As Jewish moms, it is in our DNA to feel guilty. There are always things we can find to feel guilty about. And as Homeschooling moms, I am sure we have a few things in common.
If we are not sitting down with our kids, workbooks open, pen in hand and smiles on everyones' faces, we feel guilty that they (in our opinion) didn't learn anything.
If we are not showing flashcards to our 2 year olds and trying to "teach" them, then we feel guilty that we are not educating them.
If we spend the morning blowing bubbles and picking flowers, we feel guilty that we "wasted" the morning.
I get so many email from moms, just like you, saying these very things. They play the guilt card on themselves because they don't feel that they are "teaching" their kids.
Well, guess what. Put the guilt card away because whether you like it or not, your kids are learning. Whether you sit there with Alef Beis flashcards, or whether you don't, they will ultimately learn to read Hebrew.
When they are little, and I am talking ages 0-6, you really do not need to be shoving information down their throats. Their little brains are so curious and are dying to just figure out everything around them. Let them!
Let them color, paint, blow bubbles, use stamps, stickers, blocks, dolls, cook, clean (yes, clean!), sweep, jump, run, climb, giggle and just be a kid. They have their entire lives to be fed information.
So now that you know that its not your job to feed your 3 year old facts, you can offer them lots of fun activities to do which will keep them super busy and having fun.
A while back I made these busy bags for my tykes. Below you can print out the labels and using shoe boxes, Ziplocs, trays, whatever works for you, set out a few activities for your little ones every day. They will be perfectly happy.
Sure, if they have the patience to sit through the story of the Parshah and do an art project, go for it! But don't feel bad that you missed out a week or two. They WILL ultimately learn about the Holidays and the Parshah as they get older!
So breathe in and out and realize that right now, its their job to play and explore and discover, and the less you help them, the better.
Here are a few great activities I highly recommend for the little ones:
We all like routine and so do the little ones. Below I have included a new Daily Routine printout that has been helping me tremebdously. It really helps me utilize each section of my day so I know I am not doing something (a load of laundry) when I shouldnt be (kids class time) and keeps the day flowing.
The nice thing is at the end of the day I can look back and see what I got done and what needs to get done the next day.
I fill it out the night before or first thing in the morning.
Here is an idea of my day:
And here is a blank one for you to customize for your own use:
I am not an organized person by nature which is why I am constantly looking for ways to get more organized!
So no more guilt, much more play:)
Have a great week and if you haven't entered the Giveaway to Morah Supplies yet, you have until Monday to do so! (Click Here to Enter)
They have SO many fabulous products for teachers as well as homeschooling mama's like you.
Head on over there (just click here) to check out their huge selection of Arts'n Crafts (Jewish projects as well as general supplies), Jewish games, Jewish toys, Jewish puzzles, Jewish dress up gear, Bulletin Board displays, Jewish posters, Aleph Bet goodies and pretty much everything you could possibly need to set up a Jewish Homeschooling classroom.
Their prices are so fabulous and there is such a great selection of products to choose from.
And whats more? They have graciously given me a $25 Gift Certificate to give away to one lucky reader:) Yes, I know---pretty awesome!
Just thought I would share this adorable art project we did using the magnetic wooden alphabet letters from Melissa and Doug, some craft glue and LOTS of glitter!
As much as I would love to tell you that my kids use those magnetic letters all the time to make words, they really don't. And so we have a fridge filled with these magnets and today we decided to collect the letters of our names, paint them with glue and dip them in glitter (the surface).
They came out gorgeous and now each of the kids have their names up on the fridge all sparkly for all to see. We even made some for our cousins which we will send as gifts.
Below are some of the supplies we used as well as some other supplies you can use in this project.
Coming up this week is a fantastic Giveaway to a fantastic Jewish website... so stay tuned, you just may win:)
The Power of Using our G-d Given Talents (and Helping Our Children Recognize Theirs.)
There are twelve months in the Jewish calendar. The talent of ANGER is the tenth, the month of Tevet (December-January.)
We are all familiar with the emotion of anger, the almost automatic reaction to hurt feelings resulting from a perceived insult or injury. Feelings of irritation, frustration or rage often lead to behavior that is unhealthy, aggressive, and out of control. Learning to manage our anger is part of the process of becoming emotionally stable and mature.
What is the “talent” of anger and how can we recognize it? Counter-intuitively, a person who often feels the emotion of anger does not have the “talent” of anger. A person who has this talent has the ability to control his anger and, in addition, is dedicated to standing up for what is right. This talent is the ability to make positive change by demanding that injustice be corrected. This talent does not tolerate indifference to evil.
When a child has this talent and sees his class-mate being bullied, he cannot ignore it. He feels dedicated to defending his fellow student. His innate principles guide him to take action on behalf of his friend.
We can be role models to our children by helping them manage their emotions. We can teach them to think before acting out. A parent needs to notice whether our child is just angry or whether he is responding to an injustice in the world. It is essential to actively listen to our children and help them to choose how to face challenges with the strength of their talent.
Tools For Developing The Talent of Anger:
1 Don’t make something unimportant into an issue.
2 Notice whether your ego is involved or whether you are standing up for what is right.
3 Practice doing what's right and keep your emotions in check.
The second commandment, that there should be “no other gods before Me,” is the basis of the talent of anger. Based on G-d’s Torah, we must do good deeds. We must also recognize what is against G-d’s Torah, which must therefore be rejected.
The tenth day the month of Tevet is a fast day. It commemorates the seige
(1273 BCE) of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, leading to its destruction
and the ensuing exile of the Jewish people from our homeland.
The tribe of this month is Dan. During the travels of our people in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt, this tribe traveled at the rear. It was their job to return objects lost by those of the tribes who marched ahead. Some members of the tribe of Dan struggled with idol worship. (They did not strongly reject what they should have rejected.)
