Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
For many children, going to school involves spending their mornings and afternoons traveling to their destination amid classmates and chatter on a large yellow bus. But for a growing number of children all around the world, the process of getting an education may involve no commuting at all.
The number of homeschooled children in the United States continues to rise annually. The most recent statistics from the National Center for Education Statistics report the number as 1.5 million, an increase of approximately 76% over the number students who were educated at home in 1999. A study done by Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute reports that as of January 2011, there were approximately 2.04 million students being homeschooled in America.
Historically, the concept of hiring professional teachers to educate one’s children was a luxury that was only available to those in the more affluent segments of society, but by the mid 1800′s, formal schools became the norm in the United States and it wasn’t until the 1970′s that people began advocating for the right to educate their children as a way of satisfying compulsory school attendance laws. In recent years, the number of children in grades kindergarten through twelve has continued to rise dramatically in families all across the socio-economic spectrum, not only in the United States, but also in other countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan and Hungary. Statistically speaking, homeschooled students tend to outscore their peers on standardized achievement tests as well as on college admission tests including the SAT and ACT.
According to studies done by the National Center for Education Statistics, parents reported that the main reasons for homeschooling their children included improving the level of education, religious reasons, poor learning environments in the schools, a desire to create more family time and increased financial burdens.
For Jewish families faced with multiple yeshiva tuitions during a particularly difficult economic time, homeschooling has become an increasingly attractive option and the number of Orthodox Jews who homeschool their children continues to rise annually.
Baltimore resident Yehudis Eagle is now in her twentieth year of homeschooling her children.
“I read about home education when I was expecting my first child and the idea was planted in my head that this is a possibility,” the mother of eleven told The Jewish Press. “I did a preschool situation with my son, and as soon as the little yellow school bus carried him off for the first time, the idea that had been planted earlier began to sprout.”
Mrs. Eagle and her husband Dovid, a lawyer who practices in Wilmington, Delaware, spent time discussing their educational goals for their children.
“We spoke about what we wanted chinuch to mean for our family and the primary factor was chanoch l’naar al pi darko, how every child deserves an education that is tailor made for them. We realized that that objective could be best achieved in a home education system.”
Currently the Eagles are homeschooling their five youngest children, ages thirteen, eleven, eight, six and four. While to date the six older Eagle children have elected to pursue their high school educations in conventional institutions, Mrs. Eagle admitted that she would love the opportunity to homeschool a child through the upper grades as well.
“Homeschooling is a wonderful choice for a frum family,” explained Mrs. Eagle. “This is the way we live and learn together and it is so enhancing of family relationships. What could be more important than building relationships between siblings?”
In an interview with the Jewish Home School Blog, actress Mayim Bialik, an outspoken advocate of homeschooling, listed the benefits of educating her two young sons on her own.
“Time with our kids, getting to see every shift and change in their ability, interest and wonder. Allowing their neshama to come through every day because the world is so open to them…My husband and I enjoy the flexibility: traveling, scheduling outings and such on our own time. We like our children not being held to some standard of what other kids are doing as their defining label.”
While many would question whether or not home-schooled children experience the necessary socialization, Mrs. Eagle insisted she has found it to be a non-issue.
“It is ironic that not only in the frum world, but also in the secular world, the question of socialization takes top place on every list,” reported Mrs. Eagle. “I find it mind boggling and it has perplexed me from day one. I feel that kids who are homeschooled are easily able to socialize in all situations, and I think that socialization is more of a personality issue than an educational one.”
Mrs. Eagle was quick to point out that while her children may be educated at home, they have many opportunities to socialize with their peers and that there are advantages to spending time with people of all ages.
” My kids take classes, are out of the house on various pursuits, connecting and engaging with others. If someone came to our house with children who weren’t the same ages as my children, my kids would never say ‘don’t they have any kids our age?’ They welcome all guests and rarely leave the Shabbos table even when it is adults only because they are fascinated by the conversation. They enjoy the company of others and if anything, I have found that it is the children who attend conventional schools who have difficulty conversing with adults.”
While the Internet has been a wonderful tool for the homeschooling community, putting so many resources literally at their fingertips, Jewish parents face a unique challenge when it comes to homeschooling.
“Most families aren’t intimidated by the secular part of educating their children, but when it comes to limudei kodesh, that seems more challenging, particularly for baalei teshuva,” explained Mrs. Eagle. “But there are so many resources out there for the Orthodox Jewish homeschooling population. There are gemara classes online, Torah tutoring online and other sites that offer classes, blogs and more.”
Informing the Jewish homeschooling community of the resources available to them is the main goal of the Torah Home Education Conference, an annual event hosted in Baltimore at the Park Heights Jewish Community Center by the Jewish Homeschooling Network. This year’s conference took place on May 26 and marks the second year that Mrs. Eagle has served as program coordinator for the event, which had over one hundred attendees from all over the world and featured speakers, workshops and panel discussions.
