Monday, May 14, 2012

today was better

I am typing this right now as a breather, between homeschooling, cooking and gymnastics.

Today was better. I planned out the day the night before, wrote it out and browsed through the next perek. I printed out a hundreds chart for 8 yo to skip-count by 6s, 7s, 8s and 9s, and made a comparison chart for ancient Greeks and Romans.

First of all, I got out early to exercise. Last week, I went once during the day and noticed how much more energetic I am when I am not half-asleep. But I do not have a lot of choice WHEN I can go, so I am grateful that I can go at all and that I can afford to work out in a gym.

I got home, everyone was still asleep. I caught up on e-mail, as the kids came out. They boys marched straight downstairs to play some kind of army game. They found toy soldiers from a few years back and spent yesterday's rainy afternoon staging battles. Eventually, everyone got dressed, had breakfast and bentched. I davened with 6 yo, who is now fluent in birchot hashachar, as long as he can do a handstand on the couch while screaming out each bracha. 8 yo hit upon the idea of drumming while davening ( pardon the pun), and went downstairs to do so. He came up, glowing, and informed me that he also said Ashrei.

While he was drumming, 6 yo picked history. We started a chapter on ancient China, and I asked him to bring a map to show him how China ended up being the Far East. We also found India, Mesopotamia ad Egypt that we previously read about. He enthusiastically informed me that Indians could trade with Egyptians, since they can sail to each other. He also traced how far Israel is from where we live, and told me to watch the ocean for dolphins. I said that you cannot see dolphins from the plane, only clouds. Then we read about China and silkworms. When I started reading,  he told me to ask him questions at the end about what he read. Ok, no problem, I can check off reading comprehension for the day. Then we read about pictographs. I asked him to "write" me a message in pictographs. It did not go so smoothly, but eventually, we came up with a message and a representation for it. I pushed towards the idea that pictures can be ambiguous, unless you know exactly what each symbol stands for.

Then he did Lashon Hatorah, he added another prefix, but he seems to know them well and still colors in the lines. He finished the morning with handwriting. He is almost done with HWT, but he avoids writing in English. It does not come out smoothly, and he still hesitates on letter formation. I do not want to push through the summer with work, but I am worried that a lot of handwriting did not register so well.

As of last week, I was ready to declare summer vacation, but today showed me that there is still steam left. 8 yo did Rosetta Stone, Greek and Roman comparison chart ( not so eagerly) and then I gave him the hundreds chart. I told him just to do skip count by 6's, then 7s, then 8s and then 9s, hoping that some will assimilate and help with multiplication. He used a different color for each number and noticed that they overlapped on some.  He also noticed patterns, for predicting where the next multiple will come up. He decided to add 5s. He found that tow number had three different colors on them. I told him that meant they were multiples of all those numbers. I told him he can get one of them (72) by multiplying two of the three of its multiples (6, 8, 9). He figured out which ones and wanted to try it for the other one (90) using its multiples (5, 6, 9). He was perplexed that it did not work, so I introduced him to prime numbers. I broke down 6 and 9, and then showed how 90 is produced from primes. For his next step, he decided to skip count by 4s, 3s and 2s, which wonderfully left u s with a board full of unshaded prime numbers. He kept muttering, how much fun this is. Every time he would end on an unshaded square, he "discovered" it. He enjoyed it, and I enjoyed watching him. I also brought his attention to the fact that the higher you go, the more scarce the prime numbers become. Ah, the freedom of doing anything you want with any given material and just watching where it takes you.

After lunch, the boys were getting restless. I told them they can finish very quickly and have time to play. 8yo tried doing Lashon haTorah quickly, got half of it wrong and then lashed out how he doesn't even want to learn Hebrew. I asked him to fix it. He said that he'll just tell me the answers. I asked him to write them down. He said that he's squeeze them in. I asked to erase and fix the wrong ones. He stormed off, but did it. On the second try, he got them all right.

6 yo did Rosetta Stone and math. He wants me to sit with him. I know he can do it alone. He gets distracted a lot. I wish he would just focus on the task at hand. He manipulated Base Ten Blocks and got all the answers, but he kept writing in wrong numbers, erasing, and then writing in the same wrong number. Then he picked two "hot" problems from the bottom of the page. I said, fine. I started Chumash with 8 yo. He came in, telling me that he needs help. I said, I cannot help right now, do your best. He sulked. He said they are trying to trick him. I suggested he use base ten blocks again. He immediately saw the answer, he had to go into the next hundred.  I just so wish he would at least try instead of giving up on the spot.

In Chmuash, we started the next perek. I asked 8 yo to read the first 4 pesukim and tell me what he thinks they are about. He read them fluently and said they are about the birth of Yitzhak. He also decided to write down every single word he does not know, so I was happy to see such diligence. It will come in handy for review. I thought he would ask lots of questions, but he did not. I asked him which moed is the Torah talking about. Eventually, he figured out that it has to do with 3 guests and that prophesy. He did not remember Vatahar, so I looked back to the daughters of Lot. He remembered from there, but still chose to write it down. I also thought he would ask about repetitive language of this son being born to Avraham from Sarah, but he did not. He also did not know what Vaimol was, so I showed him at the end of Lech Lecha. Then he asked how to spell "circumcised" and I told him, explaining what the root was.

Then 6yo did Lama with drama. 8 yo did spelling and got all the words right. 6 yo wanted to go outside to play. 8 yo wanted to draw dinosaurs ( thanks, Shaina Silverman, it's that birthday book coming in handy). 2 yo wanted to be held. I wanted a few minutes of quiet.

My quiet will come when all the kids are in bed.

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