Room613 Class Schedule for 2012-2013


Class descriptions can be viewed by clicking here.

Main Schedule

Classes with Rabbi Yosef Resnick *
NOTE: All of Rabbi Resnick’s classes are on the main schedule and are included in the Unlimited Learningmembership EXCEPT those marked “elective.”

All times are Eastern Time, except where otherwise noted.

Mondays
Morning
9:30 – 9:45 Davening Circle (*free and open to all member levels)
10:00 – 10:30 Jewish Thought: Hanhagos Tzadikim (Customs of the Righteous)
10:45 – 11:15 Chumash: parshat Chayei Sarah/parshat Toldot
11:30 – 12:00 Halacha I: Concepts & Topics in Jewish Law – Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yalkut Yosef (and other texts)

Afternoon
1:00 – 1:30 Torah SheB’al Peh/the Oral Torah: Mishna (mesechta Sukkah, perek 4) and other texts
1:45 – 2:15 Nevi’im/Prophets: Sefer Shmuel I (beginning at perek 14)
2:30 – 3:00 Biur Tefillah: Insights into the Siddur & Prayer
3:15 – 3:45 Elective “The Thinking Jewish Teenager’s Guide to Life” (for teen boys)4:00 – 4:30 Elective  Talmud: in-depth study of mesechta Brachos and others

Tuesdays
Morning
9:30 – 9:45 Davening Circle
10:00 – 10:30 Jewish Thought: Hanhagos Tzadikim
10:45 – 11:15 Chumash: Parshat HaShavua/weekly Torah portion (textual study)
11:30 – 12:00 Halacha II: Rambam’s Mishneh Torah (various topics)

Afternoon
1:00 – 1:30 Ketuvim/Writings: Mishlei/Proverbs, Tehillim, and other texts
1:45 – 2:15 Nevi’im: Sefer Shmuel I (beginning at perek 14)
2:30 – 3:00 Basic Torah KnowledgeYediot Klaliot & Musagim b’Yahadut / Fundamental concepts in Judaism (based on the Torah u’Mesorah books and other sources) 
3:15 – 3:45 Elective Hebrew Language Arts

Wednesdays
Morning
9:30 – 9:45 Davening Circle
10:00 – 10:30 Jewish Thought: Hanhagos Tzadikim
10:45 – 11:15 Chumash: parshat Chayei Sarah/parshat Toldot
11:30 – 12:00 Halacha I: Topics in Jewish Law – Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yalkut Yosef (and other texts, rotating topics)

Afternoon
1:00 – 1:30 NEW! Jewish Service Learning; study of various topics in combination with community service: tzedakah, bikur cholim, etc.
*No classes after 1:30 on Wednesdays

Thursdays
Morning
9:30 – 9:45 Davening Circle
10:00 – 10:30 Jewish Thought: Hanhagos Tzadikim
10:45 – 11:15 Chumash: Parshat HaShavua (textual study)11:30 – 12:00 Halacha II: Rambam’s Mishneh Torah

Afternoon
“The Shabbos Trilogy”
1:00 – 1:30 Mitzvot & Halachot in the Weekly Parsha – Midrash, Sefer haChinuch, Ben Ish Chai, and more!
1:45 – 2:15 Shabbat Laws & Customs
2:30 – 3:00 Insights into the Weekly Parsha (not textual study) 
3:15 – 3:45 Elective for boys ages 7–9: Kriah, Stories, Parsha & More!
4:00 – 4:30 Elective Talmud: in-depth study of mesechta Brachos and others

Fridays & Sundays
Private classes & tutoring (please contact me to arrange private sessions)

 * Alternative Scheduling Option for LA Homeschoolers *
and all others who are not in the Eastern U.S. time zone
 If you’re in a time zone that makes attending our live morning classes impractical, this plan is for you. Our Alternative Schedule offers unlimited access to all of Rabbi Resnick’s afternoon classes on the main schedule. In addition, you have unlimited access to all morning (and afternoon) classes as complete audiovisual recordings, available any time of day or night.

The schedule is subject to change. If you have suggestions or requests, please let us know.

