Today was our first day of homeschool. After all the preparation I did, it felt very anticlimactic. N and R did their work pretty enthusiastically (although R was having trouble focusing), E did a very little bit, and K worked hard on her math but balked at the writing assignment.
“It’s easy!” I said for the millionth time. “You’re just hunting for words. Any words. Just find words in a bunch of different places and write them in the tiny notebook I gave you. Take words from this pile of catalogues. Borrow words from the spines of the books in our library. Snatch them from the lyrics of songs. I don’t care what the words are and I don’t care where you find them. Just do it.”
K went into anger mode: “It’s so pointless! Why are we even DOING this? It doesn’t make ANY SENSE!” And on she ranted. I walked away. I still don’t know whether she actually did the assignment or not.
My short Pirkei Avot lesson went pretty well, with a very animated discussion of what it means to “Make a fence around the Torah” and a demonstration of the unbroken chain of transmission of the Torah. The latter featured the six of us and a chocolate bar. It was my take on the Jewish custom of putting sweets in a child’s first school books so that they associate learning Torah with sweetness. Judging from my kids’ reactions, Pirkei Avot will be a popular lesson in future weeks as long as I always bring treats.
The copywork for it, though, was only done by R, and even then only partly. She insisted that she didn’t know how to write Hebrew letters; they “might have tried” to teach her at school but she never learned. I don’t see how that’s possible—I’ve seen her Hebrew homework over the years—although maybe she had a lot of help with her written work at school. However it happened, I’m a bit miffed. Six years in Hebrew Day Schools, the last three in a school with a “rigorous” Hebrew program, and my kid can’t write Hebrew in grade four? I want my tuition money back.
One of today’s highlights for me was biking with the kids to their dentist appointments. The fresh air and exercise in the middle of the day was good for all of us. When I went to retrieve N from his, E insisted on riding her bike alongside me. It’s only about a kilometre of mostly-flat road. Still, she biked hard and was exhausted at the end.
(Here I must interject to say how excited I am that at least two of my children can travel to and from their own dentist appointments independently. I accompanied them each one way because they wanted me to.)
All this is to say that really, today went about as well as I expected, if not as well as I’d hoped. It wasn’t a “normal” day for us, though, with dentist appointments (for two of the kids) in the morning and an optometrist appointment in the afternoon (speaking of which, N needs glasses.)
Tonight we’re having poetry teatime, for which E is going to help me make tea biscuits. And then I hope to go to bed nice and early so I can wake up tomorrow morning and do it again.