Wednesday, May 1, 2013


OK, I've been out of the loop for a while, with some excuses, but mostly just lost momentum.

Excuses: New pets, Bat Mitzvah, private school applications, multiple flus this winter.....

So I have to look at my schedule, and see what the objectives are and how I can best meet them right now.

1.  When I get up, I take out the dog for a run, so I don't get to eat breakfast until my husband leaves for work at 8:30
2. I have a private math student on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so on those days I have to plan something short and/or be really on schedule to finish in time
3. With the nice weather, I want to spend time outside a lot
4. We have a zoo membership!
5. Haven't gone swimming lately, gotta get back into that.  Need new bathing suit....
6. M's artwork is incredible, would be great to work in some museum time, or some other structure for him to develop it.
7. Not reading enough books lately.  Maybe do library day, too?
8. M has classes on Monday 3-4:30pm and Wednesday 4:20-6:10

How is this:

9am circle time, followed by reading each day.

Monday: Math lesson after lunch
Tuesday: Zoo, museum or other excursion, followed by journaling: pictures with captions
Wednesday: Playground time
Thursday: Swimming 11-1
Friday: Make challah (get dough ready Thursday night)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hanukah - Boneh Ani Hanukiya

We started the lesson as usual by going over the calendar -- today is the last day of the month of Kislev!  Tonight we start the month of Tevet.  Then we sang some Hanukah songs.  Since yesterday's theme was the Sevivon, I figured today can be the Hanukiya:

Boneh ani Hanukiya                                               I am building a Hanukiya
Hineh adlika esh                                                    Here I shall light a fire:
    Zeret miyamin, zeret mismol,                                   Pinky on the right, pinky on the left
    Shnei nerot li yesh                                                   I have 2 candles!

Boneh ani Hanukiya
Hineh adlika esh
    Kmitza miyamin, kmitza mismol,                               Ring finger on the right, ring finger on the left
    Arba'a nerot li yesh                                                  I have 4 candles!

Boneh ani Hanukiya
Hineh adlika esh
    Ama miyamin, ama mismol,                                      Middle finger on the right, middle finger on the left
    Shisha nerot li yesh                                                    I have 6 candles!

Boneh ani Hanukiya
Hineh adlika esh
    Etzba miyamin, etzba mismol,                                   Pointer on the right, pointer on the left
    Shmona nerot li yesh                                                I have 8 candles!

Boneh ani Hanukiya
Hineh adlika esh
    Agudal miyamin, Agudal mismol,                              Thumb on the right, thumb on the left
    Vegam shamash li yesh                                             I have a Shamash (helper candle) too!

Then we got to work making it!

First, we traced his hands on the paper, with the thumbs overlapping to make the Shamash.  He traced his left hand himself, but needed help tracing his right hand (since he is right handed).  So I didn't have a free hand to take a picture.  Then he numbered the candles 1 thru 8, and wrote "Shamash" in the proper place.  He did not want to color it in though, preferring to make candles.  More opportunities for ruler and scissor work!

Then I put little loops of scotch tape on each finger, and he matched the paper candles to each one:

Sixth candle will be tonight!

Can you see the little pocket with the last 2 candles?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hanukah - Sevivon Sov Sov Sov

Haven't been blogging, but have certainly been working and learning!

On this 4th day of Hanukah, I suggested to M that we can make our own sevivon (dreidl).  He was quite excited about the idea. I took a piece of heavy cardstock, and showed him how I use a ruler to make 2 straight parallel lines:

I also showed him how I mark off every 2 inches on each line, then connect them to make the squares. We then counted them off to show the even numbers 2, 4, 6, 8.

Then we made the triangles,  by first measuring off the vertices on the odd numbers: 1, 3, 5, 7.  M then wanted to practice connecting the dots with the ruler himself:

I made the stems,  and then we got markers to copy the letters from the "real" sevivon:

Of course, the colors must match!  We went over what the letters stand for several times: Nes Gadol Haya Sham:

Finally, it was time to cut out the whole template:

And here he is, singing "Sevivon, Sov, Sov, Sov!" with his very own Sevivon:

Chag Sameach!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The New Year has begun!

