Monday, August 31, 2015

It ain't all sunshine and roses

Some days I just roll my eyes that I ever had the smugness to write some of my blog posts.  Not that I don't agree with what I wrote, but for example, yesterday. My 8yo woke up and the 4yo and he were arguing about who sits next to me on the couch.  They bickered back and forth about where each one's body parts were or were not allowed to be.  I finally moved 8yo and had him sit on my lap.  He struggled out of it and went right back to bothering 4yo, who was kicking and pushing and yelling.

I extricated myself, saying that if they were arguing I didn't really want to be in the middle of all that, and I went back to my room and curled up in bed with a book.  5 minutes later, 8yo came down, incensed that 4yo...I can't even remember now.  Elbowed him?  Sat on his head?  Banged his head into his elbow?  He was angry at me for not forcing 4yo to sit elsewhere.

"But I moved you and you moved back," I said reasonably.  "If you are 8 and you didn't want to move, why would he, who is 4, want to move?"

He looked at me with disgust, repeated that I didn't make 4yo move and now he is hurt, and he left, slamming the door (presumably to exact his own brand of justice).  I was surprised, since 8yo has a sunny disposition and I wouldn't have considered him a door slammer.  Gave me a glimpse into teenage years, possibly.  On the up side, I curled back into bed and read for another half hour before 5yo came wandering in for morning snuggle.

And on a happy note, 4yo asked me to play banangrams with him and he seems to know just about every capital letter in the alphabet  #unschooling
I was commenting with surprise that he knows his letters and he asked if he can go to the local candy store.  I said that's for learning aleph beis.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Another flip flop

Since the last time I thought about Elazar's Torah and decided that the discipline would be good for him, he's been reluctant to do it and has a really hard time getting through the 5 minutes and is very impatient for it to be over.  I started having him do 5 jumping jacks before we start, as the latest research says that ADHD kids need to move (duh!) and it does help keep him from being so wiggly.  BUT it's beginning to feel like I am single-handedly destroying his desire to learn Torah by making him do 5 minutes a day.  And what is he gaining?  Bekius?  How much of this is he processing?  And the cost is dread.

So I'm going to ease off.  I'm going to start putting the halacha yomi emails into their own folder.  And when he wants or if he asks, they will be there.

We have about 2 weeks left to the summer and we are in the middle of Re'eh.  We are about halfway through the sefer.  All things being equal I would have liked to be done with Sefer Devarim before Chana goes to high school.  But I guess we'll keep plugging til we finish.

We are reading Hamlet right now.  We read an act together every day.  I'm the Ghost.  She's Hamlet.

Jack read quite a few pages from Little Bear yesterday.  Yet again, I put him to bed too late for him to do all the work he wanted to do and he got upset.  The night runs away with me and bedtime is a little out of control these days.  Tonight in theory I plan to get him upstairs at 9 so he can work for an hour.  But will I?

Friday, August 7, 2015


We finished a basic understanding of chemistry.  I certainly learned a lot.  It was a lot of fun.  The question is what do we want to do next.  We haven't yet tackled the mathematics of chemistry.  Redox equations, moles, and all sorts of math that I remember vaguely from high school and college.  I would like to take Chana's chemistry knowledge to the next level and show her how it works mathematically.  But I also feel that she might be a little "chemistry-ed out" and want a break.

So I was thinking it's not time for geometry yet, and our next plan was to read Hamlet.  (Chana wanted to do this.  We are currently in the middle of Dracula and Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, which is enough for me, who has never been especially enamored of Shakespeare.)

So I asked the English teacher at the school I work at, and she recommended "No Fear Shakespeare."  I went first to the library to see if I could borrow it, but it wasn't there.  So I went online to see what there was.  Well, it turns out that Sparknotes has it online.  Will we end up reading it on Shabbos?  Well, not if we don't have it in hard copy.  To buy a used edition is $1.50 plus $3.99 shipping.  But I think we'll start with the online situation.  I am not sure how to do it.  Do we read it out loud?  Take turns?  I guess I'll ask Chana what she wants to do.

Elazar is still having a great time in camp.  Jack is reading things around him, and still loves doing R' Winder.

Chana and I are still plodding through Devarim.  As usual, in the rashis, she runs out of steam and is bored by the repetition before she achieves the degree of fluency that I think the rashi should have.  Next year, she is going to try two classes in school, Chumash and Torah SheBaal Peh.  I decided against Nach simply because the classes weren't clustered closely enough together.  As it is, I will be driving back and forth numerous times a day next year.  To work and back.  To bring Chana there and to pick her up.  Sometimes twice in one day, when Chumash is in the morning and TSBP is in the afternoon.  I hope I can maintain my sanity doing this.

I have concerns about whether Chana will enjoy classes.  She basically told me that she would prefer to be homeschooled completely, and is going because her close friend (who is homeschooled, and two years ahead of her) is going to not be homeschooled in two years and then she will be lonely.  In fact, when this close friend tried out 9th grade (when Chana was in 7th), Chana was lonely and that was when she asked to go to school.  Then this friend came back home, and Chana no longer wanted to go to school.  I can't remember a single class that involved passive listening that Chana has enjoyed in her life.

I am not sure whether Chana will be better off in the honors or the nonhonors Chumash.  The teacher in the nonhonors class is absolutely delightful and I know Chana will like her.  But she thinks Chana will be bored in her class.  The principal thinks that Chana will be adjusting to coursework and that an easy class would be okay for her.  I feel more inclined to give her a harder work load and have it be okay if she's scrambling to figure out how to take tests.  It's not like her Chumash grades will be on her transcript for college, since as a homeschooler, it's not a required course.

Chana is also somewhat of a closed personality.  The girl she is close friends with now took her two years of seeing each other at the same events and being sort of forced into proximity before they became friends.  It even took Sarah, who strongly desired a group of close friends and who excitedly embraced the high school social scene, two years before she found her chevra.  I don't know if Chana will open herself up to friendships.

Whenever I expressed concern, Chana hilariously assured me that she is quite adept at socializing and knows how to conduct herself.  She just doesn't want to.  I know long term she will be fine, and as soon as she wants to put herself out there, either for purposes of getting a job or to find friends, she will be fine.  I guess we'll see how next year plays out.