I get ALOT of emails asking me what Curriculum we use- both Jewish and secular. I also get many questions about our daily/weekly routine. So here it is, in a nutshell- hope its helpful!
Like I said in this post, having a bunch of little kids at home, you need to know that things will NOT always go according to plan and as much as you have your schedule and routine, know that it is a LOOSE routine and be prepared to work around it.
Using a dry erase board, I made a "tentative" schedule and put it up on the wall in the kitchen, just so the kids have an idea of what to expect throughout the day. It goes something like this:
6:30-7:30 Get dressed, brush teeth, breakfast
7:30-9:30 Older kids online class, younger kids play
9:30-10:00 Snack, play
10:00-12:00 School time, younger kids nap time
12:00-12:30 Lunch for everyone
12:30-2:30 Toddler nap time, quiet time for older kids (play, watch a video, go on www.Brainpop.com)
2:30-4:00 Snack, Trip (park, aquarium, playground) or outside play
4:00-4:30 play, tidy playroom
5:00-5:30 Bath time and P.J.s
5:30-6:15 Reading time
6:15-6:30 Get ready for bed
We keep this schedule Monday-Thursday. Friday, they go out with Daddy for the morning while mommy cooks for Shabbos, Shabbos is Shabbos and Sunday mornings we have Hebrew School with other kids and we usually go out as a family in the afternoon.
Now, I must tell you that I am a FIRM believer that little kids should be encouraged to PLAY PLAY PLAY and not get used to being entertained by an adult. Yes, I play with my kids, but only during "school time". I also read to them for a nice chunk of time at the end of every day. Other then that, they read and play by themselves.
I also must add that if the kids are playing and busy, I NEVER interrupt them, even if it goes into "School time". Unless it is something very important, if they are in "the zone" and are playing nicely together and very involved in whatever game they are playing, I let them be until they are done. I feel this shows them a certain respect for what they are doing which encourages them to keep doing it.
Our School time is done using the Montessori approach. We converted our garage into a classroom and have it set up Montessori style. I have many activities set up and prepared so during school time, the kids can pick what they want to do. As you can see in this blog, I plan many activities around the weekly Parshah/Jewish Holiday.
It is important to realize that each child is unique and has their own learning style- and to cater to it and embrace it.
The older 2 have the Jewish online class in the morning where they cover Davening, Hebrew reading and writing, parshah and holidays, and so our School time is a time to learn about anything they want to learn about.
My oldest is 6 and he LOVES anything Science. And so, we have a section of the classroom with all things Science: books, puzzles, models, activities. He can sit there for 2 hours straight working on different things, and sometimes he does.
My 4 year old loves coloring and Playdo. She has her little section with markers, crayons, papers, coloring books, stickers, Playdo, cookie cutters and all things fun like that. She keeps herself very busy there too. Sometimes they ask for help, sometimes they don't. That's what I love about the Montessori method. The kids are encouraged to work by themselves, without the help of the teacher.
My 3 year old is new to the classroom and is enjoying all the new "toys" that he discovers on a daily basis. He mostly sticks to the practical life and sensory materials (puzzles, building blocks, sand table, classic preschool stuff).
We have a rule that we can only be in our classroom during School time. This keeps things exciting for them, as they know that this is the only time they can play/work here.
For us (my husband and I) it is important that our kids learn what they are interested in. We introduce them to lots of things and the things they like, we encourage.
In regard to Jewish subjects, we have TONS of Jewish children's books in our library and live an Ultra-orthodox Chassidic way of life, which is an education all of itself. We also have the online school, so that is their "Jewish" curriculum.
In regard to Secular studies, I wish I could list off to you the specific books we use, teachers manuals and all- but the official curriculum's just don't work for us.
We use all types of books, from Dr. Seuss's Learning Library to National Geographic magazines. We use lots of different workbooks, LOTS of library books and books from Amazon as well as this fabulous site www.Brainpop.com. We make learning an all day affair in our lives, try make every opportunity a learning opportunity so the kids really develop a love for learning.
I don't ever make them do something they do not want to do. Some would agree with this, some would not. But it works for us.
Although I did not post any actual resources in detail, I have posted MANY throughout this blog, so just go to the search button in the side bar and search for whatever you might be interested in.
I hope this was helpful~
Wishing you a wonderful week,