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Questions for Jewish homeschooling families

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Shalom chaverim,

We're about to embark on the homeschooling journey, but I'm wondering if I can pick your brain a bit about the decisions your family made regarding Jewish education. Did you provide a Jewish education at home? Did you send them to a Hebrew/religious school at a shul? Did you enroll them in an online religious school like the kind run by Chabad?

What has it been like to classically homeschool when the curriculum is very Western- and Christian-centric and not always in line with Jewish worldview? Anything that caught you by surprise as you were educating your own children?

Kol tuv!

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We're Jewish, but not religious :-). Right now, we're sending our daughter (who's 6) to Hebrew school and we don't do much at home except light the candles on Friday night. 

But we aren't precisely classical homeschoolers, either. I do math and writing with my daughter, and she goes to some fun classes (swimming, gymnastics, etc.), but otherwise she does what she wants with her day. And we don't use any curriculum. So we haven't had issues in that way. 

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Shalom!  Welcome to the Hive!

I have three sons and we have homeschooled from the beginning.  For my oldest's first couple of years, we did Hebrew at home (using materials from Behrmann House) and also sent him to religious school at our then-shul.  Sort of through happenstance, though, we were subsequently able to set up an arrangement with the one and only day school in town; my kids go daily for Hebrew and Jewish studies, and then we homeschool the rest.  It is kind of a logistical nightmare but it has been a fantastic experience for everyone.  My oldest is 13, soon to be 14, and the Jewish middle school is tiny so both his Hebrew and his Judaics classes are now mostly private lessons.  I am happy to chat more offline about how we came to this arrangement and some of the things I've learned along the way.  

We are moderately observant and do a lot of learning through our synagogue and at home.  I am toying with the idea of doing the next Daf Yomi cycle -- which starts in Jan 2020 -- with oldest DS  but am not quite sure I'm up to it....

I investigated the online Chabad program (I assume you're talking about the general one, not the one for shlichim, right?) back before we started at the day school; their approach just isn't our jam but I know some people who are satisfied with it.  I have found it nearly impossible to find adequate online Hebrew instruction, FWIW.

With respect to classical homeschooling, I find some of the underlying ideas compelling; indeed, the notion of intensively studying a canonical set of texts as a way of illuminating broader ideas that transcend time and space is (IMO) central to Jewish education.  However, it is true that a lot of the materials marketed to the classical homeschooling market are not suitable for a Jewish homeschooling family.  Like everything else, I think you have to take what works and disregard the rest.   

Happy to answer any other questions.

Edited by JennyD
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Shalom,

We are also Jewish, but not frum. We have also used mostly Behrman House materials, which I quite like. One year, I tried to use Lashon Hatorah and Yesodos Halashon, but I didn't get very far with those -- mostly because I am not fluent in Hebrew (my bad). We started off strong, but have not gotten very far lately with limudei kodesh because secular subjects have been taking so much of our time. My oldest is 10, but a very advanced STEM kid, and I will likely end up hiring a private Bar Mitzvah tutor to get him up to speed (which reminds me that I really need to get on that). We are thinking very seriously of having his Bar Mitzvah in Israel.

Some frum board members who may be helpful include Yael and Eliana.

Anyway, b'rucha haba'ah!

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Congratulations on your new adventure! Our children go to Hebrew school. It was too much for me to teach both secular and religious subjects. Going to Hebrew school also helps our kids feel more connected to our Jewish community and build up their friendships. I actually do my school planning for the next week while they are at Religious school!

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As for the curriculum issue, yes it is hard to find non Christian homeschooling materials, but they are out there. If you search for secular curriculum for different subjects in this forum you will find lots of options!

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Thank you so much for all of your advice. I've tucked away a lot of practical knowledge from y'all already!

17 hours ago, JennyD said:

Shalom!  Welcome to the Hive!

I have three sons and we have homeschooled from the beginning.  For my oldest's first couple of years, we did Hebrew at home (using materials from Behrmann House) and also sent him to religious school at our then-shul.  Sort of through happenstance, though, we were subsequently able to set up an arrangement with the one and only day school in town; my kids go daily for Hebrew and Jewish studies, and then we homeschool the rest.  It is kind of a logistical nightmare but it has been a fantastic experience for everyone.  My oldest is 13, soon to be 14, and the Jewish middle school is tiny so both his Hebrew and his Judaics classes are now mostly private lessons.  I am happy to chat more offline about how we came to this arrangement and some of the things I've learned along the way.  

We are moderately observant and do a lot of learning through our synagogue and at home.  I am toying with the idea of doing the next Daf Yomi cycle -- which starts in Jan 2020 -- with oldest DS  but am not quite sure I'm up to it....

I investigated the online Chabad program (I assume you're talking about the general one, not the one for shlichim, right?) back before we started at the day school; their approach just isn't our jam but I know some people who are satisfied with it.  I have found it nearly impossible to find adequate online Hebrew instruction, FWIW.

With respect to classical homeschooling, I find some of the underlying ideas compelling; indeed, the notion of intensively studying a canonical set of texts as a way of illuminating broader ideas that transcend time and space is (IMO) central to Jewish education.  However, it is true that a lot of the materials marketed to the classical homeschooling market are not suitable for a Jewish homeschooling family.  Like everything else, I think you have to take what works and disregard the rest.   

Happy to answer any other questions.

I will be sending you a message to hear about the dayschool arrangement! 

 

16 hours ago, SeaConquest said:

Shalom,

We are also Jewish, but not frum. We have also used mostly Behrman House materials, which I quite like. One year, I tried to use Lashon Hatorah and Yesodos Halashon, but I didn't get very far with those -- mostly because I am not fluent in Hebrew (my bad). We started off strong, but have not gotten very far lately with limudei kodesh because secular subjects have been taking so much of our time. My oldest is 10, but a very advanced STEM kid, and I will likely end up hiring a private Bar Mitzvah tutor to get him up to speed (which reminds me that I really need to get on that). We are thinking very seriously of having his Bar Mitzvah in Israel.

Some frum board members who may be helpful include Yael and Eliana.

Anyway, b'rucha haba'ah!

We aren't frum either, more like traditional Conservative (in the vein of Isaac Klein and Heschel). I like both Behrman House and some Torah Aura products based on my experience teaching at a religious school. We also plan to go the private tutor route, with the final ceremony at the Egalitarian "Kotel" space. Nice to see a similar situation on the board!

8 hours ago, NewIma said:

Congratulations on your new adventure! Our children go to Hebrew school. It was too much for me to teach both secular and religious subjects. Going to Hebrew school also helps our kids feel more connected to our Jewish community and build up their friendships. I actually do my school planning for the next week while they are at Religious school!

You may valid points here, especially because our children attend our synagogue's preschool and have already made friends with many who would be in their religious school class.

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On 3/27/2019 at 7:07 PM, JennyD said:

However, it is true that a lot of the materials marketed to the classical homeschooling market are not suitable for a Jewish homeschooling family.  Like everything else, I think you have to take what works and disregard the rest.   

Happy to answer any other questions.

 

@JennyD Can you please expand on the above? As a family beginning the conversion process, this is what I am struggling with the most. Feel free to message me privately, too. Thank you!

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