Your Jewish Homeschool Curriculum Made Much Easier!

Hello Everyone!

I tried to write this post a while ago, but we have a new web hosting package and even though I was assured that I was not losing anything, I really am, and I was not able to write my post without my server resources being used up and having to wait and redo it all! So, I had to come up with another way of posting that will work until I get around to calling them and not having to spend $200 just so I can write text on my blog!

One of the big issues for Jewish homeschoolers has always been in creating a Judaic curriculum. After homeschooling for 12 years, I have finally put together a list of Judaic curriculum resources useful to Homeschoolers, and the grades they usually match up with. Most of the resources are free, and most can be found on chinuch.org. All I did was go through the resources to find the kinds of things that many homeschooling families are looking for – “What do Day Schools teach?” And then, the second question that most people do not get to for they don’t usually get the first question answered, but is in their minds – “How do I do it?” So, I went through tens of thousands of resources posted on chinuch.org and weeded out what I thought were the kinds of materials most appropriate in a homeschool setting. They are grouped by subject and then by grade range they are most suited for.

Firstly, please keep in mind that this is just a starting place! I have definitely included a lot that many people might be able to use my list to create a full curriculum for many years, however, please note that there will probably be some gaps that need filling in after a few years, so keep that in mind. There is still some information I want to include but is not on yet.

1. Most of what is posted are links to chinuch.org. Chinuch.org is part of Torah U’Mesorah. It is a teachers resource site where teachers can submit classroom ideas and worksheets for others to use. Teachers post their materials and someone at Torah U’Mesorah looks them over to make sure they are appropriate before making them available. Most of what is posted is supplementary material. Homeschooling parents are looking for complete programs or themes. I went through a huge portion of these materials to find complete “kits”. Bonus – Everything on chinuch.org is free. 🙂

2. There are other sites that I have listed. Many of those are not free but are definitely worth looking at if your budget allows.

How do you use my list? All you need to do is find the subject that you are interested in looking at, then go to the grade level (Elementary, Middle School, High School) and see if anything there fits your needs. I tried to find several options for each grade level, though I was not always successful. Just do this for each subject you are looking for.

Again, this was made as a STARTING place, and you might need to fill in the few gaps you may find. The link below will take you to a Google Document of my list. If you have any issues opening it up, please sent me a message. Extra bonus: My list is free, so please pass the link around to your friends who might need it!

Click here for the list

If you have a link that you think would be good, please let me know and I will take a look at it.

Hope you enjoy!

Where Has The Time Gone?

KIMG1645Spring is amazing here and I am trying to soak it all up before it gets too hot to do much. I have been enjoying walks in the morning before boys need to get up.

Purim came and went and now Pesach is next week! I am having such a hard time wrapping my mind around that! Yes, I have been cleaning, I’m not too worried. I cleaned two main rooms before Grandpa came to visit us before Purim. I finished my room yesterday and we are working on boys’ rooms. I have bought all our Pesach needs except the fresh fruits and vegetables and a few odds and ends (I left our Pesach broom 1441 miles north of here 1.5 years ago since we needed something to clean with after all our stuff was gone and my regular broom was broken anyways.) Not quite sure what I did last year with all the matza crumbs, but, somehow I managed, don’t feel like figure it out right now.

We are in hail season right now. We went to bed Purim night to 15 minutes of strong hail. Woke up in the morning and it looked like it snowed! Damaged our metal roof, took theKIMG1595 paint off the fence, and dented the cars. But, Baruch Hashem, it did not break through our roof or any windows (just a couple of miles away, there were such things happening!) We had more hail this past week. I have come to expect that – it does not just rain here, as I found out last year. It pours. Gista mabul! (It’s flooding – yiddish)

Life is a bit different lately. Other than just things happening, it does feel strange not to be teaching any limudei kodesh things. Yes, I sit down with my little one and do his work with him – the watching of the videos, reading the school work and writing down many of the his dictations. But still, does feel weird. The little one told me he needed to make a new haggadah. Ah, yes, we used to do those. He does have a nice one his Saba Saba (Great Grandfather) bought him shortly before he passed away, but he wants one he makes. I was rummaging through my mind to try to remember which ones I have in my 3 inch binder that would be good for him. I am thinking the circle one would be good for him. Will look it up and pull it out.

*2 days later*

KIMG1640
Tea Time! With strawberries dipped in cocoa water and then sugar. Utterly messy, but utterly delicious!

Well, I went to go look on Chinuch.org for it to link to it, but I got caught instead looking at some other amazing things they had there. And then 2 days passed by somehow. I showed Mr. Little another haggadah, and he wanted it all printed out. It is a full haggadah but has some nice comments for children in it and he liked it. I printed out all 90 ish pages and then messed up royally on the hole punching… We won’t go down that road. I still have to fix one set of holes so it goes in the binder. And no, we have not gone over any of it because of that. Sigh. Wonder if there is anything else I can do. I guess I can just punch holes all around to make it look like it is supposed to be there – there are already holes on the other side! Or, I think I might just find some cardboard and tie yarn through holes. Yes, I think we can do that. I will let him decorate the outside when he gets bored.