“My main goal is to let people know that Torah home education is a viable option,” reported Mrs. Eagle. “This is a wonderful choice for a frum family, particularly those who live in more remote areas.”
In addition to the annual conference, the Jewish Homeschooling Network has recently begun providing webinars throughout the year, a means of not only providing information but also offering support to homeschooling parents.
“This is it,” said Mrs. Eagle. “We are the only Torah education homeschooling network and it is important to keep the connections that we forget at the conference going. We have many women who are isolated, several are military families and it strengthens them to talk to other homeschooling moms.”
* * * * *
For many years, Chabad shluchim scattered all across the world in remote areas found schooling their children to be a daunting experience. Since its inception in 2005, the Shluchim Online School has grown to an enrollment of over 600 children worldwide, providing a solid Jewish education via live audio/video Internet classrooms.
Serving children from ages four through thirteen, it follows a typical school day format, with breaks for recess and lunch and all students in the online school are required to wear the school uniform. Students are required to have a computer with a webcam, a microphone and earphone combination headset, a secure Internet connection and standard school supplies. Three different divisions allow the Shluchim Online School to accommodate students in different time zones and the school’s special software allows students to hear and see each other to give them more of a “classroom feel.”
The school’s specially trained teachers use cooperative learning methods, encouraging students to connect with each other and to work together both on class projects and extracurricular activities as well. Other social outlets for students include clubs and rallies, with two annual gatherings giving students the opportunity to meet in person and further deepen the bonds already forged via online classrooms.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Mandela remained loyal to the rogue leaders and regimes that backed him through the many years he’d been imprisoned: Cuba’s Castro, Libya’s Khaddafi and the PLO’s Arafat.
Hebrew Academy (RASG) has announced that Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, will be the keynote speaker at the Hebrew Academy Annual Event.
Chai Lifeline Southeast’s first venture into the art world, “Through the Eyes of Our Children,” an exhibit and sale at Gallery Art in Aventura, was part of the organization’s Chai Crafts program, an innovative art therapy endeavor sponsored by the Root Foundation.
This year was memorable for the energy of all the participants who, along with Avraham Fried and the members of his orchestra and the YBO Band, joyously sang and danced in the rain. Fried performed with chassidishe warmth and humor. The night was so meaningful and so mesmerizing, the audience didn’t want it to end.
The Preserve at Palm-Aire, a local senior living community, recently donated more than 180 eco-friendly, sturdy and reusable tote bags to the Broward County Jewish Family Services (JFS).
This is the story of a Holocaust survivor who began her odyssey in Dej, Romania. Chanele Anne Grun Kempler was a teenager when she came to Auschwitz, almost 20 when she immigrated to Montreal and became a famous artist, and 64 when she passed away, alone in her bed, in 1994, on her chest a letter from Yad Vashem informing her that the painting she offered to the organization would be admitted and displayed.
It’s not that I think contractors, painters and tile guys are exclusively greedy, deceitful incompetent people – I think they are just poor businessmen or women!
I look into the flickering flames of the Shabbos candles and I am thankful for the warmth and light that emanates from them and illuminates our home.
What is the origin of the custom to eat Seudah Shlishis in shul?
Widow of world-famous nuclear scientist and human rights activist, Dr. Andre Sakharov, and an outstanding activist in her own right, Yelena Bonner was invited to speak of the suffering she endured in Stalinist Russia. Instead, the 86-year-old leader of the Russian human rights movement chose to speak about Israel and the Jews. Why?
I wonder why bullying exists in our community and in society at large? I was very surprised at a 30-year-old client’s explanation.
The rebbe had told Meir and Yehudah to take turns, but that wasn’t working out so well.
Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products. Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.
There is nothing like cracking open a fresh new cookbook, the pages still pristine and crisp and wondering what surprises are about to jump off the pages and leap onto your serving platters as they wait to be carried to your table and devoured.
This is messy food, the kind of meal where you ditch the silverware and use your hands and with an array of fabulous sauces on the menu, I have no doubt that Gotham Burger goes through a lot of napkins. From the moment we started, till the very last crumb had either been eaten or packed up to take home, I loved every minute of our meal, chosen for us by Roth, at our request.
One of the reasons for the popularity of Jack’s Gourmet Sausages, which are available at local stores coast to coast as well as in Costco warehouse locations, is the fact that they actually taste like their non-kosher counterparts.
This year, given that the biggest shopping day of the year actually falls out on the second day of Chaunkah, it depends on timing.
How to begin describing one of the best meals I have ever eaten? I suppose logic, and the “Sound of Music” song, would dictate that I start at the beginning.
He is a trial lawyer, a radio personality, a motivational speaker, an author of two newsletters and the founder of an organization dedicated to offering both Torah studies and professional networking opportunities to young Jewish men, but Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Bregman views himself as just “a nice guy with a good heart.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/homeschooling-on-the-rise-in-orthodox-community/2013/07/19/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
No related posts.