Sunday, December 21, 2014

happy chanuka!

This post has nothing much to do with Chanuka, other than chronologically.  I've decided to let Elazar's Hebrew reading go for now, since I feel it's more efficient to read only when he asks to read.  This left me with a little bit of a dilemma, since I still want to maintain daily Torah learning with him, and when I ask him what he wants to learn, he says he wants to do the Hebrew reader.  But his heart isn't in it and it takes him longer to do a page, whereas when he's in a learning phase, he blitzes through the pages.  So we've been doing a small halacha about Chanuka.  One night I read through al hanisim with him.  I started off reading the Hebrew and then translating, but he got bored in the middle, so I hustled and dropped the Hebrew and gave a gist/translation.  He cheered at the end.  That little cheer of appreciation of the miracle of the battle victory has kept me smiling at various times this week (often when I am saying al hanisim myself).

Chana is making her way steadily through Chukas.  We have about 30 rashis and her pace of getting through the pesukim is faster than her pace for getting through the rashis.

Right now, our rashi protocol (which I personally find bedieved; I do not think I've discovered an optimal rashi approach yet) is

  • I choose rashis that are pshat oriented (or easy to read and understand)
  • I read them to her and explain them
  • I read them and explain them for 4 days
  • They are familiar enough to her for her to read them and I still explain them
  • She reads them and then remembers the main idea of it but still doesn't know a lot of words
  • And that's how we leave it (even though I'd rather she learns the words)
I'm feeling in general that we are working nicely on skills but less well on analysis, questions, and deeper level of comprehension.  Chana does not have much patience with that and often tosses off a question but does not like to sit and ponder it or discuss it.  I brought that up to her a few months ago and it has definitely improved-- she will take a moment or two now to discuss things, but she generally prefers to "get it over with."  In my opinion, this is a side effect of my emphasis on skills over enjoyment of Torah learning and is one of the reasons I am turning more towards unschooling, even for limudei kodesh, for the boys.  (Note: this does not mean that I think that it is impossible to teach skills and foster an enjoyment of learning; I just think that my personal methods have stifled certain joyful aspects of learning and I'd like to experiment with that.)  If Chana does decide to stay home for high school (I started a post on that last month but I don't think I ever finished it) we'll probably work on deeper conceptual and analytical skills.

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