Monday, December 12, 2016

An Interview with a Homeschool Alumini

Meet my friend Devora. She is a beautiful, smart, funny and very spiritual woman in her early 20's. She was homeschooled until the age of 9 and is here to share her homeschooling experience with all us nervous mothers wondering and praying how our kids will turn out because we homeschooled them...

A Homeschooling Interview with Devora:
Me: Until what age were you Homeschooled? 
Devora: Until 3rd grade (9 years old).
M: What was your mothers teaching method? Did she follow a Curriculum? 
D: My mother visited different schools in different states and collected the curriculums to see what each grade level is up to. She took the information and lessons she wanted to give us and made it real and alive! For example, when learning about the Exodus from Egypt, the house was transformed into a dessert (we live in the Midwest). She put tarp on floor covered with sand on top, a huge sun mural on the wall and heaters to feel the desert heat. We also drove over to the hardware store and bought cement to make our own bricks at home. 
We would learn Chumash one on one in the morning followed by other Torah subjects. Then in the afternoon English, math and other secular subjects along with lots of extracurricular opportunities (I took ceramics, art, gymnastics, Karate, Basketball, ballet, ice skating with homeschoolers and drama. We had so much fun being outside, exploring nature… nature is the best playground! We'd go to amusement parks and museums for kids.
M: What did you enjoy about being homeschooled?  
D: I really enjoyed the freedom to blossom in a nurturing place, where parents are sensitively catering to each of their children's specific needs. Parents are always there to directly take care of any issue that might come up immediately and they are there to constantly create a loving and accepting atmosphere. Another aspect that's great about homeschooling is that children's curiosity is allowed to flow and the learning can be based on where the child's curiosity leads them. 
M: What were some of your biggest challenges being homeschooled? 
D: It was challenging that there were no kids like us, and my parents were worried that our lack of social experiences with children of the same age might affect us negatively.
M: How were those challenges overcome? 
D: It came naturally. By having an open and loving home and utilizing any sort of social experiences, it did not cause us to lack in our social skills.
M: Would you homeschool your children?
D: YES!! I cannot imagine not. My children would be nurtured in the best possible way by people who care about them the most and know each child’s individual needs. The parents set the tone of the environment the children are in and that is key! An accepting, genuine, open minded, free, adventurous feel along with  rules, values and morals let the curious and quick minds of children to express themselves and be the best they can be!
M: Where did you go after 3rd grade? 
D: To a Hebrew Academy for half a day (Judaic Studies) 1 ½ hours away and all secular subjects taught at home. By 5th grade I was a full day in the Hebrew Academy and by 6th grade (11 years old) I went away from home to school 6 hours away from home.
M: Were there any issues socially? 
D: Definitely no negative differences. More children in schools have issues from being bullied and there is no space and time to calm down or think. When in a safe environment the child could talk about their feelings, and be taught effective coping skills, good communication skills and model good examples.
M: What were the biggest challenges entering a mainstream school? 
D: Academically, I was not used to school rules and the classroom structure. I had to catch up on some material, but after a few months of learning with tutors I was on par with the class. Socially, it was weird being around all these kids that are the same age as you and to see people being mean and bullying is almost a normal thing in schools. Parents should prepare their child before entering a school from homeschooling very well so there is less things that could be a little shocking. For example,  the style of learning, how other children might act, what kind of clothes is generally worn in that school etc.
M: What is your message to mom’s homeschooling their children? 
D: Tune into your children! Figure out their specific needs so you can help them grow. You also don't need to be scared that you might not be doing everything like a regular's ok, you are not a typical school, you are YOUR unique school. Make adventures, be creative, give experiences. Of course always be on top of  your game, tracking what skills your children are accomplishing and where they might be taking a longer time to advance. 
Also remember, homeschooling is not for everyone, it can be very stressful for parents and not the most beneficial to children if not done properly. However, if one is committed to making it work and being 100% dedicated to their children's education and growth in all areas, it can be the most rewarding path for parents and their children!
Thank you my dear Devora!
May you all have a wonderful week and I hope this interview was helpful to you on your homeschooling journey,

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Beautiful Dvar Torah Book for Kids- a Book Review

Let your child shine at the Shabbos and Yom Tov table!
This is a beautiful compilation of Divrei Torah written in a clear and simple style for children to read and share at the Shabbos table.

Here is a sample Dvar Torah from Parshas Lech Lecha:

The font is large, the words and ideas are simple. This book is such a wonderful addition to your Shabbos table.
Books can be purchased
and Here

Habe a wonderful week!

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