Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pesach... let the fun begin:)

Here is a cute project we did a while ago but it really fits well into learning about the first of the 10 plagues- Blood. We learn how the Jews would drink from a cup and it would be water, then the Egyptians would drink and it would be blood.

We did this science experiment using HOT water with red food coloring as the Blood and COLD water with blue food coloring as the water. We then carefully put the Hot water on top of the cold, upside down, and due to the difference in densities of the Hot and Cold water, they didn't mix!

Granted, we did this on the second try as you have to do it really quickly and carefully or it mixes...

We've also been making tons of different types of pyramids, out of Lego, Wooden Blocks and magnets.

I decided to get the kids involved in cleaning their rooms for Pesach this year. We made these signs that we will put on their doors once we have cleaned each of their rooms to remind them not to bring ANY chometz in... it will also give them a sense of closure that they have cleaned their room and on to the next thing to clean.

A great week to all and happy Pesach cleaning:)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Science and Purim... gotta love Nancy Larson!

A few months ago, we were fortunate to receive the Nancy Larson Science Homeschool Kit to review, which is just fabulous. I have written about it in the past, and we just can't get enough of it!

The fact that I am a left handed Pisces and am a lot more artistically inclined then Scientifically inclined, makes it very ironic that my little guy is OBSESSED with finding out how EVERYTHING works, and why, and when and what etc.

So when we are learning about Purim, you would think I would be safe from going in the direction of Science- but oh no... check out these tangents that the little guy led us on and thanks to Nancy Larson, he was completely satisfied with his answers!

She just explains things SO clearly and literally has the dictation written out on how to explain each thing to the kids. There is constant repetition and review so by the time we are done with a topic, the kids completely understand it and feel really good about it. I wish she had other subjects, the way she gives over information is just wonderful. She does have a specific order in which to learn the curriculum, but for us, we incorporate it into the other subjects we are learning at that present time.

It all started out when we were baking Hamantashen, (with this recipe!)

when the little guy goes, "mommy, where do the Hamantashen go when we eat them?" so I told him it goes into our tummies. "I know," he says, "but HOW does it get into our tummies?" .... looks like a job for.... NANCY!

So we took out this fabulous book that comes with the set and read about and looked at gorgeous simple illustrations of digestion. We spoke about this for quite a while...

Then he is looking at the windpipe and asks, "what's that for?"... and we move on to the respiratory system! There are workbooks and student pages and it is all so clear and simple, he completely got it. So we were talking about the lungs and I took his hand and put it on his ribs to show him where his lungs are- little did I know that now we had to talk about the BONES! To which I told him we would do the following day (didn't want to cram him with too much info in one day).

So the next day, first thing in the morning, he wants to learn about the bones. Now this was SUCH a huge hit- the Science kit came with a true to life size X-ray copies of the entire body (child's body), so we lay it out on the table and used it with the different books and workbooks and felt our own bones and he was just completely engrossed. I think we may have a future doctor on our hands, and I'm not just saying that cos I'm a Jewish mother:)

Here is one of the books-
and our x-ray man- it comes with all the names of each bone that you can put on it, but we didn't get that far. We did look at the femur bone and he felt his and we spoke about Yakov and his fight with the Malach and how he broke his femur bone- he was fascinated!

Ok, so later on in the day we got back to talking about Purim... and my hubby told the kids how Esthers name was Haddasah which means "myrtle" and a myrtle tree is an evergreen tree. We learn that even in the Palace, Esther kept her Jewish ways, just like an evergreen tree, no matter what weather it is in, it stays the same.

Evergreen trees. "mommy, do we have any evergreen trees outside? what do trees that are NOT evergreens look like?" Oh NANCY! I took out the cards that the Science Kit came with and we put them down on the table which made things VERY clear to the kiddos.

Each card had the 2 trees on each side in each season. You see how the evergreen tree stays exactly the same through each season and how the deciduous tree changes with each season.
and then I really have no idea how we got to talking about mammals, but Nancy to the rescue once again! The kit came with a bunch of different large clear cards for the different subjects, so we took cards of mammals and non mammals and divided them up to get a clear picture on what mammals are and what constitutes one to be a mammal. The little guy got a kick out of the fact that humans and certain animals are BOTH mammals:)

So yes, this is such a fabulous kit, we use it all the time and whether you are using it like you SHOULD (as a curriculum in the order it is written) or like us, to fit in with everything else we are learning about at that time, it just works.

Oh, and to any orthodox Jewish homeschooling moms, I have not found anything in the curriculum that contradicts Torah- it is a very pareve kit.

Wishing all a wonderful week,

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Easy Yummy Hamantashen Recipe

I make this every year and people LOVE it and ALWAYS ask for the recipe... hope you enjoy it too!

Soft Hamantashen Recipe:

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix

1 cup flour

2 eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons water

Filling of your choice*


1- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2- Spray cookie sheet with cookie spray.

3- In a large mixing bowl combine flour and cake mix.

4- Stir in water and eggs until a stiff dough forms.

5- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/8 inch.

6- Cut into 2-3 inch circles, I use the top of a drinking glass dipped in flour before cutting.

7- Place dough 2 inches apart on cooking sheet.

8- Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle.

9- Fold the sides in to form three corners (triangle).

10- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

11- Cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheets and remove to wire racks to cool completely.

*I took plain macadamia nuts, poured melted chocolate chips over them and mixed them in a bowl. I then place the nuts covered in chocolate on a cookie sheet by the teaspoon full and froze them like cookies. Once frozen, I used each "chocolate mac nut cookie" as a filler for the hamantashen- Chocolate Macadamia Nut Hamantashen- YUM!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some more Purim activities and other fun stuff

Here are some Purim puppets we downloaded from www.chinuch.org. We laminated them and glued them to Popsicle sticks- a HUGE hit with the kids, they were "playing" the Purim story for hours, each one as a different character with the puppets, it was fabulous.
This is "King Achashverosh's Palace" with little pockets to put the puppets in, so simple and so great!
Loving the idea of the Montessori "prepared environment", I prepared a bunch of different activities for the kids with every thing they need and worked out great. Here is a clown mask:

A Palace kit:

Just some letter/picture matching...

Rhyming cards...
A finger puppet activity ready to get done:

A gragger activity: Paint the outside of the paper plate, let it dry. Place dry beans in one plate, cover with the other plate and staple together- voila! a gragger!

That's it for now,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Some Purim Fun and more

Hamantash Lacing: I just cut out triangles from Manila hanging folders, stuck in a red center and used a hole puncher to make holes. Took string and tied it to one of the holes and voila, the kids loved it- will definitely do more sewing from now on!

This is just a cute little something I found in the flour before making schnitzel for Shabbos:)
We made jello using Kojel, put it on a baking pan and let it set. Then used Alef Bet cookie cutters and Purim Cookie cutters to make shapes. The kids got such a kick out of handling the jello, they loved it:)

Just a fun Eric Carle Alphabet game, really educational and lots of fun...
Painting food we made out of clay, then baked it so it got rock hard and then painted it. Can use it for brachos sorting or food grouping or just plain old pretend play, another hit!

Here's to a great week!
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