Bright Beginnings, The Joy of Learning with Little Ones Theres no reason to fear the preschoolyears! Homeschooling little ones is easy and fun, even if you didnt have a thorough Jewish educationyourself. Learn how to find and create materials - and use what you already have! - to start learning Hebrew reading, Yom Tov, parsha, tefillah, and more.
Why this is the easiest session:• If you do it right, you should be having fun with your kids!• Education at this age should look a LOT like playing!
Finding your “Educational Philosophy”• In other words, “Know Thyself”• What kind of parenting comes naturally?• Are you – Laid back, formal, casual, easygoing, high-strung?• How do you feel about schedules?• How do you feel about reading to your child?• Do you want your child to meet milestones?• Does it depend on your kid? (kind of)
My educational philosophy, kind of• Charlotte Mason, 1842-1923• “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, and a Life”• Emphasis on: – Reading – Narration – Nature Study• Advocated a late start (around age 6)
Teaching subjects you don’t know• Baalei Teshuvah and Geirim• FFBs who don’t know where to start• Anyone who feels like they’re “not qualified”
They are VERY young• The fallacy of the “preschool” mindset• Before age 3 (and even after!), most preschools are BABYSITTING – we don’t have to compete!• “Oldest” pressure – eager to start!
Finding YOUR front door• “Shivim Panim l’Torah” –• The Torah, and Jewish education, has 70 faces… what’s yours?• Few right or wrong answers• Not rocket science: If you miss something in the early years, fill it in later!
WEEKLY PARSHA• My personal hamster wheel• Source of stories, copywork, songs,• Crafts, activities, snacks, etc.
TANACH• “Bekius”/ : breadth, as opposed to depth: parsha = depth; tanach = breadth• David, Daniel, Esther, Rus, Shimshon, Shmuel – do our kids know these figures and others?• Christians do this VERY well… but be careful!
YOM TOV• There is ALWAYS a Yom Tov coming!• Count down, count up• Talk it up, find the stories• Crafts, songs, get together with friends
TEFILLAH• Consider getting together with other homeschoolers – once a week, bi-weekly, monthly – to daven together!• Don’t be overwhelmed – start small: – modeh ani, shema, brachos, adon olam – add on as you & your kids are comfortable.
ALEF-BAIS• “Letter a week” for 22 weeks: – Review the alef-bais song & “meet” the letter – Colour the letter & post it prominently – Sing a song starting with that letter – Flashcards – Crafts etc are optional and fun but seemingly beyond me…!• Have a “siyum” / party at the end!
OTHER• This could include: – Israel – Gedolim – 613 Mitzvos – Middos
“Secular” subjects that ain’t!• Don’t divide your kids!• Even Jewish schools split learning into Hebrew and “General” / “English” subjects… …but homeschoolers don’t have to!• Integrate Jewish themes into any subject• Create your own materials: more on this later
Jewish roads into…• Math – Use Hebrew days of the week, practice numbers on the calendar; observe Rosh Chodesh – Create word problems for Jewish events – Appropriate manipulatives (ie candles, etc) – Sorting concepts: small, medium, large, with Jewish or Yom Tov objects
Jewish roads into…• Language – Unit study on (good) books with Jewish themes – Parsha copywork (more on this later) – Similarities and differences (grammar etc)• Crafts and/or Handicrafts – This is the easiest! – Christian “Sunday school” crafts (with caution!!!) – Charlotte Mason: useful crafts
Jewish roads into…• History – Whatever history you learn, find out where the Jews were & what they were doing – Historicity of Yamim Tovim & Tanach events – they really happened!!!• Geography – Map the parsha, yom tov, etc. – Create maps of Israel
Jewish roads into…• Science – Find Hebrew terminology – Use posters, charts, etc – Phases of the moon / Jewish month – Remember Hashem when you do science!• Any other subject!!!
Topics to tread lightly…• Ecology, earth day, global warming (pessimistic themes that potentially deny Hashem’s benevolent hand in the world)• Israel??? Not what you teach, but what kids overhear! (“it’s a war zone”)• History, Science, etc – many Christian resources and/or perspective (Crusades, literal young earth creationism)• Some people are cautious about introducing: – Other religions & belief systems – Mythology• I also avoid: – Groundhog day, Valentine’s Day, Hallowe’en, New Year’s, Mother’s & Father’s Day… & probably more
More about Hebrew…• If you don’t know Hebrew yet… START NOW!• Stay one step ahead, if necessary• Use transliterations, if necessary• Even if you can afford Hebrew tutors, LEARN IT YOURSELF (easy for me to say!)• It can be very hard, but Hebrew is your child’s best and biggest door into a lifelong love of Judaism and Torah.
What are your (Hebrew) goals?• Chumash• Tefillah• Modern Hebrew• Reading• Conversation
Progressive Reading ModelThroughout all steps, READ TO THEM!• 1) Foundations – alef-bais, nekudos• 2) Early reading – kriyah, easy words (JK-SK)• 3) Copywork (SK+)• 4) Dictation (Grades 2+)• English or Hebrew, “Creative” writing is nice… but not essential!
Beginning Hebrew• Different approaches: whole-word vs phonics, just like in English• My way: – Begin with Alef-Bais – just the letters – Teach nekudos next – cut out, move under letters (ice cream cones!) – Real words vs nonsense words??? – Read simple stories together• SING, SING, SING!
Advanced Hebrew Steps• Later on, …• Introduce grammatical concepts: – Use workbooks or NOT, as you prefer – Plural and singular – Gender –why are chairs “boys” but beds “girls”? – Shoresh – “hidden” words inside every word – Other suffixes and prefixes (later!)
How do you feel about……Reading “meaningless” text???(words may have meaning, but notnecessarily for you or your child)
Hebrew Copywork• One easy step, helps with – Reading – Grammar (use the best models!) – Handwriting• Themes – Parsha – Chumash, Yom Tov, Tefillah/Siddur, Poetry, more• YOU don’t have to know (much) Hebrew!
More about Hebrew…• Free kriyah resources from chinuch.org• Hebrew songs• Davening / brachos• Alef-bais• Native Hebrew speakers YES!• YouTube videos• Reading for pleasure
Helpful Resources• Lapbooks• Workbooks (use sparingly!)• Toy and REAL objects!
DIY: Creating your own resources• Why do we have to???• Frum resources are often – Non-existent – Bad• If you can type, you can create a worksheet, poster, songbook, for any occasion!
Typing in Hebrew?• EASY in Windows XP, Word etc – no software!• Use Google Translate:• Use Morfix – it even adds the vowels!
We forgot the FOOD!• Find ways to add FOOD to the lesson plan!
Helpful books• Ruth Beechick (Christian), esp The Three R’s• John Taylor Gatto – Jewish schools started out dramatically different, but have “modernized” toward the public model Gatto condemns.• Well-Trained Mind (Classical education model)