Friday, September 7, 2012

converting nagging worries into plans and efforts

it's the beginning of the school year.  that shouldn't make a difference, since we don't really do anything different during the summer.  but this year i started teaching a class in an outside school, so i'm gone every morning til 10am.  this doesn't really make a huge difference in our homeschool because we don't really do anything before 10am anyway, except that it takes me a while to reconnect with the little ones because they are expecting me around and i'm not (like jack doesn't like waking up and me not being there).  and aharon, who is a year old, is used to being with me every minute of the day.

but it has been feeling like there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything.  in the beginning days of homeschooling, i used to be nervous, so i never wanted to skip "learning."  but now, 1) when it comes down to it, i'm quicker to choose to prioritize our relationship and their long-term emotional well-being so i end up choosing to spend relaxed, enjoyable time with them instead of attempting to force them to work in a time-crunched situation which is going to blow up in our faces, 2) even if i skip a lot of learning times, over the course of years, there still ends up being a lot of time and 3) since we became more unschool-y, the kids are much more relaxed about skill work and flexible and inclined to work at odd hours.

case in point.  i told you that i pulled out sfasenu (or sfatenu, as we used to call it in elementary school, before i learned about the ashkenazic "ת" and plunged myself into the conflict of spoken vs religious hebrew) a few days ago.  i've been telling chana i'd like to start it.  she kept saying later and tomorrow.  yesterday we were planning to do it but there was trapeze from 4-8 (it was only 1.5 hrs but i had to pick sarah up from school, dinner, rush out, drive 45 min there and back) so I wasn't up for it we didn't get to it.  this morning, chana woke up at 7:30am by accident (thank you, sarah's alarm) and came down.  i was getting ready to leave for school, but i remembered we didn't do it yesterday.  so we sat down and she did the first story right there.  using the three-years-ahead-rule, i gave her the 3rd grade sfasenu.  she zipped through the story, understanding it, being able to figure out the couple of words or phrases that were new, and i asked her reading comp questions and asked her to answer me in hebrew, using the story.  so that went swimmingly.  i am (anti alfie kohn) using a bribe to make it more palatable.  i told her to pick the bribe, but she wants a dog, so that's not happening.  i'm hoping that she'll pick it up more often than not, and that she'll increase her ivrit ability, and that it will be pretty painless.  i'm not sure how this fits into unschooling philosophy (but i'm not about to get overly bogged down by a philosophy of homeschooling, unless you want to call it pragmatism, ie what is working for us).  i discussed with her that i think her ivrit needs some beefing up.  i acquired something towards that end.  i introduced her to it.  we'll see what happens next. 

and one night this week, everything was pretty quiet, and i said, "hey, want to learn about dovid hamelech?" and she said sure.  so we sat down and i gave her some background about moshe, then going into israel, then shoftim, and we reviewed that shmuel was chana's son, which reminded me that she really is the right age to go through some of the rosh hashana machzor and the torah reading and the haftoras, and then talked a bit about shaul and how the kingship was taken away and how he began to be jealous of dovid.  as i've mentioned before, chana always learns best when she's supposed to be upstairs in bed.  so i'll keep an eye out for those opportunities for navi.  i had the navi open for myself, but did it via storytelling (i did show her one thing in it, but offhand i can't remember what it was). 

also, i've mentioned this before, that i read, many years ago, that one should always stop teaching 5 minutes before the student is finished.  i made this mistake with chana during navi, and kept going even when she was getting distracted.  i should have stopped right then, but it had been going so well i couldn't accept the information she was giving me.  i asked if she wanted to keep going, and she said yes.  i should not have asked her; i should have just stopped.  she zoned out and was earnestly studying the back of a box of cereal.  we ended on a bit of a fractious note instead of me being friendly and saying, we'll stop here, and having her beg for more.

i made that same mistake with my class on the first day of school.  we had 2 minutes left to class, and i should have dismissed them early instead of saying who-knows-what and watching their eyes glaze over.

but overall, my angst last week about things i'd like to pick up the slack on led to me choosing certain activities, then keeping them in my pocket until relaxed opportunities came up. 

regarding navi, if you recall, i had an idea of doing unschooling navi towards the end of last year.  it's now about 4 or 5 months later and we've done navi twice.  you might think that this is not working out.  but i would disagree.  we have years for this.  every time we do it and it's pleasant, it builds on itself.  over the years, it will snowball, i think.  unschooling takes patience, my friends.  i myself am extremely excited to share dovid hamelech's stories.  i just have to wait for the best moments.

1 comment:

  1. There is a comic book through Feldheim, called Dovid ben Yishai. My kids have been studying it quite seriously. I just have it on their bookshelf, but I find them opening it again and again.