Tag Archives: frum homeschooling

Tuition crisis

>>Btw, here comes a serious question re: tuition — I would love to hear what you think. Do you believe that sometime soon – in time for my kids highschool (Avivah’s note – kids are currently in 3/4th grade)– the Rabbis/community leaders will come up with the solution for Tution Crisis and schools will become affordable?<<

Well, to be very honest – no, I don’t think that the the light in the tuition crisis tunnel is going to show any time soon.

Too many people are acting as if this crisis came out of nowhere, as if it’s related to the recent downturn in the economy.  It didn’t.  It’s been steadily building and has been absolutely predictable.  How can you possibly expect every person in a community to be able to afford to send their children to private school, particularly when family sizes are larger than the norm?  It’s not realistic to expect a community across the board to have the earning power of the top 2% of Americans, and in order to pay full tuition, that’s what’s necessary.

And because so many people can’t afford to pay full tuition, one very short sighted part of the ‘solution’ has been to raise the tuition to bring in more money.  Then it creates more of a snowball effect since those who are high enough earners continue to pay full tuition, but more people are pushed into needing scholarship assistance.  The financial discrepancy has to be carried by someone, and as the gap between institutional outlay and income increase, the community coffers aren’t covering it.  To solve this problem, there has to be a viable way to close that gap for the long term.

While I understand that parents are overly burdened and feel that schools need to be supported by the community (not just parents), increasing fundraising efforts in the community isn’t going to work, in my opinion.  People with kids in school are already maxed out, those without kids aren’t likely to make schooling a top priority for their charity dollars, and those whose kids are out of school deserve to be able to put their money towards their other expenses (college/seminary expenses, weddings, retirement).  I don’t see it as realistic to reach outside of the religious community for this, either.  There are just so many causes to support, and we can’t expect everyone to make the schools a priority.  And not everyone will see the schools as a necessity.  After all, while you have an obligation to teach your child Torah, there are other ways to accomplish that than to send your child to school.

Until there are indications that those ‘at the top’ are willing to think outside of the box, I just can’t see how change is going to come from there.  Doing what we’ve done has gotten us where we are, and continuing to do the same thing is going to make everything better?  I don’t think so!  Wishful thinking and pulling the wool over our own eyes isn’t going to bring us solutions.

Change is only going to come from the bottom up, as a grass roots effort. Different questions will result in different answers, and we need to start asking different questions.  Every family has to think about how they can meet their child’s educational needs without bankrupting themselves, instead of focusing on how to pay yeshiva tuition.    Do you see how you can generate some different answers by thinking about the issue differently?  As a community we’ve got to start asking some new questions!

I also believe that as families stop being so afraid of doing something different than everyone, that’s when we’ll see some change happening, as it will be the beginning of a positive snowball.  But everyone is just so afraid to be the first one to do something different!  Once a person takes responsibility for their choices, it stops being so critical what everyone else is doing and how they’re doing it, because you can enjoy the peace of mind that you’re taking care of your childrens’ needs.  The reality is that it’s the parents who are responsible for their child’s education, regardless of where and how they school them.

Unfortunately, it tends to be those who feel desperate who are willing to do what needs to be done – and I say unfortunately, because it’s so much more pleasant to avoid falling into the hole in the first place than to dig yourself out. Why wait to be miserable to make a change that will benefit you?

I had plenty of fears when I considered beginning to homeschool – I felt like I was jumping off a plane without a parachute!  Then I did it, and I can honestly say that the hardest part was making the decision to do it.  I’ve never looked back and I’m so, so, so glad that we had the courage to make that decision then, when there really was technically no reason pushing us to it (only inner conviction).  It’s literally changed our lives by providing a framework for a high quality of life that includes lots of relaxed time together as a family.  I look around at all the stress, the rushing, the stress! – and I am so grateful to be able to minimize that in our lives.  This way of life doesn’t require a high income; what it requires is being willing to make a change.


Child care arrangements for Torah Home Education Conference

I just posted this on the international list serve for Torah homeschoolers, but since last year more of you who attended were blog readers than from there (and some of those I know are interested in coming aren’t on that list), I thought it would be appropriate to post here as well.  For those of you who are on that list serve, sorry about the redundancy!  Feel free to pass details to interested friends.


