Sunday, August 4, 2013

how we do chumash: details

This is how we are doing chumash now:

With 9 yo we are finishing up B'reishit. We have done previously Lech Lecha, Vaeira, Chaii Sarah and Toldot. We sit down on the couch with Chumash Menukad which has Rashi in Rashi's script but also all the nekudot. He chooses whether to review first or to do new pesukim. He reads a pasuk, pausing appropriately, and then translates it. If there are unknown words, I decide whether to tell him or to send him to the dictionary to look them up. If the word has a shoresh that I think he knows, I will help him tease it out. We have done 3 Lashon HaTorah books (we stopped in the middle of 4th last year), and he is quite good at using prefixes and suffixes appropriately. Once he got the translation, depending on the pasuk I might ask him to summarize it in his own words, or wait for him to ask a question on contents or prod him to some inconsistency. Often he asks Rashi's question on the p'shat, which beautifully lends itself to looking things up in Rashi. Lately, however, he has been dreading doing Rashis and complaining about them a lot, so sometimes I will tell him what Rashi says, sometimes I will point out where Rashi has the answer, sometimes I will push him just to read Rashi and translate it myself, and sometimes he has to do both reading and translating. Unfortunately, he has not been engaging with the text as meaningfully as I would like him to and as I know he could. I hope it is a stage and will pass. He does not complain about doing Chumash daily, so that's a big improvement even from a few weeks ago.

We do not write anything down, unless he shows interest. Right now we're doing genealogy, so he is making a family tree of Adam. He is also making a bar graph of how long every  person lived and at which age they had children.

With 7 yo we are doing Bright Beginnings. Every day we do two facing pages which works out to a new pasuk every other day. On the days when we do a new pasuk, he reads word by word the Hebrew side, then the English. I point out shorashim, and he often will tell me if it occurs more than once in a pasuk. Then he does the opposite page, matching shorashim to translations. Then I ask him the meaning of words from a pasuk, out of order, with open book. Then I read the pasuk to him a few times, first with word-for-word translation and then just in Hebrew. Finally, if he's ready, I will cover up the translation and he will read the pasuk in Hebrew and translate. After this, we go online and listen to a baal koreh read from beginning of Lech Lecha while he follows in the workbook, pasuk by pasuk. I manually pause after every pasuk, so he can turn the page and find the right spot.

If it is review day, I ask him to do the matching pages first, then I check them (they are probably too easy, since he's always getting everything right!) and then I ask him to look over the pasuk by himself. Depending on how long the pasuk is and how hard are the words, sometimes he can do it on his own, and sometimes he needs help.

Finally, after we did a chunk of pesukim, I opened up chumash that 9 yo uses and asked him to read from there. He was very nervous, but could do it.

I have different goals for the boys. With 9 yo it is to achieve mastery, with 7 yo it is to achieve confidence. 

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