Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's not easy being green

Today we somehow just could not get started. Toddler woke up early, husband took her down to the basement for an hour. I got out of bed as 7 yo was coming out. I went to put up challah, he sat with me at the kitchen table. Tu BShevat cards were laying there, so he asked for a round of Go Fish. Free review and reinforcement. He lost, but did not lose it.

5 yo came out late, 7 yo finished his breakfast, but would not get dressed, and boys were hard to round up. Eventually we davened. 7 yo sneaked downstairs to do Rosetta Stone. I adjusted the program for him, so he is not doing every single activity. 5 yo acquiesced to doing it with speech recognition turned off. I went around the house picking up random items and placing them in semi-appropriate spots.

By 10, the schedule was finally written down. I wrote parallel activities and boys took turns picking. 7 yo picked Lashon Hatorah first. I discovered that he has been taking words apart: first writing down just the translation of prefixes; then, just the suffixes and then filling in the nouns. I asked him orally some words, so that he had to put the whole translation together. Even though he can chant prefix/suffix song from school and identify them correctly in the workbook, when later on today we worked on the text of Asher Yatzar, with line-by-line translation, he missed some prefixes. I'm worried that he does his work mechanically and will not be able to apply it to chumash. ( I have not been doing Chumash at all this week).

Then we finished off science experiments. I cut through celery to show that it got stained inside (xylem) and explained that it was like straws for the plant to drink water from the soil. The kids asked to eat colored celery afterwards. Then we did an experiment with reflected/absorbed light. WE got to go to the dark basement with flashlight and 5 yo remarked that this is the best experiment ever. We also discussed how we see colors.

Then we did reading. I gave 7 yo the literature section in "What Your 2nd Grader Needs to Know". Then, during lunch, he asked about which fairy tale is the most common one. He also deduced that they all have morals. He liked the Chinese fairy tale about a boy with the magic paintbrush who could paint things that came to life. I drew a parallel to Harold and the Purple Crayon. I also said that in different parts of the world, people tell similar tales, but the characters might change. He continued with different versions of The Tortoise and the Hare. I would count this as excellent lit discussion, no need for forced comprehension questions. I also got him to copy a sentence and identify common and proper nouns. He wrote from memory, with a lot of misspellings and incorrect words. I asked him to proof-read it word by word, but he still missed some. Meanwhile I did handwriting with 5 yo. Seeing his brother copy, he also agreed to copy a sentence. This one I wrote for him, in all caps. ( We are still working on forming lower case letters).

After lunch, the kids played in the yard for a bit. Then I got 2 yo napping ( thank you, Hashem), and the boys did math. 7 yo flew through it. I showed to 5 yo > and < signs. He excitedly announced to his brother: I'm learning symbols! He got them and successfully compared numbers up to 100.

For final activity, 7 yo read and translated Asher Yatzar line by line while his brother had one of Of Yesh Lanu Lama. This is where he had a meltdown. There were 12 lines, to fill in the blanks, with two word choices on the side. I told him to do top 6 and then he would tell me answers for the bottom ones and I would write them in. He knows about half Hebrew letters in script, so this is an opportunity to practice them. He totally buckled, melted down, threw a tantrum, claimed that I'm hurting his feelings, that his stomach hurts...  I told him to lay down on the couch till his stomach feels better, By this point, his brother finished and asked if he can go downstairs to play computer games. This worsened 5 yo's fit. After an hour, somehow, we agreed that first I'll write the bottom ones as per his dictation. By now, he could not remember simple words... I felt locked into a losing battle. Once this was done, I had to go to the grocery store, but he wanted to watch just a little Dinosaur Train.

I have not been out of the house and I do not like when I do not get out. So we walked to Kosher Market around the corner. The boys brought their wallets in hope of stopping by Tuesday Morning to get toys. (They know to use their allowance money for things like that). The oldest was also requesting Starbucks hot cocoa, which I vetoed, being too close to the evening. They each picked out a toy: a transformer for 5 yo and a spy kit for 7 yo, paid one at a time. When we were walking out, 5 yo thanked me for letting him buy a toy. After we bought groceries and kids got free lollies, he thanked me again. One of the beauties of the intense kid is that gratitude and love is also over the top.


  1. we also used to have a lot of meltdowns, and complaints about headaches and stomachaches, when the work gets intense. sometimes i'm truly surprised, because it seems like a completely doable amount and difficulty level.

    sarah did mention to me once that being in school from 8:30 to 5:15 was easier than 45 minutes a day of concentrated work where i noticed the second she lost concentration.

  2. your last line is so true. I have a very, very intense child, who has started to mellow as she's gotten older, but her meltdowns and excitement/gratitude were equal in intensity :)