The arrangements for the upcoming conference are coming along beautifully!  We have amazing speakers who are being lined up and you are going to get so much from every single one of them!  If you can come, you’ll be very glad you did – it will be a day packed with inspiration, encouragement, and fellowship – you won’t want to miss it!  (Can you tell I’m excited?: lol:)

To accomodate those of you traveling from out of the area with children, we’ll be having a day camp for children ages 4 – 10, with activities including swimming (swimming will be segregated, of course).  There will be a fee per child to cover the expenses involved, but as with everything else, this isn’t a money making endeavor and the fee will be as low as possible.  When it’s closer to the conference I’ll be able to give an accurate figure regarding the price.

We’ll also be hosting a teen girls gathering (ages 11 – 17), with swimming, basketball, and ping pong available, in addition to puzzles and board games.  And just hanging out and getting to know each other, of course!  No fee.

I still need to firm up some details regarding child care for infants 0 – 3, but will b’ezras H-shem that will also be available. There will be an hourly fee per child for this service, which will be done by a licensed staff and facilities in the building where the conference will be held.

So if child care is an issue, hopefully this will help out!  One of my goals is to build a sense of community among the homeschooled kids as well as among the homeschooling parents, and I think this will help kids to not only get to know others who homeschool, but help them feel less ‘different’.

Feel free to contact me if you’re interested in coming. You can check out the website – http://jewishhomeschooling.wordpress.com for price details, discount on hotels, and when the workshop schedule is ready, I’ll post it there in addition to here.

Trust me – you are NOT going to want to miss this!!


Older boys and homeschooling

>>your 16 yr old son…. how does he learn gemara and other things 16 yr old yeshiva boys should be learning?<<

He learns them pretty much same way any other boy does; the main difference is his location.

>>is it really in the best interest of a yeshiva age boy to be home all day instead of in yeshiva?<<

Historically, I think the answer is that yes, boys were taught by their fathers or in small groups by a hired teacher for short periods of time each day.  Large yeshivas are a fairly new development in the way things have been done for generations.

But regardless of history, I can only determine what’s in the best interest of my child at this time.  Every person has to make a well-thought out decision for themselves. There is no perfect solution – the yeshivas have challenges but also there are advantages.  Homeschooling has  advantages and challenges.  That’s why it’s so important to think about this, to make a thorough cost benefit analysis of the situation.  Doing that requires a parent to really think about what the true strengths and weaknesses of each situation are.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that following the well-trodden path means that there are no problems and that you’re guaranteed a certain result – you couldn’t be further from the truth.

Having said that, I think what’s far more important than where they learn, is how they learn, why they learn, and what they do with it. I’m interested in my child’s character development and intellectual development, both of which I believe are better served by homeschooling.   I’m not impressed by bench warming.  I want my children to develop a relationship with H-shem (G-d) and find a Torah life full of meaning and joy, not to be religious robots who do it because everyone else does.  The reasons I choose to homeschool are at the root of my approach.

I think that speaking to high school aged boys and girls will be very enlightening for most parents as to what is actually going on in our schools.  What the adults think is happening and what the students experience are often two entirely different things.  (If you can’t speak to high schoolers, at least speak to their parents.  They’ll also have experience to share.)  My approach isn’t to slam the schools but rather to focus on the positives of my experience,  so I won’t detail things that concern me about school.

I’ll generalize and say that good middos aren’t generally developed by throwing together a bunch of immature pubescent boys for many hours a day with minimal adult guidance.  The hours are very long, and it’s a small percentage of boys who are really shteiging all day long.  A disproportionate number of kids are burnt out and going through the motions.  And mainly what’s necessary to get by in school is to look the part, act the part – not to be the part.

These issues are recognized by educators as growing in severity all the time, and they’re searching for answers.  So far the answers I’ve seen seem to have a common theme – try to make the school environment more home like (ie, more warmth, personal attention, discussion about issues of concern). The yeshivas will do whatever they think is best, and so will I.  I have a responsibility to my children to focus my energy to actively raise them as I think H-shem wants me to.   And for us that means homeschooling.


Save the date – Torah Home Education Conference

I’m posting this now to give those of you who need to make flights time to make reservations. :)   Last year the feedback on the conference was very positive and enthusiastic, and this year it’s going to be bigger and better!

The Second Annual Torah Home Education Conference will be held in Baltimore, MD  on June 13, 2010.

