Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An infusion of positivity

Here is a song from Udi Davidi with a very positive message. Have faith, think positive, have self confidence and most importantly Hashem loves you!!!

Some Math

Here is a link with some great math material.

Some science

Here is a very nice link for nature study a la Charlotte Mason . I hope to add more science links in future posts.
Nature Study

Monday, June 29, 2009

Good old fashioned family fun

Another source of ideas for things to do with the kids, are out of copyright old craft and activity books available online. They are often historically interesting and have great old fashioned illustrations i.e. more ideas for educational discussions if one is so inclined. In general Archive.org is a good place to find old books in various electronic formats. As is Project Gutenberg.
Here are a few:
A very cute drawing book
Home-made toys book
Sewing book
Paper cutting book
Hand Shadows
And there is loads more out there (some to be posted later:)).

Another musical interlude

Here is more more music on one of my favorite themes - ISRAEL

Fashionable geography

Here is a geography game my children really enjoyed. I asked them to go and bring various items of clothings. When they did, we proceded to read the labels and then to find the countries of origin on the map or globe. They were amazed to see how many exotic places their clothes had come from. This kind of games can also lead to discussions of textile production, clothes construction, history and of course geography.

Another game we played was to think of various family and friends and where they were from and find their locations on the map or globe. The idea is to make it personal and exciting and therefore less dry and uninteresting.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On Talent Education

Is talent education an oxymoron? Does it mean education specifically geared to the gifted student? A number of years ago I took out a very interesting book about what is known as the Suzuki method of teaching music. The method of teaching music was created and implemented with a wild success rate in Japan and later all over the world. Dr. Shinichi Suzuki contended that talent is something that is developed and nurtured systematically. Just like every person barring extreme circumstances is born with a natural ability to step by step learn his mother tongue with relative ease, the same is true for something like music and other disciplines. So he developed what he called the "Mother Tongue" approach to enable even very young children with the help and encouragement of their parents and teachers to learn to play a musical instrument and learn music appreciation on a surprisingly sofisticated level by breaking the instruction into very small steps that are methodically and consistently repeated over time in the same way that parents naturally teach their children to speak their native language with love, patience and consistency . Suzuki claimed and had proven that music education and talent education is possible for all students not just the most naturally talented and gifted. Recently I found a program of art instruction called the New Masters based on the same principles. The idea is to systematically and consistently in small incremental steps to teach a person the art skills that will enable them to be an artist of the caliber of the masters of old. But it takes time, effort and discipline to achieve greatness in anything, to develop one's talent. Often you find people bemoaning the fact that greatness is hard to come by these days. But why? People's brains are still made the same way, they haven't turned to oatmeal in 20th or 21st century. But based on what we said before that the issue of talent is more that of nurture and training rather than nature then we have to go back to the methods that are necessary to achieve the kind of results we would like to see and then even in our generation we will see greatness. Greatness is never achieved in a fun, quick and easy way it requires effort and discipline and most importantly time and patience. This is the Torah approach to education. This is also the trademark of all good educational methods. So let us stop moaning and keep trying to reinvent the wheel and use the old and proven methods to develop every child's innate abilities. True greatness means developing one's potential to the greatest extent possible . Even today it is definitely within our reach but it requires work.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More songs of longing

My editor is complaining that as of late I post way to much music and way to few musings. True, true and true. But sometimes music speaks louder than regular words. Also, it's faster to post music when the kids are hanging on each hand or trying to press buttons as I am trying to type. I will attempt to reform though and post what the editor considers real content. But here a few more songs of longing for better days in the land of Israel, G-d willing.

Crafty, aren't we?

There is something very satisfying about making things with one's hands. That something is somewhat lacking today in the westernized world. But makings things remains as it always was a good way to learn practical skills, develop creativity and raise self-esteem both for children and adults. The internet is a virtual (pun intended) crafter's paradise with lots of exciting and unique projects and ideas of what to do and make with and for kids on many different skill and interest levels. One probably needs at least a few lifetimes to try out all the various projects that are available. I hope to post some particularly intriguing possibilities in the near future . But meanwhile here are a few of my favorite links for craft sites. Enjoy!!!
Crafty Crow
One Crafty Place
One Pretty Thing

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Zionist propaganda

I am an unabashed lover of the land of Israel. I feel it's a great zchut to be able to live and raise our children here and each in our own way promote the settlement of our Holy Land. Here is a great blog Love of the land I discovered recently that promotes the kinds of ideas I and others like me share. May Hashem have mercy on His beloved people and bring us the Geula Shleima with sweetness so we can all live in peace and tranquility in ALL of our holy and beautiful land according to His will ad olam!!!

Am Yisrael Chai

Here is an answer to Obama and friends.