Chana Rachel Schusterman is a Jewish spiritual counselor and coach. If you would like to contact her, please email me at Jewishmontessori18@gmail.com.
As a homeschooling mom who's kids are home for most of the day, it is imperative to have some sort of orderliness going on in the house. I am not talking spotless floors and dustless table tops, but kids- in fact all people- need order around them. It affects us whether we like it not. So if our homes are somewhat tidy on a daily basis, it really helps with the home environment.
Now this is coming from someone who has learnt the hard way and it has taken me literally years to figure out how to get to this place... but now that I have figured out my little formula, I am sharing it with you and hopefully it will help you as much as it helps me.
If you stick to the following rules, I can guarantee that the clutter will decrease and your mind will feel a lot more free:) And please remember that this is a life long journey- not something you do in a day (although that would be nice:)
If something does not have a designated place in your home, give it one. And yes, a Junk drawer is considered a home as long as you clean it our every few weeks. If you can't find a home for something and it seems to just float around your house, get rid of it.
Now that everything has a home (a designated place) when you or a family member are done with it, put it back where it belongs. Don't leave it out for someone else to put away or tell yourself you'll do it later.
Like I mentioned before, don't push it off for later if it can be done right away. Obviously there are things that cannot be done right away, but if it could, do it.
If you have stuff that does not have a place/use in your house or life, have 3 options always readily available:
1.Throw it out if it is broken or has no use.
2. Donate it or sell it if you don't want it but don't want to throw it out.
3. Recycle it.
Have a "Donate" box and a "Recycle" box somewhere in your house that you can constantly fill up and send away.
Don't just store it in your house because you have no where else to put it.
And most important, give yourself 5 seconds to make the decision of whether or not to keep it. The more you think about it and all the possibilities you may have to use it (when you haven't used it or wore it for the past 5 years) the more of a chance you have at keeping it around for absolutely no reason.
Its all about simplifying our lives and making things easier.
Ever since I have this system, and believe me, it is never ending (there are always things to get rid of) I find it so much easier to find things, and clean up at the end of the day is so much easier and quicker. The kids benefit as well and it really creates a sense of order in the house.
(Please don't think for a second that my house is neat and tidy all day- on the contrary, it is very lived in! But it takes minutes to tidy each room and the kids are more then happy to help as it is easy for them to put things back when they know where things go)
So happy organizing to you and I would love to hear how you keep a sense of orderly sanity in your home!
I found this on Pinterest and gave it to my very active 3 year old to do while I made Challah today.
It kept him busy for almost an hour, no joke. I had to share this with you as its just so simple and keeps them occupied for a really nice chunk of time...
Take a shallow dish or tray and fill it with baking soda. Get a few droppers (you can also use small spoons) and dye vinegar different colors using food coloring.
Using the droppers (or spoons) put the vinegar into the baking soda. It starts to bubble and fizz and when you use colors it makes all kinds or cool effect.
My little guy LOVED this. One he used all the vinegar, he played with the baking soda with his hands, making hand prints, squishing it, and although some got on the table and floor, it was fine with me as it was baking soda and vinegar so it took seconds to clean up.
We also did another cool Science project-
Get 3 clear cups and place them side by side. Put food coloring and water in the 2 outer cups. Leave the middle one empty. Take 2 pieces of thick paper towel and place one end of each piece in the water and the other end in the empty cup.
It took about 10 minutes for the water to climb up the paper towel and go into the empty cup, but once it did, the colors mixed to form purple.
Very cool indeed.
Wishing you a wonderful and restful Shabbos,
So many people ask me how I 'do it all'. Homeschool my kids, run a home, run Jewish programs, make time for myself, time for my husband and still manage to manage.
I will tell you a little secret that has worked wonders for me. Aside for my house help which I would not be able to live without and in my opinion is essential, I have one word: Boundaries. I have set up very clear boundaries in my life.
From 8am-12pm its school time. My friends and family know not to call me and if they do, they get the machine. This time is dedicated 100% to my kids.
From 1pm-3pm its mom time. Some of my kids nap, the older ones figure out what to do to keep busy. They are allowed to watch a video, play on the computer, anything as long as its inside where I can see them. My kids know this is mom time. Don't bother me unless its really important. And these 2 hours I use to make dinner, chat on the phone, do things around the house (organize a closet, go through the kids stuff etc.) and plan things for the kids for school. If I have any programs coming up, I use this time to plan them. But its mom time to do things that mom needs to do.
The rest of the day I am on again, there for my kiddos, to go out, play, bath, eat dinner, bed time.
Being that my kids are still young, bedtime is at 6:30pm. Once they are all in bed, I tidy the kitchen and by 7pm I clock out. From 7pm until I go to sleep, its time for me and time for my hubby. That's when I'll go online and check email, Facebook, surf the web, blog, and just relax. We'll have a cup of tea, catch up on the day, and just hang out. We try go out once a week which is really nice and once in a while I'll go out with a friend in the evenings. But it is just SO important to have time to yourself. The housework will never end. There will always be laundry to fold, dishes to wash. But you can only stretch yourself so thin.
Our families need us, and if we take care of ourselves we will really be able to take care of everyone else around us. But if we keep pushing ourselves to keep doing more and burning ourselves out, then no one wins.
Obviously there are times of the year where we need to work harder, stay up later and have a lot less time for ourselves (I am referring to the Jewish Holidays and special events) and that's okay because it is only a few times a year.
But like I said, what has worked for me is setting up clear boundaries in my life. This works for me and it works for everyone else around me. It keeps me sane, and happy, because I know that whatever stage of the day I am in, I can give it 100% and not think of everything else I could be doing at that time.
Try to take a look at your own life and see where you can put up some healthy boundaries.