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Here we'll be sharing some thoughts about Jewish homeschooling,
out of our unique experiences and perspectives. Kids are welcome to blog too!
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Yael Resnick
Group Co-Administrator

"Yael"

Ups and downs in the life of an imperfect homeschooling mom

March 2010 Posts

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A Learning Experience
Blog Entry

Half of infinity is still infinity

Thursday, March 18th 2010 @ 12:00 AM

One recent night, I was saying goodnight to two of my children, and my homeschooling heart fluttered with joy when my five-year-old daughter whispered, "Mommy, I love you infinite." 

Then my nine-year-old daughter said, "And I love you half of infinite. Because half of infinite is still infinite!"

Now my little heart just about danced!

"You're right!" I said. "That was really good thinking. And I love you infinity times two. Good night!"

Then, I can only surmise, my children went to sleep with deep, esoteric visions ushering them into dreams about the mysteries of the universe and their place in it.

The next morning, my nine-year-old visited a school we've been considering for her. (See my previous post about trying to adapt to the changing direction of the wind...) She sat in on a math class in which the teacher was reviewing long division.

Well, my daughter hadn't learned long division yet. (As it turned out, it was to be the next lesson coming up in her math book.) So when the teacher tried to "assess" her math level, my daughter did not, shall we say, have a "success experience" (nod to Miriam Adahan for that term).

In fact, she had an end-up-in-tears experience.

So which matters more? Her creative math insight from the night before, or her lack of a specific math skill in the morning?

Of course, computation skills are important, and I certainly teach them (and she learned long division in about half an hour just a few days later). But I would say that being able to think mathematically, to use math concepts as a language with which to explore new corners of one's own mind, is "infinitely" more significant than whether or not one has yet to cover any particular lesson in the textbook.

Now, as a math teacher, I happen to think that long division also represents the infinite beauty of the universe! But in practice, it is generally a utilitarian algorithm that doesn't usually inspire children to ponder life's mysteries as they drift off to sleep.

But think about it! Half of infinity is still infinity. There is so much power in that! Hashem is infinite, and we can't even know the tiniest fraction of what Hashem is really all about. But even a fraction of infinity is still infinity, so by learning Torah and doing any mitzvah that helps us connect to Hashem, it is as if we are reaching through a little window into the infinite...

You may not be surprised to hear that my daughter will continue to homeschool (at least until the winds of change blow again)! 

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