Monday, August 13, 2012

what if we only did chumash when it was an optimal time?

in case anyone was wondering, chana is up to shlishi in bo and so far we have done 12 rashis.  elazar mostly forgets to wear his kippah and i mostly forget to remind him.  he's very busy playing outside.  our conversations have been including more halacha and parsha and hashkafa, but he hasn't asked to learn inside.

i was discussing with my friend channie about the conflict of doing chumash when it isn't really a good time, and then being less than patient and relaxed because it's not a good time (like before we have to go out, or when the little ones are awake).  the other option is to only do it when it's a good time, but that sort of ends up being... well, close to never.  for example, we've done 2 navi stories this summer.  if that gives you a feel (which is what i always worry unschooling will turn out to be--basically no skills). 

(though i must interject that the theory is that at a certain point, they become motivated, and then BOOM they work hard at it.)

anyway, we were wondering is there any happy medium?  we don't feel like we can wait until it's convenient, because it rarely is a good time.  but if we do it when it's a terrible time, that is a recipe for conflict and anger and negativity.  and even if we skip it when it's a terrible time, well, we might be skipping it 4x a week..

i've learned by now that certain things should be avoided at all costs with chana.  do not do chumash while she is hungry.  do not do chumash when we have to leave the house soon.  do not get all blame-y that we haven't finished yet when someone wakes up from a nap in the middle of chumash (i obnoxiously still have trouble with that one, but luckily, chana calls me on it, so i'm improving).  chana is pretty good about doing it the night before or the night after or double the next day if we aren't going to make it.  it's just that I find it exhausting to do it at night like that.

channie suggested doing it when it's not a good time, but being super nice with lots of love and hugs and play.  naturally, although i wholeheartedly agree, i've found that in practice, it is difficult to dredge up love and hugs and playfulness when you are feeling on edge because you are being torn in different directions.

but i feel it really negatively impacts giving over a love for learning when i am teaching with gritted teeth and impatience and radiating stress and wanting to be done and, horror of horrors, exuding disappointment that she didn't remember something or couldn't translate something. 

so, in looking for a happy medium, i'm thinking about the following solution.  during times when things are really busy, i don't want to skip chumash because i want to convey that it is a priority-והגית בו יומם ולילה--that we immerse ourselves in it daily.  but precisely during those times when i'm feeling a time crunch, i'm going to try to set aside only 15 minutes for chumash.  and during that 15 minutes, i'm going to have only 2 goals. 1. to do a "mashehu" of chumash.  a smallest amount.  2. to have it be an enjoyable learning experience.

will i be able to do this?  we shall see.  if it doesn't work, then i'll do what i always do: look at what happened, look at what i did, look at the result, reevaluate, form a new approach, and try again.

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