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Showing posts from July, 2011

Free Bookmarks!

Well, okay, you COULD just cut up an old cereal box and have yourself a nice set of free bookmarks – well, for free!  But wouldn’t you rather your children were LEARNING from and enjoying their bookmarks? This is the first set of a series of very basic “popular sayings” available for free download (I believe you have to register) from HomeschoolBits. This first set contains such sayings as “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and “Two heads are better than one.” My kids LOVE these expressions!  We have been using these bookmarks since the beginning of last school year, and just stick them into every chapter book we have on the go.  I didn’t have cardstock, so I initially printed them on regular paper and glued them to cereal boxes.  You could also glue together two layers of cardstock for a really sturdy bookmark… or just cut them out as-is for bookmarks that may not last the ages, but are super-quick and easy.

Elemental Science: Gearing Up, Cutting Up

Before I get started…if you’re looking for something simple for science, I just discovered this free PDF resource from the International Council of Associations for Science Education (ICASE) which is packed with 60 pages of simple, fun-looking experiments demonstrating a wide variety of principles. So over Shabbos (lots of time to myself), I found myself longing for the simplicity of Living Learning Science, our previous literature-based science “curriculum.”  I don’t think anybody else uses it, and even I didn’t do everything it suggested, but it was nice as a reading guide, and very easy to follow and stick with.  (There ARE other Living Learning Books :  Earth Science & Astronomy and Chemistry.  But they’re for slightly older kids, and I think a bit out of our grasp right now.) I realized one thing I liked very much last year was having everything in one binder.  Elemental Science gives you everything in about four sections of two different books:  lesson plans, narratio

Gumby Hat!!!

When you can’t find his kippah before lunchtime and can’t get up off your lazy… oh, sorry… broken foot to go get a REAL one.

Supreme Chillul Hashem, or “Knowing White from Wong”

Oy, vey!  You wouldn’t believe the email I got yesterday from a person purporting to be a rabbi… and not just any rabbi:  a rabbi in a major Jewish community who claims to be responsible for conversions, divorces, and other important spiritual matters there.  A rabbi who is apparently entirely uneducated and wishes to stay that way – while hopefully avoiding contact with anyone of any other race or religious persuasion. If you only have a couple of minutes, skip to the MAROON-HIGHLIGHTED sections of the final email down below.  Read them knowing they were sent from this rabbi’s email address.  I think you’ll be as shocked as I was. For those who are curious and have a few minutes, here’s the background: A couple of weeks ago, I found this sample conversion test online (I have re-uploaded it to 4shared so you can see it without any identifying information).  I thought it would be handy for the woman I’m studying with , a prospective convert.  (we’ve found a few others, includi

Six-Word Saturday: 29 Tammuz, 5771

Why the weird dates? Click here to find out!  Another reason to LOVE Rainbow Resources ! Like almost everyone in the world of homeschooling, they are very Christian in their focus, which might seem like it doesn’t help us as Jewish homeschoolers… but actually, they often include helpful information in their descriptions to help people decide exactly how religious a particular resource is (like whether or not science materials include a Creation or Evolution perspective) – or, if it’s secular, what kind of moral standards it reflects, which I do appreciate.  Plus, they are nothing but super-helpful if you have questions or problems with your order, and they’re happy to have people review their products (and even offer a prize for the top few rewards each month). But none of that is new.  What’s topping off the love tonight is this: their 1400-page catalog (which they gamely delivered free with my last order), which, on top of the coffee table, is providing just the right amou

Shabbos Food!

Oy, vey… I have been overwhelmed with happiness today as food poured in from neighbours and friends through shul.  Well, okay, when I was lying semi-clad in bed, covered in children with no way to get up, I was not overwhelmed with happiness to hear a strange man tromping around in the kitchen shouting “Hello?  Hello?  It’s Yerachmiel!”  It wasn’t MY Yerachmiel, it was someone from shul dropping off a cake.  I told him I wasn’t coming out and he was fine with that. Since then, there have been about a dozen people in and out with salads, meats, everything.  What an amazing community we live in!  (even though it has meant explaining my injury seventeen times so people don’t think I just FELL off the bike like a moron). Supper: Egg Rolls-        Ted * Challah-        homemade Salmon-         Z Veg Soup-     D Meat-         Mommy! Spare Chicken-    P Lokshin kugel-    H (the rabbi’s wife!) Vegetable kugel-     B Cooked vegetable-     P Salad-         T

Them’s My Kids!

I have no idea why I love these soccer pictures so much…   YM took Naomi to the park because GZ was still sleeping… and ended up volunteering to help the big kids’ team.  He is a natural mentor; kids love him.  And his absolute favourite activity in elementary school was soccer.  Perfect! 

