Last updated on 12/02/08
Is homeschooling an option for Jewish children?
Although it is legally required for children to be educated, it is not mandatory for them to attend school. Some parents choose to homeschool; they accept total responsibility for the education of their children rather than transferring the bulk of this responsibility to an institution. Parents who chose to homeschool carefully guide their children through their mental, emotional, and physical development. The parents choose an educational path for their children based on each child's personality and gifts. Homeschooling is about academic excellence. Because a child's education is designed just for her, the child's potential can be fully realized. Each child can learn at his own pace. Areas in which a child excels can be maximized and accelerated. Areas in which a child struggles can be focused on until the child really conquers that subject. True learning becomes the primary focus of education.
Homeschooling may seem like a dream come true to some parents, yet not every child can succeed outside a traditional classroom setting. As home-schooled kids become teens and old enough to guide their learning, they may be left more on their own to find resources and do their own research. A kid who's home schooled may not have the convenience of some school facilities, such as a gymnasium, science lab, or art studio. These may be less important for little kids, who can do their science projects in the kitchen or have art class outdoors. However, when it comes to teaching teens, home-schooling parents may need to find a way around such limitations.
Additionally, kids and teens who are homeschooled may feel cut off from other kids their age. Although it is possible for homeschooled children to become socially inept, that is only due to a poor curriculum. If handled correctly, homeschooled kids can have a rich and varied social life. They are free to interact with people all ages, as they encounter a more varied group of people throughout their day than the average child in a classroom. Beside for making friends with other homeschoolers, many children participate in the usual gamut of "extracurricular" activities such as Scouting, 4-H, Little League, gymnastics classes, community theater or music groups, and more.
In the Jewish Community
Although homeschooling is a heavily debated topic in the Jewish Community, it has existed in all factions of the Jewish Community for centuries. Before the development of Jewish schools, girls were educated by their mothers and boys were taught by their fathers or hired tutors. Currently, thousands of Jewish schools exist throughout the world, decreasing the need for parents to homeschool because of a lack of Jewish schools. Recently, an online school was established, serving the children of Chabad “Shluchim” who live in distant areas.
Despite the availability of Jewish schools across the globe, some Jewish parents still choose to homeschool. Homeschooling is known to help children with learning disabilities and gifted children, as they can learn at their own pace using a learning style most beneficial for themselves.
Homeschooling in the Jewish community, however, is harder to accomplish than regular homeschooling. Homeschooling a Jewish child entails teaching a dual curriculum both in secular and Judaic studies. Curricula for Judaic studies exist, yet are hard to find for the orthodox homeschooler. Unless a group of parents decide together to homeschool their children, it is difficult to find other Jewish homeschooled children, limiting the child’s social interactions. Additionally, homeschooled children may be denied admission to post high-school programs for boys and girls.
Although homeschooling a child in the Jewish community may be difficult, it can be rewarding if done the correct way for the right child. Use the following links to educate yourself about homeschooling. Learn why some parents choose to homeschool their children and evaluate the pros and cons of homeschooling. Connect with other families who homeschool and use resources to help you make your decision.
Frequently Asked Links
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Discussed on rabbihorowitz.com
Is homeschooling necessary for Jewish children who live in remote locations?
What are some of the different homeschooling approaches?
Is homeschooling good for kids?
What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling?
How do homeschooled children perform academically?
Does homeschooling harm a child’s ability to socialize?
Why might some of the myths about homeschooling be false?
How can I explain the concept of homeschooling to my child?
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Are there any government requirements for homeschooling?
Are curricula available that are not Christian-based?
How do some Jewish families homeschool?
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School Information Resources for the Jewish Community
Compiled by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
An extensive education resource for Jewish educators
Online School for Young Shluchim
Our online classroom makes long distance learning a stimulating and interesting adventure.
Free lessons, games and kids' sites, many from Israel.
League ofJewish Homeschoolers
LJH is a not-for-profit league that was designed to satisfy the growing demand for Orthodox Jewish Homeschooling in the South Florida Area. Site has loads of resource links for Jewish homeschoolers everywhere.
Internet Public Library
The Internet Public Library offers homework help for kids and teens.
U.S. Department of Education
This government site offers advice, links, homework help, and information for parents, teachers, and students.
Homeschool Resource Center
Check here to find homeschool curriculum, supplies and other needs for the homeschool family.
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