A few weeks ago, my husband bought me these gorgeous tulips for Shabbos.
I put them next to the window and noticed how they all just naturally started leaning toward the sun.
The tulips gain nutrients by leaning toward the sun, allowing them to grow.
In a small way, this is very much like people. Children in particular.
We will naturally lean toward what feels good to us. What we like and enjoy.
If a child is artistic, they will love coloring and crafts.
If they like math, they will love all things numbers and see the math in every day life every where.
For the longest time I have always been drawn to child led learning. It just makes so much sense to me. If a child enjoys learning something, feed it and let them enjoy it as long as they wish.
The idea of forcing a child to learn something made no sense to me.
But as my children get older, I realize as an Orthodox Jewish mother, that there are some things that my kids will not love learning but as Jewish children, they need to do it.
So how do we 'force' our kids to learn things that they are not necessarily crazy about?
My answer is to help them get really good at it, no matter how long it takes.
It's not about the worksheets and tests or how much material you can cover with them.
It's about giving them the skills to learn and understand and get really good at it. Because when you are good at something, your confidence is higher and you want to do more of it, because you 'get it.'
Scour the internet for ideas and books and resources to make whatever it is you want to learn with your child as interesting and fun as possible.
Now is the time to give them that sweet taste for learning.
One of my kids was having a really hard time learning Chumash. I was very fortunate to come across these fabulous workbooks that have helped my son so much and given him so much confidence in his learning.
We homeschool our kids, so we are their primary educators. It is our jobs to instill a love and enjoyment of learning. Just like we make their veggies taste good so they eat them and will grow strong and healthy, so too when we teach our kids, we want to make the experience as 'sweet' as possible.
As homeschoolers, we all have our own methods of homeschooling. Some of us have a background in education, some of us have homeschool Co-ops, some of us are just moms doing our best to give our kids the best Jewish education we can.
The Jewish Online School is an online school offering Numerous Judaic studies. They have online classrooms where students get together a few times a week and a teacher teaches subjects that they wouldn't be able to learn because for some reason or another there is no available brick and mortar school near them for the students to learn or they do not have the necessary resources. The teachers are phenomenal and the students create Jewish friends from all over the world.
They currently have four different schools under one "roof":
1. Day School: Student have the option to attend school twice a week or four times a week. They have classes beginning through the day and night for the convenience of all families everywhere. The students learn Kriah, Chumash, Navi, Parshah, Dvar Torah, Ivrit, Yediot Kloliot and Yomim Tovim.
2. Hebrew School: Students attend school once a week to learn about their Jewish Heritage, The teachers teach about Shabbat, Israel, Brachot, Kosher and about our Jewish History and upcoming holidays.
The subjects are taught in a very fun and interactive way with exciting arts 'n crafts and activities.
3. Conversational Hebrew Classes: Native Israelites teach this class. They teach students how to speak Hebrew through the curriculum Hebrew and Heritage.
4. Bar Mitzvah program and a special program for teens.
They try to accommodate all time zones.
If your family is involved in the military in any way, your student can join the school with a twenty two percent discount.
They offer a free trial of their classes so for those who would be interested, you can contact them at www.Jewishonlineschool.com or call 718-713-3080.
The Jewish Homeschooling world is growing at a very rapid pace so the more resources we have, the more successful we all can be in our homeschooling journey.
Last night my friend passed away in her sleep. She was a young, beautiful mother of 8 young children. There are no words when such tragedy strikes. After a very tearful night, I opened my eyes this morning with one of my kids snuggled up against me while another tried to see how far her finger could fit up my nose, I realized that rolling over and crying myself back to sleep just was not going to happen. I came into the kitchen to make breakfast for everyone, still in somewhat of a dream state trying to figure out how something like this could happen, when a fight broke out between two of my kids suddenly interrupting my thoughts. It then dawned on me that like it or not, life would have to go on today. The kids are going to fight, the mail lady is going to smile at me when she sees me and my babysitter was going to tell me about her brand new shoes. Yes, apparently life was going to continue. I sat down with my kids and told them very gently what had happened so that they could understand on a very small scale that mommy was feeling sad. The response I received was astounding. My five year old said, "That's silly mommy, she wasn't an old lady. And mommys don't pass away. Can I go to their house and tell her five year old that I'm five too and then he'll be happy?" My six year old then added, "Lets send her kids lots of candy and then they wont be so sad. I feel very sad inside, I don't want them to feel sad too." And what my eight year old said made me almost fall over. He said, "Mommy, I know its sad, but there's a teeny bit of good, you know? Her neshama (soul) gets to go to Shamayim (heaven) and meet our Bubby. She'll get to meet Avraham and Sara and all the Tzaddikim we learn about. She gets to be with Hashem."
Last night after my friend kissed her kids good night, Hashem returned her soul to its source. We have no idea how long we each have here, so make each moment count. Tell your spouse you love them as often as you can. Hug your kids more, smile at people more. Make the world a better place in a way that you are able to. For those of us who homeschool our kids, as challenging as it can be to be with our kids all day, look how LUCKY we are to be able to spend so much time with them. So how does one respond to life when a friend dies? You can resign to the inevitable with a broken spirit and walk around with a heavy heart. Or you can defy that taste of death by cherishing life even more. May Hashem comfort her family and give them all the strength they need to get through this.
Okay everyone, I am SO excited to share this post with you!
Just take a look at what I had for lunch today...
Yes, I snapped this photo, and yes, it was as delicious at it looks...
Now take a look at what I had for dessert...
It was still warm... Oh. My. Yummness!
And the recipes, you ask? Well, they are from Mayim Bialik. She's a fellow Jewish Homeschooling mom (you can read an interview she did on Jewish Homeschooling here), a neuroscientist and the author of my new favorite cookbook, Mayim's Vegan Table. The dishes above are the Teriyaki Tofu (page 140) Sweet and Sour Cabbage Salad (page 85) and Cocoa Brownies (page 182).
Oh, she is also an Emmy-nominated actress and stars on the CBS show The Big Bang Theory. You can read more about her here.
But first and foremost, she is a mom to 2 boys who she has raised entirely vegan. Now, me personally, I am not a vegan. I was a pescatarian (don't eat any animals but fish) for 6 months once, when I was pregnant and could not handle meat or chicken, and I can honestly say that I have never felt better in my life then those 6 months.
What I really love about Mayim's Vegan Table is that it is a cookbook filled with healthy foods that we actually eat, and just happen to be vegan. We're talking Latkes, Sufganiyot, Hamantaschen and Challah. There are all sorts of yummy breads and really healthy and delicious looking dinners that I think my picky kids will actually eat. I'm also so excited to try out all the pareve dips and salads for Shabbos.
Mayim's book is not here to tell you to become a vegan. She's showing you how you can take foods that you already love and make it vegan and delicious at the same time.
You know what else is awesome? Not only did she send me a copy for myself, but she sent me one extra copy for one lucky reader. All you have to do is enter the Giveaway below to win- Good Luck!