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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

January 2011 Posts

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A Learning Experience
Blog Entry

Relax… they really are learning!

Wednesday, January 19th 2011 @ 6:43 PM

Every few weeks, I have bouts of panic that maybe my children are missing out, maybe there's something I should be doing that I'm not, and maybe—gasp—maybe they're not learning anything!

Now it's true that by homeschooling, my kids are missing whatever is going on in school—but every choice has its consequences. Homeschooling isn't school, and we knew that when we made this choice. 

And it's true that there are countless things I should be doing that I'm not doing. I have a list miles long of all the things I wish I could be doing—but there are only so many hours in a day.

But the fear that really grabs me when I'm trying to fall asleep at night is that maybe my children are just not learning at all, that they are just not being "educated." This fear isn't based on anything concrete, but rather on a vague feeling that our days pass without enough "book time," or maybe because they lack the intensity (and stress?) of homework and tests that make school feel like school.

Especially because my style leans toward "relaxed eclectic," I don't have the security of a structured curriculum in place for most subjects to reassure me that we're on track.

I guess it just feels too easy sometimes—like it's too much fun and games.

But then I stop to take stock of what my children really do and what they know.

They're great readers, articulate speakers, and sophisticated writers. They love books! They can type accurately and fast, considering their ages (my 6-year-old just did a typing test and found she types 20 words per minute). They're working through their math workbooks, right "on schedule" or ahead of it. They explore world geography using Google Earth, since we rediscovered it last week.

They have access to art supplies, sewing kits, and puzzle and activity books. They play piano. They do the occasional science experiment and can often be persuaded to read non-fiction books from the library on subjects they would not have chosen themselves. They watch educational videos and play educational games.

They're progressing in Hebrew, even though I'd like to step it up and be more systematic. They're fully immersed in Shabbos and all of the Jewish holidays—learning about them by living them. They learn about the parsha each Shabbos. And of course, they take classes right here on Room613 where they get a wide range of skills and knowledge about the gamut of Jewish subjects.

If all of this were happening in school, I wouldn't be questioning it. But since it's happening at home, with days that are sometimes more and sometimes less productive, sometimes "too much fun" and sometimes filled with tears and frustration—I start to doubt. And yet, when I look at the big picture, I see that despite my blatant lack of perfection when it comes to homeschooling, my kids are indeed getting an education. Although I don't always know quite how they learned what they've learned, there's no question that they are doing just fine. They're light years ahead of where I was at their age in terms of skills and knowledge, and in many areas, ahead of their schooled peers.

So, I'm writing this to tell myself, and you, that I'm going to stop worrying and just enjoy this amazing homeschooling life. Even on days when it seems like all they do is play—they are learning. My kids and yours, too. Really!

Comments

Elana Horwitz
Room613 Community
Isramom9 said on Thursday, January 20th 2011 @ 12:45 AM:

When teachers in school follow a curriculum, supposedly a subject has been covered. But parents don't always see that their child has actually learned the material. When parents take direct responsibility, they know what their child has learned - and that he or she really has learned.


Yael Resnick
Room613 Community
Yael said on Thursday, January 20th 2011 @ 1:15 AM:

That's so true, Elana. I think for many people it's comforting to assume that when children are in school, they are really learning, each minute of the day. But so much is never actually absorbed, or is not retained, and certainly a large part of the day they are not actively engaged in learning at all. Education is definitely not the inevitable outcome when a child moves through the school day, and completes yet another school year. But at home, in countless ways both great and subtle, parents constantly fine-tune their approach so that their children learn, and learn well!


Elaine Chesler
Room613 Community
ksc said on Thursday, January 20th 2011 @ 10:13 AM:

Actually, my biggest fear is that they are not on par with children of their own age who are learning in day schools.  Jewish day schools allow some wiggle room in the secular - you can pick most of that up just by being aware and learning the logical, analytical processes of limudei kodesh - but the jewish learning, that worries me.  I always worry if they are missing the intensity of the interaction and "competition" found within such schools.  I worry and I worry and then when I am listening from the other room, I hear my children demonstrating their knowledge in the give and take style that I fear they do not have, and I realize that I should relax.


Yael Resnick
Room613 Community
Yael said on Thursday, January 20th 2011 @ 10:43 AM:

Do your children learn here (on Room613)?


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