Oct 29 2013
As a homeschooling family, our lives tend to be very flexible, and our “unschooling” tendencies mean our schooling style is also very flexible. Many families in our community have started signing their kids up for classes now that they are older; some classes are drop-off, some classes parents stay for.
Many families I know with daughters (homeschooling and not) sign them up for a lot of “arts” classes: dance, gymnastics, voice, etc. I took ballet, tap, jazz, and gymnastics in my youth and I love encouraging artistic expression for young girls.
However, I also think it’s as important for boys to take those kinds of classes as it is for girls to take LEGO Engineering (as my older son does), and intensive nature hikes and science classes, and I decided that I would teach my sons to tap dance this year so that they get a well-rounded education in the arts. I already teach them piano, but dance is another level of music I want them to start understanding. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 8 2013
As I have talked about here on Kveller quite a bit, I love Shabbat. I love turning off anything electronic for 25 hours, not working, not driving anywhere, having leisurely meals, taking a nap while my sons play hopefully safely and sort of quietly nearby. Oh yeah: I also love celebrating the miraculous religious experience of echoing God’s cessation of labor by engaging in the blessed Sabbath; it’s not just the hanging out and napping and not working, although those are pretty awesome too and sometimes seem more needed than the religious ecstasy.
What I don’t love is that I don’t currently live in a neighborhood with other Shabbat-observant Jews. I am not in a position to move just now, and so Shabbats are often “home days” with my kids. Sometimes we walk to synagogue but the closest one is about an hour’s walk away and since we don’t know anywhere well enough to eat after synagogue, we end up walking longer than we even stay in synagogue. And some of us get tired and cranky and hungry. And sometimes so do my kids.
What I have decided to start doing since my divorce is to try and take my kids to a Shabbat-observant neighborhood once a month and stay over for all of Shabbat. I don’t find driving in the spirit of Shabbat, even if it’s just to go to synagogue. It forces me to engage with streetlights, roads, people, traffic, and other things which do not make me feel the peace of Shabbat. I know some people drive on Shabbat and that’s fine for them, but it has never felt right since I took on observing Shabbat the way I currently prefer to. Read the rest of this entry →
May 28 2013
My younger son is coming up on 5 years old. As I’ve discussed here, he was very late to talk and really only started speaking in the past nine months or so.
This means I get a lot of mature questions from a not very mature vocabulary or set of linguistics. Meaning: his brain is almost 5 but his vocabulary and sentence structure and the notion of speaking itself is still catching up.
This presents as the following: I get a ton of adorable great questions about where babies come from, why is the sun sunny, what is body hair for, and things like that. It’s wonderful to see how Fred’s brain has been working all of this time and has been waiting for his language to emerge organically. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 19 2012
We don’t do trick-or-treating in our house. Never have, hopefully never will. As a scroogey vegan with easily-scared-of-anything-dark-spooky-or-creepy children who don’t even like candy that much, we’ve avoided it very nicely by doing other things on October 31 like roast pumpkin seeds, eat fun food, and listen to “Monster Mash” on repeat.
Well, leave it to homeschoolers to be creative… Our homeschool community seems to feature “trick-or-treating” at Halloween at the park we go to each week for classes and hanging out with other homeschoolers. This year, my older son came home from Halloween park day with a bag full of candy that was handed out at the park. I appreciate the parents who only gave him vegan candy, but hmmm… what to do, what to do?
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