We have loads of great workshops and speakers planned and it will be a day packed with information, encouragement, and support.  Come and meet homeschoolers from across the country, learn, and be inspired!

The conference will be held on the second floor of the Park Heights JCC from 9 am – 5 pm, located at 5700 Park Heights Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215.  There is ample parking on site.  Lunch can be purchased at the Eden Cafe, a dairy restaurant on the first floor of the JCC.  Special hotel pricing is available to conference attendees.  A variety of Jewishly oriented curriculum will be available to view.

The advance registration price for the entire day will be $25 per person, $40 per couple for registration completed by May 1, 2010.  After that, the regular price of $50 per person, $90 per couple will apply. Payment can be made by check, Paypal, or cash.

Specifics of the workshop schedule will be posted closer to the date of the conference at http://jewishhomeschooling.wordpress.com/. Please help get the word out and pass this along to those you feel will be interested, other homeschooling lists geared toward Torah homeschooling, etc – thanks!

Last year I really enjoyed getting to meet some of you at the conference; I hope this year I get to know more of you!


Distinguishing between limudei kodesh and chol

>> do you distinguish between limudei kodesh and limudei chol? I haven’t listened to your husband’s talk yet, so if he addresses it, you don’t have to answer this one.<<

This question came from someone who listened to a recording of the talk I gave at the homeschool conference in June.  In that, I explained my approach of how to teach children of varying ages different subjects.  I specifically didn’t speak much about the limudei kodesh, since my husband was giving a talk about that and I didn’t want it to be redundant for those attending both talks.  But because he spoke more about the holistic approach to Judaics, I really could have talked about how I handle the specific skill building without preempting him – I didn’t know how he’d handle the topic, though, so I erred on the side of caution.

If I’m understanding the intent of the question correctly (and I’m not sure that I am), I don’t very much distinguish between Judaic and secular learning in terms of how I approach it.  I use pretty much the same approach for all that we learn – I strive for an integrated and meaningful way of learning for whatever we do.  The kids learn Hebrew writing just as they do English writing- beginning with a basic workbook to learn letter forms, and then continuing with copywork.  Unlike with English, we do teach Hebrew reading.  We keep it relaxed, using one of three Hebrew primers.   That’s pretty much it for the basic skills necessary before they can use the independent learning approach that I explained in my workshop and have also addressed here on the blog. 

Once the kids have independent learning skills, they go on to do chumash on their own, building their tranlation skills over time and eventually going on to the commentaries.  As they get older, they develop interests and follow through with that – for example, this morning ds10 told me he wants to do more halacha on his own this year.  There are other examples of that, but the point is that children naturally find their interests that relate to Jewish living just as they find interests that relate to other areas.  When a child wants to pursue something, his learning will be much more valuable than if we push it on them because it’s part of a ‘curriculum’.

I see learning as natural and integral to living, and that’s especially true of Jewish learning.  After all, if we’re living a Jewish life based on the Torah, aren’t our days filled with relevant applications?  My husband is great about using the meals to enhance the Jewish content of our learning.  He learns halacha (points of Jewish law) at every meal with the kids, and we do a lot of discussion about holidays, philosophy, etc.   We say tehillim (Psalms) at the end of our dinner meals (not every single night but on a fairly regular basis), and one of the kids leads the tehillim.  This is a natural way that they practice their reading skills and I can assess them without doing anything formal while participating in something our family finds meaningful.

If I downplay the discussions we have on a wide variety of topics, it would really be missing an integral way that we cover a lot of topics.  That’s constant and ongoing.  For example, today we discussed the Jewish view of modesty and makeup usage, using quotes from Chazal (Jewish sages) and the gemara (Talmud).  We also discussed entitlement and financial responsibility (this is a topic I return to again and again), specifically today as how it relates to adult married children and the Torah view.  This is spontaneous and unplanned – if I read an article or post that I think has points to consider, I often read out loud to the kids, and we discuss them.  The older kids particularly enjoy this and so do I – it gives us a chance to talk out ideas and perspectives.

I hope I answered the question, but as always, if something isn’t clear, anyone is welcome to ask!


