Sunday, October 31, 2010

*** GIVEAWAY WINNER ~ ShternieK!!! ***

Congrats to "ShternieK" on winning the Pick and Draw Giveaway!
Please post your e-mail address on my comments (I won't post it publicly) so I can get your info and mail you the cards!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Parshas Chayei Sara Arts'n Crafts

We woke up at 6am this morning (nothing new:) and the little guy decided that he wants to MAKE a well (the well that Eliezer met Rivkah at)... so this is what we came up with, including the camel:)

The camel is made out of an egg carton, clothes pegs and pipe-cleaners. The well is made with a Tupperware, Popsicle sticks and a pale that picks up water- he had so much fun with it!

We printed a bunch of projects out from and this is one of them: A picture of a well, a camel, the sun and a dish to drink out of for the camel. The little guy decided to glue Popsicle sticks to his well... i really recommend this website, it has so much to offer.

We are reading Kind Little Rivkah, a really sweet book about Rivkah at the well and her kindness to Eliezer. You can get it here:

While the little guy worked on his project, my munchkin painted in her Dora coloring book. Here she is:
This is our schedule board. We tried workboxes, but it didn't quite work for us. So instead, every morning we sit with our cards and decide what our schedule for the day will be. We have lots and lots of options so it really works well. The kids get really excited about picking what they want to do and then as they finish one task, move on to the next. Hey, it works for us!
We received this game as a gift and my little guy had such a ball playing it. It says it is for ages 3 and up, but my munchkin didn't quite have the patience for it (she just turned 3) but the little guy loved it. It really helps them practice their letter recognition, both upper and lower case. I think (if I have the time) I will make a Hebrew letter version with print and script.

And thats what we've been up to!

Have a great week!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Parshas VaYeira Shabbos Questions and Bereishis Curriculum Review

Here is a great packet I found on - It is a synopsis of the weekly Parshah with questions and answers... I found it to be perfect for asking questions on the Parshah at the Shabbos table-

You can download it here:

I was then given the wonderful opportunity to review A Creative Curriculum- Bereishis by Chani Marcus.

Their Bereishis curriculum provides you with 26 creative lessons covering the book of Bereishis. Each lesson contains a worksheet as well as numerous activities, discussions, projects and tools to engage the students, drive the lessons home and make the stories come to life.

It says it is appropriate for grades 3 – 6, but it can definitely be tweaked and simplified for younger kids.

It comes with a list of Projects for all year long as well as a complete lesson plan for each Parshah in Sefer Bereishis.

Each lesson plan comes with the following:
An-Anticipatory Set

It is jam packed with info and ideas, and I highly recommend it!

You can check out her website here: Aleph Champs

She also carries fabulous Hebrew reading books and workbooks and flashcards, all of which we have and love using-

So go check it out!

Wishing all a wonderful Shabbos,

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Homeschooling with a bunch of little ones...

Yes, homeschooling can definitely have its fair share of challenges- but my attitude on life is to make the absolute best out of whatever situations are thrown your way, fix the things that don't work and keep the things that do.

That being said, we have little munchkins of all ages, from early elementary to preschoolers to toddlers so it is a constant mission to keep the little ones busy and engaged while working with my big guy who is so smart and curious, its sometimes hard just keeping up with him!

So like I mentioned in a previous review, we have that fabulous book, Tasks Galore which has given me so many great ideas, quick and easy to prepare and keep the little ones busy for decent amounts of time until they are ready to move on to the next "task".

Here are some things we have been doing and work wonders:

Finger painting with half a cup of water mixed with half a cup of corn starch with a drop of food coloring. The "paint" hardens as it is put on the paper, making it have a sandy texture afterward. Paint on black paper, the paint shows up more then on white
Using pegs to match up upper and lower case letters of the ABC
Using pegs to match up colors on a paper plate
Matching pegs to laminated colored index cards
Beading a necklace out of salad macaroni
Sorting colored erasers into different colors in an ice tray. Using colored markers, I colored each square in the ice tray different colors, showing the munchkins where to place the correct colors. This could be done with small tongs or pincers, or just by hand
Beading plastic beads onto pipe cleaners (more sturdy then string, easier for little hands and fingers)

I made this box out of a container, cut a slit in the top and use it like a charity box. The slot has some resistance to the plastic shapes so the munchkins have to really push it in there. I made another one with a few small slits in different directions and they use Popsicle sticks to push in.
And this is a really sweet gift I received today for one of my kids from a friend of ours in Arizona. Here is her website, it makes a very sweet gift for a little one!

