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Showing posts from May, 2012

Short Parsha Riddles: Nasso / נָשֹׂא

בְּמִדְבַּר / Bamidbar / Numbers 4:21-7:89 Click for printable PDF version . And don’t forget to read the poem and parsha overview for Parshas Nasso.  Plus… copywork and parsha activities – something for every week of the year! [1] Last week in the parsha we learned several ages Of Jews who all counted, through different stages; But though all these numbers might sound kind of shifty Levi’im, we learn, served from thirty to __________! [2] Three families of Levi, born one, two and three But their tasks were not given out naturally; You might think the best job would go to the first, But instead, went to __________, so their luck was reversed. [3] A wife who was not the most modest and pure Was brought before everyone just to make sure She drank water drawn from this vessel of copper – A reminder (how?) of ways far more proper. [4] The Nazir was one who would solemnly vow To live for Hashem no-matter, no-how; And while it lasted, wherever he’d traipse, He’d never eat an

Once upon a time, with cereal…

A few thoughts mulled over a late-night bowl of cereal… One time, maybe about ten years ago, my brother and I were squatting at my parents’ house for the evening – I think my parents were away camping and I was staying there with the little kids who would later become the big kids, mostly because my parents had cable.and a VCR, both things I did not have at the time.  I think we also walked to the shul-that-would-become-our-shul over Shabbos, which I only remember because YM left the water running in the bathroom sink and we returned from shul to find thousands of dollars of water damage – eek. But anyway, Eli and I were sitting around and a commercial came on TV that showed a woman relaxing at the end of her long day with a bowl of Special K.  And it said, “not just for breakfast.”  And he and I looked at each other and pretty much simultaneously said, “people eat cereal for breakfast ???”  For both of us, cereal was always more of a comfort food than a wake-up food, though on some

Trumped-Up-Word Tuesday: Visioning

Who knew…???  “Visioning” is an actual, official word, useable by political officials and laypeople alike. I say this in the wake of a lively local park meeting in which various stakeholders got together to forge a vision statement for the park.  Now, rationally, I can understand the importance of this – a central vision as opposed to willy-nilly projects here and there throughout the park with no consultation or process.  Fer sure. But there is a lesser, reptile part of my brain, deep, deep down inside (I promise I kept it subdued!) that just sat there, growling and snarling, as people passionately discussed the values the park embodies in their lives.  It should be green , for instance, in every possible way.  The park should be safe , and traffic-free .  (It seems to me that if you start letting in cars, it can no longer be defined as a park , but one group apparently felt the need to specify:  “TRAFFIC FREE ZONE.”) Another group, paradoxically, listed both “access to wild natu

Review: We Choose Virtues… and a fun GIVEAWAY!

I raved on here a few months ago when we began using We Choose Virtues , a “middos” (character traits) program developed by a Christian company which can be used in Christian or secular settings.  It’s interesting – I wasn’t exactly shopping around for a program like this, but now that I’ve found it, I’m thrilled and intend to keep cycling through the 12 “Kids of Virtueville” for as long as it takes for the messages to start sinking in with my kids (and – gasp – me.…) In any event, since I wrote that review, I requested and received review copies a few extra components that are very helpful add-ons to the core program.  And at the end of this review, I will let you know what you can do to win some for your very ownself! NOTE:  I did receive free materials in return for a review.  However, the content of the review is solely my own opinion and has not been influenced or dictated in any way. First of all, an overview of the program:  I was immediately struck (not literally!) by the

Nasso / נָשֹׂא Parsha Overview: Very bad, extra good, and… gifts for Hashem’s party???

