Friday, May 03, 2013

Where we’re at with Hebrew (GZ’s new workbooks)!

Do you have a Hebrew workbook you love???  I’d love to hear what you’re using in the comments… I’m always excited to find more excellent resources that work for homeschooling families!

It’s not what I ordered, but I’m happy to have chosen a Hebrew book which I think will be a good next-step for Gavriel Zev.

For the last few months, we’ve been working our way through Shalom Alef-Bet, from Behrman House, which

worked fine, along with a bunch of sample pages from Journeys Through the Alef-Bet, by Torah Aura, which I liked very much (download a free 30-page sample here, though the link isn’t working for me at the moment; maybe they take their site down for Shabbos).

The next-up Torah Aura book that seemed most in line with the methods and “feel” of Journeys Through the Alef-Bet is one called Tiyulim (journeys, in Hebrew; the link is NOT to the one I bought – see more below).  They offer four variations:  print and script, home and classroom.  The classroom books are more lesson-oriented, with a mix of reading and writing, while the home books are mostly review-oriented, with one page per classroom lesson offering a “taste” of reading and writing.

These books are probably intended for kids who are a bit older than GZ, but I think it’s appropriate because he’s such a good reader.  He doesn’t like materials that seem babyish simply because they’re geared towards beginning readers, and I think these books will strike the best balance.

It was a tough call, which of the four to buy (home print, home script, classroom print, classroom script), but eventually, given the level he’s at right now, I chose the classroom print version.  Then, Torah Aura accidentally shipped me the home print workbook.  I asked if they wanted it back, but they said I could keep it… .so now we’ll actually have both workbooks, just in case we want to bounce back and forth.  We tried the first page today, and it went well.

In addition to the classroom and home workbooks, there’s also a textbook (shown at right and linked throughout, since Amazon doesn’t seem to carry the workbooks), which I didn’t buy.  I don’t think we need that much reinforcement, given that he’s already been through the alef-bais a couple of times.  I like the look of it, though, and so would he, if I’d gotten it.

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Again:  since Amazon doesn’t seem to carry either the classroom or home workbooks, all the links in this post go straight to the textbook.  When I get a chance, hopefully next week, I’ll post interior pictures of the two workbooks.  And links to sample pages so you can see more if you’re interested.

As for where else we are with Hebrew…

For Hebrew reading practice with both kids, we’re doing speed drills using an old kids’ book a friend gave me many years ago (like 15 years?), which was purchased for her sons in yeshiva.  It has pages and pages of consonant and vowel combinations, and I like that almost all are actual, real words they’ll eventually encounter in tefillah and chumash.  Maybe I’ll post a shot of that book as well.

Using Susan Wise Bauer’s “nibbled to death by ducks” strategy, we do two one-minute speed drills a day – that’s it.  I pick a page, start the clock, and they read for one minute.  I mark the spot they got to and, at a later date, they try to beat their own “record.”  And then we do it one more time.  Two pages, two minutes and they’re done.  BUT the catch is that I try to never miss a day – so five or six days a week, we are at it; two minutes at a time.

This is probably similar to the Aleph Champ philosophy I wrote about a while ago, I suppose, but as I said, they’re practicing mainly on real words, and I don’t need to buy anything for them to do it, because I already had the book.  Oh, and I don’t give out medals for speed.  :-)  (hopefully, seeing their own progress is its own reward)

For Naomi Rivka, the speed drill is in addition to her work in Shalom Ivrit 2 and Bright Beginnings chumash.  We alternate those, one day one and the next day, the other, but only twice a week for each.

Now that GZ’s workbook is here, he will do that in addition to his speed drills, probably three times a week, though he’s not averse to four.  I would like to give him a bit of an edge if I can, given that he’s going into kindergarten in Israel, where most of the kids will NOT be reading.

Are you still in the thick of your schooling year, or starting to wind things down before the summer…?