Its a never ending search for more of these little tasks for the little ones-
feel free to send some tried and true my way!
A great week to all,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekly Plan- Parshas VaYeira

So I found a fabulous weekly planner somewhere in my files. I have no idea where I got it but it looks perfect for us and the way our week goes.

Because we dont have a strict routine, I like this planner because it just highlights what I want to get done. It dosnt matter when or how long each activity takes, but as long as it is done over the week, by Shabbos, then I know I am in good shape!

Now it is just a Theme Planner, meaning that it is planned around the weekly Parshah or Jewish Holiday. It does not include Hebrew Reading or writing, although I would like to incorporate that at one stage. For now, here it is:

And here is a pdf version with clear boxes:

(I usually love color and graphics, but for this planner, I left it pretty simple)

And here is how I filled it in for the week:

Parshas VaYeira

Hachnasas Orchim (Hospitality to guests), Bikur Cholim (Visiting the sick)

Triangle Tent
4 Entrances
3 Malachim
99– age Avraham Briss
100– age Sara gave birth

Hands-on Activity:
Build a tent with 4 entrances, someone pretend to be Avraham with food to offer “guests”

Eat snack inside the tent that is built

Make a Tent out of paper with 4 entrances
Glue real sand to the floor
Make a welcome mat

Discuss ways we can stay healthy, make a chart of healthy and unhealthy foods
Discuss ways that you are and how to be hospitable and host guests

Related Activities:

Discuss North, South, East and West

Make a compass (from


  • Sewing needle, 1 inch long.
  • Small bar magnet (refrigerator magnets may work)
  • A small piece of cork.
  • A small glass or cup of water to float the cork and needle.

    How To Make It

    1. Your compass will work better if you first run a magnet over the needle a few times, always in the same direction. This action 'magnetizes' is to some extent.
    2. Cut off a small circle from one end of the cork, and drive the needle through it, from one end of the circle to the other, instead of through the exact middle
    3. Float the cork and needle in your cup of water so the floating needle lies roughly parallel to the surface of the water.
    4. Place your compass on a still surface and watch what happens. The needle should come to point towards the nearest magnetic pole (north or south as the case may be)
    5. If you want to experiment further, try placing a magnet near your compass and watch what happens.


    The earth produces a magnetic field. This field, although weak, is sufficient to align iron and other paramagnetic compounds such as your needle within it. By floating the needle on the cork, you let it rotate freely so it can orient itself within the earth's magnetic field, to point toward the north or south poles of the planet.
  • Books:

    Hope someone finds this somewhat helpful!

    Parshas VaYeira

    Here are a few great resources and ideas for this weeks parshah,

    Have fun:)

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Review: Tasks Galore- I'm hooked!

    Okay, I am officially in love with this book, Tasks Galore by Laurie Eckenrode, Pat Fennell, and Kathy Hearsey. Although it is geared toward children with special needs, mainly autism, I have found SO many activities to do with ALL of my kids who are all not special needs kids and different ages from Preschool down.

    I love the way the book is laid out, since I am a visual learner, I absolutely loved the fact that each activity is shown in the form of a very clear picture, no instructions are even needed to figure out how to do each activity. And you can tweak the different activities to suite your needs or even apply it to a Jewish subject or holiday.

    Here is an example of how all the pages are set up- so simple, so clear:
    The subjects are divided up as follows:
    Fine Motor Skills
    Language Arts

    I am constantly looking for these types of things to do with my tykes, and here is a book FILLED with them! I was so excited to see this, I haven't stopped planning and making these different activities, and so far the kids have loved every one I have made. There are also so many great ideas of activities to put into workboxes if you are using the workbox system.

    Lets just say, we were so busy enjoying ourselves and lost in the moment that I didn't take any photos- so next time I will make sure to do so to show you some of the awesome things we did and how we tweaked them to fit our needs.

    Check out their website, they have a few different types of books- and your kids don't have to have special needs to benefit from their little tasks.

    The book they sent to me costs $42.95 and is worth every penny in my humble opinion- click here for a full list of their products and prices.

    Tasks Galore is a fabulous homeschool resource and I highly recommend every mommy to have this book available in their homes!

    A wonderful week to all,

    I was provided with the featured item(s) at no cost by the manufacturer and/or its PR agency in order to test the products and give my own personal opinions on it. The opinions I have given are mine and are not influenced in any manner by monetary means.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    Parshas Lech Lecha and keeping the little ones entertained...

    My little guy just loves being read to- so reading about the Parshah is actually such a treat for him, he always asks me to keep reading on to the next Parshah to see what happens next:)

    So today we read from Parshas Noach until Parshas Chayei Sara in My Parshah Reader which he just loved and then went on to make a cute little project on this cool paper that a friend of ours gave us. It is plastic, multi colored and painted black. He used a tooth pick to make stars in the sky just like Hashem told Avraham that his children and grandchildren would be as many as the stars in the sky... and next thing I knew, the little guy ended up making a bunch of shooting stars and planets and rockets etc all in this cool sky of his:) hey, that's the beauty of Homeschooling, let them make their own creations, let those little imaginations run wild!

    Here he is in action:

    We also read this fabulous book from Hachai called "A Little Boy Named Avram" all about how Avraham discovered Hashem at the age of 3- it is very sweet, highly recommend it!

    Here are 2 songs from 613 Torah Avenue on this weeks Parshah- we have the CD, its adorable:

    Then for quiet time (for those in the family who outgrew their naps) we watched Malkali Bereishis, also a wonderful DVD all about the Parshahs. You can get it here. In fact, ALL here DVD's are so great for little ones, we have a bunch of them

    And here are just a few great activities my munchkin did today, she's almost 3...

    And my luck, my little guy is obsessed with doing Science experiments. Too bad Daddy is a Rabbi and mommy barely passed her way through every Science in high school AND college! But thanks to other mom blogs and websites, we manage to keep him entertained:)

    This one was cool:
    2 cups of water, blue was cold, red was hot (we used food coloring to color them)

    Then using a piece of thin hard card board, we turned the hot water upside down and placed it on top of the cold water. Due to the density of the hot water, the two did not mix! Now even I found that pretty cool:)
    Hey, we do what we can to keep those little tykes happy!
    A great week to all,

    Sunday, October 10, 2010

    Our "Curriculum" Part 2

    The Torah says to "teach a child according to his ways" and so I have 2 munchkins who have 2 very different styles of learning. My little guy (5) is extremely academic. He can read books for hours on end and loves worksheets, workbooks, math and anything Science. My munchkin (3) is text book Montessori- she loves fine sensory activities, sorting, cutting, sticking, beading, anything like that.

    And so I made her a little station with workboxes that she can do by herself. Each drawer is numbered and she does them in the order of the number. As she has finished each activity, she puts it back in the drawer and sticks a "check" on it, notifying me that she is "done" and then moves on to the next drawer. I have 6 drawers in total and she loves loves finding what surprises mommy has put in there every day.

    Now my little guy, he has folders with different "assignments" in each one. Some are worksheets, some are little reading books, some are hands on activities (which I put on the trays) and he picks and chooses which activities and assignments to do. There is no quota for how many things he has to do a day and so he can spend as much time as he needs on each thing. He loves the independence of picking and choosing what to do. Some days he does all of them, some days he does just a few, depending on his mood as well as the activity.

    He is enrolled in an online Yeshiva and so he does his Judaic studies in the morning for an hour and a half with the rest of his class. Its pretty awesome as he has kids in his class from all around the world who are all little Yeshiva boys and girls just like him living in the middle of nowhere! We have a big world map on the wall and he has pinned all the different countries/cities of his classmates (Cancun, Mexico, Guatemala, France, England, St. Thomas VI, and around the continental US), he really loves it and it covers so much- his Hebrew reading, writing, prayers, holidays, customs etc.

