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Jun 9 2014

I Can’t Take All The Credit For My Daughter’s Identity

By at 2:02 pm

mealsonwheels

I recently took my daughter to deliver Meals on Wheels to elderly people in our Baltimore community. We arrived at the kosher kitchen and packed a cooler with a brown bag lunch, a soup, and a hot entrée for each recipient on our route. I was excited to offer my daughter face-to-face interactions with aging people; I wanted her to see that they have wisdom to share and to reflect on the reality of life as an older person. Most of the bubbes and zaides on our list needed the conversation as much as the meal, and it was a great opportunity for my little do-gooder to collect mitzvahs. As the faces of those we visited lit up, I heard a refrain from my lips with each introduction.

“This is my daughter,” I would say. After we told them our names, they asked her age, what grade she is in, what school she attends, what her favorite book is right now. I glowed proudly as they chatted, feeling accomplished for what I have cultivated.

My child is a gem: a pure specimen of what we want our children to be. She is sweet, thoughtful, respectful, helpful, caring, honest and dynamic. She has this special quality about her that simply shines. She has a pure heart and really cares deeply about fairness and justice. It is not an exaggeration to say that I am honored to know her. More than honored to be her mother. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 8 2013

Being a Homeschooler, I’m Used to Snow Days

By at 12:00 pm

snow with house Here in Maryland we just experienced a nice little snowstorm, and while I can’t say exactly why work and school were cancelled for so people many over just a couple of inches of snow–snow that didn’t even stick to the roads, no less–I can’t say I’m disappointed. I enjoy snow days! Yet so many of my friends on Facebook are lamenting that they are so bored being trapped inside with the kids all day. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 27 2012

What Homeschooling Actually Entails

By at 1:45 pm

When I was pregnant with my oldest son I made him a promise, and his brother after him, that I would do my best to give them happy childhoods full of wonder and magic, that I would prepare them for adulthood as best I could and give them the tools to live fulfilling lives.

That promise was at the center of my thoughts when we decided to homeschool and is the first thing I think about when I sit down every week to plan our schedule. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 14 2012

I Shouldn’t Have to Explain Why I Homeschool

By at 11:26 am

This year, when all of the kids our son’s age were entering pre-k, my husband and I made the final preparations on our plan to homeschool.

We looked into all of our options and decided that, while homeschooling is by far not the only good way to educate a child, it is how we have decided to educate ours.

I thought that my explanation would need to go no further. I assumed that most people would give the same response I give whenever a friend tells me their child is going to the local school, “That’s great!”

I was wrong. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 4 2011

Back to (Home)school

By at 2:13 pm

My older son, Miles, will be 6 this month. He is technically “in kindergarten” although we are not part of any structured academic school, curriculum, or “plan.” Like a few million other parents in the United States, we choose to homeschool our children. Miles nor his 3 year old brother, Fred, have ever been to preschool or daycare and we love homeschooling so far. We are part of a large, colorful, secular homeschooling community here in Los Angeles that offers classes for free, classes for fees, and a variety of social and field-trip activities that keep us rarely at “home” as we homeschool.

(There is also a terrific Jewish homeschooling community in Los Angeles that I teach higher level science classes for. They offer opportunities for religious families to satisfy both secular academic and religious academic goals in a homeschooling setting which is amazing!)

Our homeschool community holds its classes and weekly get togethers along the same academic calendar that conventional schools do, with spring break, winter break, and summer breaks falling at the expected times. During the summer, our field trips generally involve beaches, water parks, and other such outdoor activities. As a homeschooling family that tends to favor the unschooling approach to education (encouraging child-directed selections of learning and not generally subscribing to one particular academic philosophy and/or curriculum), our whole year kind of feels like summer in a good way, since we love the laid-back approach we can take to life by homeschooling.

Here’s what we did over the summer which we will continue with more regularity now that the school year is upon us:

1) Piano, Geography, and Hebrew (reading and writing) – I teach these to Miles.

2) Basic math, telling time – my husband teaches these.

3) Miles acquired a penpal this summer who lives in Florida and we have been learning about letter-writing: form, content, how to address envelopes, select the appropriate number of Star Wars LEGO stickers for envelopes, and the like.

4) Use every possible day as a potential to see how the world works, how society functions, and how people interact. Read the rest of this entry →

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