Happy New Year!

Yes, he copied that!

 So far, we have not quite gotten into a regular routine, but we are doing school at least 2-3 times a week.  M loves the calendar work.  He counts up the days on the calendar each day (both the regular and Hebrew calendars) and likes to identify the day of the week in both languages as well.  He also enjoys reading the daily verse, and is even trying to do the trope with it!

This was last week's verse: "Let the Heavens listen and I shall speak, and may the earth hear my words."
For Yom Kippur, the boys traced the toy shofar on cardstock.  Then R colored his in until he got bored and just wanted to make noise.....typical....

M, meantime, copied the word "Shofar" onto his cardstock, then carefully cut out the shape:

Notice the ever-helpful stuffed lion.

For Sukkot, of course, we made paper chains.  R impressed me by being able to both thread the paper strips through the loops and push hard on the stapler.  He even got the feel for the scissors, to the point that he started wanting to be independent with it.  Not yet, sorry.....   M, on the other hand, could cut the strips pretty straight himself, then thread them through the loops, put the ends together, AND push down on the stapler.  All I had to do was hold the loop in the stapler, since I don't want any little fingers getting stapled....

Oh, and M also counted the loops each time we added them on.  He looooves counting!

Chag sameach!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

First week of school - Ki Tavo

The first week of school will start after Labor Day.  Public school doesn't start until Thursday September 6.  The parsha for that week is Ki Tavo in Deuteronomy.  The verse I will introduce on Thursday is Deuteronomy 28:6:

Blessed will you be when you come and blessed when you go.
Baruch atah bevo'echa uvaruch atah betsetecha.

 On Friday I have an appointment in the morning, so I don't think we will do playgroup that first week.
Playgroup will start on Tuesday, September 11, which will actually be M's birthday, so we will do a birthday party kickoff!

Rough schedule

Introduce the week's parsha:  Read an age-appropriate synopsis, and put up a verse on the board to read together.  M will be encouraged to read it out loud each day.
Go swimming!

Playgroup day!
Arts and crafts, centered around holidays or Torah themes if appropriate.
Outside time.

Music: Drumming, piano, etc.
Go swimming!

Review the Parsha, copy the week's verse,
Math lesson.
Outside time.

Playgroup day!
Shabbat prep -- making challah and singing shabbat songs.
Outside time.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Planning for September

Well, it's August now, so I'm thinking what I want to do in the fall.  I'm not even sure I want to do a full-scale playgroup, much less preschool.  I want to focus on homeschooling M and R, and really developing the curriculum for them.  Maybe have a playgroup day on Friday, to make challah and sing Shabbat songs with friends?

Here are my priorities:

1.  Maintain a morning routine:  Songs, prayers, circle time, lesson, snack, playtime
2.  Skills:  Reading for information and entertainment.  Library day?
3.  Judaism:  Each week, pick a verse of Torah from the week's reading, write it in big print, and put it up for M and R to study.  R should be able to pick out letters, and start to sound out simple words.  M should start gaining fluency with reading words, and understanding the meaning of the sentence.   We will also talk about the themes from the Torah portion.
4.  Art:  M is gaining leaps and bounds in both drawing and scissors work.  R is trying really hard to catch up to him!  Create opportunities for both of them to work on these skills together with other curriculum themes
5.  Calendar and time:  Include in circle time.  Stick to a clock schedule for activities to instill sense of time and reading the clock   Integrate math into this part of the curriculum.
6.  Swimming:  I want to take the boys swimming at least twice a week to encourage developing comfort in the water and swimming skills.  The schedule of the YMCA pool will really drive this.

I would like to also include some music in a more formal way.  Drum rhythms, beginning piano, etc.  Not sure yet what it would look like.