Birnhak and Shtrambrand families, with their homeschooled children on a fishing outing at Peck’s Pond Park.

How would your child feel if he would be given a brand-new box of Magic School Bus chemistry experiments? He reads directions together with his parent while enjoying private time. He discovers the science experiment, observes it and writes down a paragraph based on his observations. How would he feel if he would be given a box of Montessori beads and asked to place them on the board to discover the answer to 4 x 5? How would he feel if he would be given a puzzle to put together with the capital cities? New waves are spreading as more options open up to parents who are showing courage in doing things differently.
This past Thursday, on August 24, a group of Orthodox homeschooling parents met at the Children’s Park in Spring Valley, N.Y. Excitement was in the air as parents discussed curriculum plans and activities for the coming year.
“I’ll teach painting once a week,” said one parent.
“Let’s go fishing next week,” said another. “I have fishing rods.”
“You’re all invited to a birthday party with a magician. Please come.”
“Why do you homeschool?” the parents were asked. Answers varied among the parents, some focused on problems with mainstream schools. Others focused on what the children gain.
Not every child flourishes within the mainstream school system. Some children are not capable of sitting at a desk for many hours with only a quick recess break for a few minutes. Children need time to play, be creative and run around. Children are naturally curious and excited about learning new things. This creativity becomes stifled as they are criticized and forced to rush. Rush to get up, rush and get dressed, rush to school, rush to eat, rush to do your homework and rush to bed.
Children feel more warmth and love as parents give them time, attention and learn with them at their own pace, stressing whatever subject the child needs to know or is interested in learning. Homeschooling eliminates the common power struggle of doing yet more homework, as children can learn throughout the day. Repetition can be implemented wherever the child may go. The supermarket is a great place to estimate how much the total cost will be. The car is a great place to review the multiplication tables.
Homeschooling is more flexible. Children take charge of their time as they choose when to study and when to play. They have more time to develop talents, interests and hobbies. “Can we plant carrot seeds?” asked one homeschooler. Extracurricular activities become incentives to finish required learning activities. “Do your work and then we’ll play tennis,” one mother tells her successfully homeschooled child.
Homeschooling is a more individualized approach, teaching each child according to his way of learning. Each parent chooses how to teach his or her children. Some children learn with workbooks, library books, educational trips, computer, by building 3-D models or through educational games. Children’s self-esteem blossoms as they feel successful in educational endeavors as well as extracurricular activities. In addition, children love receiving parental attention. While mainstream schools can do a great job educating the majority of children, problems that may arise are solved as parents take charge of their children’s education.
For more information on the Orthodox Monsey homeschool group, contact Perele Chana Birnhack at (845)290-1575.

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