Showing posts from September, 2010

Flooding the Nile River

This week we did our second Story of the World segment which was about early Egypt.  We talked about the two kingdoms of Egypt and how they were eventually joined together under one king known as the Pharoh. We read the myth of Osiris and Isis.  Given the conversations that followed I would have been happier skipping the myth.  We may do so with future chapters.  The most significant part of the reading was devoted to explaining what made Egypt an ideal location for an early civilization, the annual floods of the Nile.

To bring home the learning, each child made a replica of the Nile that they were able to flood themselves.
We prefilled containers with dirt.  Then each child was asked to create a riverbed for the Nile.  We looked at the map focusing on the delta near the Mediterranean.

Once the riverbed was created, we lined it with foil to actually contain the water.
Then the farmers aka children planted their crops 
Then the floods came. 
 and receded leaving nicely tended fields.

Menu Planning Monday

Sunday Cookout in the Sukkah
Monday -meat loaf, salad, sweet potato fries.
Tuesday - Dinner Out -SockHop JCC
Wednesday - cold cuts veggie stick and fruit cupcakes for Half Birthday
Thursday -  Tofu StirFry rice Keem
Friday - Challah, Garlic Chicken, Mashed Sweetpotatoes, Broccolli, apple crisp.
Saturday - Luncheon at Shul.  Motzi Shabbat is quiche, salad, and muffins

Welcome Autumn

This week's science focus on the change of season's as we welcomed the arrival of Autumn.  I personally loved that Sukkot (our Autumn Harvest Festival) began with the arrival of Autumn.

Froggy has for awhile now known the cycle of the seasons but without understanding why.  This year we focused on why.  A couple of months ago we stumbled across Dear Rebecca Winter is Coming at the library.  Now we went back and checked it out again.  It is a sweet story that talks about how the days get shorter just a tiny bit each day as winter approaches.  The language is lovely and poetic.

To try to make it a bit clearer we did the classic experiment with a globe and a flashlight showing how the sun hits the earth differently as it travels on its path.  We had to get Dad involved in this one to get all the pieces in the right place and moving but once we did it took about three "years" and I saw the light bulb go off inside Froggy's head.  I  love those moments.

And finally Fr…

What We Are Reading

In addition to our Sukkot books, we have been working our way through a couple of chapter books.  The first, Little House on the Praire, lives in my bag and we read when we have lunch out just the two of us or when we unexpectedly find ourselves with extra down time.  Today for instance, we were blessed with some unexpected quiet time because the friends we were to meet were running late.   So we read "Praire Day" under a tree at the park.  This is not the first time Froggy and I have started this book.  The last time though we were using a beautiful hardbound library edition with the most lovely illustration.  The only problem was the book weighed a ton and I was reluctant to cart it around.  So our opportunities to read it were few and far between.  There is a great deal that happens in each chapter and having too long between chapters made it hard for Froggy to keep the continuity. This time I think she is enjoying it much more.  We are still reading it slowly and talking…

Geography - Louisiana

We are still having lots of fun with our map study. This week I counted and we only have 16 states that have not yet been labeled. I guess it is time to decide where we are going to go next.

Froggy chose Louisiana as her state to focus on. Aunt Petal grew up in Louisiana although she lives here now. Hurricane Katrina hit her family hard. Having grown up in Florida with my sister barely surviving Hurricane Andrew I wanted to take this time to explain to about Hurricanes. I did not want to scare her but share with her the awesomeness of G-d's power.

We also looked at and talked about happier things. We ate red beans and rice. We watched The Princess and the Frog and took a virtual tour of the French Quarter.


Sukkot starts tomorrow evening so ofcourse many of our books this week revolved around the holiday.

One of our favorites from since Froggy was old enough to listen to stories is Tamar's Sukkah. This story is such a favorite of ours that I chose it to dramatize for the "storytime" during TotShabbat this Saturday. It is fun story about how Tamar prepares her sukkah for the holiday. It has a repetitive building style that makes it great for young children. That all the characters are children sharing and helping each other makes it even better.

One of our new favorites this year is The Big Sukkah. It takes place ages ago in a small village in "the old country." The main couple has a tiny one room cottage too small to entertain. But they build a big sukkah and get to invite all the family for Sukkot.

Well of course we did lots of different art projects related to Sukkot since we had to decorate our family sukkah. We painted lanterns to hang and had tons of fun.…

The Missing Link

This week our project in math was to take the number pairs we worked with last week and start edging towards addition.

Instead of finding all the pairs that make a certain number, things got mixed up a bit and the game was to figure out the missing number. Well Froggy was missing it at first. When I initially presented the material to her (using the wording in the program - Who is __'s partner to make __) she was lost as to what to do.

