Saturday, July 29, 2017

New Skills - R2BC

The Reasons 2B Cheerful linky over at Mummy from the Heart (for the month of July), comes out on a Thursday. Posts come in slowly over the weekend and it's not unusual to see a new R2BC post on a Sunday or even a Monday. But this week I had some time so I started writing mine on Thursday. Only it came out as a bit of a moan about the holiday slipping away rather than R2BC. I posted it anyway but didn't link up.

Looking back over it now, I think the underlying problem was the heat. We're fine indoors because we have fans and it's shaded of course. But the heat outside means that though we have free time, we are essentially trapped inside for the best hours of the day. And we don't have big houses here -  most of us have modest apartments. It's frustrating.

Thanks to Candi who said it's ok to have a moan and then find some R2BC. She's right of course. No one's life is perfect so it's maybe more realistic to say so and then be cheerful about other things despite the annoying stuff.

Here are my R2BC for this week.

Game Strategy

DD has been playing Mancala by herself a lot. I can't always be available to play with her and as there are no siblings, she plays both players - herself against herself. By doing this she has explored all the possibilities and has even come up with an opening move that can't be beaten. This makes me think that one of our rules needs modifying though. Mancala is an ancient game traditionally played in Africa with seeds and holes in the ground. It can't be possible that one opening  move always wins the game or there'd be no game. We absolutely need to fine tune our game.

DD knows all the moves so well that whenever I go to pick up some stones she immediately tells me the outcome of that move and whether it's worth doing. I feel we ought to get a chess set as she seems to be good at game strategy. But I hate chess - I find it boring. On the other hand, it's almost a life skill - like riding a bike, you need to at least know how to play chess.

I used to know three different games you can play on the Shesh Besh (Backgammon) board. I think I remember two of them - I should try to refresh my memory or Google it.

Individual Salmon

I discovered individually packed portions of frozen Salmon. DD is a sworn vegetarian for about 18 months now but she loves salmon and finds it hard to resist. So I make her have salmon once a week just to be sure she getting some good quality protein. (She does eat eggs, cheese, chickpeas, avocado and potatoes but I feel safer if she eats the salmon aswell.)

I think they always did have individual portions of salmon, and of course you can buy it fresh and have them chop it into portions for you. Someone once told me that if you buy a whole frozen salmon in a supermarket with a fresh fish counter, they will chop it into portions for you while it's still frozen. Despite all this, I always bought packets of three or four slices. Great for when we have guests but unnecessary for just the two of us.

Portion size is a big issue in recent years in a climate of mass production and easy access to food. When I cook three portions of fish I have a whole slice to myself and DD eats about a half slice. Then I eat the leftovers the next day and DD might possibly have another bite if I make her. But we actually don't need that much. Half a slice of salmon each is plenty when served with greens and rice or potatoes. It saves money and its healthier to have smaller portions. Win-win.

A Good Disher

DD is in to washing the dishes. I don't mind washing dishes myself but when you don't have a dish washer [machine] it seems that five minutes after I've cleared the sink it's full of more washing up to do. So it's great that I have back up and don't have to deal with every sink full of dishes myself.

As DD told me, "I'm actually a good disher."

And she sings to herself while she washes.

Understanding the Questions

I mentioned before that DD is doing two pages a day of a maths workbook and reading a book or chapter of a book in English. Her reading has improved a lot recently. Regarding the maths, it's not so difficult as it's mostly going over what they learned in school this year but still important that she practices it and doesn't forget anything.

The thing I'm most pleased about is that she can read and understand the questions. This is the big jump forward for us this Summer. We use English workbooks and even as recently as the Pesach holidays in April, I had to read the questions to her. Now she just takes the book and gets on with it. It has made her feel independent and more willing to do it. Interestingly, it has also boosted her confidence in doing the maths. Whereas before I was only reading the questions to her but not helping with the actual maths, DD saw this as needing help with maths.

When I did my dissertation on reading skills, I remember learning that fluent reading is essential for success in every subject, including maths and sciences. It's obvious of course, that you have to be able to read the material, but it is fascinating to see it actually happen and proven.


  1. Yep, I'm with Candi, sometimes you have to get the moans out to make way for the cheeriness to return. I'm loving the idea of that Mancala game and I'm going to see about getting one for our family. Mich x

    1. It's a good game and suitable for all ages. It's a bit of a classic, or it will be, like Othello (Reverso), Rummikub, and Backgammon.

  2. Maybe try Go instead/in addition to chess?

    1. I just watched a video on how to play. It looks a bit like Othello but the rules got a bit complicated. What I'd really like to do is learn Mah Jong again. I knew how to play it once when I was about 12 but I've forgotten.

  3. I melt in the heat and tempers fray! Glad your daughter is coming on with her learning and her playing, we go through board game phases here...

    1. I admit there has also been a fair bit of fraying here too. :~p