The Rest of the Year

library_beforeMy 4 year old, while we are in the car: “Mommy, I want the Bais Hamikdash song!”

I had absolutely no clue what song he was talking about, but he asked me several times while we were driving. I was going through my brain, trying to figure the song out. My oldest bought a few CD’s recently with his Bar Mitzvah money. It was not the Maccabeats, no, we have had those CD’s for a long time. I had Six13 playing and I quickly flipped through the songs for him. No. Well, perhaps it is Lipa. A brother helped me put Lipa in while I drove and we flipped through those songs. No, the only song he knew from that CD was “Hang Up the Phone.” No. No clue. Poor boy was so distraught. He wanted his Bais Hamkidash song! We had to wait and I asked my oldest if he knew what his little brother was talking about the next time we got into the car. It turns out that it was Cantor Helfgot and Itzchak Perlman! I was driving and the little boy was in the back seat, but the squeals of delight as he heard the violin start playing his song was wonderful. Beautiful song and it lasts 9 minutes and 58 seconds, and my youngest was singing along the entire time.

It’s been hard to get back into the swing of things after our winter vacation. It took a few weeks, but I finally sat down and redid our schedule. I was so20140211_122606 proud of myself and I printed it out (took 8 pages), taped it together and attached it to our kitchen wall. As I was in the middle of taping, I noticed… a mistake. Oops. Oh well, it is hard to find all the mistakes until it is in print. We have made (well, really in the middle of the process of making) major and minor changes.

We had some things that had been working for us until recently, and with growing boys, we have made some executive decisions. Firstly, some of the minor changes I made. We have the older boys going through Rambam while watching videos with Rabbi Yehoshua Gordon on Chabad.org. While trying to be efficient with time, okay, it was mostly out of convenience, but don’t tell anyone, I would have all three boys watch the videos together. As long as I was in the room with them, that was fine. However, it is hard to stay in the room when another little boy “needs”  to learn his school work. One might think that this is not an issue, until one realizes that once the parent leaves the room, the other boys tend to think that they can be boys.

20140211_122621So, we are working on getting their tablets all set up so that they can all listen to their Rambam videos separately, and wearing headphones (so they can be with me in the same room and I spend some time with my Bais Hamikdash boy) – which leads us to our major change. In order for them to be allowed to use their tablets, we have to make sure that when we sit them down with the tablets, they are likely to actually watch and listen, opposed to finding other things to do instead and I am not noticing. You know, like checking their email, etc. At first we were thinking that we would remove internet access to the tablets, which meant to remove the actual ability of the tablet to find any internet to try to connect to. To do that, you have to hack the tablet and start messing with the actual programming of it. Well, we got all the way to the last step and we “bricked” the tablet – meaning it won’t even turn on to use. Oops. We had to get another tablet. (We got the lower end tablets, and with a higher end tablet we would most likely would have been able to fix it by re-installing the whole system, similar to when one has to wipe out their Windows computer and re-install the Windows system.)

While waiting to decide what we are going to do now, I made the decision that the desktop computer was getting abused and I finally went and removed internet access to that computer – by pulling the plug to their internet router. We have two routers; one with a password, and one that was supposed to be filtered and with no password. (The filter, for some reason, stopped working.) Once the router that did not require a password was unplugged, there can be no access through tablets. That means we can upload videos through a thumb drive and do not have to worry about boys playing around so much (and don’t have to worry about screwing up another tablet!) Yes, we did get drop and spills protection, but that does not include when we root the tablet and mess up the programming end.

It’s been too cold to go out some days. Boys are kvetchy. Tried bribing them in getting work done fast so we can put up bookcases (a wonderful homeschool treat!!!!) Didn’t work. Bookcases came, school work was not done, and couldn’t get them to finish the work so we can put up the bookcases. A few days later and we finally finished screwing in all the screws to the 3rd and final Bais Hamikdash, oops, bookcase. 😉 We are still working on arranging all the books. With 3 new bookcases, you would think there would be some empty shelves. Right now I have 2 that are empty…for now, however, we are not done.