When I presented it more as an addition problem (you have __ how many more do you need to make __) she got all the problems instantly. It was simply a matter of changing the wording to make it click.

This is why I love homeschooling. I dread to think what would have happened if she had been in a classroom and just given the instructions as prescribed.

We also spent quite a bit of time playing our memory math game because I want her to make the connection that these number pairs and addition are linked.

For other neat math ideas come visit the bl…

Menu Planning Monday

We made a huge turkey for Erev Yom Kippur and this week is spent trying to use up the leftovers.

Sunday - Leftovers
Monday - Turkey noodle soup/ fresh bread/ carrot sticks / fruit
Tuesday - I am spending the morning baking at Shul so dinner needs to be simple Turkey Stirfry Rice Keem
Wednesday - Welcome Sukkot - Challah, Pumpkin soup, Stuffed peppers, maple salmon, green beans, apple crisp
Thursday - Pasta with homemade sauce, green salad, garlic bread
Friday - Challah, Maple Chicken with sweet potatoes, broccoli, something chocolate for dessert
Saturday - Shabbat Luncheon at shul. Motzi Shabbat at home - gefilte fish, cucumber salad, deli sandwiches

Sunday Science - Reptiles

This week we studied reptiles. It was lots of fun. We learned that allreptiles have scales even the turtles who are reptiles. Naturalist Brian who leads the nature study told the kids this is a great way to check if something is a reptile or an amphibian.

My biggest disappointment with the class was that I forgot to bring my camera. While we were inside we got to see and touch a couple of really neat snakes. Anyone who wanted to was allowed to hold and wear a young snake who was approximately 4 feet long. I was surprised how many children wanted to hold it. We also got to see and touch skins that had been shed. NBrian had a really neat skin he showed us from a ball python that was completely intact.

We also got to see some baby turtles, both box turtles and snapping turtles. They were tiny. One was approximately the size of a silver dollar and already 4 years old. Then he brought out a grown up who was 30 years old. It was fun for the children to see how slowly they grow.


What We Are Reading - Yom Kippur

With Yom Kippur starting this evening, that has been our focus this week. Jonah and the Whale is the traditional Bible story to read on Yom Kippur.

We found a new favorite telling this year. It is Jonah and the Whale and the Worm. It is a hysterically funny retelling that manages to teach more effectively for the humor. The octopus commentary (which could be skipped but then you would miss all the humor and much of the teaching) is apart from the story in a style similar to the Statler and in the Muppet Show.

We also read another new to us Yom Kippur book, My Very Own Yom Kippur. It is almost a Siddur but not quite. It is written for a child yet is not condescending. It explains Yom Kippur in a much more effective and meaningful manner than I had yet to manage on my own. It explains why we fast, Kol Nidre, and Neila. In between explainations are short stories that relate to the explanations but make them more personal. Froggy will bring this book to shul for Kol Nidre and it …

Homeschool Diary

Adventures in Mamaland is starting a new meme and since it was an area I was working on as well I decided to join.

This week is our first official week of school since we do not start until after Rosh Hashana.

Morning PrayersStory of The World -Cave PaintingMath - Number BondsHandwriting - Numbers 1-5Read Jonah and The Whale and The Worm
Ulpan - We are using a fun program by Behrman House - family cartoonCalendar - We are practicing our days of the week in Hebrew with our new Hebrew wall calendar
Hebrew - Introduce Gimel - גדןל
Morning PrayersCalendar
Annual Family Apple Picking TripWednesday
Morning PrayersNature Class
Math - Number bonds 6-7Calendar
Handwriting - Copywork - Giving
Read Jonah book and do Jonah craftBegin Sukkot decorationsThursday
Morning PrayersGymnasticsMath - Number bonds 8-9
Hebrew - Gimel activities - eat icecream - גלדUlpan - Family sentence buildingFriday
Ulpan - family gameHebrew - practice writing Gimel - review vocabulary
Math - Number b…

Cave People

Since we do some much Bible study, I thought it might be nice to give Froggy a look at a secular view of ancient history. We are starting Story of the World. For now at least we are doing this as part of a coop with 3 other families.

The theory is we will read one chapter a week and do some supporting activities. Each chapter is broken into two segments. The first is a nonfiction presentation of the history while the second part is a story or myth of the time period.

This week we met some cave people. In the story segment, the little gir, Taka age 7, goes out hunting/gathering and catches a lizard for her family's supper. She is very happy and looks forward to the stew her mother will make. It was neat to talk with the children about the differences in how and what the nomads ate versus what we eat. The story segment helped them really connect and feel the nomad life.

