Monday, October 20, 2008

Curriculum, curriculum, curriculum

After our art adventures and eating adventure and watching-a-really-bad-movie adventure, Amirah and I spent 15 minutes on part of the first lesson on Rosetta Stone's Hebrew program. I anticipate making only very minimal use of the computer in the early years of our educational adventures, but she and I will be doing this together and discussing the lesson as we go. We had a pretty good time! I think we'll make this our habit after the little and the middles go to bed to read with papa at 9:00. Amirah and I can take 15 minutes for a Hebrew lesson and 30–45 minutes for reading (yes, she's a night-owl like her mama... love it that we can accommodate everyone's natural schedules!). I also just purchased the Migdalor program for Hebrew from Shy Publications. It includes Hebrew phonics books, magnetic letters, storybooks, and recordings of the stories on cd. AND it looks like it's based on the research done by Yehuda Perach that I cited on an earlier blog. So, Hebrew is pretty well-covered now. 20-30 minutes of conversational Hebrew in the morning, 15 minutes of Hebrew reading later in the day, plus 15 minutes of Rosetta Stone.

On another front, I've been researching and researching math curricula to see what would suit Amirah best since we finished Saxon Kindergarten. What I didn't like about Saxon: I don't need to pay a lot of money ($72) for a scripted text. The teaching manual was hundreds of pages. All I really needed was a glance at the objectives and I could do fine. It also is spiral-based, and I was pretty sure I wanted to switch to a curriculum that was mastery-based. Saxon and Singapore Math were the ones that consistently get really enthusiastic reviews. Singapore is mastery-based, the teacher notes are a couple lines at the bottom of each page of the workbook, and—the big bonus—it's only $16 for the year! Another interesting thing—the kindergarten Singapore Math books are a good deal more advanced than the Saxon math books. So we'll be doing kindergarten math—again! We kind of breezed through Saxon and skipped a lot of the repetitive stuff. Singapore looks great, with lots of interesting real-life math problems and fun ways of looking at things. I'm eagerly anticipating it.

The rest of our curricula is status quo. We'll finish up the fall holidays this week. Probably take Thursday to go do something fun like OMSI (hopefully using our expired IMAX theater tickets since the theater was closed for several weeks just before they expired), take Friday for another art project and shabbat prep, then begin learning again in earnest on Sunday.

On another note, here is the sukkah we've been "dwelling" in all week. It's been a bit nippy these last couple of days, though, so I've been a bit of a whimp.

And the name of the really bad movie we watched tonight? Aliens of the Deep directed by James Cameron. It got really great reviews on RottenTomatoes. This alleged documentary was science-lite (understatement) and a bit imprecise on the scientific facts, according to DH who is Mr. PhD Fish Man. If you want to see a movie that spends most of the 47 minutes saying the deep ocean is "like, totally fantastic and awesome," spends a lot of time saying that deep space exploration is similar to outer space exploration in the future. The ending is the capper, but I wouldn't want to spoil it for you. Well, yes, since it's an awful movie I'll spoil it for you. It ends with an imaginary voyage to Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, in a deep-sea submersible. In Europa's ocean (under miles of ice), the humans touch hands with an alien life-form as the camera steps back to reveal an entire alien kingdom. Yep. That was it. It was so bad we were laughing hysterically. Even the deep-sea footage itself was only half as good or as interesting as other deep-sea movies, like the Blue Planet series. Oh, well! :)

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