Thursday, August 22, 2013

pre-Rosh haShana party

lining the tins for the muffins
By the time I got up this morning, 9 yo greeted me being fully dressed, davened and breakfasted. He even served his sister breakfast. Moreover, he completed his math and script, and left them for me to check. This was all before 7 am, so I was barely keeping my eyes open. When a day starts like this, he is in a good mood, I am pleasantly surprised, and it will be good.

He very agreeably did chumash and even asked Rashi's question on how come the ark did not get stuck on the mountains if it was 30 amos high, and the waters were only 15 amos deep. I just like when he engages with the text like this, in a meaningful way. He was also all revved up ready for his mishna lesson, which went well.

The other kids were not too bad, either. 7 yo got his breakfast, davened and did HWT and math early in the morning. He has addition/subtraction review. For the first time, he looked at the page, saw an overwhelming problem, and listened to my suggestion to skip it and do easy ones first. When he came back to it, it was easy. Then he decided to check which problem had the largest number as its answer. I used to think these were distracting and pointless exercises, but now I know that's the way he relates to math. I read somewhere about other kids doing similar things: wondering why they are adding apples and bananas, asking where the people in the problem are walking, etc. For him, it is about searching some kind of info that is not obvious to me.

chopping walnuts
While 9 yo was doing mishna, we did chumash with 7 yo. He started on a new perek, which he declared to be easy. He loves memorizing the pesukim with trop, and he knows his translations. With him, it is about building confidence, so I am not looking for a lot of in-depth work, just desire to continue learning chumash and feeling that it is accessible to him, something that he is capable of doing.

For 3 yo, I sliced an apple horizontally across and she made apple stamps. We talked about an apple before I sliced it; I asked her what shape it is, which color, whether it is smooth or rough, hard or soft. I told her about the stem and how it grew from an apple tree. She stamped away for a bit.

Then it was 11:30 and we were finished with the planned part of the day (until taekwondo). The anxious side of me felt the need to assign something else, come up with a plan, DO SOMETHING. I suggested going out after lunch and was met with resistance.I wanted to get out of the house, walk outside, go to the park, the museum, somewhere. The kids (except for 3 yo) were not so keen on this. Finally it was after lunch, (which 9 yo skipped since he played computer games and repeatedly ignored calls for food), I said that if they do not want to do anything, I can go to IKEA. Next thing I knew, we were in the middle of planning a "dip your apple in the honey" party. It was to take place this afternoon, in an hour, and would I make some phone calls to invite some friends? The planner in me was blown to shambles. Of course, nobody will come, and who plans a party just like that? The homeschool parent wanted to see how far they will go with this. They came up with apple toss: throw an apple into a hole in the board, draw a picture, have a dipped apple slice. I suggested making a Shana Tova card, blowing a shofar and baking a honey cake. 9 yo added watching Rosh HaShana videos.

honey dipping

Nobody came, but the kids were adamant about the party being today. We made chocolate honey muffins. The boys pulled out the ingredients. 9 yo stirred chocolate and margarine while they melted. 7 yo cracked the eggs. Then we watched the videos: Fountainheads, Maccabeats and Aish's Anthem. Everyone had a go at the shofar. I found a new instructional video and 9 yo actually managed to blow! Last year, he could not do it, so he kept at it. 7 yo decided to make an apple out of Legos. Then everyone came to have apples with honey and muffins.

Then there was taekwondo. When I dropped the boys off, 3 yo said that we should go to the park to meet some friends. The funny part it, one of my homeschooling friends posted just this week how her son declared that they should go walking to make friends, and they did. I guess those homeschool kids know when they are ready to socialize.

All in all, I think how it is easy to measure learning just in terms of the academics we did this morning as opposed to the life skill learning the kids did this afternoon. How many people would plan and pull off a party just because they feel like it today?

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