Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An unschooling tactic

We often worry our children are going to grow up and be ignoramuses (and surely that's incorrect grammar, which just further justifies my concerns).

Early in my marriage I fortunately changed a negative habit I had of some types of nagging.  How did I do this?  Whenever I have an urge to tell my husband or children to do improve in some way, I just (Byron Katie it!) flip it around and make it about myself instead.  For example, "I'm concerned about your spiritual development" becomes "I'm concerned about my spiritual development."  And "You should go to shul" becomes "I should improve my own tefila."  "You should be learning more Torah" is actually not about them, it would be about me.  And once it's about me, that's easy enough to remedy. 

Every time you are worried that your child will grow up not learning Torah, pull out a sefer and learn something yourself.  You'll realize that you can learn a lot as an adult.  Then you won't worry so much.  Plus, you'll have learned something, which will probably be on your mind, and you'll more likely discuss it with your kids, and poof! they learned Torah.  


  1. I like this, except I write/blog/record all the time, but one of my kids is stubbornly refusing to write or type anything, even things which would benefit him to look up, even computer games which require typing.
    And another one spent his free time today watching another kid play on his iPad while I was researching topics for WWII.

  2. You have to think long term, not just one day or even one year.

    But what you are saying is funny, because you reminded me: This week I spent a bunch of time researching how engineers make tunnels (because E asked me how but I had no idea), and researching how it is that fish and birds who travel in groups don't bump into each other (asked by C). Neither of them are much interested in the answer anymore. But now I know it!
    I often find that if I don't already know the answer al regel achas when they ask, I kind of lose the opportunity to teach it to them. On the up side, I learn a lot. I imagine they will, too, when they are older.

    Also, I'm a writer. S hated writing, despised writing, and couldn't spell at all (I'm a fabulous speller overall). I didn't know what to do with her (as you remember!). Turns out eventually she did desire to write. But it wasn't until 11th grade.

    I'm not saying unschooling is the only way to go, and I think it's always a good idea for a mom to follow her intuition and try different tactics until you hit upon the ones that work. But in the long run, things do turn out unexpectedly. My kids spend hours watching each other play video games.