Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Playing school--with real results

To a casual observer, I'm shortchanging my kids. 
Every morning after davening, we settle in for our schoolwork--all 45 minutes of it!  Thing 1 practices her reading in English and Hebrew, copies letters, and plays around with math, while Thing 2 cuts, pastes, and practices her ABCs and aleph-bet.  A couple poems and a story later, and we're done!  Our day then takes on whatever form we want--whether it's working on Frontier Girl badges, doing art projects, taking a trip, or just playing around.
And, yet...
Thing 1 can read.  She has a decent sight vocabulary and can figure out most one- and two-syllable words.  She can write letters that are completely legible.  She can add and subtract in her head.  Thing 2 can use crayons and scissors with relative accuracy (for a 3-year-old), and knows all her upper-case letters, most of her lower-case ones, and her numbers.  Also, the Things can find the US on a blank world map, classify vertebrates by class (fish, amphibian, reptile, bird or mammal), and can tell the difference between vertebrates and invertebrates (in fact, Thing 1 named the coral as an invertebrate).  They can identify George Washington and Barack Obama from pictures.  They know their Jewish holidays, can talk about the parsha, and can daven.  They know brachos, are learning to bentch, and know a thing or two about kosher laws.  So, whenever I get insecure about my decidedly loose approach to homeschooling, I just have to remember that.


  1. Remember that according to Jewish tradition, the ideal education is the parent educating the child directly, one on one. Reality dictates that we need schools but if someone has the time and ability he/she should still try it instead. It's personal, it wastes minimal time and it tailors directly to the kid.
    It also points out that for all the teachers talk about how hard they work, they don't actually have that many productive minutes during the day. The rest seems to be crowd control.

    Garnel Ironheart

  2. In all fairness to the schools, it's a lot easier to teach two kids than 30. Also, the younger the kids, the more interpersonal issues you're likely to encounter. Toddlers still prefer to let their fists do the talking. Five-year-olds cannot sit still for very long (which is why full-day academic kindergarten is a waste--although I am not unsympathetic of the need for daycare.)


I'm not Monty Python. I hate SPAM.