    Here is his system which works really well for him. He also has little "I'm all done!" cards to let me know which activities he has completed so I can "refill" it for the next day:

    Sometimes my munchkin wants to be like her big bro and so I give her Alef Bet work sheets from this book:

    They are fabulous for beginners in letter recognition, and she feels like a big girl doing her worksheets. I have a little folder that she keeps them in and feels really proud of herself:)

    So thats what works for us so far-
    Hope you find what works for you!
    Thanks for stopping by,

    Review and Giveaway- Pick and Draw

    I was given the wonderful opportunity to review the really fun drawing game Pick and Draw! Pick and Draw is a fun, one-of-a-kind drawing game that teaches you how to make very creative cartoon faces. It is simple and easy to use providing endless hours of fun and learning. In five minutes or less you will know how to play!
    My little guy, age 5, absolutely loved it. he made about 10 different faces and with each faces was having more and more fun, totally giggling throughout the entire activity! Lets just say that we ran out of room on the fridge as he wanted to display every one of his creations:) His confidence in drawing has jumped through the roof! He has learned how to draw faces and it is perfect because kids who learn to draw first (circle and lines) can move on to writing their letters. Check him out beginning his creation:

    Pick and Draw can be played by one or more people of all ages and is an excellent way to engage in creative and imaginative thinking and best of all, it’s a lot of fun!

    You can win your own Pick and Draw Game by subscribing to my blog and leaving a comment telling me how you would use this simple game. I will pick the winner via on October 31, 2010. The winner will be notified by email. I will modify this post that the winner has been chosen.

    Good Luck!
    Disclaimer: I was given the game Pick and Draw from creator, Rich Davis, to review and one to giveaway. The opinions in the post are mine and I was not given any compensation for my thoughts. I can't guarantee that my readers will like this game...but I'm pretty sure that they will:)

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Our "Curriculum" Part 1

    For my big guy, age 5, I have decided to make him subject folders. Everyday I will put worksheets, activities, projects etc in each folder for him to complete during "school time". I aim to fill about 2 hours up...

    Here are the labels I made for his folders:

    Then for my munchkin, age 3, I have different wrkboxes for her. I am aiming for 4 a day, depending on her mood and concentration and will constantly rotate them daily.

    Here are her labels:

    Stay tuned for Part 2, where we actually implement them:)

    Oh, and Jewish subjects will follow soon!


    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Parshas Noach

    Ok, so this is a pretty easy and enjoyable Parshah to learn- I mean which kids don't love the story of Noah's ark, right?

    There are endless games, crafts, activities, worksheets etc. to do and as I come across fun ones and ideas I hope to post them.

    We just happen to have a few fun things to play with, read and create with - and it just so happened that as we were reading the story from our Parshah Reader this morning, we looked outside the window only to see the most gorgeous rainbow across the sky:)

    So this is a felt book of Noahs Ark, it comes with a bunch of felt animals and things to go with the story. The kids had fun reenacting the events, with their own little Noach and his wife, Naama. I picked it up at Ross a while ago, they have lots of different themes in these books:

    This little puppet book was given to us as a gift from a friend. She got it from Borders Book Store. Its a hand puppet with a mini book on the hand with a short version of the story.
    We then went on to build our own ark out of big bricks. Garbage on the bottom, animals in the middle and Noach and his family on the top. We discussed how there were 7 pairs of Kosher animals and 1 pair of non-kosher animals.
    Here are a few links to some fun stuff to do with this Parshah:

    My munchkin took a little time out to make a necklace out of erasers and pipe cleaners. I am really into finding things like this for her to do as she really enjoys them and has great concentration. Elizabeth, an awesome Jewish mom from Creative Learning Fun has got some fabulous ideas to do with little ones-
    I am hoping to post our 'curriculum' this week, more for myself to see exactly what we're doing with each kiddo as this past month has just been so busy with the new babies and high holidays and all- but now its back to 'school' and routine! Wish me luck in getting it all together:)

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