today chana finished reading shemona esrei for the reward of getting a facebook acct. she has been working on shemona esrei for months. when sarah was younger, i consulted my rabbi about sarah's reluctance to daven. he said that women have more leeway and i can tell her to daven 1 shemona esrei a day and minimal introduction (ashrei or shema). chana has not shown an inclination to spend a half hour reading hebrew that she doesn't understand and finds boring (aka daven), so i figured that i would gear up to her chiyuv as she gets closer to bat mitzva. for her evening reading for a while i've been directing her towards different brachos, bentching, shema, and shemona esrei. when she asked for a fb account, i said when she masters fluent shemona esrei. this weekend she got on a kick and read brachos of hodaya until she was fluent. she read the whole thing to me yesterday and then today she read the last 3 brachos and then she timed herself and clocked in at 9 minutes. (side question: does the school allow as many minutes as it actually takes for kids who are just starting out to read it completely?) she said she would now say shemona esrei every day. tune in to see if she is emotionally capable of spending 10 min a night on it or if she will find it overbearing. hopefully by the time she is bat mitzva we will have gotten through the general categories of the requests and the translation of at least the first bracha. i was happy that she was picking out a lot of words that she knew from chumash as she read sim shalom: "hey, that's favor, mercy... and what's that one? oh, yeah, kindness."
also, she's remembering the brachos of yaakov beautifully. we finished them up (she probably won't remember parts of yosef that are complicated and vague and she and i aren't quite sure what the pshat is, so i don't know if there is much benefit to doing more chazara of that) and she is in the home stretch. i was urging her to finish the perek, and she was reluctant until i reminded her that her computer is waiting. then she got excited and raced through it.
i understand that anti rewards is because although it might make the student more inclined to get through the work, it ultimately sucks the life and inherent enjoyment from the activity.
however (i know i always go back and forth about this), it seems to me that there isn't much inherent enjoyment in learning to translate. (we just read yissachar who digs in his shoulder to bear the burden of torah). or becoming fluent at davening when you don't understand the words. (theoretically, we can sing it or make a game of it. i wonder if there would be different long-term attitudes towards tefila by a child who was rewarded with a fb account for achieving shemona esrei vs a child who was cajoled to learn tefila by pleasant games and songs).
so chana's fb account is only for her online avatar and a platform for her youtube videos. she is to only be on fb in the main room of the house. i have permission to go onto her account to check on her activities and conversations. she is to post no personal information or pictures (it is only for her avatar).
i'd also like to mention that sarah felt embarrassed and upset when she got to school and she was not fluent in the tefilla. you know how your kid fights you and then you give in and then they come back and say, "you should have pushed me?" lol is that every homeschooler's nightmare? :-P
so sarah has mentioned a few times that chana is going to be embarrassed by not knowing the tefilla. and she is going to camp this summer. i mentioned the issue to her, and she answered, as sarah did before her: "can't i just move my lips like i'm saying it and just say what i know?" which is exactly where i said, with sarah, "ok. whatever you want." cue future complaints.