Musings on the 4th Torah Ed Homeschool Conference

The day after the conference, we finally made our way back home.  We left Motzei Shabbos, spent the night somewhere on the road, and drove in to the conference Sunday morning. We left a little early but with only about 4.5 hours of sleep the night before, we were exhausted, and ended up spending another night on the road.

I was not scheduled to talk until after lunch, and that left me free the entire morning to listen to the wonderful speakers.  It was absolutely wonderful.  It is hard for me to sit here and write about how I feel,  but I can say that I learned something from everyone, some had more relevant information for our particular family than others, but everyone was great.

By the time my turn came, I felt very small, after all, I have only been homeschooling for 7 years, and here I was trying to present material to parents who have been at it much longer than me!  After sitting all morning, listening to wonderful parents and their stories , their encouragement and advice, was I going to be able to stand up to them?  Would I be able to help and encourage others as well?  I hope I did!  I asked my wonderful husband how I did, and he smiled and told me it was great, but then added that he is a little biased to begin with. 😉

I think I will write a few things that really touched me personally.

The first speaker was Mrs. Susan Lapin.  She is a vetran homeschooler – she started homeschooling before most people in the secular world even heard of the word.  One of the first things she mentioned was that yes, her homeschooled children DID get married – and at least one got married to another homeschooled child.  For those who are concerned about shidduchim, that is a nice piece of chizuk 🙂 She basically told us how she and her husband  got started into homeschooling.  Her oldest daughter was “loosing her sparkle.” They did not know what was wrong, but they did know that school was negative for her.  If they would keep her at home, then at least it would be a neutral environment, and that is better than negative. They did not know what they were going to do, but they did keep her daughter home that next year and instead of just a neutral environment, it ended up being positive.  The next year all children were pulled out.

Mr. Shoshana Zohari was another speaker that I listened too.  She was talking about children in middle school, Bar/Bat Mitzvah and beyond. One of the points she talked about was about how she makes being Jewish fun and exciting.  Anything they can do to keep the excitement, from singing and dancing and playing on plastic drums while davening to singing with happiness every day at lunch while everyone bentches together.  Yes, it is hard to keep the motivation on the parent’s part, but I think if we can keep the goal in mind, it will help encourage us during those hard days.

I just want to mention my thanks to all the people who were involved in making the conference and gave of their time and energy to create such a wonderful, successful event – from the organizing to attending, to the babysitting – which I think is one of the most important parts.  It was wonderful to be able to spend time with my husband and not have to worry about the children and know they are taken care of!

For those who were not able to attend, or like me, had to choose between speakers for they doubled up on speakers for most of the day, I understand they will be posting audios of the talks online.  When I find out where they are, I will BE”N post the link!

Pesach

Well, as Pesach is getting close to being finished, I have decided that I actually have time to sit down and write, though my luck the boys will come in from outside or the little one will get up from his nap before I can get very far.

“Ma nishtana hashanah hazeh mikol hashanos” (Why is this year different from other years)?

For some reason this year was very different with all preparations than any in the past.  When the boys were younger, I was the soul teacher, and it was easy to take a morning or afternoon and we would all head to one room in the house, tear it apart and clean it.  The next day, or the day after, the same thing would happen to another part of the house, until it was all done.  I do not remember what happened last year, but this year it was a little different.  Firstly, last year I made a mistake – I started in the bedrooms and then worked my way to the basement, (leaving the kitchen for last.)  It was a mistake for by the time we did the search for all the chometz, my dear husband was very upset for the rooms had been lived in again and there was absolutely no way we did any cleaning! (I think I vaguely remember after him yelling at me for the umpteenth time, telling him that next year he could do the cleaning…..)

So, this year I vowed not to let that happen again.  I decided to start with the least used room, and work up to the most used (messiest) room in the house, and then the kitchen.  There was only one problem – now that my boys did set classes online with their Rebbe, how was I going to grab their help for any length of time to clean?  We ended up doing a room on a Sunday, and then on a non-school weekday (a Friday – yes, we only do a 4 day “schedule” – more on that in a later post, G-d willing) tackling the basement.  We are lucky, there is not much in the basement (on purpose), and it was just cleaned a week or so before for our company that came over.  The rest of the house I did the week before Pesach.

