Thursday, June 26, 2014

Unschooling Reading

Elazar came over to me and asked me to write (actually, he asked me to "type" but he handed me a pencil and paper) some words for him to read.  Up until now, Ari did two or so informal reading sessions with him because he felt he was ready.  Our policy of reading is pretty much that we teach only when we are asked.  Whenever Elazar asks us to read him something (which he often does, because he can't read), we read it to him.  That does sometimes mean that he calls me over every few minutes to read something else.  Elazar will be 7 in two weeks.   Sometimes, when he asks me to read something and it seems simple, I ask him to try to sound it out.  Sometimes, when he asks me how to type something, I ask him what letters he thinks.  A few weeks ago, he pulled out a book with words with only short vowel sounds and read it with me.  This is the first time in his life that he asked me to write down things for him to read.

This morning, I wrote, and he read:

TOOTH (I underlined the "oo" and the "th" to teach him those phonemes)
THIRD (to review the "th")
FOURTH (he forgot the "th" and read it as the next word)
FART (he found that highly amusing)
FIFTH (to practice "th")
SEVENTH (he told me to stop writing "places")

He also did some addition and asked me to help him work on writing the number "3" so I wrote a few for him to trace.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I learn from my students more than anyone

You may be wondering how Chumash is going.  Chana finished BeHar yesterday.  She's been sticking to her goal of one page a day (plus chazara of an aliyah).  We have about 6 rashis that we're working on.  The words in BeHar are pretty complicated, so Chana's approach has been to read the pesukim and ask me to translate when she gets stuck, and to focus on understanding the main ideas of the pesukim rather than the specific vocabulary.

We missed Sunday and Monday because of back to back family gatherings and then me being out yesterday from 9am-10pm, with one hour home to clean up.  We did end up cramming in math and some Chumash, but either Chana was crabby or I was time-crunched (in the words of Family Guy, "C-can't it be both?") and it wasn't pleasant.  It reminded me that I prefer to skip than to learn in that state.

So after a week (or maybe less, since Chana's doubling up chazara) of Behar, she'll have 14 pages to go in Sefer Vayikra.

I was reminded today of how we started Chazara when Chana was in 3rd grade (or thereabouts) because I felt that she wasn't remembering the difficult pesukim in Parshas Noach.  If she read those pesukim today, despite all that chazara, I still don't think she'd remember them.  (If I have a chance, and Chana is willing, I'll test that theory.)

Vayikra was a sefer with a lot of complicated vocabulary.  I personally gained from going through it again (ומתלמידי יותר מכולם--from your students you learn the most).  I learned a whole bunch of rashis that I'd never seen before.

Going forward, I'm going to make an effort to work with Chana on asking analytical questions on the stories in Bamidbar.  I did that a lot with Sarah, and I think somehow with Chana, the littles were very little, and Ari was doing Torah stories, and I think she can use some more nurturing in that area.

But first, Bechukosai.