(Or, how I secretly want to continue homeschooling once we arrive in Israel… but you knew that already, didn’t you?)
I wasn’t sure where to post this, and actually began posting it to my aliyah blog, but decided it was more homeschooly, so now I’m switching it to here.
Homeschooling is legal in Israel, but we have already decided we cannot do it – and, more importantly, that it’s in the kids’ best interests to go to school. I posted about this before (apparently in July 2011, so we’re probably due for an update) but I will sum up the 3 main reasons:
- Socialization – not in general, because homeschooled kids DO socialize, but they will need to make friends fast and although there are chugim (extra-curricular activities), youth groups, shul, and homeschooler get-togethers, school is the best way to do that.
- Language – I want them to learn Hebrew immediately. School is perhaps a brutal way to do that, but it’s fast and everybody says they become fluent within months instead of dragging it out.
- Ulpan / Work – both Ted and I will need to concentrate on other full-time pursuits: at first, ulpan (Hebrew language learning), and later, jobs or, at least, the pursuit thereof.
Nevertheless, I am not “quitting” homeschooling, though I will be ceding some of the responsibility to schools (short- or long-term remains to be seen).
I generally resist making wishlists or anything similar because if I express a desire or an aspiration or a hope or a dream, life has a way of stomping on it, like a great big Monty Python foot descending from a cloud.
It’s also telling, I think, when I was pregnant, I had no interest in putting together a “birth plan” because most women come up with one of a few standard variations of the same birth plan without realizing that birth isn’t the sort of thing one can PLAN for at all. I suspect aliyah is the same way, so I am trying to avoid making overly-specific plans.
Nevertheless, this is a wishlist of what I hope to continue working on with the kids, and what I plan to give up, at least for the time being:
SUBJECTS I’M CONTINUING:
- Reading (McGuffey Readers, GZ in 2 and NR in 3)
- Language (First Language Lessons, NR in 2 and starting GZ in 1)
- Phonics / Spelling (Explode the Code, GZ in 3; Naomi is using a different spelling curriculum… see my next post :-))
- Writing (Writing With Ease, Naomi in 2 and starting GZ in 1)
- French (caved, bought a curriculum to bring along… see my next post :-))
- Latin (Song School Latin, Volume 2)
- Math? (perhaps only Challenging Word Problems)
- Lapbooks! We’ve got to keep some lapbooks!
The English stuff looks like a lot, but each of those “subjects” is maybe 5 minutes a day, so half an hour, all-told. The other things are mainly once- or twice-a-weekers, and again, no big drain on our time. History, for example, can be a little or a lot – if we don’t want to do the written work, then at least we will be reading and keeping up with the 4-year cycle of World History. I suspect we’ll have to drop handwriting, and just work on it “indirectly,” through copywork, spelling, etc. Naomi Rivka has a pretty solid foundation already, though Gavriel Zev does not. I may buy him one more HWOT book, since they carry them (along with the ETC books) at our local textbook store.
SUBJECTS THEY’LL GET AT SCHOOL:
- Chumash and other Jewish Studies subjects
- Social Studies: History/Geography etc.
Some of these come as a relief, to be honest. Hebrew, taught by Hebrew speakers in an immersion setting? (Do you know how much people pay for that here???) Jewish history seems like a no-brainer as well, with Roman ruins close enough for a day trip. And they’ve got to be better at teaching science in the schools than I am… or at least, maybe their experiments work out as predicted more often than mine do.
One factor I’m counting on is that the school day is shorter in Israel, especially in the younger grades, and there’s often less homework burden on kids. This is what we’re told, anyway. There are still after-school activities, and other groups and clubs and projects that claim kids’ time, but I hope that by carving out a “school” niche early on, we will be able to keep progressing, and more importantly, keep enjoying the process of learning together.
Like I said, life has a way of stomping on the best-laid plans. But I think and hope and dream and wish that bringing along a box of books, pens, pencils, gluesticks and crayons, even if said box sits neglected for the tumultuous first six months, is one Israel-bound mama’s small but stubborn way of saying, “no way am I giving up all this joy.”
Just promise me you won’t laugh at me for daring to dream, either now or a year from now when it’s all gone to pot and our lives are in a shambles…