I am not sure how I would manage cleaning the house if the boys were in school. We have spent 3 days on two rooms upstairs. Yeah, well okay, the boys spent one day painting – you know how it goes, all you wanted to do was clean, but out comes the paint. That room has not been painted since we moved in, and it was really needing it. All 4 boys (and Mommy) were into the painting. I was going to just do 3 walls but they did all 4. That room has a KIMG1643ceiling with 3 sides (almost like a barn), and they painted two of the sides as well, just leaving the actual ceiling alone. One beautiful boy went up and beyond and made sure it was all trimmed – ceiling, walls, in between the windows. He did not stop until it was done. Mr. Quiet is good that way. And to give my heartfelt thanks, I took him out. No one knows where we went (except Daddy), and we went on our hideaway to get some ice cream! I told him not to tell anyone where we were going. The others worked, and I am proud of that, it is just that he went up and beyond. I wanted to thank him for that but don’t want the others to feel bad for they great as well. So much for trying to work on my diet. I couldn’t just let him eat by himself (the date was quiet as it was – we are both quiet people,) and no, even though I was not going to have any, I did. So, we enjoyed our ice cream, together, in silence. I think he enjoyed himself. 🙂

Other than painting, we played musical rooms, and three boys moved rooms. Three in one and one in the other. So, boys all slept in their new rooms last night – and all rooms are KIMG1648cleaned for Pesach. Now, to just deal with all the stuff that was put outside on the landing….. I wonder how much of it I can really throw out. Not sure I can get by with all of it, but I think I must try! After getting a black garbage bag full of garbage from one room (and yes, I HAVE cleaned it out several times since last Pesach!) I need to have less stuff in that particular room. Much less stuff. Meaning, I would love to have nothing really, so anything there I know is garbage! But, realistically, maybe just a desk? It has drawers so he can put things in it. I might get by with that. Worth a try.

Somehow we still managed to get some school work done. We are about done for cleaning – mainly just the landing upstairs is left. And the last big thing is the kitchen. A few odds and ends, but that is about it. I think we are doing good. The boys cleaned out our inside freezer (we have a separate fridge and freezer in our kitchen) and it is stuffed withKIMG1650 our Pesach foods for I refuse to clean the outside freezers. Too much work for me. So, Baruch Hashem, we can manage without them. We are really excited and all enjoy the Yom Tov. The boys are looking forward to making sure we have enough makkos for the seder. We usually end up missing some of our hail every year, and occasionally some wild animals go missing. And, we are looking foward to family coming over for the last days. That is always exciting. Apparently they liked us so much last year that they wanted to come this year. Woohoo! 😀 Baruch Hashem our house is plenty big for everyone! “Boys are excited about seeing their cousins” is an understatement.

I won’t keep y’all any longer. Wishing everyone a Kosher Pesach – free from both physical and spiritual chometz, with lots of joy and happiness. We should all be free from our personal slavery, and there is still time for Moshiach to come and take us to Eretz Yisroel 🙂

Post Pesach

20130325_163908Pesach has come and gone, I hope everyone had a good holiday. I really like all the Yomim Tovim and miss them when they go. I know I’m weird for most people are excited and can’t wait until the holidays are over, but I just love them. I love the cooking (and I do simple things and don’t drive myself crazy,) love spending time with the boys (still!) and of course my husband, and just love the Yom Tov feel. I honestly do not mind being with my children, even the day after. I wonder if it is because I am with them all day almost 365 days a year and they really are my life, for now. Some how I think holidays are more of a break than a burden for even though they are still with me, I have one less job to do during the day so it is like a vacation. 🙂

I try to do at least one nice, fun thing during Chol Hamoed. We do not go all out and crazy and feel like we have to fill up all the spare time, I guess it is partly because I spend a lot of quality time with the boys all year long, and partly because I don’t like to feel crazy. I like the lazy, nice, fun, relaxing vacation. We drove to Niagra Falls to meet up with my brother and his family who came in to Toronto to his wife’s family from all the way across the continent. Unfortunately it was for only an hour because I misunderstood our meeting area and went 20 minutes the opposite direction and then had to backtrack. 🙁 But, I will take that hour opposed to nothing! We had not seen them since last Pesach. We also went to the Children’s Museum on Friday afternoon before my pass expired. It was a fun time, I was able to send the older boys off to do whatever they wanted while I took the little one around for the stuff he wanted.

While other mothers were frustrated from sugar highs and otherwise seemingly cooped up children (and parents) the day after, I used20130329_134501 this time to put the boys to work. They worked on finishing up the packing that I did not get to finish at night and taking everything down to the basement (which really was not that much work, but I was glad I did not have to do it!) I even got my floors mopped for me which saved me from having to purchase a new mop head for one more week. We did daven and do a small bit of Torah learning but really did take the rest of the day off. It was really nice.

So today was the first day back at school. We even started on time! Davening, parsha and then the rest of our scheduled day. Since we have a schedule set out for when everything is done during the week, and this is the only day of real “school” for the week, I just let the boys pick out whatever they wanted to work on for the most part. It is a nice treat for them. There was still some left over sugar/Yom Tovness left inside of their beautiful bodies and some of the concentration was just not there, and yes, some tantruming was still present, but by the end of the night things have settled down and one boy is enjoying himself as I type and is on a night hike with his scout troop. I assume they have enjoyed their smores by now, and are about ready to walk back to the cars. Today was a nice change to the snow and nice cold we got on the last day of Yom Tov! It was in the 50’s and sunny, a great time for a hike! Spring has definitely come now.

My 3 year old did not want to sing any songs before or during Pesach, but now that it is after the holiday he has started singing his “Ma Nishtanah” for all of us to hear. That is so like him! He asked me yesterday when Pesach is coming again. I think he’s getting ready for next year quite on the early side! Now, it is time to make some shlissel challah (a “key” challah) for the segula of parnassa (money) which is customary to do the first Shabbos after Pesach. Usually this is the time where my school schedule starts to dwindle away somehow and I have all sorts of new ideas to try out for the coming year, but I think since Pesach was so early this year, I am still in the current school mode and am confident that next week will be a great start to the rest of the year.

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!