Sunday, September 1, 2013

unschooling limudei kodesh

It was Friday night and Ari went to shul, and I was looking forward to sitting down and relaxing with a book.

This was not to be.  Elazar pulled out his Chumash, and Jack pulled out a flip book with aleph beis given to us by a friend.  It has two books in it, and he gave Aharon one.

People often ask how to teach all the kids at the same time.  The fact is, I usually don't.  I usually teach each child individually, at different points during the day.  But Friday night was pretty much what most people ask about.  Elazar was reviewing Chumash.  Jack and Aharon were clamoring about the letters.  (Aharon, although only age 2, spent numerous hours a day watching Team Umizoomi and somehow learned all of the numbers.  So he has the capacity for letter recognition, and he kept asking me "What's this?")  Elazar then asked about rashi, and I started showing him inside rashi, but then went upstairs and pulled out the memory matching Rashi game that I have that has all the letters, and we spent some time matching rashi letters to print letters.  We were setting up the squares, and Jack kept undoing the set up, etc. etc.  He read the Hebrew word "רש"י" and saw it was the same in the Chumash.  He picked up one card and laughed, "This is a funny one!  What is this?"  And it was the aleph.  He thought that was wild and completely unexpected.  We went back to the Chumash and found a few alephs in rashi.  It's possible he might have done more, but Jack was crying that I wasn't helping him learn, and Aharon was also getting insistent.

I was basically exhausted at the end of the hour, when Ari came home.  It was a relentless hour of them pushing and pushing and insisting that I teach them.

One of the things I have found about unschooling that I really like is that the children are inclined to walk by it, see it, and pick it up.  In mainstream school, or at least my own personal experience of it, it was a rare phenomenon to pick up something that was school-y and want to learn it outside of being obligated to do it.  I really enjoy when my children don't see learning that way.  Although I spent many hours learning in school as a kid, I also equally wanted nothing to do with schoolwork when I didn't have to be there.  And I was considered a pretty self-motivated kid who loved learning.  I just really like when my kids want to learn just because they are interested in the subject, and for no other reason, with no other pressure, and no expectations, and no goals.*

*Which reminds me of an article I reread last week about expectations being the enemy of creativity.

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