Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our WEEKS of Learning

I haven't posted about our learning time since the end of November! It has been an unusual few weeks. In early December, Amirah and Eli had their bad colds so they weren't up to snuff. Then our trip to Milwaukee, and everything that has happened in the last couple of weeks including everyone else getting sick and being more or less snowbound put everything else off kilter.

We stuck mostly to the basics (maintaining our Hebrew, lots of torah, and reading/writing/math). Amirah finished being a Penguin in swimming class and was very happy about that! She'll be an Otter in January (the 3rd level of preK/K swimming). Eli will continue being a Penguin. They're looking forward to starting again in a couple of weeks.

I'm hoping this week will again be back to normal. We love the Migdalor Hebrew reading book. It's perfect for us. Amirah is reading sentences in Hebrew like "Papa returns home. Papa is at home for shabbat. Papa eats fish on shabbat." It's really good. We also are starting Level 2 of Shalom Ivrit that we're using for oral Hebrew. That's where our puppets, Tzemi, Zevi, and Achbar help us out. They love that!

This week we'll be starting the next to last reading for Bereishit (Genesis). Amirah hated finishing up this week's parsha. It ended with a real cliffhanger, with Yosef's son showing (falsely) that Binyamin had stolen the cup from Yosef. It was actually all a setup. And now Yosef says that Binyamin has to stay and be Yosef's slave! And all his brothers still don't know that Yosef is Yosef! Amirah can hardly stand it. She did NOT want to read any Laura Ingalls Wilder today, just torah, torah, torah. I didn't mind hearing that! :) But we don't read ahead, so we consoled ourselves with 8 chapters of These Happy Golden Years. And Almanzo just proposed to Laura! We're all very excited. It has been a long time coming.

For reading, Amirah started to burn out on 100 Easy Lessons, so we're taking a little break and reading various little books from Hooked on Phonics and Bob Books, reviewing what we've learned so far. For writing this week, I picked out some easy (or simplified) sentences from These Happy Golden Years. I hope she enjoys doing this. For the first time she spontaneously wrote some sentences, including "Eli and Amirah like to play." and "Some sharks like plankton." It's nice to see. Before that she'd only done various single words or the names of the family. She was pretty happy with it.

For math, we're continuing in Singapore Kindergarten Math B. I've also added some books from my past... I spent 1989-1997 working at the wonderful Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley. In addition to being a science museum, they have a truly impressive curriculum development program. I wanted to spice up our math a little, so I bought Frog Math, Family Math, and Family Math for Young Children. I'm going to pick a new math game to play each week. There are many, many great ideas in these books. I bought them used for about $5 each on ebay. They have many other guides for math and science activities that I plan to take advantage of over the years. They even have an entire set of curriculum guides for preK/K on various science topics. And the people writing them were so wonderful to work with. A couple of times a year I have a dream that I'm back there working again. Just a nice visit! :)

That's about it for now. I really just love this and the hours easily evaporate as I'm planning our week (as in now it's already 2:30!). And I spend too much time daydreaming about what we can do in first grade. We are having such a good time and I am so much enjoying watching Amirah and the others grow as each month passes. The rewards of being a parent are eternal and more spiritual than any other endeavour I can think of. No, there is no extrinsic kudos from the world at large, but the shine in their eyes and the leaps of understanding have no measure and are the greatest reward I know.

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