web analytics
August 20, 2014 / 24 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



A Sample Homeschool Chumash Lesson


My approach to teaching is to take a “discussion-based constructivist approach” to learning, encouraging children to arrive at their own understanding of Torah through text-based study and a great deal of discussion. I constantly encourage them to think, ask questions and to arrive at their own insights into the Torah.

Instilling a love, enthusiasm and passion for Torah study is more important to me than whether or not a child understands any given verse on a particular day. A sense of humor plays a big role in achieving this; don’t underestimate it and try not to let a serious mood spoil your homeschool learning.

Most Room613 classes proceed in the following manner: We study a text, engaging in discussion about it, often analyzing every verse. I present classic Torah commentaries, as well as some more modern ones. We can sometimes spend a whole half-hour class on a single verse. Unlike most schools, I am usually not concerned with “covering ground” and reaching a certain point by a certain date.

Out of this process, we begin to construct a very personal understanding of meaning in the Torah. Much of our discussion has to do with gaining psychological insights into Torah personalities and possible motivations for their actions—often original insights suggested by the students.

This approach may or may not work for you, depending on how you prefer to teach and learn, your children’s personalities, your relationship with them and other family dynamics, but I am sure you can find some aspects that will be relevant and useful.

I always spend time before class preparing by going over commentaries and asking questions based on them as we study. After posing a question, I will often tell the class (for example), “I didn’t make that up, it is asked by the Ohr haChaim!”

I always start with Rashi, as he generally offers the simplest explanation of a verse. Usually I choose a few shorter Rashis, or maybe part of a long one, and I sometimes teach them in English.

I will then move on to other meforshim such as Kli Yakar, Baal haTurim, Seforno, and others.

I am going to take a sample verse from the Chumash – Parshas Noach (perek 6, pasuk 9) – and show you briefly how we might analyze it in a class.

Eileh Toldos Noach. Noach eish tzaddik tamim haya b’dorosav. Es HaElokim hishaleich Noach – These are the generations of Noah. Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted; Noah walked with God.

To begin, depending on the age of your child, you might have them read the verse a few times, in Hebrew and/or English. Look at the verse; ask him or her if there is anything unusual about it. Perhaps he or she can create a list of questions or draw a picture – a graphic representation of the verse. If you are familiar with mind-mapping, that is also a great tool for parsing verses.

Here are some sample questions based on the verse above:

1) Why does it say “Noach Noach” (the name is repeated, which leaves room for interpretation in the original Hebrew)?

2) What does “tzaddik tamim” (righteous and whole) imply? What does “tamim” (pure) add to the description of Noach?

3) “In his generation”—what could that imply? Was he righteous or not? (It sounds like his righteousness was relative.)

4) What does it mean that he “walked with G-d?” (Compare with Avrohom who “walked before G-d.”)

Now here’s the Rashi for the first few verses of Noach:

Eller-071913-Hebrew-1

Questions based on Rashi:

• What is the connection between the Torah mentioning Noach, praising him, and the idea of a blessing?

• “In his generation”—how does Rashi explain this? Is this good or not?

Even Ezra – Ish Tzaddik b’leebo, b’ma’asav tamim.

Ish Tzadik”—in his actions. “Tamim”—in his heart/emotions.

This would probably lead to a discussion of what it means to be “righteous in action,” as opposed to “whole/pure in heart or emotion.”

Here are more sample discussion questions based on both Rashi and Even Ezra:

What does it mean to be “righteous in one’s actions?”

Can one do good things and be a bad person?

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “A Sample Homeschool Chumash Lesson”

  1. for 80 years, Jewish educators in the day school movement have developed material for teaching chumash both in ivrit-b'ivrit and in a far less beneficial English version.

    If the writer also wants to re-invent the wheel for every pasuk in the torah while educating kids of different ages, she'll find that at such point as her kids are "mainstreamed" into their age in high school, they will be at grade levels for children 3-4 years younger than they themselves.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Gaza Region
Live Updates: Hamas Rockets Land Along Coast, In Border Towns (14:46pm)
Latest Sections Stories
Lewis-081514-Anna-Ticho

“I didn’t choose the landscape; it chose me.”

Astaire-081514

Woe to us that we have to be put to death like common heathen and murderers!

Baim-081514

The world sees the hand of God through us, and does not like it.

Rosen-081514-Amen

The Rebbetzin began campaigning to increase public awareness of the importance of saying Amen.

Some educators today believe that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder falls into an executive function category.

It’s ironic that the reality of death is often the greatest force steering the affirmation of life.

The theme of the event was “Together Let us Rebuild our Holy Beis HaMikdash on Tisha B’Av.”

Chaya Aydel Seminary has already established a close connection with France’s Jewish community.

All attendees left with fervent wishes for a swift and lasting peace in Israel.

How can awareness evolve from exploding stars?

Is God apologizing for taking away my Father? Is God telling me that He is sorry?

The traditional services that take place here transport visitors back in time, enabling them to smell and feel the authentic historical experience.

More Articles from Rabbi Yosef Resnick

My approach to teaching is to take a “discussion-based constructivist approach” to learning, encouraging children to arrive at their own understanding of Torah through text-based study and a great deal of discussion. I constantly encourage them to think, ask questions and to arrive at their own insights into the Torah.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/a-sample-homeschool-chumash-lesson/2013/07/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: