Tuesday, June 4, 2013

unschooling as bat mitzva age approaches

Chana asked me what I had learned with her friend for her bas mitzva.  I told her we learned about tznius and about Esther.  Then I asked her what she wanted to learn before her bat mitzva.  I hadn't actually planned to do any learning with her (we learn together every day), but since she brought it up, I figured I'd ask.

She said: "I'd like to learn what I have to do once I'm bas mitzva."

Excellent idea.

I went through everything in my mind, and it turns out we have 2 things left to do: hamaapil of kri'as shema al hamita, and we have not finished learning the meaning of shemona esrei.

I told this to Chana.  But she is still feeling nervous, so I'm going to make a list of what I felt we needed to get her up to speed on in order to be able to fulfill the chiyuvim that come up for her.

A friend of mine learned the Sefer Chinuch with her daughter before her bat mitzva.  That's a really great way of giving the child a sense of the 613 commandments.  I've started doing that a bit with Elazar, since he's asked about Torah.  We are up to mitzva 3: gid hanashe.  (We've done pru urvu and bris.)

So with Chana, it's not that many d'oraisa issues that come up on a regular basis, except kashrus and Shabbos and she's been immersed in those.

  • kosher
  • shabbos/yomtov
  • tznius
  • tefilla (for girls, our posek holds one shemona esrei per day.  for boys, it will be a lot more but hopefully they will know how to daven in shul)
  • birchas hatorah before eating or learning
  • birchas hashachar
  • brachos before and after food
  • washing & bentching
  • asher yatzar after bathroom
  • changes in tefila and bentching for shabbos and rosh chodesh (retzei & yaaleh v'yavo)
  • (for boys, hallel)
  • (for boys: kippah, tzitzis, tefilin, zman kri'as shema)
  • different shemona esreis for yontif vs chol hamoed
  • different shemona esrei for shabbos
  • kri'as shema al hamita & hamaapil
  • fasting on 5 fasts
  • other prohibitions on yom kippur and 9 av (no washing, no annointing, no intimate relations [not relevant yet], no leather shoes, and on 9 av no greeting or learning torah)
  • chiyuvim on purim (matanos l'evyonim, megila 2x, shalach manos)
  • chiyuvim on pesach (seder, matza, maror, 4 cups)
  • (boys: succos, lulav, sefiras haomer)
  • maaser on money earned
A lot of these things came up naturally over the course of home education.  The only things we really had to work on were learning to say shemona esrei, and working on reading different paragraphs from the siddur for a few months for about 5 minutes per evening starting a little before she turned 11, so that she would be fluent in reading or saying all the brachos and tefilos that she would be chayav in.  (This included asher yatzar, bentching, yaale v'yavo, etc.  I usually had her do one paragraph a night until she got pretty fluent at it.)  She agreed to do this and never once complained about it, after we had a conversation about it being a good idea for her to know how to say the things she'll be required to say once she's bas mitzva.

If I've forgotten anything, leave a comment in the comments section!  I'd appreciate it!  And so would Chana :-)

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