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Showing posts from January, 2011

Local (Home)school Resource… and Curriculum Mulling

I know most of my readers aren’t local, but here’s a plug for a lovely bookstore where I spent a leisurely hour this afternoon:  The Batner Bookstore . I had to buy some texts for Elisheva’s school there last year, so discovered this terrific store – I’ve been back a few times since.  I believe it’s Jewish-owned, but they carry lots of the curriculum-related material from many of the private schools, including Christian ones. They have a lot of brand-new 50% and cheap secondhand books and texts, so you can usually find something worthwhile for a great price.  The shop is tiny and the location, in a nondescript plaza near Yonge and Steeles, slightly obscure – I almost drive past it every single time.   Got some history stuff for Story of the World next year, including Famous Men of Greece and Famous Men of the Middle Ages (annoying titles to read until you consider that there were few opportunities for women to become famous). A few more books, including our NEXT Explode the Co

Homeschool Diary: 26 Shevat, 5771

PLEASE JOIN US! If you teach your kids at home and blog about it, just add a comment below! Other “weekly challenges” I play: Six Word Saturday Menu Plan Monday   WEEKLY PARSHA:  תְּרוּמָה / Teruma SCIENCE THEME:  Five Senses – SMELL! OTHER HIGHLIGHTS:  Tuesday - Toronto Symphony Orchestra Primary concert Friday – new edition of the monthly Jewish Homeschooling Blog Carnival – get your entries in!!! Still experimenting with various formats for the weekly schedule… this week, since I’m loving Google Calendar for meal planning and family scheduling, I thought I’d give it a try for schooling.  Except it turns out there is really no good way to export entries to any other form… drat!  Anyhow, it’s very bare-bones, but here it goes! Mon Jan 31             MATH            READING ALOUD: BOB / D&J / Winter Fun            HEBREW READING: קריאה ועוד            HWT / ETC            Tue Feb 1             PARSHA            READING ALOUD: BOB / D&J /

תְּרוּמָה / Teruma Parsha Overview: Mishkan Instructions

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a “Q&A” format adaptable for kids of any age. Answers in brackets are traditional responses, from parsha text and midrash. Be open to anything your child might have to say! Please see the Vayeishev overview for how we use these narratives  in our homeschool.  There are also copywork sheets to go with the weekly parsha… enjoy! In the last two weeks, we’ve learned a LOT of rules! On Har Sinai, ה׳ gave us rules… (for living with ה׳ ) Last week, in parshas Mishpatim, ה׳ gave us rules… (for living with other people!) Why did ה׳ give us so many rules?   He wanted us to be a… ( מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ /priests and holy people!) What does HOLY mean?   (Special to ה׳ !)   ה׳ told מֹשֶׁה that if we built a מִשְׁכַּן , He would come live with us there! What did משה need to build the משכן ?   (gold, silver, copper, wool, fabric, jewels and oil) ה׳ told משה to ask בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל … (to bring presents to build

Field Trip Planning

As I mentioned, I’ve put together a few field trips this year, and one I’m working on right now is a fire station visit – kind of cool for the younger crowd.  Anyway, because it’s tough juggling 18 families’ preferences about what day and time work best, I have been using spreadsheets to figure the whole thing out. This spreadsheet lists each family’s preferences in terms of weekday and morning/afternoon.  I haven’t heard back from most parents so far, but the spreadsheet updates itself automatically as I enter each parent’s data.  So far, Thursday morning is winning: It only says “yay” if there are more yeses than no’s AND only if it’s a time that my kids can make it.  I’m putting the whole thing together… why shouldn’t the trip happen at a time that’s convenient for us???  For Thursday morning, there are 4 “ok”’s , 1 “NO” and 1 “prefer” – ie it’s one family’s BEST time. Anyway, just thought somebody would be interested in the logistical and technical juggling behind a

Menu Plan Monday #33: 26 Shevat, 5771

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Other “weekly challenges”: Six Word Saturday Homeschool Diary   We’re a Jewish family of 6 (2 parents, 4 kids) and all our meals are kosher.  Newcomers, read my MPM intro here which tells you all about how we eat, or just visit my big ol’ list of Everything We Eat .  We eat mostly non-meat, and I try to include at least one vegan meal every single week – I call it Vegan Vursday ! Sunday (tonight):  Mommy’s Aloo gobi (potato/tomato/cauliflower curry, spinach cheese/tofu/chickpea curry, along with my homemade naan and Carrot/Cashew soup, mommy-made ambrosia salad (weird?  But tasty!  Though she’ll probably never make it again) Monday (Ted off):   Hamburgers & hot dogs w/baked beans & oven (sweepo?) fries Tuesday (busy TSO trip day):  Corn fritters w/soup Wednesday:  Fettucine Alfredo (YM’s request) Thursday (Vegan Vursday!):  Beanie Burgers w/Mango Poppy dressing on lettuce salad (Elisheva’s request

More Homeschool Splurge Fun

Yet another big-time Rainbow splurge.  I love these folks!  They ship quickly, for reasonable rates, and because they mark the boxes as educational and/or books, not one of their shipments has been stopped at the border or COD’d for customs charges. So… this was definitely a splurge! You might say at least I’m buying BOOKS for my KIDS… not crack cocaine.  But, as everybody knows, books – used correctly – are far more dangerous than anything else anyone has ever come up with.  (Up with which anyone else has come?) Here’s part 2 of my Aliyah Education Plan , by the way:  though it may sound cruel and diabolical, I’ll taking advantage of the fact that we have so few vacations to “do school” year-round.  We’ll take off for Pesach and Sukkos and maybe lay low in late December and the hottest bits of summertime, when nobody feels like learning, but as it is, I anticipate formally starting Grade 1 in June or July and finishing a few months before the “school year” officially ends. 

