Like the MamaLand Empire!

Have you Liked the AliyahLand adventure?
      ...and sign up for weekly aliyah tips by email (it's free).

Saturday, November 21, 2015

What’s my kid learning??!? A guide to school subjects in Israel

image

Prepare to feel like a moron, that’s all I can say.

The first day my daughter came home from school in Israel, I thought I was going to cry.  I had put 2 kids all the way through Jewish schools in Canada, with plenty of Hebrew along the way.  I really believed I had a handle on things. 

Reading the schedule

Turned out I knew nothing and couldn’t even read her schedule.  And that was Grade 2!?  Oy.

I plowed slowly through her timetable trying to make sense of it.  A few words, I did understand (Torah! Chagim!).  A few words, I knew, but they didn’t make sense.

הנדסה/Handasah? 

Why was a second-grader learning “Engineering”?

זה"ב/Zahav?  What was the point of studying “Gold”?

Oy, did I have a lot to learn.

So you won’t get stuck like I did, I’ve put together a yet another handy chart of Hebrew/English school subject names.  If your kids are in a religious school, chances are they’ll be learning most of these and possibly some more (if you have additions, let me know in the comments!).

Scroll down to see that full list!

The biggest difference

Even learning the names of subjects won’t help completely, but it is definitely a start on understanding the differences between schools here and schools “out there” in the rest of the world.

However, the biggest surprise so far (this is now our third year, making us veterans!) is the number of “subject” teachers. 

These are specialized teachers (מורות מקצועיות / morot miktzoiyot; ours are all female except GZ’s gym teacher) who teach the class on any given day.

Every class has a “class educator” (מחנכת הכיתה/mechanechet hakitah), and he or she is the main teacher in charge of the kids.  The mechanech(et) teaches most core Hebrew subjects, but other subjects are farmed out to “specialist” teachers who come into the classroom for their subject, and then leave. 

For subjects that need their own equipment, like computers and gym, sometimes the kids go to the teacher, instead of the other way around.  But mainly, the teachers come in and see them, which I absolutely adore.

This is especially true for math. At least where we are, general teachers are NOT expected to teach math; this is a specialized subject, and specific math teachers rotate through the school to teach math at the various grades.

In this case, it totally makes sense to me. Too many kids have had math ruined for them over the years by “generalist” teachers who hate or fear math.

The list – and beyond

Of course, each subject will have its own terminology, from the range of art supplies demanded by the teacher to the specific shapes of geometric figures in “Engineering” class.  So even if you memorize this list, you’ll probably still have days / weeks / moments of feeling like a moron. 

Still – I hope it’s helpful in those early weeks!

Hebrew

Transliteration

English

אומנות

Omanut

Art

אנגלית

Anglit

English

דינים

Dinim

Halacha / Jewish law

הבנת הנקרא

Havanat Hanikra

Reading comprehension

הבעה

Haba’ah

Expression (text-based in Hebrew)

הלכה

Halacha

Halacha / Jewish law

הנדסה

Handasah

Geometry (literally, engineering, but it’s geometry)

זה"ב = זהירות בדרכים

Zahav

Road safety (no, it doesn’t mean “Gold” – it’s an abbreviation for “road safety”)

חגים

Chagim

Festivals (usually swapped in for Halacha when a chag is approaching)

חשבון

Cheshbon

Math (Arithmetic)

כישורי חיים

Kishurei Chaim

Life skills (to this day, I have no idea what they do in this class, which both kids have every single week)

כתיבה

Ketiva

Writing

לשון

Lashon

Grammar, what we called “Dikduk” in Canada

מדעים

Mada’im

Science

מוזיקה

Muzika

Music

מולדת

Moledet

Social Studies (Israel-focused)

מחשבים

Machshevim

Computers

משנה

Mishna

Mishna = Oral Torah

נביא

Navi

Prophets

ספורט

Sport

Gym / Physical Education

ספרות

Safrut

Literature

עברית

Ivrit

Hebrew, what we called “Safa” in Canada

עידוד קריאה

Iydud Kriyah

Reading encouragement

פרשת השבוע

Parashat Hashavua

Weekly Parsha

תורה

Torah

Chumash

תושב"ע= תורה שבעל פה

Tooshba

Mishna = Oral Torah

One final word of warning.  With maybe a dozen different teachers coming in contact with your kid, he or she will need the right “stuff” for each subject.

Arm yourself

Each separate class has its own ציוד הנדרש/tziyud hanidrash = required supplies, which could include a notebook, workbook, binder, text and/or other supplies and accessories, you’re going to want to take careful note of which ones apply and don’t apply in your kids’ case.

Failure to supply the required “tziyud” will result in a הֶעָרָה/heyara = the dreaded note in the communications notebook (מחברת קשר/machberet kesher) asking that parents be more careful in equipping their child for success in school.

On days when I’m feeling the most incompetent, I swear, it’s like the blind leading the blind.  Mainly, I ask the kids what they need for each subject.  It usually works – they’re the ones who get the note, after all. 

I’m sooooo grateful that we started with the early grades, where nothing is mission critical.  Missing a few notebooks in the early weeks of Grade Two is nothing, especially when the child can’t read anything she’s written in the notebooks anyway. 

Now that we’re putting our second Israeli kid through Grade Two, the whole thing is starting to feel a whole lot easier.  Not easy, but easier.

By the time we get all the way through twelfth grade and the dreaded “Bagrut” (matriculation) exams in another 8 years, well, then, I really will have a handle on things.  Yeah, it’ll be too late by then.  But I will be an expert, a battle-weary veteran of the Israeli education system.

For which I fully expect to win a “Gold” medal!

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה


2 comments:

  1. We made aliyah when our oldest was entering 10th grade. Something we learned about that year was that kids in Israeli high schools pick a major (מגמה), which in turn, pretty much defines the classes they will take until they graduate. (For example, my daughter who majored in computer graphics had no science classes at all for 4 years.)

    Apparently, picking a major is a big deal. Each major sets up information tables, and the kids circulate around to look at each one. Many of the parents also go. Well, we didn't go, because we knew nothing about it. My daughter came home that day, and walked into the kitchen where I was standing with my wife. She dropped her knapsack onto the floor and burst into tears. I'd never seen her so overwhelmed.

    B"H, it worked out for her in the end. It's something for you to look forward to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Actually, this is like the one thing I already knew about high school, because a friend's daughter just graduated from high school where she did a BAKING major, which is just about the coolest thing I ever heard of. Sure, it cost my friend plenty to buy the professional-grade KitchenAid, but then... awesome desserts, every single Shabbat! Trying to influence my own daughter (Grade 4) to pick this one, too. :-)

      Thank you for stopping by!

      Delete

I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Google