Original Article Published On The Jerusalem Post
When it comes to our children’s education, most of us accept the sad fact that what we get is what we get. But once in a while, we have an opportunity to step back and assess what our children actually know. As was the case when many kids stayed home during the Scud missile threat in Israel, or were off on Purim (as they will be again on Passover).
What wonderful opportunities to have a conversation with your kids. Yes, they have heard of William Shakespeare. No, they still don’t know their multiplication tables, or why the “q”s in Iraq and Qatar don’t take “u”s after them.
If I’d had a hand in writing the civil defense booklet handed out to Israelis before the Iraqi crisis, I might have suggested adding a PC to the list of items that might go into the sealed room. It’s a good way to keep antsy kids entertained and educated. And a fine place to start might be with an unlimited supply of word puzzles at http://www.puzzlemaker.com Simply put in a list of words – the names of the 10 plagues from the Haggadah, or the Hebrew months – and it generates word searches, crossword puzzles or jumbles.
By far the most comprehensive educational site on the Internet I’ve found is http://www.edhelper.com with 11,443 lesson plans and 5,000 free worksheets. There are more math, reading comprehension and spelling worksheets than your elementary school child will ever need. Also check out http://www.teachers.net The article on Arab-Jewish coexistence is part of an interesting lesson plan on “Islamic flags over the Temple Mount,” recalling a day in 1099 when “Jews and Muslims fought and fell side by side, defending Jerusalem from a common enemy,” the Crusaders.
Not sure where to find Qatar or even Kuwait on a map? Check out the large selection of maps of regions, continents, U.S. states and more at http://www.teachervision.com or at http://www.geography.about.com
If you’re concerned your children are losing ground on their Jewish education, you can access multilingual word searches, a Jewish trivia database, Jewish coloring books, an Israel geography game, and tons of ready-made puzzles by visiting the Jewish Education and Entertainment link on http://www.morim.com Or, go to http://www.akhlah.com for overviews of the weekly Torah portions, Jewish holidays, Hebrew alphabet and Bible heroes.
Who knows? After all this time spent learning together, you may wish to become a “home schooler.” Find information on the Jewish Home Education Network (http://www.snj.com or http://www.educate.org.uk in England; and in Hebrew for Israelis, or http://www.homeschool.org.il or http://beofen-tv.co.il