Thursday, December 4, 2014

unschooling Hebrew reading

Elazar went through a burst of Hebrew reading for the past couple of weeks.  He's been working towards a siyum.  He got up to page 42 out of about 200 pages in the Hebrew reader.  He totally gets the idea of blending, is pretty quick at it (but not yet fluent), and we are going through it letter by letter with various nekudos.  He's up to gimmel.  His interest has kind of petered out and he has stopped asking me to do it.

So now here is the question of unschooling vs. not.  I don't really think there is a wrong answer here.  I can continue to nudge him along, and he would probably do it.  It won't be painful for him and he would learn to read Hebrew.  Once he knows Hebrew, we can practice tefila and maybe start Chumash text (he's done some, but it's extremely desultory).  He's in 2nd grade.

Or I can just drop it.  I can leave it alone until he decides to pick it up again.  One disadvantage is that it's a little nervewracking, but I'm pretty confident he'll choose to pick it up again.  Another disadvantage is that he won't be on the same level as his peers, but the benefits of him going at his own pace outweigh that.  Another disadvantage is that he is possibly missing opportunities to learn all the skills that scaffold on top of reading Ivrit.  Is it true that learning skills at a young age is easier?  Is he missing valuable years of learning?  Am I teaching him that play is more important than Torah?  Is play more important for a 7yo with ADHD?  But doing 5-10 minutes a day of reading is not going to cause him agitation.

A benefit of dropping it is that I know, from experience, that a motivated child will do more than quadruple the work in less than half the time.  Even when I wasn't unschooling, I used to notice waves of learning, lulls and peaks, two weeks of rapid assimilation of skills and information vs weeks where they would need more play time and the work seemed harder and more complicated for them.  In unschooling it is even more extreme.  It seems like 6 months go by and then a few days of intense interest and study or a couple of weeks and they master things or parts of a skill and then they taper off.  It seems to me that if I leave it alone, it will be much more efficiently mastered.

Despite that, I feel the urge to ask Elazar to read every day.

I think I will continue to ask him in the evening if he'd like to learn, and let him choose what he wants to learn.

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