Dance, Dance, Revolution

On Thursday,  I shlepped the kids to a free noontime dance performance at the Four Seasons Centre.  Noon meaning it STARTED at noon; we got there at 10:30 – crazy-early for us – and waited and waited. The performance, when it started, was a little… well, on the QUIET side for the kids.  It was a single dancer, Peggy Baker, who was older than we all expected, performing various self-composed pieces that highlighted the them of “The Power of Gesture.”  Though one piece was the type of “dancing” we expected – athletic flitting around on a stage – most were small, modern, intimate pieces, set to music by contemporary composers, that showcased a lot of hand and arm movements.  Not exactly kid stuff.  Not exactly “light.” So I didn’t regret taking them, exactly, but we got home very late and I was kind of ruing all the waiting and shlepping, especially because we had to turn around and go out again right away to the homeschool drop-in. Why bother? But then… sometime after supper

Plans for Grade 3 and beyond…

A friend asked a couple of months ago, now that I’m so invested in homeschooling – emotionally, philosophically, and yes, even monetarily (just bought more Grade 1 stuff from Rainbow this evening), how I’m going to turn my back on it all and send the kids to school once we make aliyah. I definitely want them to go to school.  For one thing, it’s a bargain compared to Jewish education here.  The other things, the REAL things are:  it’s the best way to learn the language, and it’s the best way to make new friends quickly.  I don’t want to deprive either kid of those things. (Big kids?  They won’t be kids anymore, though, of course, at 19 and 17, they will still have a home with us.  I hope, in addition to the “year in Israel” that they’re planning, that they will both take advantage of whatever ulpan is available to their age group and demographic.  But back to the little kids – who will still be little.) So here’s my thought:  Israeli school days are surprisingly short by North

Six Word Saturday: 25 Shevat, 5771

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out! Other “weekly challenges” I participate in: Homeschool Diary Menu Plan Monday You get what you pay for. The lesson about Dollarama things:  Even when they LOOK just like their regular-store equivalents; even when they ACT just like their regular-store equivalents (for a while, maybe)… they are still Dollarama things and chances are, you’ll end up paying for them again and again and again.

Cranky Complaints-Lady Wants to Play!

Dear Whatever Morons Run Downsview Park (I didn’t write that!):   The City of Toronto usually holds its Winterfest downtown.  This year, because that Winterfest isn't taking place (due to renovations at Nathan Phillips Square?), I was looking forward to the Winterfest at Downsview Park … until I realized it's only being held on a Saturday. Located at the heart of Toronto's Jewish community, Downsview Park really ought to consider local participants when planning "public" events such as this one.  Many Jewish families would probably love to attend this event, but because of the Jewish Sabbath, which lasts until sundown on Saturday, that won't be possible. It is easy enough to either hold a two-day event, or to hold an event only on Sunday, in order that everyone from the surrounding community may participate. As it is, I believe you have already sent a very clear message to your Jewish neighbours. Happy Winterfest,

Cuteness – and Shabbos Food

GZ, over and over and over:  “Abba, you’re being loshon Torah!” I have no idea what it means, but it sure is cute… Back from tutoring plus dentist and moping at the computer – sitting staring at a bowl of Crispix, wondering how to eat it with my floppy mouth - while Ted makes Shabbos.  Here’s what he has planned: Supper Challah (I am making this) soup w/kneidlach Onion chicken Squash kugel spring rolls – with special lumpia wrappers Potato Something Banana cake – I’m making this Lunch Challah Cholent Slicey meats Pasta salad – just plain ol’ mayo, pasta, frozen peas Broccoli salad Desserts So that’s that… wish me luck with this cereal!

Parsha Poem: מִּשְׁפָּטִים / Mishpatim

שְׁמוֹת / shemos / shemot / Exodus 21:1-24:18 Printable PDF versions here:  Ashkenaz / Sefard . Parsha narrative overview here . Copywork sheet and parsha activities available here . Partly inspired by a dvar Torah from Jewish Deaf Multimedia – watch it here in ASL! Three kinds of mitzvos come straight from Hashem Three kinds of mitzvos – so let’s keep all of them! There are Eidos and Chukim and Mishpatim; Such confusing words; let’s find out what they mean!   Eidos help remember special times in our past, Chukim we could never dream up, and then at last, Mishpatim , the mitzvos to be good and excel, Mitzvos, we shall see, that help us all live very well.