Sunday, March 26, 2017

Playing the Loooooooong Game

I haven't written in a while.  Because we haven't been doing much.  I go to work.  I'm having a good year teaching with a nice bunch of girls.  The boys do what they do.  Mostly on the computer or their tablets all day.  Aharon does Roblux, Elazar plays a lot of Geometry Dash, and I'm not quite sure what Jack is doing.  They all three ask me how to spell things all day long, so I'm sure their literacy keeps improving.  I hope they learn how to read Hebrew soon so that I can type to them in Hebrew.  My husband and I went away for a couple of days and they all chatted me and I was pretty impressed with their written communication abilities.  And my mom (bless my parents for watching them and giving us a gift of a vacation!) said their arithmetic is fine.

I'm having thoughts/concerns/worries about their Judaic studies but they are still too young to really be concerned about it.  They definitely ask halacha questions and hashkafa questions.  Elazar asks for things and I offer to learn with him and give it to him as a siyum (gaming computer, cell phone, dinner at a five star restaurant) but so far he's not interested.*

*btw, offering a kid a reward for learning is NOT unschooling 

I was thinking this morning that there is something that is kind of amazingly wonderful about the idea that I feel pretty sure that Chana feels that IF she becomes interested in Advanced Calculus, she will simply go learn it.

Chana's been somewhat cocooning this year, which is a term I learned about unschooling teenagers.  I know she learns best by talking to other people, and I know she is talking to lots and lots of people on the internet (which is amazing, because she learns things and debates with and discusses things with people all over the world), and she is also coming to me to discuss a lot of things that come up with people she's talking to over the internet.

It reminds me of this John Holt quote that pops up periodically:

So even though she doesn't want to finish reading the Stranger with me, and even though in theory she is enjoying Bio but most days is not that interested in learning it so we end up not doing it, I think she's learning a lot about... I have no idea.  But she is thinking and maturing and growing and is curious about things.  So I trust the process.  And, like I said, I get the sense that she feels pretty comfortable that she will be able to learn whatever she will be interested in in the future.  I think this is one of the richest things about unschooling: that she is curious about things and interested in lots of things and fearless about pursuing learning.  I have spent almost two decades teaching in school, coaxing people to learn things they don't want to learn, and it's disheartening.  It is refreshing to be around people who are just endlessly curious about things (even though the things are often odd and nonstandard).

Another possibly amazing thing is happening about school.  I've discussed that I'm not sure if pushing hard for Chana to take classes in the high school I teach at is/was a good idea.  It certainly isn't "unschooling."  (I'm not married to unschooling as a philosophy; I'm pragmatic.  I've found it the most pleasant and efficient way to handle education in our family.)  I'm not quite sure yet if things are actually happening.  But.  I mentioned that Chana switched from Mishlei to gemara.  She really loves gemara (and she has a truly amazing Rebbi).  She loves it so much, she started learning it with Ari once a week.  (It only happened once, but she loved it. And they picked an actual scheduled time, which is once a week at 10:30 at night, so it will probably happen.)  And I may have mentioned that it takes her three years to settle into things, and maybe, maybe, some of the girls in the school are beginning to grow on her.

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