Friday, August 27, 2010

Amirah's Kodesh Studies

Here is what we are doing for Amirah's kodesh studies right now:

We are using The Linear Chumash which has 2-3 Hebrew words per line, with the English translation directly opposite it. I wish the type were a little larger, but otherwise it works fine. She is reading from her chumash, and I am reading the same text from Rashi. Amirah reads it in Hebrew and English line by line. After reading it alternating English and Hebrew, then I have her read it once through all in Hebrew. I usually add in a Rashi comment if there is something that she would find interesting. Then we go through the verse and identify the shoreshim (word roots), prefixes, suffixes, etc. We have also started a book of shoreshim to add to as we go. For my own reference, I am using the excellent, excellent pdf of Bereishis from It highlights all the vocabulary and grammar for me making it very easy to coach Amirah through it (and to make sure I'm not making any oopses!). This is a *huge* time saver for me. Chumash is definitely my and Amirah's favorite kodesh time.

This is an excellent series for grammar. We worked through Book A last year, started Book B during the summer, then we lost the book :( and haven't yet gone back to it. I was hoping it would turn up during the move, but it hasn't. So, I really need to order Book B and the rest of the series.

After davening, I always read the parsha plus some illustrative stories from KinderTorah. KinderTorah has some of the better "real life" illustrations of parsha principles that I've seen so it's a pleasure to read. While I read stories, they are welcome to draw or play quietly.

This book gives us lots of Hebrew grammar and writing practice. We generally do two pages per day. About half of it we do orally (if the exercise works orally) and the other half is written. We are more than halfway through the first book, and we're hoping to finish this one and book B this year.

Of course, the most important part is our daily davening! We're just doing our same routine, but will be adding new tefillos in the next couple of weeks. We're also going through each tefillah much like we go through the chumash so that we know the meaning of every word. Rav Schwab's book On Prayer provides continuing wonderful insights into the meaning of various tefillos.

In addition to that, several nights per week we do a 5-minute lesson from the Chofetz Chaim Family Lesson a Day on the laws of lashon hara. (Lashon hara = bad speech, i.e. gossiping, slandering, etc.) We are also continuing to use Berel Wein's Jewish history book to study what was happening to the Jews at the same time as what we are reading about in Story of the World. We're also about to start a unit on the laws of food berachos, which we'll mostly study at the dinner table. As soon as we've learned one law, we'll learn about the next one. After the holidays we'll study the 39 melachos, and before the holidays we'll study... THE HOLIDAYS!

So, in a nutshell that is a summary of our kodesh studies. Generally, Amirah and all the others have about 45 minutes of kodesh time together, then Amirah has 60-75 minutes by herself. While our schedule looks a bit thick, it actually consists of short, dense lessons. And since our time is dedicated precisely to her needs, it does not need to be all that long.

B"H we're off to a good start, other than still not remembering how I ever made dinner and cleaned house too! Our chumash studies are really a thrill. How fun to get to do that with my own child. Very exciting!

Soon, bli neder, I will also write about what we do for our secular studies.

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