Just like with any proper school, we have departments here, and all departments have been gearing back up to a full workload over the last few days…
First up, there’s the IT Department:
We tried something a little different this week… after months of thinking about it, I took the plunge and signed up for a course at Room613.net (we’re signed up Morah Elana’s Monday afternoon Siddur/Tefillah class). I will keep you updated about how it’s going, but we tried two sample classes this week and enjoyed them.
It’s for sure nothing like a real class, but both kids thought it was kind of neat, and the teachers seemed nice. There were a few technical hitches (our microphone can’t stay on all the time, because it buzzes, so Naomi doesn’t get to speak unless I turn it on, which is okay, because she was so shy in front of the camera that she wouldn’t say a word anyway), but for $5 a class, we’ll try it out in May and June and see if it’s a worthwhile addition to the curriculum.
From our Preschool Department:
I downloaded this Robots Preschool Pack a while ago from Homeschool Creations because Gavriel Zev loves robots, and I thought he’d get a kick out of this numbers-teaching puzzle. I love it because it’s self-correcting, in a Montessori kind of way; I had never seen this kind of puzzle before. When the puzzle is done correctly, the numbers will appear in the correct order – if not, they’ll be out of order, and it’s easy for the child to fix it himself.
I printed it on cardstock, and he’s asked to do it a few times in the last few weeks. But it’s still not very sturdy (should have glued another sheet in behind!), and he was getting frustrated because the pieces were slipping around on the floor, so I suggested gluing it once and for all onto construction paper. He loved that idea and eagerly went to work gluing down all the strips (with help, because he doesn’t really PRESS on the glue the way you have to).
When he was done, I wrote the word ROBOT on the bottom (you can’t see it here) and he was very pleased with the result!
And then, there’s the Department of “Zero-Creativity Crafts.”
A while ago, I bought an e-book on sale called Literature Pockets: Nursery Rhymes, Grades K-1 (I think I bought it on CurrClick here). It’s from Evan-Moor, and it was recommended on the Well-Trained Mind Forums, but I didn’t mention it here, because I was ashamed for buying a “canned curriculum.”
Now that we have done three of the “units,” though, I can safely say we’re all enjoying it a LOT.
The poems are easy and none of the tasks for each poem are too deep or involved, but I do believe memorizing the rhymes and reciting them is good practice, and the crafts are VERY easy to do. They’re also perfect for GZ, who would prefer to spend only thirty seconds on a craft project but wants it to look fantastic.
I also like that it’s an eBook that just sits on my hard drive and I can print off pages (or not) as we need them (or don’t). And that I can reprint stuff to have multiples for both kids. Plus, we’re accumulating a neat “book” of all the poems we have learned so far. One last plus: because it’s a K-1 level, we can say the poem together, and then there are some activities on Naomi Rivka’s level, and some on Gavriel Zev’s level – something for everybody!
This week’s poem is “My Black Hen,” so we’ve been reading the poem for a couple of days and today, we made the hen. The wings swing open with brads to reveal a neat little stash of eggs – clever!
Here’s GZ reciting one of the earlier poems, and waving a little bird which is suspiously similar to today’s hen, but neither children noticed or commented. The other one was about a month ago, so maybe they’ve forgotten (though they can still say the poem!):
Finally, though I have been creating and posting copywork for the weekly parsha for quite a while, I (shamefully admit that I) haven’t been having Naomi Rivka actually do the copywork on any kind of regular basis.
As we gear up towards Grade 1, I’ve decided we should start, and it helps that this week’s is a passuk she knows, from the Yom Tov “morning” kiddush.
She didn’t love doing all the writing, complained mightily, and her writing wasn’t very good, but I told her it doesn’t have to be, and that it’s okay to be not at your best when you’re starting any new thing. Mostly, she was relieved when she was done because she’d been begging for geography and we finally got to it – yay!
And, last but not least, from the Department of the Interior:
Well, the INTERIOR is actually where we have spent soooo much of our time over the last few weeks that I actually must now go get dressed… cuz it’s finally NOT RAINING (though it’s still barely over 10 degrees) and I’ve promised an outing to the park!