Sunday, November 16, 2008

TEFILLAH (prayer)
Same as last week. It will take a few weeks to get these all under our belt. It's been great! We've really gotten into the tefillah routine.

IVRIT (Hebrew)
We pretty much finished up with Shalom Ivrit, book 1. We'll just be doing some vocabulary and grammar review while we're waiting for our new books to come. Rosetta Stone is going very well. Amirah is really enjoying it. Eli has learned the first four letters (and so has Raizel!) of the alef bet. Amirah has been a great "assistant teacher." We had fun going on an alef-bet-gimmel-dalet hunt around the living room I taped letters up all over the room and they had to run to whichever letter I called out. They thought this was hilarious. Raizel is one smart cookie. :)

MITZVA (commandment) OF THE WEEK: hachnasat orchim (hospitality) In honor of this mitzvah-of-the-week, we invited LOTS of shabbat guests and did we have a great time! It really is not much more trouble to cook for 12 rather than 6 (or 7 or 8). Just a few more logistics to get the tables together. What a *great* time we had today with a full house - lots of ruach, singing, great drashes, and good friends. It was really, really nice to have the house so full for shabbat.

MELACHA (work prohibited on shabbat) OF THE WEEK: zoreah (planting). Again, we got to see plenty of examples of this in The Long Winter (well, as soon as that long winter was over, anyway!).

MIDDAH (character trait) OF THE WEEK: chesed (kindness). We learned that there are two kinds of chesed. The basic form is to see someone in trouble or in need and helping them out. In this case, the impetus comes from the other person. The higher form of chesed is to do a chesed without seeing a need in someone else, but simply for the sake of doing a chesed. I thought this was a very interesting distinction. Avraham, of course, was a master of this middah.

What an exciting torah reading this week!! From Avraham and Sarah learning they would have a child (ha, ha), the destruction of Sodom and Amora, the kidnapping of Sarah by Avimelech, and the birth and later near-sacrifice of Yitzchak, and Hagar and Yishmael getting the boot. WOW. It was high drama. Amirah remembered every detail. We quizzed her on Friday and Saturday on nearly every detail of the parsha and she remembered it all. It was quite riveting.

We're on lesson 67 of 100!

Got a few pages done in Handwriting Without Tears. I want to finish the book by late spring or so, and if we only do one page per day we'll easily get there. She's doing great. Eli is really liking his writing book too, and learned to form F and E with the wooden letter pieces we have. Then he wrote some Es and Fs too and thought it was funny.

We mostly learned about different ways to add up to a specific number, i.e. 0 + 5 and 1 + 4 and 2 + 3 and 3 + 2 and 4 + 1 and 5+ 0 all equal 5. We did adding like this up to 10. Amirah picks up on it all pretty quickly.

Eli is learning to identify the numbers 1 to 5 and apply them to groups of objects. Amirah and I help Eli and Raizel count to 20 and they are both putting their counting skills to good use playing Hide and Seek, accompanied by gales of laughter when Raizel triumphantly shouts out TWENTY at the top of her lungs.

We didn't do anything formally, but she has been very interested in animals and fish that live in polar seas, so we talked about the geographical locations of the Antarctic and Arctic - how one usually appears at the bottom of the map (south) and the other at the top (north). We also looked at the shape of North America and the United States and where Oregon was and our city inside that.

We finished The Long Winter, and are a few chapters into Little Town on the Prairie. Our enthusiasm for the series has not waned one little bit. I'm kind of sad there are only two more books after this one!!

What a satisfying job this is. There is a lot of prep work to do, but really the bigger challenge is managing all four children with two of them so very little. In two more years this should really be a piece of cake, and at least once I become more familiar with a variety of materials it's just a matter of adapting to different learning styles. I'm really curious to see how different they are. What an adventure.

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