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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Working through the heat!

Despite the temperatures and humidity today, the show goes on through the summer, mostly, with liberal breaks for camp, cottage, playdates, etc. 

DSC03313Here’s Naomi grinning over her Hebrew book.  That’s because it’s super-super-easy.  I mentioned we were switching from Migdalor 2 to Shalom Ivrit 2… well, we DID, and it was going fine, in my opinion.  But Naomi felt overwhelmed; I have no idea why.  Just as had happened in Migdalor, even though the vocabulary was all familiar, and even though she could read it just fine, she’d end up crying.

So I marched out to the store and bought Shalom Ivrit 1.  It’s basic, but not babyish, with a clean, modern feel to it.  Here’s what she was “working” on today.

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Now, I know and you know (because I’ve told you!) that she’s well beyond this type of vocabulary and grammar stuff.  But she loves it.  And now, every time I pull out Book 1 instead of Book 2, she’s surprised and delighted anew.  I think she thinks I’m bluffing, and that I’ll haul out Book 2 again at any moment.  But I won’t.  I told her today, “I know you can do the material in Book 2.  You  know the stuff in Book 1 is very easy.  Whenever you’re ready, or whenever you get bored, you can ask me and we’ll switch to Book 2.  Until then, we can keep using this one.”

Ultimately, here’s the reason why:

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Ewww… what a weird, gappy smile.  But I’d rather see THAT when I haul out a too-easy book than the tears I get with the ones that make her feel overwhelmed.

Dsc03311Meanwhile, in Song School Latin… this week’s vocabulary words are:  edo (I eat), bibo (I drink – they loved saying it over and over:  “beeee-bo!”), cibus (food), aqua (water), cena (supper).  Both kids continue to really enjoy this program.  The workbook tasks are so simple that I have started splitting them in half:  Naomi does the new work at the start of the chapter, and Gavriel Zev does the “matchy-matchy” questions at the end, most of which are review of previous chapters. 

Sometimes, I have him ask Naomi the words and have her provide the English.  In this case, the review words were ridiculously easy and they were both giggling over the thought that they might not know “meum praenomen est” (my name is) and “salve” (hello, greetings).

And you know what?  As with the Shalom Ivrit book, most of what they’re learning in Song School Latin is way below the level at which I know they COULD be learning.  But I have to ask myself, am I in a hurry?  Why is it important to do Level 2 NOW?  Why should I ramp Naomi Rivka up to a Latin program that will present a serious challenge, but perhaps leave Gavriel Zev in the dust?

Of course, this leads to another question:  if you’re working at a ridiculously easy level anyway, why bother keeping these subjects on the roster at all?  But I think there is a very good reason.

The truth is, some of our subjects are serious, and hard, and we have to pay attention, and sometimes it’s tough going, but we slog on through it.  Chumash, math, handwriting and copywork… those are pretty dreary subjects (though I think we do them in a mostly-lively way, if that makes any sense!), at which Naomi Rivka does perform at or beyond grade level – and doesn’t always enjoy herself. 

So to have a few “freebies” that are easy, and fun – well, it simply isn’t the end of the world, educationally.  Indeed, it may be that these throwaway “extras” are essential to their learning.  One of the keys to a Charlotte Mason home education (which I’m not doing a great job at implementing, in case nobody noticed) is to vary the subjects so you’re not just doing the same thing, over and over – one workbook after another; one copywork sheet after another; one read-aloud after another.

As with so much else, it turns out to be all about balance.  With these “extras,” I feel balanced in a way I don’t think I would without them… and it’s a very nice feeling indeed.

2 comments:

rgcamire said...

Cool idea! Question: we are moving to Denver and I am trying to find a Jewish homeschool group or individual. Know anyone over that way? Thank you!

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

You should definitely get in touch with Shoshana Zohari - that's where she is, I think. There was another Colorado mama (I think) at the Torah Home Ed Conference last month, but I think she's from Boulder.