Monday, January 19, 2009

Our Week of Learning

A nice week!

Tefillah - still nothing new here, just refining what we're already doing...

Alef Bet - Eli started worked on the vowel patach this week (sounds like "ah"). I also printed off an alef bet workbook from and made a copy for Raizel and Eli. This time, we'll do a fast review of the alef bet going backwards. He knows the first half of the alef bet cold since it was reviewed so many times. Now we'll put a similar amount of review into the back half. :) He's happy - he missed doing his alef bet worksheets.

Oral Hebrew - We've had lots of fun reading stories from our newish book for oral Hebrew. We've acquired a few new teachers too. Our old ones were: Ze'evi the Wolf, Tzemi the Sheep, and Achbar the Mouse. Now we also have Squid the Squirrel and Henry the Spider. Our book is full of stories, so mostly we just do lots of storytelling and the puppets ask A (mostly) lots of questions about the story, and sometimes they tell the story together. It's been really fun. We're working on feminine and masculine verb endings.

Kriyah - I LOVE our Migdalor book. We read four pages per week, which is perfect. We should finish it up around mid-June. The pacing is just right. We also have a set of flash cards for biblical Hebrew. We started picking a word 1-2x/week (Amirah's idea!). She copies the word, then draws a picture of it. Our first word was saviv ("surrounding"). And surround it she did! We'll keep a notebook for our "dictionary."

Parsha - we started Shemot (Exodus) this week! Moshe is getting ready to lead the Jews out of Egypt and Hashem is getting ready to let loose a whole bunch of plagues. It's been quite dramatic!

Mitzvah of the week - bikkur cholim (we studied this one before, but this week the shul was having a class on bikkur cholim - visiting the sick - so we went ahead and reviewed it).

Melacha of the week - borer. This has to do with picking out something from something else. We are only allowed (on shabbat) to pick out the thing we want from the thing we don't want (a GREAT metaphor!), and we are not allowed to pick out the thing we don't want. This is a very complex melacha so we're going to study it for another week.

Middah of the week - we studied the middah of kibbud av v'eim (respecting your mother and father). This is also one we will study for two weeks, as it too is quite broad.

Reading - We only have two of the supplementary books left for the Level One of Hooked on Phonics. We're pretty much done with that. I'm hoping this week to return to Teach Your Child to Read. Three lessons per week (plus two days of reading games) should have us finishing the book in 2-3 months.

Writing - This week we practiced writing the names of everyone in the family. I've noticed some of her carefulness disappearing, so we're going to go back to our handwriting book this week and put renewed emphasis on choosing a letter and writing it really well 3-4 times only. These really short lessons on letter formation are great, and it means that every time she makes a letter the muscles (and brain!) are learning to draw it correctly.

Math - I just LOVE Singapore math. It is such a good fit for Amirah. We've gone through it pretty fast, so instead of doing 2 pages a day (or some days she would zoom through 7 or 8 because she felt like it!) I think we'll just do one page per day and maybe finish up sometime in April.

Math Games - Bridges continues to be a favorite. This week we started a game called Fives. I took three decks and pulled out all the aces through fives. You play just like Go Fish, but instead of putting down pairs you put down any combination of cards that adds up to 5. As you get good at that, you can add more cards until you are playing Tens! It's a really great way to review "number bonds" as they're called in Singapore Math, as in 4 and 1 are linked to 5. Take the 1 out, you're left with the 4. Take the 4 out you're left with the 1. Put them together and they make 5. Seeing all these relationships at once is really great for gaining a deep understanding of how addition and subtraction actually WORK, and how the numbers relate to each other. It's not immediately obvious to a 5-year-old that both 2+3 AND 3+2 make 5. After playing a few rounds of Fives, 4 & 1 and 2 & 3 are forever linked to 5 in her mind. It's really interesting to watch. I love these math games. I think after we finish our Kindergarten Math book, we'll focus pretty much on these kinds of games that reinforce everything she's learned so far. Until she starts begging for her First Grade book in any case. Just have to say one more time: I LOVE Singapore Math. I think it develops a very three-dimensional understanding of mathematics. And Amirah really loves math, so for her the extra difficulty is a challenge she gets excited about rather than turned off by.

Readaloud - We are all done with Laura Ingalls Wilder for now. Farewell, dear friend.

Art - We drew a picture with permanent marker on foil, then colored the picture with acrylic paint. We also traced pictures of our hands, decorated the hands, cut them out, then glued them to popsicle sticks to make "hand puppets." Ha, ha, ha. Lots of freeform drawing too. Amirah's people are starting to have all their parts there. :)

Science - We had a really fun nature walk, first in our own front yard, than into our neighborhood. I'll do a separate post on that as I have lots of fun pictures. Not too much else for science. I'm drooling over R.E.A.L. Science for Kids and am thinking of getting the biology curriculum soon. Amirah would swoon with glee.

Outings - These were a bit limited! Our smashed car is on vacation at the mechanic's. It went on Monday and won't be back until Tuesday (8 days later).

Music - We had a lovely music class with our girls group on Monday. Some examples of what we did: I played "mystery rhythms" on the hand drum to see if they could guess which poem I was "saying". They were great guessers! We sightread rhythms with drums and with our voices. We added new rhythmic accompaniments to a couple of our songs. We worked on high and low sounds and sang a rhyme about Moshe's staff turning into a snake. We added a nice xylophone accompaniment. And we reviewed a song called "Yaakov Had a Dream." It was really fun, and their musical skills are really coming along.

Other than that, we had swimming lessons, dinner delivery to a family who just had triplets (oy, yoy, yoy!), teaching piano to my group of 3 brothers, and going to my grownup torah study class. Very nice indeed! With the car coming home on Tuesday (BE"H!), I think we'll have to go on a good adventure outing Wednesday or Thursday.

I've been drooling over curriculum options for first grade too. I'm just a homeschooling junkie. :)

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