“I want my sons to have a yeshiva education”

>>My dh said this to me the other day – “I want my sons to have a yeshiva education.”  It’s something that he never had, something he thinks is important.  Now mind you, our sons are 3 and 9 months, so …I think we’re thinking way too far in the future!  Should I just let this go and deal with it when the “time comes,” see where we’re holding then? <<

People tend to build up the things they haven’t had as more important than they are.  For example, my husband has a friend who grew up with very little money, and as an adult this man is in serious debt primarily because of his determination that his children never feel they’re lacking anything.  This man didn’t have money, so he’s overestimated its importance in the life of his children. 

As a homeschooling parent, I particularly appreciate having had a yeshiva education, because I’m very realistic about the benefits and disadvantages of school and that helps me be much more confident about homeschooling.  I’ve found that those who didn’t grow up in the religious world tend to be the insecure about their ability to provide a decent Jewish education, and I think a big part of it is that what the schools actually do is a bit of a mystery to them.  So it gets built up as an unrealistic ideal that parents could never compete with. 

I don’t think you should wait to start discussing your values about education – there’s no time like the present!  If you wait until it’s time to put your kids in school, the likelihood of significant friction between you is very high.  I don’t believe in wishful thinking and I don’t think that people usually change their views significantly unless something pushes them to reconsider. 

At the same time, I don’t think this should be an issue of major intensity right now!  You can take a relaxed attitude towards it, and certainly you don’t need to have a discussion about specifically homeschooling if that’s something he’s resistant to. Before talking about the ‘how’ or ‘where’, you need to talk about ‘why’.  When you understand why a person wants something, that’s when you start to really understand where they’re coming from.  And to have a meaningful and productive discussion, you have to come from a place of understanding and openness. 

I’d suggest clarifying what a yeshiva education means to your husband – you may already know this, but if you haven’t had the discussion, don’t assume you know what his concerns are.  Is it a certain level of skills he wants your sons to have, to fit into society as ‘insiders’ rather than from the outside looking in, or something else?  When you can together identify what he’s afraid your sons will miss out on, then you can begin to talk about other potential ways your children can get those things.  When concerns are vague or intangible it’s very hard to address, and the feeling that somehow he’s missed out and he doesn’t want his children to miss out is going to prevail. 

If when discussing this you focus on the fundamental concerns and emotions and can reflect that you understand where he’s coming from, he’ll be more open to hearing what you have to say.  People need to feel heard and understood before they can be open to truly hearing someone else.  My dh and I have both evolved in our goals for our family, and we’re now reaching those goals in a manner that ten years ago I could never have imagined!  I never would have considered homeschooling without a certain amount of life experience and a lot of thought about what true education entailed.  So that’s just to say that whatever he’s expressing is right now isn’t necessarily going to stay his view forever!


Homeschool conference cds now available!

Yay!!  It’s taken a bit longer than I initially anticipated to get around to doing this, but the recordings for the workshops given at the Torah Homeschool Conference are now available!

All of the workshops given at the conference won’t be available, but most are; the list is below:

Strengthing Your Family Through Homeschooling” –Mrs. Rivka Malka Perlman

“The Myth of Socialization” – Dr. Nechama Cox

“Chanoch l’naar al pi darko – What does it mean for us?” – Rabbi Menachem Goldberger, maara d’asra of Tiferes Yisroel synagogue

“Yes, You Can Be Your Child’s Rebbe – Teaching Limudei Kodesh”  – Rabbi Osher Werner , author of Pharoah and the Fabulous Frog Invasion

“Teaching the Multi-Age Family”  – Mrs. Avivah Werner

“Homeschooling and Marriage: Stressing or Strengthening?” – Mr. Mort Fertel, author of Marriage Fitness

“Whole Brain learning” – Exercises for Whole Brain Integration (be aware there were exercises demonstrated during the workshop that obviously won’t be visible) – Mrs. Karen Zeitlin

“Maintaining Health and Spirit Under Stress” (be aware there were exercises demonstrated during the workshop that obviously won’t be visible) – Mrs. Rena Levin

The mp3 recordings are $7 each (an updated list of recordings is available at http://jewishhomeschooling.wordpress.com/mp3s/). Payment can be sent via Paypal to avivahwerner at yahoo dot com; you can email me with your order or questions at the same address.