We have rearranged some furniture from our library (where the bookcases are) to the living room. We rather like it and think of keeping it, at least for now, this way. My chair is sitting right next to the bookcase on the hearth (and it’s within reach of my arms!) and instead of having my papers pile up all over the place, I am removing the books from one of the shelves and replace them with a few containers where I can store the papers and whatnot that I use throughout the day. I am hoping that it will make the fireplace area look a lot neater.

Pesach with Snow!

matti_pesachGreat news! Daddy has started driving himself to work again this week! After 15 weeks things are definitely improving. Last week he got rid of the crutches as well as the boot. It will still be some time before he is back to “normal” for even though the bone is healed up the muscles in the leg had not been used in 3 months and not only does he have to strengthen the muscles, he has to make sure not to fall or twist his ankle in the process. He is getting there! I will miss those few minutes twice a day when it was just the two of us, but I am glad that I will have those few extra minutes with the boys again in the mornings. For some unknown reason no breakfast jobs get done if I am out of the house. Can’t quite figure that one out, but with me being home at the time breakfast jobs need to be done, they are more likely to get done. 😉

Pesach is definitely around the corner and it has been cold and snowing outside today. We are almost finished the inside of the house, but the car, I am not quite sure when we are going to do it for it’s been cold last week and it will be cold for the rest of this week! However, as I like to say, it will somehow get done. Other than the kitchen, I have just the boy’s room to do plus 5-10 minutes of work in a few of the other rooms. The progress has been decent considering that we have not done most of our secular work in almost a week, but I do not let that bother me for this is part of our real life learning which is important as well. I have to keep reminding myself that yes, the actual “textbook” (so to speak) learning is very important and is most of we have to do, however, never forget the importance of knowing how to live. It is hard for that is something they do not really do in a school so one can feel guilty about doing it at home. Yes, they might study about it, but they do not “learn” about it in school. The learning comes from the actual doing. When my boys move out they will need to know how to clean for Pesach and how important it is. Nothing beats seeing Mommy clean and them physically having a hand in the cleaning. This is all part of the learning process and when they physically do something it gets ingrained into their beautiful minds better.

I actually have quite a few different things I was going to talk about but I think I will save some of them for a different time. This past week or so has been one of those teary eyed times in teaching and parenting – you know, those moments you want to frame and save. Those moments in which you see your child has grown – at least for a few seconds here and there.

I realize that if I want to engage my children into learning things like good habits or the love of mitzvos with little or no struggle, the solution is for them to see me do it. For example, if I would like them to give tzedakah, I give each of us a coin and we all pass around the tzedakah box. Our cleaning was not going so hot to begin with so, instead of giving each boy some chore somewhere in the house to do (while I clean somewhere else,) I decided we were all going to clean in the same room.

The room we all tackled first was the basement. It was not that bad to begin with but it did need to be cleaned. We got a lot done with the cleaning when I realized it was class time with their Rebbe (I have made sure they still attended their kodesh classes.) “Boys, class!” There are still times when I don’t know whose class it is, but the boys know and that generic call will get the proper boy to the proper class. They always do enjoy going to class, however this time the reaction was extreme. Boom boom boom boom boom boom across the floor. “MY CLASS!” “MINE TOO!” Were they excited about class or wanting to get out of cleaning? I cannot tell you for sure. 😉 I do know that the excitement they showed did put a smile on my face no matter what the cause. True they were not running to learn with me, but they were running to learn Torah and no matter what the reason for the added excitement for that day it will always put a smile on a parent’s face to see that kind of desire to learn Torah.

