Today we had a bee-keeping field trip with the homeschoolers. I wanted to take my kids to one for a long time, since Rosh HaShana, and when one turned up so close to home, I jumped on it. Serendipitously, 7 yo asked me to read Magic School Bus Visits the Hive just last week, so we brushed up on our bee facts. We also looked at some books about bees earlier in the year.
Today was raining on and off. Originally the trip was supposed to be for the boys, while 3 yo, baby and I would just hang out, but they seemed happy to let her participate, and I saw that she was following everyone nicely. The rainy weather called for more time indoors, but the kids did get to play some bee games outside and watch the actual hives and bees in action. However, what really held the kids attention was not the expected learning opportunity. There was a chicken outside the coop. 3 yo could not get enough of it. She patted it, she followed it, she ran away from it, she watched it. I think for her the trip was primarily about this free-ranging chicken.
The boys went exploring in the woods behind the garden after the workshop. They found a creek, and waded in it. I haven't seen it, but, judging by how thoroughly wet they were when they came back, it must have been a significantly tempting creek. After they emptied water from their rain boots and settled in the car, all they were talking about was the creek: the pipes they saw, how deep it was, how one boy rescued a football, whether animal life was spotted. For them, the slight danger of the deep creek was more impressive than any possible danger of bee interaction.
This afternoon, I started Chumash with 7 yo. Since 9 yo finished his Powerpoint on the first perek of B'reishit, it was time to discuss siyum ideas. He asked to go to Six Flags. I said that this will happen only if he finishes the whole parsha ( I am not holding my breath). He lit up. I said that he might get to go on his own, just with daddy. 7 yo wanted to go too. I said that if he learns a nice amount of Torah, we can have a siyum, too. He said that he just wants Powerpoint. 9 yo told him that you need to have info for it. 7 yo looked hesitant. I said that whenever he is ready, we can start on Chumash slowly, and I will help him. He was receptive. I pulled out Bright Beginnings workbook that I got at the conference. I summarized what happened till Lech Lecha. We did the first two pages. First he read the pasuk. I think he was greatly encouraged that the translation was right there. I pointed out that shorashim on the side. Then he colored in the matching shorashim on the opposite page. He hesitated when he saw that there were more choices on one side than the other, and even stopped. I told him that they are trying to trick him, and one will not have a match. Then he continued. I asked him to read the pasuk again, and he did. I high-fived him and congratulated on his first pasuk from the Torah.
He opened to the next page, and glanced at the next pasuk. I was not planning on pushing him further. I could not believe how easy it was. I think I expected him to be not ready, and not willing to try, but, for some reason, today he felt encouraged.
Of course, we will not rest on our laurels, and the goal is to do a bit of Chumash every day.