Hebrew reading and writing

>>I wanted to find out if you have any good suggestions for kodesh studies for
1st grade. We’re using the Migdalor program (Shy Publications) and Shaah
shel menuchah for Hebrew and like both of those pretty well. We also use
lots of things from chinuch.org, and use Little Midrash.<<

I don’t have a structured program for children this age.  I’ve looked at Shaah shel Menucha and used it for a short time; it’s nicely done.  The Little Medrash is nice to read with kids, or to give to independent readers to read to themselves to prepare the parsha. I’ve also looked at a lot of things on chinuch.org and only used them the first year we were homeschooling.  At that point, I was new to homeschooling and needed the security of the kids learning things in a traditional school-like manner.  I look back and kind of smile at my need for these things – like the weekly parsha sheets I printed out for them to give to my dh on Friday night to be asked questions from (like what the schools send home).  It was so artificial, but again, I didn’t yet trust the natural learning process and it gave me reassurance that they were actually learning something.  I use very, very few of these things now.

What I use to teach aleph bais isn’t necessarily the best, but I have three different readers in the house – one that my younger brother used in his school as a kid (Aleph Binah), one that my dd used in her school in kindergarten (Sefer Kriyah Hashalem), and one that my dh did illustrations for so we got a copy (Girsa d’Yankusa).  Oh, I also have one called L’shoni – Sefer Hakriya by Ktav Publishing House – this is the main one that I use.  I don’t know if I can honestly say that I use it – my dd8 independently taught herself to read Hebrew using this.  I expect that my dd6 will do something similar.  I don’t actively teach reading, but I do listen to them read out loud, in English or Hebrew, when they’re beginning – that’s as formal as I get.  I have other programs, like the materials on tefilla by Berman House, which are good, but the truth is, most of this is unnecessary – by waiting until a child is ready (versus pushing certain skills just because they are at certain ages), they can move fairly quickly though whatever program you use. 

I have aleph bais cards that each have a vowel wheel, and I like to use that.  The child can do one card at a time with no vowel, you can turn it so whatever vowel you want is displayed underneath the letter, and the cards can be combined to create sound combinations or words.  Any kind of English reading word game can be adapted for Hebrew and pretty easily made at home – like fishing for letters, for example. 

>>Also, do you spend much time on block print?? Or just do script? My daughter
doesn’t need block to help with her reading skills, so I’m thinking of not
spending any real time on it.<< 

I’m assuming that you’re asking about Hebrew writing.  I don’t see much of an advantage to teaching block writing, except as reinforcement of letters when the child is learning to read.  My current 6 year old does do some block writing, albeit very sporadically at this point.  I don’t think it’s important enough to have a child to do it if he has no interest; actually, I think it can be a waste of time unless a child is pushing you to give it to them.  Script writing is really what’s important when it comes to Hebrew, and I think a good time to learn it is after a child is reading well enough that they won’t be confused by what is essentially like learning another alphabet.  As I said, not one of my other kids did this and the only reason I did it with him is at the beginning of the year, he wanted to do some Hebrew writing, but it was too soon to give him script because his reading skills weren’t yet strong enough. 

>>I’m finding our kindergarten year is about 50% kodesh and 50% chol. Is that what you’ve found??<<

This is a surprisingly hard question for me to answer, because it’s philosophical in nature, not technical.  I don’t use any kind of structured curriculum for kindergarten because I don’t believe it beneficial to actively teach anything at that age.  Whatever I do is very laid back and informal.  A lot of reading together, games, parsha/Jewish story cassettes, and having them work with  me on household things is their curriculum.   They pick up an amazing amount without any emphasis on ‘doing school’, but because it’s so informal, I can’t say quantify it percentage-wise. 


Homeschooling and Pesach preparations

>> How do you fit in homeschooling with your Pesach preparations?<<

I think that preparing for a yom tov is the priority for that time of year, not the academics.  When my kids were younger and I had to choose between cleaning/cooking for yom tov or homeschooling, I declared an official vacation from homeschooling so that we could focus on holiday preparations without anyone feeling like they were being neglectful of something else they should have been doing.  During the weeks before Pesach, I read Pesach themed books with them, listened to the story of yetzias Mitzrayim, stories of Eliyahu Hanavi, discussed the Hagada, learned Ma Nishtana, did projects or colored pictures, etc.   But I dropped anything else with regards to homeschooling not related to Pesach, unless it was something the child himself wanted to do with his time.  We homeschooled year round, and it worked out very nicely to take a three week break for Rosh Hashana through Sukkos, three or four weeks for Pesach, and shorter breaks throughout the year. 

As my kids get older and our family size continues to grow, I continue to adapt our schedules to what works best for us.  For the last three years, our schedule most of the year long is we do all of our academics in the morning, and generally everyone has their work finished by lunch time.  After lunch is free time, which for the most part I leave to the kids’ discretion to use as they want.  This is for Mondays through Thursdays; erev Shabbos is spent preparing for Shabbos.  And Sundays are very relaxed – they do some academics, but they have piano lessons/ Girl Scouts/learning on Sunday mornings, too, so I don’t expect them to do the same amount of academics they would do on a regular day.

Except for the couple of days preparing the kitchen for Pesach (which as you all know is a bit of a marathon), we stick to this schedule even while integrating Pesach cleaning into our days.  What changes is that the kids have less discretionary time – the cleaning takes place in the afternoon.  They still have time to go swimming, play basketball, exercise, or get together with friends, but not as much time.  I don’t think that three hours of free time a day instead of four is suffering. :)    (To be very honest, though, unless they leave the house for the entire afternoon, they rarely use all of their afternoon time for just leisure.  All of them participate to some degree every afternoon in some meal preparation, playing with a younger sibling, diaper changing, clean up, or something like that if they’re around.) 


Early rising, time for learning

Several years ago, I made some adaptations to my parenting style.  Mainly, I raised the my expectations for my kids’ behavior, and developed a strategy to follow up on those expectations.  One of the most important things I did was to bring my kids closer to me and consciously spent more time with them when they did something displeasing (rather than the very popular ‘push kids away’/time out approach that it touted, which I think I’ve shared my feelings about a while back).   A very few times at the beginning, this meant that I told whatever child involved that they would need to sleep in my room if I felt that they had showed they wouldn’t behave appropriately in their own rooms at night without supervision.  I didn’t do it punitively, but I had them make up a pallet on the floor next to my bed.  This wasn’t something I had to do very often at all, but I very soon saw that the kids actually really liked it – one child asked me the next night if he could sleep in my room again!   I then saw clearly how a disciplinary measure could be loving and perceived as such by both parent and child, while simultaneously improving the behavior and building the parent-child relationship.  Our kids really want to be close to us.

Anyway, on to the present.  Last nights I spontaneously offered to let my 9 year old son sleep in my room, since my husband wasn’t home, something I do every once in a while for my middle three (6,8, 9).  Not because he needed more of my presence or for me to keep an eye on him, but because I thought he’d want to.  I was right – he jumped up and said, “Really?!  Thanks, Mommy!”  And rushed to get ready for bed. 

He gets up earlier than I do to go to shul with my 15 year old, so he brought his own alarm to my room because I’m still sleeping when they leave.  I happened to wake up before his alarm went off, but I thought it was 6 am when he woke up.  It was still dark.  I couldn’t fall back asleep, so I picked up a book from the pile next to my bed (I never told you how many books I’m usually in the middle of, did I?  Let’s just say I usually have a nice pile next to my bed.:)).  About a half hour later, I looked at my watch, and saw that it was only 6 am, and was still dark.  Meaning that he had woken up at 5:30.

Later today, my older son told me he was really tired, and I told him I had been really surprised to see that they woke up so early, because I thought they went to a later minyan. He said B. (the 9 year old) wanted to go to the earliest minyan possible, so he agreed to take him to the 6:20 minyan.  I couldn’t think of any reason why B. would prefer one minyan over another, so I asked E. (15 year old) why they chose that one.  He said that B. wanted to daven as early as possible, because then they’d have more time between the time they finished davening and the time I told them they have to be home for breakfast (we recently changed breakfast to 9 am so that they wouldn’t have to rush home, but I’m adamant that they must be home by then). 

Then I was wondering why did he want more time between davening and breakfast? The answer: so he could learn more mishnayos!  He really loves learning with his big brother – their daily learning time is in the morning before coming home (though they often like to do more later on in the day or evening), and this morning he came home from shul and told me with a lot of excitement that they did 11 mishnayos this morning, a new record!  He’s definitely intrinsically motivated.  :)  You should see how fast they’re going through mishnayos – whew!

I love seeing my kids taking the intiative to further their own learning goals, something I was told years ago that kids needed to be in school to learn, that a child on his own wouldn’t want to learn.  One more example for me of how trusting the process of learning and your child really works.