There was another one of those moments this week. It was today. Rabbi Resnick posts texts and pages in the classroom so that everyone can read along with him and no one needs to purchase or print off anything extra if they do not want to or cannot do. Today I was sitting across the room and watched as one boy got up to get the physical gemora so he could read along with him from the source, all on his own accord. This is not the first time he has done this. He will go get books for class on a regular basis. What was so special about today? I am not sure. I might have been more in the mood for teary eyed situations to begin with but for some reason it just dawned on me what this really meant. All parents worry about their child(ren) and all parents wonder if they are doing the right things for their child(ren). This particular boy and his parents are no exception. “Are we teaching them the right way? Are they going to stay along the path of Hashem?” This one little act of getting a sefer on his own accord to learn from is not going to guarantee anything, it does however tell me that perhaps we are on the right track, and with our continued prayers to the Almighty and our continued guidance, he is headed along the right path and will IY”H stay there.

As I drift into Lala Land and try to picture that Spring really is here while it is below freezing and snowing, and dream about the food I need to buy and make sure I have all the frogs and hail and wild animals ready for next week, I just have to smile at a conversation I had with a boy today. “Um, (beautiful boy), what is on your neck?” “Red marker. I put it on and wiped it off so it will look all red.” And he smiles as he points to his arm as well. (His wiping it off smudged it all over so it was an even red tinge.) You see, he wanted to have a red neck… Redneck… Yup, that is my boy. He is a real keeper.

Wishing you all a Happy and Kosher Pesach!

Post-Purim-Pre-Pesach!

purim_5773_smallI hope everyone had a wonderful Purim! It was so nice to have it on a Sunday. It is so much more fun when Daddy can be with us and be a part of the whole Purim affair. We had a WWII General as well as General Robert Lee – Confederate he is quick to tell you, a spy, and of course the famous kohain gadol.  We were honored here this past Shabbos with the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Lau. The boys came to the Oneg Shabbos with him, but just Mommy and Daddy went to hear him speak Motzei Shabbos. Now, on to the next climax of the year, Pesach cleaning! Yes, the most anticipated time of the year, the one that people are talking about even in October (yes, I have friends who were actively discussing it in October…..) I was smart to make our new library chometz free from the start and smart to know that the new boys room was not going to stay chometz free so I did not even bother, but yesterday I attacked my bedroom and surprisingly enough got most of the way through it. I should be able to finish it tonight. The living room was attacked last week, couch moved and cleaned up under and inside, but since Daddy’s chair is now in the kitchen it is not really used much which does make it easier to clean. It really should not be so bad this year. Ask me in 2.5 weeks if I still think so!

This morning I sat in the car a few minutes before coming home from taking my husband to work. I watched a 2 minute video. I ended up showing this video to my boys before we davened. One of my beautiful boys is constantly having a “bad day.” This video was very short but the message was very strong. (I strongly recommend taking the 2 minutes to watch it before reading further.)

Sometimes you try things and they don’t work. I get frustrated and wonder why the kids just don’t do what I want or why everyone is seemingly so against me! Maybe it is not them. Maybe it is me. Maybe I have to change. Change your words, change your world. Whenrabbi_lau_airport things go wrong, perhaps we need to rethink what and how we are doing things. My little one has decided over the last little while that he does not want to daven with me, not even for “his” kind of davening. It is a struggle to get him to sit for anything, and honestly, there have been days that I have decided not to fight him and have not davened with him. With the older boys, for Adon Olam, I pick a boy to give a tune – it gives them a chance to be connected just a little bit to the davening and is something they all look forward too (this morning there was an argument from all boys as to who I chose, except the one I chose (of course! 😉 ) Mr. Little Big wanted so bad to choose the tune, but he was not even dressed yet. It was so hard this morning to be 3! Mommy did not choose him to pick the tune for he was not dressed! He did not want to daven with me, so I decided to change. He needs to daven and he used to like davening with me, but he needs a change.

