Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chana's first textbook

Chana and I are finally getting into a schedule here.  Most days we work for about an hour.  We do Chumash, Science, and Literature.  Chemistry didn't work out, and we haven't found a book we liked, so we decided to start Biology.  I asked my friend what bio textbook they use in SAR where she works, and she told me Campbell Biology.  I figured why not get the AP book, since I took it all those years ago.  I didn't know if Chana would have the conceptual ability to understand it, but I decided to try it out.  The current book is the 10th edition, but since the 9th edition was from 2011 and the current edition was from 2014, I figured we were safe as far as biological knowledge, and it was absurdly a fraction of the cost.

It's going to take us a while to get through, but it's fascinating and we are enjoying it.  Chana mentioned again today how much she absolutely loved Chemistry, which is one of the reasons I was so hesitant to push forth when all the books we found were boring us.  I'm also excited that she grasps basic chemistry because I think it will give biology a broader perspective.

When we opened up the Bio book, Chana said to me, "Is this my very first textbook?"  And I do believe it is.  Math was via the internet, and Chemistry was from a couple of books but not a textbook.  It was exciting and we took a moment to give it due ceremony.

The Importance of Being Earnest continues to crack us up.  High School homeschool learning is as fun and exciting as I always thought it would be.

We are still in the middle of Devarim.  Chana is not gaining the skills I would like to see gained in High School.  She is reluctant to put the time into studying and I am reluctant to push her.  We have stopped all Rashis inside.  On the occasions when I think a Rashi is warranted, I read it to her and translate it, and we don't go over it again.

When Devarim is finished, I have ambitions.  I have found in my homeschooling career that my ambitions and my children's plans invariably conflict, and that pushing my agendas onto my children leads to unhappiness.

However, I would like to achieve one of the following (I'm an experienced enough homeschooler to know that I cannot have them all):

1) Let Chana choose an area, any area in Tanach, to learn on a deeper level, and really analyze the questions and the overall area.

2) Work on reading and understanding mefarshim deeply.  Perhaps Ramban or Abarbanel or Ralbag.  Perhaps in the course of analyzing an area of Tanach deeply.  Maybe Nechama Leibowitz.

3) Improve skills in a serious way.

In my experience with Chana, working on improving skills in a serious way ends up impeding learning on a deeper level.  I know it doesn't have to be that way.  But in actuality, what ends up happening is that we have to review it over and over to improve skills, and that is a different activity than conceptually analyzing the material.  Perhaps we'll be able to focus on each of these at different times.

I also have grand plans to go through my Torah Sheba'al Peh sourcebooks from high school.  Again, to gain skills would mean review, as opposed to gaining the information, which can be gained from just running through the material.  I'm hoping to do one sourcebook around March time.  We'll see how long that takes and how thoroughly we end up doing it.  I also would like to start geometry, but Chana is still mentally worn out from studying for the algebra regents and doesn't want any math right now.

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