Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A reminder to myself that there are good days

Yesterday was irrevocably rotten, so rotten that I did not even had energy to post about it.

Today my husband took the three older kids to shul for shacharit and then to Publix for bagels and to Starbucks for hot chocolate. It's a new thing: when he makes it to shacharit, he brings 9 yo, but now the others like to tag along. Once in a while he gets then this breakfast out. Meanwhile, my adorable little baby decided to make up for the absence of siblings by requiring as much attention as three kids. Somehow I got myself and him through breakfast. He was so cranky that I tucked him in for a nap before the older ones got back.

They unloaded the dishwasher, and then I sat the boys down and told them that we will do four school items today: two before co-op classes and two after. I asked to do Chumash first, since the baby was sleeping and it was quiet. 7 yo went first: he is almost done with Lech Lecha. We are finishing up with Bright Beginnings, but he is getting more comfortable with the vocabulary and I can even cover up English and he tries to translate on his own. The exercises are a piece of cake. His reading has also improved. He zoomed through it, did the exercises and listened to baal koreh. 9 yo came next, with a bit of resistance. We are finishing up Schem and Dina and we are up to the pasuk where Shimon and Levi plunder the city. After he read and translated, he asked me whether it was right for them to kill everybody. I asked him what he would have done and he said, just kill Schem and Hamor. I asked him to think of some advantages and disadvantages of this plan. Ultimately, he said that they were not right, and because of this they did not receive a bracha from Yakov.

Then we did megilla. 7 yo threw a small tantrum that he is not doing megillah; it is too hard. I let him be. 9 yo was finishing third perek. Conveniently, the word for plunder and children reappeared here in the same form as in his Chumash, so he was able to translate that part. By now I suspect that he has the story memorized in English, so he was fill in the unfamiliar words based on what they should mean. It is also possible that doing megilla third time around is easy (this kid also has amazing memory).

The baby woke up and we rushed to the co-op. This was the second week of classes. 3 yo is taking Beasts and Botany class, where she plants and draws. Her second class is art exploration; more drawing and craft projects. 7 yo is taking Amazing Space and Battles and Weapons, taught by yours truly. 9 yo is taking Spark talks ( similar to TED talks, a public speaking class) and Battles and Weapons. I help out in the toddler room the first hour and teach the second. It is a crazy schedule, it is hectic, and the class that I am teaching is not something I am naturally interested in. However, by now I read so much about all different military equipment and strategies, that I am semi-enthusiastic.

Last week we learned about hoplites of Alexander the Great and talked a bit about the Battle of Gaugamela. This week we reviewed the hoplite armor and made a full-sized suit. There are 5 kids in a class, so everyone got to participate. We traced a hula hoop on cardboard for a shield and then decorated it. I got a long skinny PVC pipe and we attached a metal cone to make it into a spear. The kids designed body armor by themselves and figured out how to tape it together so it would hold. Finally, we made the helmet: I had a plastic hard hat, to which we attached cheek flaps and a face shape, with cut-outs for eyes. Some kids worked on cutting pipe cleaners and making them into a crest. All in all, we got a nice set of hoplite armor. The kids took turns trying it on.

By this point, the baby had more that enough of the co-op, so we left for home. The baby fell asleep in the ar and transferred to his crib, thank G-d. I was able to have a quiet lunch with the kids and then we moved on with out school work. It was not all smooth: 7 yo still resisted doing megilla, but ended up doing it just fine. He read the fourth perek in English and then we sat together and he read fill-in-the-blank Hebrew page. 9 yo had to redo some of his grammar and math. I am using a small paperback for grammar, and I am not very impressed with it, but it is assuaging "mommy guilt" for not teaching my child formal English instruction. In math we are doing geometry, specifically triangles. He had to draw a few, with specified angles, and he kept trying to draw them without a ruler. I had to bring him back to fix his work.

7 yo did a review in math. He finished the first unit of 3rd grade Math Mammoth. He has no difficulty with it whatsoever. Funny kid: second grade Math Mammoth was too much, but now third grade is no problem.

Then we went to taekwondo. My in-laws came in and watched the two youngers while I took the boys. I went to the farmer's market while the boys were exercising. When we got home, I finished putting the dinner together. It was a hit: crock pot salami in tomato sauce, fried polenta slices, and broccoli slaw. We washed the younger ones and I put the baby to sleep. My husband tucked in the older kids. Now they have "Moishy story": he is telling them Yetsiat Mitzrayim in a funny way ( Moishy could not say: Moishy sells sheep by the seashore because of a lisp; Moishy's staff is called stickosaurus; Paro is in DeNial). All of a sudden, after years of kids always clamoring for mommy, it is daddy and his stories that they want.


I have been hard on myself lately: I am not doing any Jewish learning, I keep missing class opportunities, I dropp my Nach Yomi. The other day I realized: I am learning a lot. I am doing the entire Breshit with Rashi with 9 yo (I have to read all the Rashi to select the ones that I find good for explaining p'shat difficulties), I am reviewing Lech Lecha, I am doing Megillah and Mishna Pesachim. I do not have control over what I am learning, but I am learning along with my kids.

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