We also made cave paintings. The paper was hung on the walls and the children were turned loose. The only i…

Letter of the Week - Bet

Froggy is clearly struggling with her Alef Bet. And I had been struggling with how to help her until I was inspired by The Petersons. Now we are doing a very preschool- esque letter of the week system even though Froggy is no longer a preschooler.

This week we started with Bet even though it is not the first letter. Since our focus is sounds I did not want to start with silent Alef.
I made a big Bet and Froggy colored it in. Froggy practiced tracing Bets every single day all week. She got pretty good at it as well. We built bayit out of legos. We drew storms and danced with the thunder and baruk.

The best part is tying in the values. Our value is נרוכ or blessed. We talked about how we are blessed and how important it is to thank Hashem for all our blessings through the brachot each day. Froggy's copy work for Handwriting was BLESSED. I love being able to tie everything together.

Menu Planning Monday - Yom Kippur

Monday - pampered chef night, Spiced Pumpkin Tartlets, Cranberry Chicken Braid, warm white bean dip w/ homemade pita chips, brownie bites
Tuesday - Tofu Stir Fry, Rice, keem
Wednesday - Daddy's late night - Mac & Cheese, green beans
Thursday - Company - Chicken-basil-spinach quesedillas, black beans, mexican rice
Friday - Kol Nidre - Round Challah, Sweet Ginger Gefilte Fish (Froggy will cut into fun shapes), Apple Pear Cucumber Salad, Roast Turkey, Harvest Rice with Pomegranate seeds, Cranberry dressing, and the same apple cake we had for Rosh Hashana

Math - Review

So yesterday was the official first day of school for us. I debated for a long time about what we were going to do with Math for this year. The decision was our basis would be Singapore Math 1. But that was not enough of an answer. We did some Singapore 1 last year so where to start was still a question. The answer for me was at the beginning. I decided that a review might be in order and might help Froggy think Math is more fun if it is easy.

Our books came and we started in. Froggy is not thrilled with the idea of review but I still think it is a good idea. We will see. Our lessons are super short (All subjects + breakfast+ morning prayers+ getting dressed can be done in less than 2 hrs when people want) so even if she is not thrilled with them she is not spending large amounts of time doing them.

Our lesson for this week was Number Bonds. For each number (7) we colored each number bond that makes that number a different color (3,4 are green;1,6 are red;2,5 are blue;7,0 are …

First Day of School

As I have mentioned before one of the benefits of homeschooling is marking time "Jewishly". Our first official day of school is always right after Rosh Hashana.

Today was our first day of school. It looked as anti-thetical to homeschooling as possible since this was also the first day of Religious School. She got scooped asleep into the car and had to eat breakfast on the drive. She did get a new outfit to mark the day.
The backpack fairy came last night and filled Froggy's backpack with her new school supplies and some surprises. Froggy was very excited to open her backpack. I wish had pictures of the process but since she woke up in the car on the way to shul and opened it while I was driving that did not work so well.
She was thrilled with all the supplies but fell in love with the card the backpack fairy wrote her.

Dear ____
Welcome to Kindergarten! Congratulations on your very first first day of school. Study hard. Learn lots. Have fun. And you will go far.
Love ,

Preschool Parsha

This week's Torah portion is very special because Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat.

On Yom Kippur,we read the Book of Jonah. The lesson from the story is that God readily accepts the repentance of anyone who sincerely desires to do Teshuva, to return to the Almighty and to the path of the Torah - just as He did with the people of Ninveh.

We spend the time from Tashlich through Neila contemplating our sins, repenting, and doing teshuva. Yom Kippur can only atone for sins between man and Hashem, not for sins against another person. Before we can ask Hashem for forgiveness, we must first get right with our friends. Then on Yom Kippur, we are ready to show true repentance and ask Hashem for forgiveness.

Full real Teshuva is not easy. There are four parts to full teshuva although many people never do step four.

Sunday Science - Beneficial Bugs

Our focus for science this semester is as part of a nature study. We are taking a class at a local nature center. The class runs approximately an hour and a half which seems like a long time for little people but the kids love it. Why because the kids are out doing and being for most of the time.
This week we discussed beneficial bugs. We started inside with a very "class" like approach where we got to meet a huge spider. The facilitator did a brief slide show and explained what makes a bug beneficial and showed some of the bugs we would try to find outside.
We started outside looking at decomposers in wood logs. The children touched the log and examined the changes that had occurred in it. The log was soft and crumbly. The children took turns pulling away pieces of the log

They got to see the holes made by some of the beneficial bugs. The instructor told the children the kind of bug but I was not close enough to hear.
Then they rolled the log over and saw all the bugs…