Friday, April 19, 2013

Interview with Kim McKay Author of Alef Press Biblical Hebrew A Homeschool Primer

Homeschool  foreign language lessons can often go by the wayside when there is so much else to do when teaching our children.  Recently I was able to interview Kim McKay, the author of Alef Press Biblical Hebrew. She has an amazing journey of how God led her to creating this curriculum. They make homeschool foreign language lessons easy for parents. Thanks Kim for agreeing to this interview!

1. When did you start this project and who inspired you to write this curriculum for homeschoolers? I realize the Lord inspired you, but also which people in your life encouraged you?

I began this project the day when, out of a clear blue sky, my husband lost his job. I had
in the back of my mind to maybe write homeschool Biblical Hebrew resources someday
when the children were grown, having experienced in our family the faith, mind, and
heart building benefits of studying Biblical Hebrew, having produced curricula
professionally before becoming a mother, and seeing a gap in the books available for
Christian families. All of sudden it looked as if I might not need to wait so long. As a
homeschool mother in the trenches, I firmly believed that if my husband managed the
kitchen, laundry, homeschool, garden, and chickens for two weeks, I could accomplish

As wiser heads among you have already guessed, it took more than two weeks. But my
husband is a gem, my children became fabulous cooks, friends are invaluable
treasures, and God provided all the strength and joy.

2. When did you learn Biblical Hebrew, and why?

I did not learn Biblical Hebrew by growing up Jewish or earning a Ph.D. in Ancient Near
Eastern linguistics. Probably if I had learned by either of those routes, I would not now
be writing for Christian homeschoolers. Excellent as either of those paths might have
been, I studied Hebrew as an adult in order to know my Redeemer better through His
Word and to learn from the traditions of Judaism.

Though I had devoted several years to acquiring fluency in French and Spanish, after
schooling, my opportunities to use them amounted to a couple of menus. As a young
woman, dreaming my homeschool dreams, I searched for a foreign language or two
that would be worth the effort with kids. We thought about it the way we think about
sports. Any sport has benefits, and if a child loved a certain one, we would know which
one to pursue. But ideally, we would find sports for lifelong enjoyment and health that
are as educationally rich as possible, practical for homeschoolers, and help the family
draw closer together. So, for us, it’s family hiking and cross-country skiing rather than
football and tap dance lessons. This is how I view Biblical Hebrew: a mind-building
foreign language study that naturally integrates history, culture, and Bible, with lifelong
opportunities for Bible study and worship that we can enjoy now, together, while
focusing more of our precious homeschool time on our marvelous Lord!

3. Have you written anything prior to this? If so, what?

Before I was blessed with the title of Mommy, I worked as a naturalist and museum
curator, researching and designing learning adventures, exhibits, and curricula for great
places like nature centers, museums, city farms, and living history villages.

4. What are your future plans in writing curriculum or books?

Alef Press hopes to complete a series of homeschool Biblical Hebrew books that will
take students all the way through to reading Scripture in Hebrew. I am working on the
textbook to follow the primer, with which students will be able to earn two years of high
school foreign language credit and gain a good grounding in related topics like text
history, translation challenges, Biblical poetry, ancient Hebrew literature, Hebrew’s
modern revival, and using Hebrew in Bible study.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Teaching my computer to speak Hebrew.

Thank you Kim for taking the time for this interview. I also thank your family for helping out around the house so you can continue to help others learn Biblical Hebrew. We look forward to the textbook in this series.

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