Why did I leave it so late?  Well, other than just not wanting to drive myself crazy and work in the evenings and get to sleep late, I prefer to take the easy way out.  Both cellars were closed off, as well as the garage, a few of the closets and the pantry.  I also take the easy way out and make simple meals.  I have a nice recipe I use for a whole turkey – I can make a soup, roast turkey, and shnitzel, in less than 2 hours.  That is about 4 meals worth of main dishes.

My husband took all the boys to the zoo (2 hours away!) for the day, and that let me clean our room, as well as all the laundry.  I won’t mention the bedroom took 4 hours (ouch!)  As our room gets to be the “storage” room on a regular basis, it was so nice to get it back again!

I did not teach the week before Pesach, however, the boys attended their online classes.  We enjoyed our seders.  The boys look forward to jumping frogs, hail landing in their grape juice, and the largest locusts seen.  And, while the rest of the parents are taking their children all over town this week, I am taking yet another week off of school and hiding in my room, letting the boys read, run outside, go to the library, and try to fly a kite.  Sometimes I feel like a “bad” parent – but then again, I remember I spend quality time with my boys the entire year, and do not have to try to cram it all in to a few days at a time several times a year.  It was not all so bad, they did have a bochor who came over for one afternoon and spent several hours with them teaching them different things, as well as another playdate for my youngest the next day.

We are also a one car family, and the weather the last few days has been weird, and I have been letting my husband take the van instead of riding to work on the scooter in the rain.  And now, it is nice and sunny, no hail, no rain, and we do not have a car to go to the (local) zoo.  Perhaps tomorrow 🙂  And yes, I know tomorrow is erev Yom Tov again, but there is plenty of time to cook and go to the zoo and take showers!

So, for those that read this during Pesach – I wish all of you a wonderful rest of the Yom Tov, and for those that read this afterwards, hope you had a wonderful and Pesach.  Hope all of us are able to pull free from our enslavement of our Egypt this year!

(Oh, and yes, all boys came into the room, but they were kind enough to let me finish typing! Yeah!)

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!

We made a decision…. Now what?

Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a wonderful Tu B’Shevat.  It is an especially wonderful chag (holiday) in our house.  Not only is it the birthday of the trees, it is the birthday of boy #2 and it is nice to take the day and make it even more special.  So, I am wishing my 10 year old a wonderful birthday!  (The cake is supposed to resemble a pomegranate cut open. 🙂  )

This post is actually a continuation of the previous posting.  The first step was coming up with our decision.  The next step was deciding what in the world I was going to do. Actually, these two steps were made simultaneously.  As I was investigating, I investigated different curricula, but it was not until I found the answers to my questions did I feel I was ready.  And when I was ready, I already had the material I was going to use.

As I mentioned, during the six months of research, I investigated all sorts of curricula and methods, and given the fact that this was the first year homeschooling, and I was not sure I could/would find the time to create my own, (and why should I re-invent the wheel anyways, if something else is out there?) I settled upon Calvert’s homeschooling package.  This appealed to me for Calvert sends everything one needs to start homeschooling, including pencils, paper and a pencil sharpener!  What more could I ask for?  And, at just under $700 (which included teacher support the entire year, and ATS – optional testing/grading by accredited teachers,) it was 92% cheaper than our day school.  What a deal!

At the time we had 3 boys, the youngest being only 18 months.  I was going to homeschool our oldest only, who was going to be almost 5, and entering grade 1.  (We felt that he had more than the mental capability at such a young age and with his personality it would be better to push him than keep him behind.)

Calvert lists the average amount of time required for each of their subjects, so before our new school year was to begin, I made a schedule – starting at about 9 am.  I quickly ran into a big problem.  For kindergarten, they were suggesting 2.5-3 hours of school work — Ok, so 9am-12pm.  BUT, that was not going to work!  I was going to have one boy at a playgroup, and I was going to have my baby (ok, toddler) at home, and there was nap time, as well as having to feed him and play with him – he was not a newborn, and so just having him sit next to us was not going to work.  I had to have everything done by lunch time, for that was when I had to go get my other child and spend time with him too!  How could I homeschool?

As with most people, I was never homeschooled and until this time, I do not recall ever meeting (let alone talk too) another homeschool parent/child.  People get used to a school setting: Go to school by a certain time in the morning.  Bell rings.  Take attendance, class.  Bell rings.  Change class/recess.  Bell rings.  Lunch.  Bell rings.  Afternoon classes and recess.  The bell rings for these as well.  We are conditioned with the bell.  Also, how we are taught is similar throughout almost all schools – Textbooks and worksheets.

Then the breakthrough happened.  I learned something very important to homeschooling, something seemingly so obvious, but not obvious to most people:

 You do not have to follow a standard school schedule.

What this means is that I do not have to do a 9-12 school, I can teach whenever I want/need/have time too.  If I want to start before the standard school starting time, then I can.  If I want to take the entire morning off for it does not fit our family schedule, and teach only in the afternoons, then I can.  If I wanted to teach a little in the mornings and then a little in the afternoon when the two younger boys went down for a nap, I was allowed that too.  I realized I was allowed to think out of the box.  I was free to be different.  There is no “one size fits all” approach in homeschooling.  As I was to find out over the years, this applies to the teaching style and materials used as well.

With this enlightenment, my eyes were opened, and all of a sudden this big heavy burden was lifted from my shoulders.  I was actually getting really excited.  I could see that I could do it, and I was not worried if things did not quite work out.  I knew that I was allowed to try things a different way.

This was not going to be the first time that things just “seemed to click”, and I am sure there will be a few more to come.  As I am learning more and more lately, homeschooling is learning for everyone in the family, not just the children.

How We Got Started

I figure I would start off by writing about how we began homeschooling.  That is usually the one of the first questions that we are asked, so, I’ll jump ahead and tell you about it so you won’t have to ask. 🙂

The last 6 years has been quite amazing to say the least.  Six years ago I could not imagine homeschooling.  Six years ago I could not imagine doing several things that I have found myself capable of doing.  With being married to a wonderful husband and being blessed with 4 wonderful boys, it is not surprising that I find myself going beyond what I thought was my limit.  Each day is a new day.  Each day we live and try to learn and grow.

Deciding to homeschool was not a simple and easy decision.  Homeschooling is becoming more and more popular within the Jewish community. As with most people, money was an issue with us.  However, we thought we should try the best we could and send our children to a religious Jewish school. With insight that many times only a parent can have with their child, we knew that after only having experienced preschool, the schooling had to be changed.  One night we sat down trying to come up with a list of options.  With public school out of the question, we found the only other option that we could think of was homeschooling.  My husband was so excited. I did not quite share the same level of excitement, probably because I would be the one teaching, not him! 😉

To make a long story short, after that one conversation, nothing more was mentioned for 2 months.  Then, one afternoon:  “Are you still thinking about homeschooling?”  “Um, yes.  You?”  “Yes.” Then nothing more for another 2 months!  One afternoon the question was asked again.  We both had been researching on our own for 4 months.  We then decided we were both serious about it and we should probably start talking to each other about it.  It took another two months before I finally got the big answers needed and I felt comfortable with the idea.

I am not going to say that was it.  Nor am I going to say we never looked back.  What I am going to say is that our decision was the beginning of a long ongoing journey; A journey that has had, and continues to have its ups and its downs.  There have been times when we have asked ourselves if we made the right decision.  However, when we look back and see how each of our boys have grown, we do believe we have made the right decision.

Have we always made the right choices and taught the things in the right way?  Of course not.  This is part of being human.  It is a learning experience for all.  We cannot always know the best way to teach each child, or even the best topics to teach.  Sometimes it is just trial and error.  There are times when I just want to pull out all my hair.  And then, there are the times when you see the sparkle in their eyes as something just clicks inside of them.

I think the biggest help that I have had was belonging to a few different email support groups.  It has been extremely helpful to not only have a group of people to ask questions too, but also to just read the questions and answers that others have.  You find out that your home is not unique – many other people have the same questions and issues as you.  You are not alone.  🙂

What I would like to do is write down some experiences we have had and I hope that others will get some benefit from them.