The boys and I had talked about the video. We talked about the difference between the two signs. It is hard to know what it is like to be blind if one has never been blind, however, we can all relate to having a good day, or the day outside being beautiful. When we can relate to something with someone we can have a connection with them. Once we have made that connection we can feel for someone. This is how we make friends. This morning I had to make that connection with my son, I had to relate to him. I told him that he could daven on my phone with the davening video I found online. (For those who like a “cleaner” YouTube and not have the suggested sites listed on the side, try loading up this YouTube Sanitizer and entering the following link the box: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Of-OzOjtw )

rabbi_lau_signingOff he ran to get his clothes. A few minutes later, all dressed with tzitzis, he was ready. He even waited patiently while another brother was finishing his reading on my phone! I then sat him down. He paused the davening to go grab his torah when it was time to sing Torah Tzivah Lanu Moshe, as well Little Torah. After sitting intently and listening, he watched the entire thing all over again. And yet again! I told him in the middle of the third time that that was it for the day. 🙂

I really can’t complain about it. It does not matter what path we take, the goal was achieved. Change your words, change your world. It might not be how I wanted it, but when I see him listening to intently and enjoying everything, I remind myself that is what I want – I want them to enjoy living, Hashem, and love doing His mitzvos. The goal was not to do it my way, the goal was to get him to daven – and to enjoy it. My way was not going to achieve this goal. I changed, I made that connection with him and the goal was achieved.
Now, on to start the rest of the day.

Keeping Our Children

I am sitting here remembering that last night I thought of a good idea to write about but did not have the time.  Tonight, I have the time but do not have the idea.  My sister suggested talking about how my 3 year old vacuumed the area rug in our living room for 30 minutes (which normally does not get more than a minute or so of TLC time,) and how we should take those mundane tasks that we do and use those times wisely to clean ourselves spiritually and emotionally.  I guess that idea will also work with the kitchen and dining room floor that he insisted he mop after an older brother did his share.  There was so much opportunity to sit down and cleanse my soul while I waited for the inch of water on the floor to dry.  If we would to look around and snag a little time here and there to re-Jew-venate, we would be so much further ahead.  Alas, unfortunately I was busy trying to get all the BBB’s (beautiful bouncing boys) into bed!

The only thing I remember about the wonderful idea last night is that it was all about Emuna (faith/belief).  Over the past several weeks it seems to be a recurring theme, at least in my mind, and I know it has not been any coincidence! It is like when you get a new car, all of a sudden everyone has the exact same car, though they were always on the road, it is just that your eyes were closed to seeing them.  Only when we get that car do our eyes open.  Too often we (or should I say, I?) go through the day and do not think.  Life gets busy – teaching, coordinating children with schoolwork on computers, supper, nap time, house cleaning, etc. and before you know it, the day is done.  What happened to it?  Life can get meaningless and one  can start to wonder “why”?  When my children grow up and move out of the house, it will be harder to help them with these obstacles.  We all want our children to not only remain faithful to the Torah and its teachings, but to WANT to remain faithful.  I know that I want to remain, but will my children?  Now is the time to ingrain within them the answers before the questions arise.  The million dollar question – How?  How can I instill in my children a connection with Hashem that is strong enough to remain?

I am not sure I have all the answers, but I lately I have sure gotten a lot closer.  I have been trying to open up my children’s eyes by asking them what they are thankful for.  I enjoy listening to their answers.  Unfortunately I often forget, or should I say the day goes by and I remember too late to ask, but when I do it is nice to just listen.  This is one time I always smile and say, “Ok!” and never try to change or “correct” an answer.  After all, there is no right or wrong answer, and how can it be their answer if I butt in?  A few times I have asked, “Did you mean this, or that?” just to clarify in my mind, but never to change their answer. Every time they have to think, it helps create a slightly stronger bond with their Creator.

