Showing posts from July, 2011

Getting Ready for School

It is August and for me that means setting up our schedule for the new school year.  Froggy is in first grade this year and we are loosely following the Ambleside Year 1 curriculum with some serious modifications. On Ambleside I found a nice planner which I am using to organize and plan our weeks.  It is basically a checklist for the week so I can mark off what I have done and so I can look ahead and see what I need to print or gather.

Here is what our year looks like following the suggested Ambleside schedule with personal modifications:

DAILY (that we do school - goal is four days a week)
Penmanship / Copywork: Handwriting Without Tears, homemade parsha copyworkMath:  Singapore Math Level 2Foreign Language:  Hebrew, using Migdalor L'Ganand Berhman House UlpanBible (=Chumash)
Bright Beginningsmaterials Worksheets from chinuch.orghomemade worksheets from both me and Adventures in Mamalandmay also add L'shon HaTorah in later in the year. (edit - I just ordered this.  Paid as much…

Welcoming Shabbat

I am so looking forward to Shabbat this week.  Last week, Shabbat was a struggle both to prepare for and to keep properly.  The house was in chaos and boxes begging to be packed.  We had already packed the Shabbat dishes although I made sure to leave out my mother's candle sticks and kiddush cup. 

By contast, the peace of Shabbat is already starting to fill me as I compare our plans.  I do not get make challah yet but I am also not making other preparations.  We are traveling and spending Shabbat with dear friends.  We will be attending a special outdoor Kabbalat Shabbat service this evening.  Growing up, I attended more Kabbalat services than I did Shabbat morning.  Froggy has attended very few and I think she will very much enjoy this service with all its singing. 

We have not done well this summer with making it to Shul.  A friend commented to me recently that "Torah life is a community life".  It is possible but hard and unpleasant to be a Jew in isolation. We draw s…

Still Alive

Just wanted to drop a quick note to let everyone know that we have not fallen off the planet. We are still here but the moving truck comes tomorrow and life is too chaotic to allow me time on the computer.  I will start updating again very soon.

Visiting the Netherlands

Today Froggy got her passport for her Summer Art Adventure in the Netherlands, a country Froggy knew nothing about prior to today. The flight over (aka trip to the museum) took only 45 minutes and was amazingly easy. 

We arrived at the travel bureau (aka Information Desk), received our passports and began exploring.  The passport was chock full of information about the country as a whole and our tour in specific.  Unlike last year we are not visiting specific destinations but touring the country looking at general features.   Today we looked at windmills and the general landscape.  
 Before the tour guide arrived, Froggy and I got acquainted with our destination on our own.  We visited several sites (paintings) from our tour book (passport).  Our first stop was Lady and Gentleman on Horseback by Aelbert Cuyp.  It was not a destination on our tour but caught Froggy's eye and interest.  We came back to several times as I explained why it was not on our tour and the characteristic…

Chumash - Passuk 2

We are on our second passuk in Lech Lecha.  I keep telling myself eventually we will get to a passuk a week. I can already see her making progress in decoding and comprehension.  I have finally gotten the worksheet making to take less time than we spend using the worksheet so I count that as a plus.  I wish I could find a way to put the vowels in when making the sheets though rather than having to add them afterwards.

This is the basic worksheet which we use for reading practice and "pulling it all together".  It has the entire passuk.  I usually print it in color but our color printer was on the fritz.

Froggy loves coloring and matching with the worksheets from Bright Beginnings.  And this week, I add something new, cut and paste. 

It was a huge hit.  I made a chart with the shoresh, the word as it appears in the passuk (prefixes and all) and the English.  Then I let Froggy cut it up.  I mixed them all up and she had to paste them back in order. I think this finally helped he…

Wild Ponies

Visiting the Wild Ponies of Assetegue is one of our favorite traditions.  This year was the first that Froggy was old enough to really understand the difference between wild and tame. 
 This picture looks strange because it is taken through the screen of our pavillion.  That is how close they came to us.  Froggy was nervous because we had emphasized that they were wild. 

 Apparently horses like playing ball as well.
 We saw this mom and baby while playing on the playground as part of the larger herd.  The baby is approximately one month old according to the rangers.  We got to watch mom teaching the foal and keep him with her as he started wandering off.

List of Attainments

If I can be said to be teaching Froggy according to any style, it would be Charlotte Mason.  Charlotte Mason included in her Original Homeschool Series books some lists of attainments, goals or objectives to be met by certain ages. She has one for 6-year-olds and one for 12-year-olds. Since Froggy will turn six in October, I figured I would check in and see where she stands according to this list.  Foreign Language is a big push but we chose Hebrew rather than French.  The big problem is I don't understand how to determine where she stands on several of them.  I have marked those in purple.  I have marked the ones that we are totally good on in green.   I am not sure if we will work on all the rest or not, specifically the recitation ones but it is interesting to look at.

1. To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems and hymns
2. to recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
3. to add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4. to read--what and how much,…

Menu What Menu?

I still want to cook but have no idea what to make. My sister and niece are staying with us for awhile.  We love having them but food is a real problem.  My niece is a vegetarian who is also extremely allergic to all dairy.  The dairy is simple since we are dairy-free for Froggy.  The vegetarian is much harder but not impossible.  The single piece that makes me want to throw up my hands and tell everyone to starve is that my sister and niece have absolutely nothing in common that they will eat.  I can grill and cook separate "burgers" for everyone.  Then at least it looks like we are all eating the same food.  Otherwise I need to make two separate meals or we end up eating out which is my sister's preference.

Any advice from the peanut gallery?

What We Are Reading

A trip to Grandma's means delving into a whole different collection of  books.  Froggy has her favorites that she and Grandma share.  Grandma loves the "If You Give" series and is constantly adding new ones to her collection.  The latest addition is If You Give A Cat A Cupcake.  Auntie Laura, the cat lady, read it to both cousins and the Froggy read it many times.  It is cute in overdone, predictable way of the series. They also read ever other book in the series laughing hysterically as they read. 

At the beach, we started a new chapter book,The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, that Daddy is reading to the whole family at bedtime. 
It is a wonderful change to the rituals of our family.  Bedtime reading had become frustrating for everyone because a tired Froggy was having trouble choosing acceptable books and no one was happy. Also I was not getting any time being read to because of the drawn out, frustrating nature of…

In the Ocean

Every year we go to the beach.  It has been a fun time seeing the change in how Froggy approaches the ocean from year to year.  At first she would not touch the water, then she played at the shore and ran when the water touched her toes.  Last year she was brave enough to play games with the surf but still not comfortable coming out past the breakers with the grownups.

This year she was just a bundle of adventure.  Each day brought more adventure and new experiences.  She rode a boogie board.  She jumped the waves with the grownups even asking Daddy for "phtat waves" (ie ones that make you go "phtat" afterwards because the wave washed over you).  We played "Foam Fighters" where she attacked the foam left behind from the breakers.

She even made friends with an older boy and tried holding her own against the waves as they crashed into her.  She got knocked down several times and came up sputtering but smiling.  Every time he talked her into going out further…