Tuesday, September 4, 2012

nagging worries about judaic studies curriculum: listen to your gut

every once in a while, i start to feel nagging concerns.

- chana's hebrew writing is pretty poor; she always writes the same basic words (and still spells them incorrectly!) and isn't really making enough progress in it

- we've pretty much fallen down on the spoken hebrew

- do i want to work on more modern ivrit?  (yes, i do.  but when?  plus, it's not really unschooling.  so i'm throwing more things into the curriculum that i don't have time for and that she doesn't want to do)

- i would love to do navi stories.  why am i not finding time for navi?

those are the ones that are top of my list bothering me.  but now that i'm writing them down, here are a few more:

- she is less than a year away from bat mitzva, and we probably ought to do some targum tefila so she understands what she is saying in shemona esrei.  also, bentching.

- i've really fallen down on the tenses in ivrit, especially present and future (we did past, but she probably needs more)

i think there are a couple of reasons for this.  i'm busy.  the littles take up lots of time.  chana is busy with what she likes doing all day.  it isn't until after 9pm that we settle down to do work.  or even talk.  (during the day, we have about 1.5 hrs that we block off to do chumash and rashi, and she comes over to me and i come over to her many many times during the day to tell each other things and share things and for me to see what interesting things she's working on or for her to tell me something funny that happened, but that's not deep conversation or really spending time together, it's more ad hoc).  and frankly, by 9pm i'm frazzled and fried.

anyway, i just wanted to share what i do, as a homeschooler, when these feelings start to crowd my mind.

first, i smile to myself as i remember that there is no pressure.  remember we are thinking in terms of months or years, so nothing is urgent.  there is plenty of time to make any changes (three-years-ahead-rule).

then, i think that if i'm feeling like there are some gaps in her education, i should listen to my gut.  that doesn't mean i should necessarily change what i'm doing.  but if i'm feeling like i'm not paying attention to certain subjects that i feel might be necessary for my child's future, or are important and not getting the time, maybe it's time to rethink my priorities or make a plan for how to incorporate them.

just because they are nagging me doesn't mean it's urgent.  i take a few days, weeks, or months to simmer it.  i think about how important they are and how or if i want to add them in.

the last couple of evenings, i looked into different ivrit curricula.  as usual, i either wasn't impressed, or they didn't suit my specific needs, or i wasn't able to look at them closely enough.  which reminded me why i homeschool.  because this way i get to tailor the work precisely to the needs of the particular student and calibrate it to her skills, level, and my educational goals.  yippee yay.  i consulted my friend at the board of jewish ed.

as i'm writing this, though, i'm feeling that although i have a nagging sense of her ivrit being lacking and needing work, my heart is pulling me towards navi.  navi is so wonderful and so interesting.  why oh why am i not doing it?

hmm.  maybe i should do elazar and chana together?  or maybe 6 yrs apart is too much discrepancy for me to tailor it to their specific emotions and intellects?  or maybe a group navi story once a week would be awesome?

this summer, one shaleshudis, we were all sitting around the table and ari and i started discussing the facts of egla arufa.  then we said: what are the questions--go! and they shot off questions one after the other.  then i summarized what i vaguely remembered learning that addressed the questions, keeping it on target and short.  it was a lot of fun.  maybe i can do something like that for navi.  i really really really would like to do navi.

but if i say i really want to do it, but i don't do it, then do i really want it strongly enough?  time will tell.

oh, and a final thought--if i'm worrying about this stuff, i can pat myself on my back because chumash and rashi are going swimmingly :-D

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