Our community was given the honor of having Rabbi Lazer Brody come and speak last week.  Rabbi Brody translated Rabbi Arush’s book, “Garden of Emuna”, among many other of Rabbi Arush’s works.  There was one thing he said that struck me.  Happiness.  Judaism IS happiness.  If you are not happy then something is wrong.  Judaism is not wrong, Hashem is not wrong, there is something with you that needs to be fixed.  Of course!  It was like a light bulb turned on in my head.  How many times have we heard of people who have gone astray because of all the arguing about minhagim (customs) or the strictness (with lack of happiness and love) in doing mitzvos?  Someone who grows up (or just sees) fighting about who is right and who is wrong, or feeling that we do the mitzvos because we have to and we better-do-it-right-or-else attitude, why should they remain?  There is a mitzvah in the Torah to be happy.  If we are happy to do a mitzvah or happy that we have Hashem, then we want to continue.  Yes, this is something that I knew, but it never dawned on me that this was the answer or was at least a huge part of the answer I was looking for for my children.  The next step is knowing how to be happy.  That answer is Emuna.  If we have emuna in Hashem in all that He does, we will be happy.  If not, we just need to have more emuna. (Now is the time for me to say that to help with emuna read, “The Garden of Emuna”!)

I need to ingrain into my children that Judaism is suppose to be happy and if one is not happy, they need to become happy, it is not Judaism that needs to be changed, chas v’shalom.  Also, I need to give them the tools needed to create emuna so that when tough times do happen, and yes they occasionally will, they will know with their heart that it is them that needs to change and they will have the knowledge and ability how to make that happen.

We can try the best we can and we should, but like the concept we are trying to teach our children, we have to practice what we preach.  We have to have emuna and daven ourselves that Hashem will help us all out in succeeding in this area.  We have to work on ourselves.  Not only will our children learn for it’s “Monkey See Monkey Do,” there is an added bonus that we ourselves will be more happy as well and what child does not want a happy parent!

With that said, tonight I am thankful that my rug is clean, my kitchen floor is now clean (and dry!) and the boys like coming to stores with me still. 🙂 What are you thankful for?

A Full Week!

Wow, the middle of October and hard to believe that we only just finished a full week of school!  It’s been a tough week for boys for as soon as school work was finished, off to selling popcorn.  Baruch Hashem most of the time we were inside, though Baruch Hashem it has been wonderful out here!  I did have the next two days scheduled inside the JCC, but I think we have exhausted the crowd there and I will give some boys a happy break from selling popcorn so they can work on their Foliage Raking elective.  It has been hard to get outside when it is light when we come home at sunset time.  Our yard is wonderfully colored right now, but if we wait much longer I am afraid it will not and instead it will be dull and gloomy looking.

Even with the extra-curricular activity of socialization with selling popcorn, I have been able to spend some time outside getting my exercise with bike rides.  Daddy was even home one day to go out with me, which was an extra bonus. 🙂  I am not really looking forward to the diminishing light, however, on the flip side, the children have been going to sleep a little easier since they do not have the light shining in!  Baruch Hashem I moved south after getting married so the sun sets before 11pm in the summer…….

Over the last 4 months or so I have been going to a friend’s house to learn with a few other friends.  We are reading “Garden of Emuna (faith/belief)” by Rabbi Shalom Arush.  We read a few pages each week and talk about it, taking turns discussing and asking questions.  It is a nice heimishe group.  Over the last few weeks, I have noticed a change.  I do feel a closer connection to our Creator, and I find I am looking at things with a slightly new twist.  I enjoy the weekly getaway, and I feel better about myself and life in general.  I was wondering how I could instill the new feeling of emuna into my boys while they are young instead of waiting for them to get older to read such a book.  It is hard for children to really feel and learn some spiritual concepts while young, but it is so very important.

(Note: This book is not recommended for girls who are in school/seminary until after they have been married for a while – they need to be out in the real world a bit.  I would assume it would be similar for boys, though it is harder for me to tell for I was never a boy!)

To create emuna, one needs to have a connection to Hashem. Someone in our group told a nice parable.  A father had two daughters.  The first daughter was given a credit card and was told she could purchase anything she wanted.  The only condition was that she call before buying anything, but she was welcome to purchase anything.  The second daughter was given a credit card and told she could purchase anything.

