Chana has been expressing discontent with going to school for a while. She doesn't like sitting in class for an hour, she finds a lot of it boring, she doesn't like the kids.
This is not exactly how I've been experiencing it. The girls seem very nice and eager to be friendly to her. When I've helped her study, I've been very happy with the material she has been learning. She has spoken about topics that were discussed in class, and I love that she was thinking more deeply about those issues. There were a lot of things that I don't think we would have done together if we were learning ourselves. And of course there is no "class discussion" when it is just us.
However, she has been complaining about going in every day and saying that she doesn't want to go. This has been a source of tension between us, and a source of great pain to her. It was getting to the point where she was crying when I dropped her off nearly every day.
I was in a lot of conflict. I am in a lot of conflict. I still feel like she needs socialization (ha! The dreaded "s" word! And I'm a homeschooler speaking such!) and that she needs more time to get used to the girls and to hopefully find someone she can become closer with. On the other hand, it certainly occurs that people go through high school without making close friends or really feeling like they belong with those people.
I went to speak to the principal, and as she has been all along, she blew me away with her kindness and flexibility. She offered that Chana can try other classes, can switch around classes, can try classes in other grades if we think that will work.
When I told Chana she can stop going, she was so grateful that she agreed to do all my favorite Rambans with me, since I can't rely on school any more for her skills work. So I have to compile a list of those to go through. I'm beginning to have that giddy feeling of so many possibilities (Abarbanel, Nechama Leibowitz), which I always feel when I embark on a new homeschool adventure. This usually being way out of touch with reality. I remember drawing up a whole schedule for the first year I was doing two grades, 6th and 1st, for Sarah and Chana. Our schedule ended up being nothing like that. I had to drop a lot of things that I wanted to do (most memorably Mishna) and really prioritize.
When I asked Chana if she could pick any class in high school, what would she want, she asked for a math class. She has not been delighted with my math teaching. (Nor was Sarah before her.) Since I really want her to experience Judaic studies in high school, I decided to purchase Teaching Textbooks. Chana originally said that we could finish up geometry and get it for Algebra II. But I am struggling a bit with geometry and this is made for homeschoolers and is specifically designed to talk straight to the student and leave the mom out of it. Sounds perfect (though I do love learning Math with her and sharing my joy in it, I am really not a clear teacher and she's suffering for it). It was pricey at almost $200, but that is a lot cheaper than a tutor and I hope she likes it. I was considering buying a version off ebay for $75, but I wasn't sure if it was the version that grades itself. I consulted with Ari and he voted for the new version.
Chana will have to do it every day and be in charge of herself. I assume if she likes it and it is interesting, she'll do it.
Up until now, Chana was point blank refusing to take any classes in the high school next year. But now that she is dropping one class (she is continuing with Torah she'baal Peh), she is so much more relaxed and cheerful. She will look at the schedule come June and choose a class to go to.
So I'm feeling pretty sad that she dropped Chumash and sorry that she won't be learning all the things she was learning that I thought was good for her. I'm concerned that she won't have the opportunities to make friendships and relationships with the girls in her grade.
On the up side, Chana is hugely more relaxed and happy.
On another note, Chana and my study of Eisav has been going nicely. I'm not doing heavy mefarshim and often we are left with more questions than answers and she doesn't like the answers I give to the questions we ask, but it's fun and that's what is important.
Why is Eisav called Edom just because he wanted red soup?
(We talked about how it showed a character trait to trade everything for soup and how he didn't even call it soup, but "that red stuff" but she wasn't convinced.)
What did he mean when he sold it because he is dying?
(We talked about that he took risks and figured he'd die before his father [unconvincing] or that he felt what is the point anyway, since he's dying.)
Why did Rivka's argument "the curse will be on me" if Yaakov got caught convince Yaakov? Yaakov was still responsible because he agreed to it. And if Yaakov gets fired from a job, his mom saying, "It was my idea" isn't going to convince the boss not to fire him.