Archive for June, 2009

Home Schooling

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I RESENT having to ask permission to home school our own children.   Shouldn’t the schools be asking permission from the parents to use their methods, to meet our approval?  Perhaps school reports should go both ways- when a child receives a report on his performance and behaviour he also submits a report of his teacher (preferably typed and PC corrected and without anything to give away his I.D. ) . The headmaster will then be able to review a nice sample of what the kids REALLY think of that teacher.. is he effective, fun, overly harsh?  Teachers also need feedback because frankly it seems these days many schools are failing, to inspire, to keep the kids’ attention and most importantly obviously, to educate the kids relevantly.

Moshe and Avremi dropped out of the school system this year, both for very different reasons.

Moshe finished Brandt quite well, so well in fact that he was one of a select group chosen to visit Switzerland last summer,  a trip he still hasn’t stopped talking about.  However, Bnei Akiva did not work out so well.  Teenage years for boys are anyway difficult years for many reasons, many changes, emotional, social, attitudinal as well as physical. He encountered a group of boys that clashed with him repeatedly over various personality and other issues and teachers who did not adequately deal with the problems.  It was not working, Moshe was desperately unhappy there and we had no other appropriate school within reasonable reach.  After half a year of painful struggle it got to the point where we could no longer humanely force him to go back.

Avremi was unhappy in Brandt for other reasons, and as we predicted as soon as Moshe could not longer be persuaded to stick with Bnei Akiva, Avremi quietly dropped out of Brandt.  Avremi was captain of his games tournament team last year but this year was only selected as back up. Though he’s a great games player he’d lost so much motivation by that time  and there was simply nothing left for him there. He understood the lessons and excelled in some subjects such as math and, of course, English but for reasons of his own was unwilling to participate, even to pick up a pen, a choice that caused endless power struggles with the staff.

In short order Akiva and I figured out a mode of learning at home with the help of documentaries and other media.  The boys write reports on the documentaries and report verbally afterwards what they learned and we discuss the information.  I have a stack of full notebooks of Moshe’s right here and Avremi is writing a couple of pages or more every day, far more than anyone could ever get him to do in school.  Akiva supervises them in maths work and practical projects such as building rockets, taking apart drills and other activities. They also learn about nature and environment from me in the forest, the local flora and fauna and are both very profficient in nature photography with our D40 Nikon.

I wrote a long report of our methods for the ministry of education as well as a blurb about our reasons for doing this and Akiva recently attended a hearing with the Jerusalem board.  Now we wait for word. Do we have permission to homeschool our children next year?  Akiva said the hearing went well, the board seemed sympathetic and impressed.  The counsellors of both boys from their past schools were there to testify.  It looks positive, GOD WILLING, please God we most sincerely hope the powers that be will agree with us and let us educate our own youngest children.