The first daughter would find something and call, “Hi Dad, I found this nice skirt, and the price is right.”  “Sure, enjoy!”  The father always agreed to whatever she purchased.  The second daughter would find something and buy it.  No call.  She was not told to call.  At the end of the year, the first daughter had a much closer relationship with her father for she called all the time to touch base and the second daughter never called.

I want our boys to have a similar connection to their Father in Heaven as the first daughter.  Yes, I try to show by example, but I do not show everything I feel.  I do not verbalize all the times I thank Hashem for the little things, and they are not there when I cry out to Hashem to help me with rough days.  So, we have begun a new thing.  At least once a day, at various times in the day, I will sit down with all of them and ask each one of them to tell us for what they are thankful to Hashem for today.  At first it was hard for some of them, and yes, they would sometimes repeat what a brother before him had said, but they are slowly getting the idea.  It does not matter to me what they are thankful for and it does not matter how small the item is.  Actually, sometimes I think it is great that they come up with such tiny things to be thankful for because then they understand that everything is from Hashem, not just the big stuff, and will have a better understanding that Hashem is with them everywhere and at all times.

Today I asked for two things from each boy.  We were eating supper at the time.  I had made a double batch of split pea soup in the crock pot today and each boy, for one of his two things, said they were thankful for the pea soup that they were eating – and they each had a huge smile on their face!  *love*  I am doing somethings right! (And yes, each of the 4 boys had a second helping!)

The boys do like their Rebbe, and the Rabbi does offer a nice range of classes, but I only have one boy in a class at a time usually.  So, that means that not all the boys get all the classes.  It is not all that bad, for some of the classes I make up by teaching myself, and others I plan on having the younger ones take in future years when I age the older one out.  I do this for various reasons, mainly because I need to have time to teach all the boys, and if they are all taking most of the classes, then I would not have time to teach them all everything for they are all on different levels and time is a slight factor!

I feel it is best to teach the boys a couple more combined classes, similar to how we do parsha.  The thing is, I want something that is interesting that could be taught in small doses.  It keeps their interest better so that way they will hopefully remember more.  Davening is always something that is hard to do unless you know what you are saying.  I did find a nice tefillah curriculum that had 24 short lessons on chinuch.org. The lessons are to be done one a week. Something simple, but yet helps all the boys learn just a bit at a time, a nice small bite sized amount.  I like small amounts spread over a long period of time.  That is how we do our secular studies.  The idea is that time gives the person time to think about what was learned and gives the subconscious time to mull things over and to solidify the thoughts and ideas.  I have seen how this works well in many cases.  Last year I had a son discuss a reading with me and while he was talking to me he told me, “they did not say in this book, but in the other book we read they also mentioned xxx.”  It was so nice to hear him take things from various sources and put them together to create a whole picture and he was so excited to be able to do that for me and without me even prompting!

I’m signing off here to do some exercising before bed!

Our Vacation During Non-Vacation Week

!משנכנס אדר מרבים בשמחה
When Adar enters, happiness increases!

It’s Rosh Chodesh Adar, and there is a lot of good mazal (“luck” – for lack of a better word, when I find one, I’ll replace it) in this month.  We are told this month is a good month for success – if one needs to start a new business, get a new job, or just needs success in other matters, this is the month to start things.  (Permission was encouraged by the artist for everyone to share the image to encourage the spirit of Purim!)

This week was vacation week for the public (and some private) schools.  It was not supposed to be a vacation week over here.  The nice thing about homeschooling is that we get to pick our vacation, and it does not have to correspond to what anyone else is doing.  However, for a non-vacation week, it sure turned out more like a vacation week – that too is the beauty of homeschooling.  We get to change our plans and have unexpected “vacation”, and just make up for it later, either by not taking a vacation at a later date, or by adding a few days onto our school calendar.

Not quite sure what we did at the beginning of the week, but the boys had a few days off from their learning with their Rebbe (room613.net), and on Monday we got most of our learning done in 2 hours – all three boys!  We learned something new – one of my boys is a late reader, and begged me to let him do his reading opposed to having me do all his reading for him.