Welcome to the longest parsha of the Torah!  (Read on to find out why it’s so long!) But first... remember in parshas Tazria and Metzora, when we read about tzara’as (צָרָעַת), a reminder Hashem would send when bnei Yisrael were doing something wrong?  Now, we hear about tzara’as again: Hashem finishes explaining how bnei Yisrael should arrange themselves around the Mishkan, and reminds Moshe that a person with tzara’as can’t come inside until they’re healed. There were other ways people behaved badly. Sometimes, a man might suspect his wife had told another man she would marry him.  Jealousy can ruin a marriage and make many people unhappy, so the husband could bring his wife to the kohein, who asked her to drink a bitter liquid.  If she had behaved badly, she would die [parents: I have deliberately left out the actual means of her death here – too grisly for littles, but by all means include it if your kids are interested and it’s appropriate – just leave out the soda pop/”sotah po

Short Parsha Riddles: Bamidbar / בְּמִדְבַּר

בְּמִדְבַּר / Bamidbar / Numbers 1:1-4:20 Click for printable PDF version . And don’t forget to read last year’s poem and parsha overview .  Plus… copywork and parsha activities – something for every week of the year! Welcome to the Book of Numbers … a special Quiz that’s all about Counting! [1a] Count the soldiers, Hashem asks, Be sure our side has plenty, But do not count the youngest men Whose age is less than __________! [1b] The parsha gives us helpful counts Each shevet’s soldiers, large amounts, But one thing’s still not clear in sight – How old are those too old to fight??? [2] Now while we’re counting, don’t you forget If you don’t know the number yet, You can’t just point and number Jews; So how to count and know who’s whose? [3] Here’s a question to ask at your seudah, The biggest shevet was Shevet Yehudah, But who’s the second-biggest one? You’d guess right if you said… __________! [4] Think we’re done counting?  Just hold up a bit Read through those na

3-day Shavuos Menu

Very streamlined indeed, what with being out for both the lunches of Yom Tov and all.  It’s weird; I was kvetching on here about not being invited out enough, and yet we’ve been invited out for both Shabbos lunches since we got back from Washington, plus one of the lunches of Yom Tov.  Never rains but it pours, I guess. Anyway, here’s the plan, very similar to last year’s , with a few shufflings-around, plus an additional day for Shabbos!   Friday Shabbos Sunday Thursday Lunch   Dairy Sushi (fake crab) Samosas? Lunch – out at Ds Herb parmesan bread Lunch - Mommy Neapolitan cake Dinner Meat Mommy Challah Ch soup Briskety thing Mashpo Pareve Desserts Chocolate Babka Something Jello-y and strawberry-y Dairy Mommy/Judy Herb parmesan bread Jar g fish Soup – leeky tato Lasagna (not pesto & peas) Beets & carrots, roasted Dairy Desserts Espresso Cheesecake (Ted) Gulab Jamun Dairy Barb Herb parmesan bread Jar g fish

Garden-variety capitalism

A friend’s “capitalism-themed” birthday party – complete with a little bank and market – on Sunday inspired Naomi Rivka to set up her own “seed sale” in our driveway yesterday.  She even made a little “teaser” sign for the end of the driveway, to entice customers to venture as far as the front steps to see all the seeds she had on display. The choices were:  “trees 25¢” “dandeylions 5¢” and “grasses 10¢.”  I think a lesson has been learned here about the relative value of these things, and I must say, each seed-type was attractively arrayed in an appropriate vessel.  No idea if the price is per SEED or for some other unit.  She apparently made $1, which I suspect was from Ted and Elisheva dropping quarters into her dish and not taking any seeds.  However, she was disappointed that these impressive first-day sales didn’t continue today.

Nature Study, age 4

“LAEF MINT” = mint leaf… he wrote it all by himself, insisting he did not need help.

On Contentment

Naomi Rivka: “Nobody is too old for colouring, bubbles or Silly Putty.”

Bamidbar / בְּמִדְבַּר Parsha Overview: Counting, Counting, then a Swap!

