Monday, June 29, 2015

chemistry lishma

We did our third day of chemistry.  After looking through all the books that I requested from the library, it turns out the one I bought I like the best.  We are using that as the basis.  A lot of chemistry is coming back to me as we go through this, so I'm jumping off and explaining things.

It is so much fun!  And it feels so real.  It feels like Chana and I are learning about what human beings have learned about how the world works.  I hope we continue to enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

in support of tests

Chana has been studying for the NYS common core algebra regents.  There is more to study but the test is tomorrow.  I think that the experience of studying has been valuable.  Learning to understand what the questions are asking and learning how to do the questions and doing them over and over until she began to get those types of questions correct has definitely sharpened Chana's algebraic skills.  It has infuriated her to the point of declaring hatred of math and to the point where she has refused to look at math for another year.  It has also gotten her thinking about math.  She finds herself thinking about math problems at odd moments.  She said, "Annoyingly, I'm beginning to see the world mathematically.  I just looked at something and thought: 'That's a parabola.'  Aargh!"

If we had time to study more Chana's skills would probably improve even further.  I think even at this point she is ready to go on to algebra 2 and would be fine.  She might need reminders of how to do things, but conceptually she understands the prerequisite algebra and can perform the mechanics.  If she had drilled even more, it might become more automatic.

I was in a lot of conflict when Chana was experiencing a lot of pain and stress trying to learn how to take the test.  I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to stick it out and see it through.  After having sat three times for 3 hours and practiced the 3 existing tests, I think Chana will hopefully not be too stressed taking it.  I still think that Chana will get stuck on some of the long questions even though with some prompting and hand holding she would know how to do it.  But there is no hand holding in the test.  Will the test be an accurate reflection of her mathematical knowledge?  In some ways yes and in some ways no.

We are fortunate to have the luxury of the test being optional and of it not having any major impact on her life.  After this, I'm going to give her a long break.  Even though I'm kind of excited to share algebra 2 with her.  If I can ever convince her to try it.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Shulchan Aruch Yomi when restless

So I've been doing Shulchan Aruch Yomi with Elazar, who is a month shy of 8yo.  These last couple of days, he's been coming upstairs (he puts himself to bed, around 10:30pm) to say hello and for a quick cuddle, and then goes back down.  I asked him if he wanted to do Shulchan Aruch and he said yes.  (Usually I catch him during the day and ask if he wants to, and sometimes it's a good time for him and sometimes he says not now.)

So even though this evening he said yes, he was pretty restless.  It was about tzitzis (actually tallis) and he doesn't wear a tallis and doesn't relate to it.  He was jumping around and rolling around on the floor and I realized I was sort of talking to myself.  Maybe he was paying a bit of attention.

Twice or three times I asked him to come sit on the bed so I could see his face.  He knows about making brachos to be yotzei others and there was a halacha about that and I thought he would like it.

Overall, it felt like
a) I was in the classroom trying to teach reluctant students.  Ugh.
b) I cannot imagine him coping in a 2nd grade (and next year 3rd grade) classroom.

And here's Jack (age 5.5) now at 9:56pm wanting to do R' Winder and read.

summer plans

What is Chana planning to do this summer?  Finish Devarim (hopefully) and learn Chemistry.

I stumbled upon this post a few months back when I asked Chana what she would prefer, Chemistry or Biology.  So now summer is around the corner and I went to the library to request the books I thought would be best for us.

The library had all of them except I had to get a different biography of the founder of Modern Chemistry, and I decided to buy What's Chemistry All About by Alex Frith because the library didn't have it and it wasn't that expensive.

Here are the books I requested:

(Ignore the Feynman one and the Dragon Tattoo; those are for fun).

Hopefully by the end of the summer, Chana will have an educated layman's understanding of chemistry.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

yom yom

Chana is in Japan, on a "social studies" trip, checking out the culture.  Elazar and I have been doing the shulchan aruch yomi together, and there has so far been a lot about washing hands in the morning and before davening.  Elazar asked me if I keep all these laws.  I said yes, basically, I wash in the morning and I wash before davening, and he said it was getting confusing to keep it all straight and he was bored of laws about hand washing (I think it's been over a week about it).  I hear him sounding out words on the computer a lot.  

Jack (age 5.5) has been reading street signs.  It's been about 2 weeks since he found R' Winder's book and he loves it.  He does it every night.  I restricted him to one page a day because it takes him so long to do and I'm tired.  He complains because he wants to do more.  Since I speak to him in Hebrew, he pretty much knows most of it.  His reading comprehension is good.  He can read the Hebrew and the English and understand it.  It's cool.  (I still get that thrilled feeling of "he can read!" even though he's my fourth kid.)  Then he reads English and then he reads Hebrew.  Then he wants to learn Torah.  I'm so tired by the end of this I'm practically falling asleep in the middle.

Tonight I convinced him to go to bed an hour earlier.  He started to protest but I told him that he can do more work without me being tired.  So he got excited.  

I don't think this is normal behavior.  He's always been a "well-behaved" child with a very long attention span.  Between him and Elazar, who is finishing 2nd grade and hasn't yet been capable of sitting down to a "normal" lesson, I have the gamut here.