Our “First Day” Take Two!

Today was our first “real” day of school.  Yes, we did do school last week, however, Room613 did not start until today so it was our first day with a full schedule.  I was very impressed in how the day turned out.

We started the day with our davening.  It was cool today so most of us wore a sweater.  I thought it was a beautiful morning to daven outside.  My youngest has been into wearing at least his lion hat costume all day.  I have told him he needs to wear a kippah or hat for he is a Jewish boy.  Once he found out his lion hat worked, he has turned into a lion, only taking it off for nap times.  My Lion loves to daven.  He has his favorite siddur and loves to sit and stand and daven.  He is not upset in the above picture, he is putting his whole neshama into davening.  It is just that no sound comes out of his mouth.  He was so into davening this morning.  He is my inspiration. 🙂

Instead of Parsha, this week we are learning about Rosh Hashanah.  I did not want to do the same kind of thing as we have done in the past.  We have learned about Rosh Hashanah for years now, printing off various workbooks from chinuch.org.  I went online to chinuch.org last night to see what I could find.  I found some nice learning sheets, however, they were one to two page sheets.   So, I decided I was going to choose something different to learn about each day.  Today we learned about the 10 reasons we blow the shofar during Elul and on Rosh Hashanah. At the bottom was the option to re-write each reason in the child’s own words.  Unfortunately, I had only ink in the printer for the one paper, so we just talked a bit about Rosh Hashanah and then talked about the 10 reasons.

Tomorrow we are going to look at the worksheet talking about the explanation of Yamim Noraim Prayers.  This one is geared towards 6th and 7th grade, but I think all three older boys can appreciate it to an extent.  The explanation booklet can be reduced in size to fit into a machzor so the students have a handy guide to make their davening more meaningful.  Our new ink should be coming in this week so I will be able to print it out for each boy.  I am not sure how long it will take us to go through this book, it is only 9 pages long.  If needed, I will find something else to do on Thursday.  Oh, and I cannot forgot the little one!  Yes, I almost forgot, he is more than big enough to make projects and sing songs that my older ones are too “old” for!

The school day worked out well.  At lunch time, I was thinking that, ” Wow, I was still so relaxed!”  I remember how busy and full the days were last year.  This year our schedule seems more relaxed – longer, more to do, but relaxed.  I finally learned not to stuff the time to the hilt.  I scheduled a lot of time for each subject.  I will say, it does help that the boys have a set schedule on Room613.net.  Rabbi Resnick has 30 minutes classes with 15 minute breaks in between each class.  Altogether, that is 45 minutes from the beginning of one of his classes to the beginning of the next class.  I purposely limit the amount of time spent for each lesson – 15-20 minutes for the younger ones and 30-40 minutes for the oldest (though often times it takes less time for him.)  I added extra time so that I would have time to give attention to our 3 year old.  This, I believe, was one of the best things I have done for our schooling this year.  I had time to spend with the youngest, and I did not have to harass the older ones to get out the books for the next thing, or get going to Room613.  I could see how each of the older boys looked at their boards and they seemed so much more relaxed.  I do not know if this more relaxed atmosphere had anything to do with how my one boy did in math, but my tantrum prone boy had not a single tantrum today – not even during math when he kept getting one question wrong.  He just sat there and said, “hmm….” and tried again!

This afternoon I was reminded how vulnerable we all are.  Actually, I think there were many, many people who found out.  We have a few websites that are hosted on Godaddy.com.  Godaddy is a company that you can register domain names on as well as provides hosting and other related services.  It is fairly large.  This afternoon, there was a hacker that shut down all of Godaddy’s sites – at least thousands of sites were down starting after lunch.  The individual who was apparently responsible took sole responsibility shortly afterwards on Twitter.  There were many people who rely on websites hosted by Godaddy for work.  I too was wanting to do some stuff.  However, I realized that everything that happens, Hashem makes happen for a reason.  I then realized that I needed to do some paperwork to send into our school district.  If my website was not down, I would have forgotten yet again about the paperwork.

Coincidence? Of course not!  However, I do not think thousands or millions of people needed to be affected just for me…at least I would hope not.  I also know that this person I cannot really be mad at for this person was just the messenger.  Yes, he had the option of doing good or doing not good, it was his choice – as I like to tell my children, but Hashem wanted Godaddy to go down, it would have gone down in a different way if this person decided to use his amazing talents for a better use.  All afternoon I tried seeing if the websites were up yet, but it did not get me anxious, I was not too overly bothered by it.  At least not the 3 hours it took from when I learned about it to the time my websites were back up and running.

In the end, all my paperwork got done, I just need the ink to arrive at my doorstep to print it out and I realized how my mind’s perspective had an amazing effect on me and how I handled a situation.  Perhaps this is something that I need to try keep in mind when we have little situations arise at home.  There are things that happen that are out of my control, even if I try.  If I remember that Hashem is ultimately in control, there is no reason to get upset at individuals.  There are things that are supposed to happen and these are tests for me.  I know, that is much easier said than done, however, perhaps if I try to keep that in mind, there might be a few times where I can look at my beautiful boys and say “that is what they are supposed to be doing.  How am I supposed to react, how do I get what I need done the proper way?”  Perhaps my stress level will keep down a little bit (and stave those grey hairs away a little bit longer! 😉  )

I definitely know that how we feel definitely rubs off on others.  Was it that I was in a calm mood today that helped my son get through his math in such a wonderful way?  Was it all the time in between classes?  I am sure they both had a lot to do with it.  I definitely would prefer how today’s lesson went over any other day we have had.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings. 🙂  As I am trying to get myself ready for the coming year, I hope that I can grow just a little bit.  In the meantime, I need to read to my Lion for he tells me he cannot read yet.

Wishing everyone a sweet year – A L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – May you all be inscribed in the Book of Life!  Have a wonderful Rosh Hashanah!