Friday, November 5, 2010

The Week in Review

It didn't start out as such a great week - I got a bad (but short B"H) stomach bug - but it really is winding up very nicely. Sunday Amirah (with friend and brother in tow) got to go miniature golfing to celebrate finishing The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading. They had a great time. I stayed home and cleaned house and got one half of the house very, very clean. It felt great. Doesn't look very, very clean any more, but it was nice for a little while!

Monday I came down with the bug. Dean came home at lunchtime and took over and I mostly just slept. The day disappeared in a fog, but so it goes sometimes! The kids were great and kept themselves busy helping me in the morning, drawing, watching a David Attenborough documentary, reading, listening to music. Tuesday I was very tired still, but we managed about a 2/3 learning day. The three older kids got new Hebrew books in the mail (the wonderful Sha'ah shel menuchah series), so they each started in their respective books with great gusto. New books are always a wonderful thing. On Wednesday it felt so marvelous to feel good, that I floated through the day with a grin pasted on my face.

I also started being able to streamline things a bit better this week. Last year, it was pretty easy. Amirah's studies really took precedent, being in first grade, and learning for Eli was done as we got to it (most days, but I didn't worry about it if we missed a day or two or three), and Raizel was just learning by osmosis (which really had her learning A LOT!).

This year, Eli is intensely into the learning time (as in his choice!), and Raizel is intensely into the attention, so we have three rather intense learners. Makes it more challenging! Fortunately, Amirah is able to do a little bit of her studies independently now, so after davening/parsha stories/songs I send Amirah to her desk in her bedroom with her spelling and cursive writing books. She finishes those while I work with Raizel and Eli on Hebrew and writing. They can each do their writing books fairly independently, so Eli does his writing while Raizel does her Hebrew then we switch. They're both happy to color pictures in their Hebrew books if they have to wait a minute or two for me to get to them. That's worked pretty well. Then Amirah comes in for her kodesh studies and the three littles go play until lunch.

After lunch, we alternate doing history and science. If we're running ahead of schedule, we'll read a chapter or two from our readaloud book (otherwise that's after dinner). We just finished a Nancy Drew mystery and just started Mary Poppins. Then Eli and Raizel take math turns while Amirah plays with Avi, followed by Amirah coming in for writing (composition), grammar, and math. I've managed to shave an hour off of our day this way, which has been great. For a while we weren't finishing until 4:30 or 5:00 (of course, we don't start until 10:00!). Now we pretty much do 10:00-3:30 with a one-hour break for lunch and we're done. At least, I am. After dinner, the kids beg to do more learning. Eli especially just can't get enough. Very enthusiastic around here! Except when it comes to Amirah and adding three-digit numbers to three-digit numbers. She can fly through it if she wants to, she just doesn't quite understand why she ought to! :) That and reading the same pasuk/verse in chumash AGAIN. :) Oh, well. Otherwise, high enthusiasm quotient.

Oh! One other thing I did was to get a used Flashmaster. It's a non-obnoxious electronic flashcard. I rarely, rarely buy things with batteries but this is great for drilling flashcards which Amirah really needs to do to burst through the next steps in math. It can keep track of the most-missed problems and drill you extra on those. It gives timed and untimed tests. I haven't figured it all yet, but I think it will be useful. Another good week here.

Good shabbos, all!

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