Monday, April 15, 2013

Alef Press Biblical Hebrew A Homeschool Primer Review

We have been learning Biblical Hebrew with Alef Press Biblical Hebrew. We have done lessons 1-6 already.

The kids really enjoyed Lesson 1: Alphabet History. They liked the supplement book that was recommended. I was able to get from our local library, "Ox, House, Stick: The History of Our Alphabet"  
 After we completed the first lesson we had apples and honey. To remember that His word is sweet. This is a Jewish tradition that is usually done after a child's first Hebrew lesson. (We have done this with our prior Hebrew lessons and it makes the first lesson something they will always remember.) I like that the author brings up this tradition. You can also replace the honey and apples with cookies cut out in the Hebrew alphabet. 
 What does a typical lesson look like?

First a letter from the Hebrew Alef Bet(alphabet) is introduced along with the sound it makes.

Next you will have a few Hebrew vocabulary words. Don't worry if you don't read Hebrew because it is broken down in English on how to pronounce the word. Later you will hear the vocabulary on the DVD also if you are not sure you are saying it correctly.

Afterwards a very important step in remembering those new letters is the handwriting. You will write the letter a few times. I challenged my kids to write the Hebrew letters in cursive since they can write most of the Hebrew letters in print with out much trouble. It was hard and the kids had to work at it some to figure out the cursive(Mom also).

Then you will find and circle the letter that is being taught in a scripture verse. You can see the translation of the scripture in English so don't worry if you don't know Hebrew.

Next you will practice writing the letter you just learned. My kids already know some basic reading so they read some of the scriptures in Hebrew from the workbook. Afterwards we read the scriptures in English.
 Little Man is helping his big sister!

Finally they watched the DVD Biblical Hebrew Show and Tell. The DVD videos average around 5 minutes or so. The kids couldn't wait to see the DVD. The author will "Show" you thru some stunning scenery from the Bible related to the lessons and then the, "Tell" part of the DVD you will review the letters that have been taught up to that lesson. Also a vocabulary review of the words. If you struggle with saying the vocabulary in the transliteration you can learn the correct way in the DVD.

My thoughts so far:

I like how the Alef Press Biblical Hebrew a homeschool Primer curriculum is laid out. You don't have to do lots of preparing for the lesson. It can be an open and go curriculum. I like that option when we are having lots going on.

I would say on average each lesson is around 15 minutes. (that is if you are not doing any of the additional supplements) I would still recommend you look ahead to see if there is any recommended resources to add to the lesson. My kids really enjoyed the book in lesson 1.

At the same time you can make this into a unit lesson by adding the recommended resources: Trail Guide to Bible Geography(they also have a notebook and lapbook to go with this curriculum), Drive Thru History: Holy Land, and learning about the Biblical Feast. That is just the tip of the iceberg as my mind races with all the possibilities. You can have the younger kids make the Alef bet out of play dough, or get Hebrew magnetic letters.
I am very pleased with everything that this curriculum offers so far. It makes teaching easy. I feel that you can customize this curriculum to fit your families needs.

Disclaimer: This curriculum is attended for  ages 9 and up, really intending them for Jr. high and high school. A family that uses Hebrew already may be able to use them very well with younger kids, but they are not aimed at most elementary students.

Please keep in mind that my children already know the basics and are ready for reading Biblical Hebrew. They need lots of practice still. Especially Bug who needs extra work in some areas. Little Man has started putting together words with Hebrew with and without out the vowels. Both of my children already know lots of vocabulary due to us hearing it in our Synagogue and from use teaching them words.

 Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from Alef Press for free in order to write this review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and were not subject to editing from the publisher.

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