Friday, October 7, 2016

Aseres Yemei Teshuva ramblings

I cracked and finally asked Chana when we are going to resume bio.  Only because it seems like every couple of days something comes up in conversation and if we had done Bio, then she would know it or understand it, and I found myself saying a couple of times, "That's in Bio."  Finally, last time it came up, I said, "That's also in Bio.  When do you want to start again?"  She was hesitant, I think mainly (as I mentioned) because she's feeling burnt out schedule-wise.  I suggested just once a week and she was pretty enthusiastic about that.  She chose Mondays and then changed it to Sundays.  So this Sunday I'll ask her if she wants to and we'll see.  I asked her to read with me last night and she declined.

Spiritually, she came for Rosh Hashana shofar and sat around outside shul the rest of the time.  On the second day, after I finished my personal musaf Amida, I went outside to discuss some of it with her.  I'm sorry how that turned out.  I chose the part that was really speaking to me this year.  And she happens to be extremely sensitive to repetition (her mind apparently works very quickly and grasps quickly and it drives her bonkers when I repeat myself, which she's mentioned to me repeatedly, because apparently repetitiveness, redundancy, and saying the same thing in slightly different ways doesn't really irk me :-P).  So what I thought was nuanced and new (to me) was pretty similar to what she remembered from previous years and she ended up being bored and slightly irritated from the repetition.  And I felt bad because she was so sweet to sit there and give me ten minutes to talk about a subject that I care so much about and is so important to me and I wasn't able to make it interesting to her.  There were other passages in the machzor that probably would have worked better but I didn't choose them and I felt sad that I didn't make the most of that opportunity.  I keep telling myself that this is not the end of the road and if the liturgy is appealing and has a lot of depth then maybe one day it will draw her in to explore it.  Trust the inherent fascination of the topic.  Trust the human mind.  Trust curiosity.  Trust the learning process.

I don't know if I mentioned it on this blog (haha, I probably did, but I tend to repeat myself, as my teen tells me constantly), but I think I made a mistake which is probably a common parenting mistake.  Some of the points of Torah that I found SO illuminating, life changing, eye opening, fascinating, are points that I tried to convey to her.  And perhaps that was short sighted.  Perhaps she had to dig for them herself.  Perhaps I make those points so often that she rolls her eyes at them (yeah, yeah, Torah is about self control and moderation.  Yeah, yeah, remembering you're not the center of the universe.  Blah blah blah this time of year thinking about mortality, whatever).  (And she is very thoughtful and respectful and doesn't say this to me--I just suspect from her facial expressions.)

She's been going to my chumash class where we did the Yom Kippur avoda inside the chumash, and then I ran through it in the musaf.  So we did the pesukim, then the shemona esrei, then I photocopied a page from the Yom Kippur Pictorial Avodah book that gives all the steps.  By that point, Chana was bonkers with the repetition.  I had originally planned for her to be in shul to experience it but I think that would just be unnecessarily painful to her.
So maybe mincha.  Maybe just Yonah.  That has the benefit of not being tefila (since she has communicated clearly that she is not interested in tefila at this time).  It has the downside of being something she's read before and might find repetitive.  I guess I'll ask her.

Which reminds me, I wanted to see if she will learn the Akeida with me.  I think this is actually the perfect age for an in-depth discussion of the difficult theological issues and lessons it presents.

The boys and I haven't been doing much, scholastically, but every single day all three of them have been asking me to spell words and checking if they are writing certain words correctly.  So unschooling reading and writing through unlimited media is alive and working beautifully.  I have thought to myself that to try to make sure all three of them were working on their reading and writing (typing ;) would have been too much to manage during this chag-heavy time; but with unschooling, they come to me instead of the other way around, and it's super efficient and pleasant for all.

I've been thinking a couple of things about unschooling that I was planning to write about, but this is long enough so I'll just make it a separate post.

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