Friday, November 13, 2009

Another “Hands-off” Homeschooling Moment

Further to her self-initiated Learning How to Write spree a couple of days ago:

shabbos does 018Busy cooking, so I left Naomi Rivka to her own devices.  Totally unprompted, she came to me and said, “we should make a tent for this week’s parsha, to be Sara’s tent.”  (parshas Chayei Sarah)

I agreed, snapped some skewers in half and taped them together to make a quick teepee … and she did all the rest!

You can’t see it in this picture, but the tent features tremendously detailed illustrations… probably mostly of princesses, I’m sure. 

She is very, VERY serious about her princess obsession these days.  I feel sad because she thinks this is a magical thing that is unique to her and her most special friends.  How can I break the news to her that they are all victims of the tawdry Disnicrappification of an authentic European folk tradition (namely, fairytales, morality tales and tales of royalty, a common enough theme even in Jewish tradition)?  I feel sick thinking about it.

Anyway, while she decorated her tent, we talked about why Sara Imeinu was famous for her tent:  namely that it was always open to guests.  I also reminded her about the midrash which teaches us that her Shabbos candles stayed lit from one week to the next.  And then, when she died, the candles went out… until Rivka, the next Jewish princess, came along.  She was as big a tzadekes as Sara, and again the tent was a happy place, with candles lit from one week to the next.

She was happy enough to have a story with a real princess in it.  “And she was only three years old!”

I’m sure hands-on homeschooling works great, but on a busy Friday afternoon, I love it when she gets her own ideas about how to learn!

(slightly apropos of this, Thingamababy posted a link to this page with cartoons deconstructing the whole Disney princess thing… cute)

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