoy it, i will definitely do it.

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