Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Everyone has a little freak-out once in a while

I had a small freak-out moment yesterday.  I've been thinking that it might be time to beef up Chana's Ivrit writing.  It got triggered by a conversation I had with someone last week.  I can't even remember with whom.  It was about education (this happens a lot, as it's one of my interests).  We were talking about boys' chinuch, and I said I don't know much about what the norms are, since I am not a boy and never had a boy's education, plus the Modern Orthodox yeshiva that I went to does not have the same curriculum as the local schools near me (boys start aleph beis earlier, Chumash earlier, Gemara earlier...).  I didn't even know what the Ivrit curriculum is like.  Whoever I was talking to mentioned that they do need to write Hebrew script.

Since I'm unschooling, I wonder how likely it is that Hebrew script will come up.  Pretty unlikely, I'd say.  They'll probably want to read Hebrew, very likely want to understand Hebrew, but how much will they want to write it?  I don't know.  Right now they don't much want to write anything.  They type, though.

So, every homeschool parent knows that sometimes you get on these anxiety worry binge freak-outs.  Where you start wondering if you're making a huge mistake, if your curriculum is a really Bad Idea, if your methods are going to screw up your child for his/her whole life, that kind of thing.  After 15 years, I don't get these often, and I'm already really comfortable with most of my methods and am pretty sure I'm not harming my children.  But this freak-out attacked some insecurities that I hadn't worked through.

I was worrying about the mesorah.  Am I going to raise children who have a fun childhood and play a lot, but end up being somewhat Jewishly illiterate and not know how to read mefarshim if they are interested in learning?  Am I not doing our part and our personal obligation in teaching Torah to the next generation?  I'm not teaching them enough skills for them to feel comfortable teaching their own kids.  My skills are fantastic, but theirs won't be.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaagh!!!!  (Once you mentally stop thinking hysterical thoughts and just move to "aaaaagh" you've really lost it.)

I tried to have a parent teacher conference with Ari but he rolled his eyes at me and said everything is great and everything is going to be fine.

So I have to talk myself down.  My first step was to think about their future happiness.  I am comfortable that we are not compromising their future happiness by teaching them this way.  In fact, we might be enhancing it.  And if they particularly want to work on skills, they will.  I am comfortable that we are not compromising their future ability to earn a living by teaching them this way.  This is one of our important goals in educating our children, and I don't think our methods will shortchange them.  I am comfortable that we are not compromising their ability to learn Torah by teaching them this way.  I personally do value skills and the ability to study Torah texts and to learn inside.  A rare day goes by where I don't open a sefer and read Hebrew text.  But I chose this unschooling route because I felt it was more likely to lead to thinking as a way of life, thinking deeply about learning, and having it affect their hearts.  If they end up learning fewer sources but spend more time pondering them, discussing them, and being affected by them, then we consider that a successful education.


  1. What are your favorite chumash learning resources and texts outside of mikraos gedolos?