Must… homeschool… kids

Here I am on my crutches, hobbling to and fro with this 30-lb cast on my foot… the Homeschooling Supermama!!!

Parsha Poem: Masei / מַסְעֵי

בְּמִדְבַּר / Bamidbar / Numbers 33:1-36:13: Read it ;  hear it ; colour it . Printable PDF version here .  Bonus:  “ Hearing the Message ”, a one-page poster summarizing the theme of each of the 5 books of the Torah (connects with the poem).  PDF downloads here:  Ashkenaz , Sefard .   No parsha narrative overview this week.  Copywork and parsha activities available at this page – updated weekly. If any one of YOU should kill any one of THEM They might come after you, so listen to Hashem Set up six refuge cities, three and three in all, And if you did not mean it, that’s where you’ll come to call. But accidents do happen, the Torah will admit, If that’s what really came to pass, the law will soon acquit. The Torah says his life should be protected, so he flees, Runs away as fast as you can ask for “justice, please!” The way to the cities was risky – he had to flee so fast, No stopping to ask directions or he’d wind up in a cast; For the fa

The Artist in Me

From the department of “Don’t Ask Your Child to Do Something You Won’t Do” comes my latest escapade:  sketching a copy of work of art. We suddenly, mysteriously became members of the Art Gallery of Ontario a couple of months ago:  my mother handed me an envelope with the Costco membership we impulse-bought at Canada Blooms, a parking ticket, and… “I joined the Art Gallery and your family is included.”  This incidental thing must have been well over $100. I kind of stuck the card in my wallet and forgot about it… but when I noticed yesterday that they lend FREE WHEELCHAIRS, suddenly, it was the deal of the century.  Yes!  I may be broken like the Hummel figurine that I am , but I can ride for free at Ted’s capable hands. Adult admission alone is $20, which partly explains why we hadn’t been in about a decade.  The other reason is that the kids hated it, so we never went back. Today, we left THOSE kids at home (I always extend an invitation, and sometimes, rarely, they accept

Review: Famous Figures of Ancient Times, aka Pharaohs at Play!

Gavriel Zev is having altogether too much fun with these cut-out jointed historical paper dolls!  I bought this book, Famous Figures of Ancient Times , at Rainbow a while ago – couldn’t resist, even though they’re a bit beyond Naomi Rivka’s skill level.  And I still don’t have the right size hole punch and brads (1/8” – mine’s the standard loose-leaf size), so the limbs turn out a bit floppy. Which turns out to be just right for Gavriel Zev’s ideas about how Pharaohs should play with each other.  After he completely ignored about an hour of history reading and activities, he swooped in to claim the first two paper dolls.  The book comes with two of each character – one in black-and-white outline form and one in full-colour, ready-to-cut form.  They’re printed on sturdy paper which is perforated down the side for easy removel.  You do have to cut them out yourself, though, then punch the holes and insert the (right sized) brads to make the joints.  The figures are VERY easy to

Books, on Bookshelves!

When I woke up Sunday morning, my goal – and my planned excitement for the day – was this:  replace the broken, leaning-over, falling-down Ikea bookshelf with a slightly bigger, sturdier Ikea bookshelf purchased second-hand through Craigslist. I arranged for Ted to go on Sunday morning to pick up the shelf and then I pulled all the books off the crumbling old shelf.  There were books in stacks everywhere!   Then, I went out tutoring, and came home with a broken foot, unable to CARRY a book let alone re-shelve our entire children’s collection.  Ted put the books on the shelves, but a goal is a goal, so on Sunday night, I sat down on a folding chair in front of the shelves and tried to introduce a bit more order.  I’m thrilled with the result:     We may not have a school ROOM, but we sure do have school BOOKS.  I’d like to get coloured dots and organize them a bit more – ie one colour for science, another for history, another for atlases and geography, Judaica, etc.  But for

Meet the Masters Project: Mary Cassatt Hats

Like I said , I may not be able to sit through a math lesson yet, and we can’t do our composer stuff because of the Three Weeks , but we’re still slogging enjoyably through our artist studies.  Our current artist, using Meet the Masters, is Mary Cassatt.  To be honest, I’d never heard of her before starting this unit, and neither had my mother.  She is a VERY big deal in the U.S., but I suspect that here, with the liberal arts’ intense Canadiana focus, when it comes to “token woman artists” we learn about Emily Carr , whose life kind of overlapped Cassatt’s, instead.  (and thinking about her made me wonder if I shouldn’t tack on a Group of Seven unit following our pre-made “Meet the Masters” units) Anyway, Cassatt – and hats. We watched the Meet the Masters slideshow and did one “warm-up” exercise (from the unit’s printable PDF) a few weeks ago.  I also got a few library books (and one DVD) to go along with this artist unit: Today – broken printer and all, so I couldn’t e