To continue with our homeschooling week…
I’ve received several questions about what we’re using this year, and I’m really excited about our choices. So I’m going to share them with you! (This is one of several upcoming homeschooling posts, so I apologize in advance to those aren’t interested – just click on through. Although I’m considering doing a sister site with this kind of info sometime…Thoughts?)
A word about our homeschooling situation: We homeschool because it’s the best choice for us. For now. Every year, we review the decision, and aren’t opposed to sending the kids out to school if that were a better option. So far, though, it hasn’t been. As a general rule, I want the kids to be around the local schools’ level for all their subjects, although I might introduce something later or differently. And if they want to get ahead in anything, I am perfectly happy with that – we support their interests. We just are sure to cover the basics, too. If we ever do transition to a school, I want the kids to be able to jump right in.
Ds5 is officially in Kindergarten this year (2012-2013). (See a similar post about ds8 / 3rd grade here.) He actually did some kindergarten work last year (his birthday is near the end of this secular year), and has been reading pretty well with just some basic guidance (I found this laying around and he started it on his own – he got through about half of the first set before looking for something else). He can already do a great deal of mental math and has an amazing grasp of math concepts. His gross motor skills are ahead of his age as well – he is remarkably good at most sports. He is slower in fine motor skills, like writing, though, which can frustrate him. He always likes to be doing something. Ds5 is a kind, thoughtful child, with a HUGE imagination and the will to talk it all through. (All of it. No, really. On our trans-continental move, for example, I got to hear him count from 0 – 1, 119 out loud. Then he said he got tired of it…but I digress.) He is a bubbly, happy kid who loves to help out.
My specific academic goals for him this year (in addition to getting through the expected knowledge) are improving fine motor skills and just feeding his voracious desire for general knowledge with appropriate topics. I’m also looking to fuel his love of learning and reading. (I have more specifics laid out for myself, but that’s where we’re looking to go. It’s not a goal if it’s not measurable, you know!)
In this post, I’m focusing on Kodesh/Hebrew materials. Bli neder, I will put up a separate post about secular materials (here it is!) and practical lessons (chores!).
Kodesh / Hebrew has the same 6 subjects as my oldest: Hebrew reading, modern Hebrew speaking, Parsha (weekly overview/project), Humash (decoding/translating skills), halachot/observances, and middot. We also daven together (this is good for learning the basics – see photo at the top), and some of those tefillot are what we will be studying with the Hebrew reading curriculum as we go.
- Hebrew Reading: The Cap-it program. Ds8 is going to get a good review using this, but we’ll go more slowly and really work through Level 2 with ds5 . Depending on how things are going, we’ll move on to Level 3 siddur edition – but we’re really going to get the level 2 ingrained this year. I’ve heard good things about this program, but haven’t started it yet. It looks good, though! The director was extremely helpful when I was looking into it. We also do things like these magnets.
- Hebrew Speaking (modern Ivrit): We have the Rosetta Stone program. I am on the fence about it, but the kids do like it pretty well. We are also looking into an in-person tutor who has Hebrew as a first language to help with fluency. We have some vocab books and games like Hebrew/English Zingo we play, too.
- Parsha: We read the parsha weekly in English. I do skip over some of the long lists and geneologies, but we get through the basic ideas and most of the secondary ones, too. Then comes a project – see these in the bar across the top of your page – click on “Parsha.” We have the interlinear chumash, and usually read some of that together, too. Then we sum up and answer questions using these books (and this is what I read for the younger kids).
- Chumash: We’re just starting this with ds5, and so will be working through some of the most common words in the Chumash. This isn’t going to be a big block for ds 5, though, more an introduction.
- Halachot: We aren’t following a set curriculum here. A lot of this comes from daily life. We also review relevant daily halachot when they come out (we are Sefardi, so that site is perfect for us!) and found this workbook on mitzvot on the ever-awesome chinuch.org. For the holidays, I pull together some things for the kids to do. Expect more on that…
- Middot: We are starting in on a (secular) character curriculum from Character First. We have 36 traits in a binder, and we are going to be working on recognizing and strengthening one each week. I’ll probably write more on this in a separate post – it’s going to be a bigger piece for us. We’ve also been reading 3-4 stories from this book a week and talking about the choices we could make – what would the yetzer hara want? How about Hashem? Etc…
This has grown long, so I will continue with our secular choices in a separate post.
See anything you like? Do you have anything to recommend? Would you be interested in a review of these resources? Any homeschool readers out there?