Tuesday I decided it was time to clean.  It was a hard morning.  I have one child who, because of his personality and his wonderful attributes, just cannot clean!  It does not matter what creative way I try, it is like pulling teeth to get him to do anything.  I have to say, I personally clean his room several times a year when I get fed up with it and fed up with trying to get it clean otherwise.  Last time I did it was about a month ago when I bought some nice Closet Maid cubbies, along with the cloth baskets to go inside, thinking if there was something to store things in, it would help, at least a little.  But this time the room was worse than ever. After all the other boys and I cleaned the rest of the house, and after trying for 3 hours to get him to clean, I went in and spent an hour cleaning.  I thought the funny part was when he came in and huffed and fell on top of the bed complaining that he does all the work in the house (as I’m finishing up cleaning his room!)  I was not quite sure what to say to him at that point.  Our house is still fairly clean (and surprisingly so is this boy’s room!)

Yesterday we had to go to the scout store to get needed items for all the boys (and even the 2 year old).  Anyone who has boys and lives in the US, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts is definitely recommended! (There are only 2 countries in the world that do NOT have co-ed Scouts – the US and I *think* South Africa — definitely not Canada nor Israel).  The scout store is like a totally kosher candy store.  Normally, the boys need to look for hechshers (kosher symbols) on the candy, but in a totally kosher candy store, the only limit is what I say.  Same goes for a toy store.  Normally I say “NO” to most things the boys ask me (and  then I feel like a bad mom), however, in the scout store, I just let them roam around and “oo” and “ahhh” at everything on the shelves and then pick out what they want.

All three boys sold a lot of (kosher) popcorn as a fundraiser for scouting (totaling around $4000 worth of popcorn! Yeah boys!)  For prizes, they each got gift cards.  Two boys chose cards for the scout store… and yesterday was D-Day.  So, we made 3 different kinds of slime, I have a 2 year old who was excited for his “TV”  (translation: ATV – All Terrain Vehicle) that was made of wood that he will be painting this afternoon.  I had string tied across my living room and had space derby vehicles whizzing by.  I have 2 bear bells that keep dinging around the house (yes – bear bells — bells to wear in the woods when there might be a bear, and since I could not come up with a good reason not to get them, they got them for of course, the scout motto is “Be Prepared!”)  I actually felt like the stereotypical “Homeschool Parent” (see the image on my previous post!)

Today, my oldest went out for a scout camp out.  For some reason, no one would go into the car when it was time.  We were all finally in the car, I was going to pick up a boy down the street as well…… and then the car wouldn’t start.  Baruch Hashem, the other mother was home and was able to take both boys to the camp.  I purchased an AAA membership a few months ago (for the first time in about 8 years), and gave them a call.

Now, here is where religious-homeschool parents will take out their creative juices, for instead of just learning from a story or a book in school about things such as middos (character traits) and other lessons that need learning, homeschooling children many times learn through experience.  After AAA came and boosted the van, we drove down to the mechanics to get a new battery.  On the way, the boys and I discussed the events of the morning.  Even though it looks like it was a bad morning – the van died, we missed the market, and we needed to get a new battery – we have to understand that we do not know what MIGHT have happened if things did not go the way they did.  Hashem set up today months ago and put us in a position that we decided we needed an AAA membership.  Perhaps if the van did not die, we would have left on time and would have gotten into an accident.  Perhaps if the battery did not die this morning, it would have died in a very inconvenient time and place (like on the road in between towns, etc.)  Each experience we have, each decision we make, molds us.  By taking being able to teach Torah thoughts and attitudes through living examples ingrains the lessons inside the neshama.

Well, I was going to talk a bit about our Limudei Kodesh studies, for that is always a hot topic for Jewish Homeschoolers, but I guess that is part of homeschooling too – sometimes we step out of our routines!