Skip to main content

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.

image image image

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…?


  1. fantastic
    Nothing is more important than Hebrew for living here.
    Maybe play "we're in Israel" and try speaking to each other, even if you don't have much vocabulary.

  2. We're using the Alef Bet Quest workbooks (also through Behrman House). It's perfect introduction for Davina's age group (2nd grade/7y.o.) Lander (4 y.o.) just repeats and chimes in, but they both love the online interactive that goes with the series. I hope to move on to the Shalom Ivrit series next. Do you think that's too much of a jump?

  3. @Tiffany,
    Shalom Ivrit has been HARD for Naomi Rivka. Honestly, she hates it. I have no idea why. I put her into 2, based on what she'd done in Migdalor, and it was waaaay too hard. So we did 1, which took many months and lots of frustration, and 2 is STILL too hard for her. I haven't been so impressed with it; I find that there isn't enough systematic review for Naomi, so she "loses" words quickly. Have you looked at Migdalor?

    I don't really have to worry about what level to do because God willing they will be light-years ahead by this time next year. But I do want them both to be a bit farther along by the time we get there. If GZ can be reading, I think he'll have a real edge, plus, get way more joy out of arriving there if he can at least read the signs, even if he doesn't know what everything means.

  4. Jennifer - Thank you for your input. I will look at Migdalor. We plan on enrolling them in Hebrew school when we move to Florida so I don't want them to feel overwhelmed or too far behind their peers, although I'm not really sure what level they will need. We have been so isolated here from any sort of Jewish community that any learning seems liked progress, but then the crazy-mama-paranoia kicks in and I wonder if it's enough. Also adding to my frustration at the moment is with the end of the school year here and all the energy surrounding the move, I feel that the studies are slipping to the background. I have to say I really admire all the work you do and love watching the videos and posts on the kids. It really inspires me! I truly hope that you plan on continuing your blog(s). I look forward to following your journey.

  5. @Tiffany,
    I felt bad after I said that because I don't know if it's a good solution for you either. I feel that Migdalor was a good intro for us, but all the teacher's notes are in Hebrew iirc. I keep looking at all these materials and thinking, "what a mess" and not loving them at all. I think I like the Tiyulim book mainly because it feels like a "real" book and not some weird Hebrew-schoolish thing. Does that make any sense.
    Very exciting about your move; didn't realize you were moving... hope it goes well!!!


Post a Comment

I love your comments!

Popular posts from this blog

לימודי קודש/Limudei Kodesh Copywork & Activity Printables

Welcome to my Limudei Kodesh / Jewish Studies copywork and activity printables page.  As of June 2013, I am slowly but surely moving all my printables over to 4shared because Google Docs / Drive is just too flaky for me. What you’ll find here: Weekly Parsha Copywork More Parsha Activities More Chumash / Tanach Activities Yom Tov Copywork & Activities Tefillah Copywork Pirkei Avos / Pirkei Avot Jewish Preschool Resources Other printables! For General Studies printables and activities, including Hebrew-English science resources and more, click here . For Miscellaneous homeschool helps and printables, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you just want to say Thank You, here’s a

Hebrew/ עברית & English General Studies Printables

For Jewish Studies, including weekly parsha resources and copywork, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you enjoy these resources, please consider buying my weekly parsha book, The Family Torah :  the story of the Torah, written to be read aloud – or any of my other wonderful Jewish books for kids and families . English Worksheets & Printables: (For Hebrew, click here ) Science :  Plants, Animals, Human Body Math   Ambleside :  Composers, Artists History Geography Language & Literature     Science General Poems for Elemental Science .  Original Poems written by ME, because the ones that came with Elemental Science were so awful.  Three pages are included:  one page with two po

What do we tell our kids about Chabad and “Yechi”?

If I start by saying I really like Chabad, and adore the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, z"l, well... maybe you already know where I'm headed. Naomi Rivka has been asking lately what I think about Chabad.  She asks, in part, because she already knows how I feel.  She already knows I’m bothered, though to her, it’s mostly about “liking” and “not liking.”  I wish things were that simple. Our little neighbourhood in Israel has a significant Chabad presence, and Chabad conducts fairly significant outreach within the community.  Which sounds nice until you realize that this is a religious neighbourhood, closed on Shabbos, where some huge percentage of people are shomer mitzvos.  Sure, it’s mostly religious Zionist, and there are a range of observances, for sure, but we’re pretty much all religious here in some way or another. So at that point, this isn’t outreach but inreach .  Convincing people who are religious to be… what? A lot of Chabad’s efforts here are focused on kids, including a