I cannot believe how the air turned crisp as soon as September 1st happened. Chana is back from her August travels. I start teaching out of the house tomorrow, one class. I'm working out babysitting trades with my homeschooling neighbor so I can go to work because I told Chana to choose one class in the school I work at, and she chose two. She chose Mishlei, which students in the school usually describe with hyperbolic enthusiasm. However, since that class is only given for 11th graders (and she is in 10th--yet another shout out to the incredibly flexible principal I work with), Chana decided she would like to hang out with some of the students she met last year, and she decided to come to my Chumash class. These are the girls she was in Chumash with last year. She dropped out of Chumash in January.
The whole last year I wasn't sure if I was making the wrong or right decision by insisting that she go to class. She complained about it a lot and felt that the girls were not really her speed. This is true. But also true is that she's a slow warmer upper and maybe she would make some relationships. What was definite is that the girls in the school were very receptive and friendly to her, liked her, and were willing to embrace her. I figured even if she doesn't click with any of them, it's not like it's an emotionally horrifying experience to be around people who like you.
I think a lot of people feel like socialization is a problem to worry about if you decide to homeschool. We have certainly been asked "What about socialization" in many different ways and it comes up in most conversations when people discover that we homeschool.
But I also know many, many parents whose children are in school who have deep and painful socialization woes with their children. There is loneliness and conflict and socialization in school isn't all sunshine and happiness. And in my experience with my own children, my first daughter was lonely in homeschool when one friend moved away and another friend matriculated and then she decided to go to school. But it took her almost TWO YEARS in school before she made friends. And she was a very social child who was eager to make friends. My second daughter is seeking a very specific type of person and type of intimacy which is also not so easy to find, even in school.
Anyway, she's not joining my class for the Torah (I can easily teach it to her at home and in a fraction of the time) and I have no doubt she'll dump it in five seconds if my class bores her too much. But it does confirm that nudging her into attending last year was not terrible. We'll see how it plays out. Right now she is thinking about skipping my class once a week so she'll mentally have one day with nothing scheduled. I'm not thrilled about that but in terms of conflict-fatigue with my teenager, this is not something I'm up for making an issue about.
Chana was ambivalent about not taking TSBP again. She really liked the teacher. She really liked the subject (and that is exciting to me, since one of my goals for Chana was that she should gain an appreciation of torah sheba'al peh). She enjoyed the chevrusa part and expressed that she will really miss that. But ultimately, she decided against it because she found it pretty excruciating that after the first 10 minutes of presenting the material (which she found highly interesting and stimulating), a great deal of class time was used explaining material she already understood.
I hear that is a problem that homeschooled students encounter. They are "selfish" in their learning in the sense that they haven't really learned to adjust the pace to group learning or to other people.
I am a little disappointed that Chana won't have TSBP this year, but I'm hopeful she'll take it next year (even though the "ONE YEAR AT A TIME" mantra of the homeschooler echoes resoundingly in my ears).
This summer we were in the middle of the Rambam's introduction to the Talmud (which she wasn't crazy about) and we finished Shmuel I. I hope she'll be inclined to continue learning Shmuel II with me. We also were going through some of the bein adam l'chavero mitzvos from the TSBP booklets I have from high school. It turned out I need to prepare beforehand and Chana was finding those a bit boring.
And now the next post about Chana's 10th grade secular studies: