Friday, May 12, 2017

Scraps of thoughts

I've been grouchy.  The kind of grouchy where I get snappy when the boys jump on top of me, instead of being glad that they are seeking contact and interaction.  They've also been fighting a. lot.  I don't know if they are fighting because I'm grouchy or I'm grouchy because they're fighting.

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Elazar has expressed a couple of times that he's concerned that he won't be able to read by his bar mitzva.  I'm actually not that concerned about that.  (Just a smidge, in basic paranoid anxiety-ridden unschooling, but not really.)  But the second time I told him it won't take him that long to learn to read.  And I told him that I'm sure when he wants to, he will be able to.  But I feel like he was dissatisfied and I'm not sure what he's telling me and what he is looking for.

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Jack asked a couple of times to start learning Torah.  He wants a siyum so he can get a big present. (That's how the girls earned their phones and computers.)(Not unschooling!  Using incentives!  Small inner conflict about which way is ideal!)  I keep saying, Sure, let's do it.  But then we don't.

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I'm thinking that decisions such as whether or not to unschool or to teach formally.  Or whether or not to incline towards permissiveness or strictness.  Or whether or not to do xyz approach or abc approach.  None of those actually matter.

Oh, sure, they may affect things like what inclinations the child has--scientific, musical etc.  Interests or philosophy or way of looking at the world.  But in terms of the essence, in terms of will the child be well-adjusted and emotionally stable--it's beginning to seem to me that there is a lot of wiggle room and particular decisions don't matter as much as we might think.

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I had a whole methodology for teaching Chumash: start with speaking Hebrew.  Then, when they learn to read, do the R' Winder books for a few years.  Then, start Chumash when they have basic vocab and prefixes and suffixes.  That's what I used for the girls and it was great.  But it doesn't seem to be going that way with the boys.  I used three different methods for teaching them to read, so doesn't it make sense that they will learn Torah differently?  It's wrenching to be flexible.  I think, at heart, that I love structure.

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You put your heart and soul into your kids and you care about how they turn out.  Then they become teenagers and it turns out that caring how they turn out is counterproductive and causes conflict.  Because they are individuals fighting to be their own people.  Especially not what their parents want them to be.  So you have to adjust to parenting and putting your heart and soul into it but not being invested in the outcome.  Like all of life, I suppose.  You do hishtadlus but the outcome is not in human control.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that it doesn't really matter what parenting philosophy you ascribe to, most kids turn out emotionally stable. I think using one method over another makes kids easier/better behaved as children, but as adults I'm not sure how much the little stuff, like time out or no time out, matters. As far as caring about the outcome, I think I'm in the minority, but the only thing I care about is that my kids are kind, and I want them to be able to support themselves monetarily so they don't have to worry. Beyond that I just want them to be themselves and live their lives how they want to. ��

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