Welcome to a brand new Sefer of the Chumash! Bamidbar means “in the desert” or “in the wilderness.” We were there for a long time: forty years. (we'll learn why in parshas Shelach!) Remember that Vayikra has another name, Toras Kohanim (Torah for the Kohanim)? Bamidbar also has one: Chumash HaPekudim, the Chumash for counting. In English, it's called the Book of Numbers. Let's find out why! Do you remember reading a few months ago about Hashem counting bnei Yisrael. Now, He counts them again! Why does Hashem count us so often in the Chumash? Well, what kinds of things do you count, and when? Maybe you want a lot of something – like strawberries or a collection of toys. But sometimes, we count for a sad reason. Imagine you had a bag of marbles – shiny and glittery and colourful – and they all spilled! You'd round them up, of course, and then probably count to make sure they were all there. You’d be sad if some were missing – rolled under the sofa, or maybe gone for

Walking with Israel, with Jews for Judaism

I think this event used to be called Walk for Israel, but they changed the name a while back to Walk WITH Israel, and this year was apparently the 45th (I think) Walk held in Toronto.  This year, I volunteered to walk with Jews for Judaism , a counter-missionary organization that also works hard to educate Jews about Judaism – and why Christian claims about the “Jewishness” of Jesus are completely false.  The missionary organizations love getting a foot in the door of communal acceptability by maintaining a presence at these events, and Jews for Judaism (the good guys, though everybody gets the name mixed up!) tries to have more counter-missionaries just standing by peacefully, offering information if anyone is curious, and making sure the missionaries know they’re being watched.  For the most part, they are probably just plain nice people who care deeply about Jewish souls.  Luckily, Jews for Judaism are as well.  There were 3 or 4 missionary groups down there today, depending on wha

RESOLVED! Cranky Complaints-Lady takes on Ms Frizzle

*** Happy UPDATE!  Within 24 hours of my emailing this company (The Young Scientists Club), I received an email asking for clarification (I sent along the photo) and promising a replacement in the mail ASAP.  I also got a phone call from somebody who saw the blog post and wanted to make sure everything was resolved to my satisfaction.  I haven’t received the replacement supplies yet, but I’m sure they will be here any day and I am very excited to try out this kit after yom tov.  Talk about excellent customer service… (and I promised I would update the blog post accordingly, since I’m very pleased, and I don’t mind saying so).  Another win for The Friz!!! *** The kids are going through a major phase of adoration for the Magic School Bus, so when the Homeschool Buyers Co-op had a major sale last month for a Magic-School-Bus-branded monthly science kit program, costing a bit more than I would normally have paid, I figured it might be worth it. Well, the first montly kit arrived on Frid

Interview with a Jewish Homeschooler: Rachel

This is Part 2 in an occasional series.  Please see Part 1, where I interview the indomitable Yael Aldrich, over here . I’m so happy to introduce Rachel!  She is that rare bird, an “IRL homeschooly friend.”  She is also a rarity in that she is a second-generation homeschooler – an unschooled high-school grad, accomplished birth doula, and all-round great (but humble) person.  I had the very good luck of meeting Rachel when she and her husband, a rabbi and teacher, arrived here from Vancouver a couple of years ago.  Before that, they were living in Israel, where their daughter Nechama was born.  They now have two children, Nechama, 4, and Shlomit, hmm… she’s a very sweet baby of some very cute baby age.  (don’t tell her I forgot!) I have been looking forward to sharing some of Rachel’s wisdom with the rest of the world because I think that she offers a long-range perspective on education that would be very valuable to those of us at the beginning or in the middle of our homeschool jo

Interesting Hebrew Reading Program – Aleph Champ

The Aleph Champ program has come to my attention a few times in the last year or so, and I am increasingly interested in its approach – though it is one many homeschoolers will disagree with, perhaps violently (I love controversy!).  Like the Yahadus curriculum I looked at in my previous post , this one, too, is from the Chabad mini-empire of worldwide educators. Working around a “martial arts” model, kids are first introduced to the alef-bais letters, then the vowels, and then they begin a program of timed readings with a goal to mastering fluency in Hebrew reading.  To reflect the martial arts theme, everything is colour-coded, including special colourful medallions and other incentives that can be awarded along the way. Here’s the official outline of the program’s stages: White Aleph Champion Master the first 18 letters of the Aleph Bet. Red Aleph Champion Master all 32 letters of the Aleph Bet. Orange Aleph Champion Master the first 3 vowels with letter combinations. Yello