Friday, September 12, 2014

Home Education Planning Folder

Last week I promised a look inside my planning folder. So here it is.

I have a divider for each area that we are planning to cover for the Pre-K year

Then I have a section for weekly lesson plans. Since we are building around the weekly Torah Portion (Parsha) I have a weekly lesson plan overview.

Under each weekly lesson plan overview I have a four day lesson plan. I don't have a structured plan for Preparation Day (Friday) as our focus that day is on preparing for Shabbat.

Each week is in a page protector with all the individual worksheets and coloring/activity pages ready to be copied. Once copied the worksheets and coloring/activity sheets will be transferred to the student folder. (The student folder is the purple one that sits beside the pink Planning Folder on our bookshelf.)

I'm still working on putting the meat to the weekly and daily lesson plans. We're planning our official start on October 20th, the Monday after the start of the new Torah Cycle. My plan is to have all the lesson for Genesis ready by then.

Once I have Genesis completed, and figure out how to share downloadable documents from here I'll share a copy of the lesson plans here on the blog.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Easy, Never Fail, Chocolate Cupcakes.

These are the most amazingly light and moist, easy, never failed yet, chocolate cupcakes. I make them for all the children's birthdays, and they are always a big hit. Our favorite frosting/icing is a vanilla cream cheese one, so I'll share that recipe too as a bonus at the end.

Please note that this is NOT a Trim Healthy Mama recipe like most of the others on this blog. This is just a regular cake. I make a few cupcake style "muffin in a mug" cakes for me to enjoy while the rest of the family enjoys these birthday treats.

The recipe:

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 heaped tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence
1 teaspoon vinegar
6 teaspoon oil
1 cup water

The directions:

Sift together all the dry ingredients

Mix together

Make 3 wells in the mixture

Into each well add one of the following, vanilla, vinegar & oil

Pour in the water and mix thoroughly

Bake as individual cupcakes at Gas5/350f/180c for 12-14 minutes

Cool on a wire rack

Top with frosting/icing

*Our favorite frosting is:
16oz cream cheese
8oz coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
a few drops of lemon oil
stevia powder to taste

whip everything together until fluffy.


These really are a simple, easy and tasty cake. Simple enough even toddlers can help make them.


Friday, September 5, 2014

A Tour of our Education Corner

I know some home educating mama bloggers do a tour of their "school room" about this time of year. So I thought I'd join in.

Our Education Corner isn't much, and definitely not the impressive large dedicated space I see regularly online. I could have turned our upstairs loft into a cozy Education Center, but that would probably have cost some money, and remained open plan. I needed something that I could limit unsupervised access, as my boys are prone to ripping pages out of books if left alone for more than a few minutes.

So for now we've converted the dining corner of our kitchen into our Education Corner. I moved in a bookcase we already had, and after some reorganizing we had a home for our educational supplies. And with a safety gate at the entrance to our kitchen we can keep control of the access until the book destruction phase is over.
The main feature of our Education Corner, the bookcase.
Using the windows to work on letters and numbers.
Close up of the boxes on top of the bookshelf.
Closer look at the bookshelf.
The never used kitchen table is now the hub of our Education Corner.

And because a tour of our Education Corner won't take much, I thought I'd add a few photos of other places "school" takes place with Sweetie Pie.

Learning phonics and writing skills at the sofa.
Reading at the ottoman.
Reading on the sofa.

Hope you enjoyed looking at our simple and free set up. Next week I'll let have a look inside my planning folder (it's the pink one on the bookshelf.)


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Big Changes and Redirection

2014 has been a year with some BIG changes for us as a family. It has been both gradual and quick at the same time.

It's been a gradual process that started over 4 years ago when our oldest was born. Right from the start he has been a very spiritually sensitive person. Even as a tiny baby he knew just from looking who was trust worthy and who wasn't. And it was having such a highly sensitive child that took us down the path we have been traveling. It has at times been a lonely path, and one that others have sometimes willfully misunderstood. But it is the path that our Creator has led us, and that we have chosen to walk in obedience to Him.

It started with a conviction to remove from our home those things that had connections to worshiping false gods, and symbols that had pagan origins. This started in November, so Christmas was our first big challenge. We got rid of our tree, but continued to celebrate the actual festival marking the incarnation. Then the following spring we ditched the Easter Eggs, but continued to celebrate the resurrection.

We also did regular sweeps of other things, like our DVD collection and music CDs. We stopped watching any science fiction, which we had both grown up watching. Still layers of ungodliness were being revealed, and stripped away.

Then it became crunch time, when the actual celebration of Christmas was our challenge. We knew Easter would go right along side Christmas. And we were concerned that stripping away all the traditions we had grown up with would leave a void. What were we to use to fill the void. So we looked at the Feasts of God, as shown in the Torah. We would teach our children to celebrate the things God instructed His people to celebrate, rather than festivals that were mixing paganism with Christian doctrine.

About this time an Orthodox Jewish friend of my beloved invited us to join him and his wife for Shabbat service at their synagogue. We were honored by their invitation, and gladly accepted. We were however not sure how the children would cope. For several months they had been restless and agitated every time we went to church. Even our baby girl would have to be taken out of the service and walked up and down the corridor outside at some point. To our surprise all three children were calm and attentive. Our baby girl slept for part of the service. And our boys didn't want to leave when it was time to go home. Yet the very next day when we took them to church they were once again restless and agitated.

The big turning point came a few days later, when our then 3 year old told us that he didn't want to go back to church, he wanted to go to synagogue. We may even have considered exploring Orthodox Judaism if it wasn't for the issue of the Messiah. We would not and could not turn our back on the Messiah. Orthodox Judaism does not recognize Yeshua/Jesus as the Messiah. But we did promise our son that we would not make him go back to church.

That very same week we came across a teaching video that explored the origins of Sunday worship. It was our final straw, and we knew we could no longer remain within mainstream Christianity. We prayed for guidance, wisdom and direction. We committed ourselves to doing God's things God's way. We knew we needed to become Torah observant, and started with observing Shabbat. Within a month of leaving our Baptist church we were led to a Messianic congregation.

We are beyond blessed to be a part of that group. Our children are enjoying and thriving there. We are finally building real genuine friendships. After 6 years of living in South Florida and struggling that whole time to build real relationships, it is like cool spring water to my soul to finally have a few women that I can really call friends. We talk to and meet up with people from the congregation outside of Shabbat services. We've even had the Rabbi and his wife over for dinner already. We are growing in our understanding of the fullness of God's instructions for our lives, and being blessed by these new insights.

Which leads me to our new adventure in home education. We had always planned to home educate our children. But now I have a structure upon which to build that learning. We will be focusing each week on the Torah portion for that week, and using that to inform all our other learning. We have even made the commitment to learn Hebrew, and to teach it to the children at the same time as they learn English. The boys both already count more fluently in Hebrew than they do in English. Our home education year will also begin and end with the Torah portions. So lessons will begin immediately after Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) at the beginning of the annual Torah portion cycle. This year is a fairly low key Pre-K year for our oldest who is 4, with our soon to be 3 year old joining in for the Torah readings and associated arts & crafts.

I'll be planning to share our journey through the Torah, hopefully with weekly posts. I am sure there will be a lot of fun and learning to be done by me as well as by the children. The home education posts will start around mid October, as the new Torah portion cycle starts Oct 18 this year.

Before those posts start I also hope to write a few more about different areas of our new faith journey. So more details will be coming on that aspect too.

Our "sweetie" pie 4 year old

Our "little bit" of girl. (15 months)

Our anything but a "shorty" 2 year old.