Parents --- Homeschooling Can Take A Lot Less Time Than You ThinkWritten by Joel Turtel
The time you will need to teach your children essentials — reading, writing, and arithmetic — is much less than you think. Let me quote author and former public-school teacher John Gatto from his wonderful book, Dumbing Us Down:
“Were colonists geniuses? [i.e., why did our colonial forefathers have literacy rates close to 90 percent?]. No, truth is that reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about 100 hours [italics added] to transmit as long as audience is eager and willing to learn.... Millions of people teach themselves these things. It really isn’t very hard...”
To be conservative, let’s assume that because you’re not an experienced teacher it takes you three hundred hours to teach your child these skills with help of learn-to-read phonics workbooks and computer software. Three hundred hours, divided by average six-hour public school day, comes out to fifty school days, which is about ten weeks or three months.
Let me emphasize this point — it could take you, or a tutor you pay, as little as three months to teach your child to read, write, and do simple arithmetic. Again, to be even more conservative, most children could learn these skills in one year if you (or a tutor) concentrated your instruction on these basics. Public schools take eight to twelve years of children’s lives, yet they turn out millions of high-school graduates who can barely read their own diploma or multiply 12 x15 without a calculator.
David Colfax and his wife Micki were public-school teachers turned ranchers who taught their four sons at home in 1970s and 1980s, and three of their sons eventually went to Harvard. They co-authored a book titled Homeschooling For Excellence, which describes their home-schooling experience. In their book, they compared time a child wastes in public school to time average home-schooling parents need to teach their children basics. Here’s what they wrote:
“The numbers are straightforward and irrefutable. The child who attends public school typically spends approximately 1100 hours a year there, but only twenty percent of these—220—are spent, as educators say, ‘on task.’ Nearly 900 hours, or eighty percent, are squandered on what are essentially organizational matters.”
“In contrast, homeschooled child who spends only two hours per day, seven days a week, year-round, on basics alone, logs over three times as many hours ‘on task’ in a given year than does his public school counterpart. Moreover, unlike public school child, whose day is largely taken up by non-task activities, homeschooled child has ample time left each day to take part in other activities — athletics, art, history, etc...”
Won Ton or Kreplach? How We Raise Children in Our Chinese-Jewish FamilyWritten by Jack Botwinik
I always knew my Oriental wife was Jewish; after all, she grew up eating Chinese food!
I grew up in a Jewish neighbourhood of Montreal. My mother is Sephardic Italian and my father is a Holocaust survivor from Poland. I speak Italian with my mother and Yiddish with my father and siblings. My wife, Belinda Cheung, was born and raised in Hong Kong and came to Canada when she was 17.
I married Belinda in 1999. Our marriage has been working wonderfully well. Despite our cultural differences, our worldviews and approaches to life are remarkably identical. We are busy raising our two young children, and our lives are meaningful and fulfilling.
Picture frames reflecting both Chinese and Jewish influences adorn our home. We are keen on learning about each other's culture. We make a point to learn each other's languages through tapes and books. Although we are both fully fluent in English, my wife chooses to speak Cantonese to our children, and I speak Yiddish. Between us, we converse in English. Our children identify with their Yiddish and Chinese names, in addition to their English names. Our elder son, Asher (age 3), seems to handle different languages well. We make an effort to be consistent in our use of languages with our children. We expose them to both Chinese and Jewish games, as well as Chinese, Yiddish, Hebrew and English books, songs and videos.
With an Italian mother and a Chinese wife, I am likely one of most well-fed guys on earth! On Sabbath, my wife often makes "Chinese cholent," which I thoroughly enjoy. She shops for Chinese mushrooms, lotus seeds, ginseng and various kinds of Chinese fruits and vegetables in Chinatown. I take pleasure in preparing Italian dishes, and we both like Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. One time, my mother-in-law assisted with cooking, and we all had an authentic Chinese meal on Friday night. It was a delightful evening and a pleasant cultural shock to my parents. Using chopsticks is still a challenge for me, but it only makes life more interesting!
I am fascinated with Chinese history, language and culture. Belinda's roots are almost as important to me as my own. I am constantly looking for ways to infuse more Chinese culture into our lives. Even my favourite ties display ancient Chinese scripts and I often wear them on Sabbath. The Chinese and Jews have a lot in common in their ethical teachings.
We keep a kosher diet and celebrate all Jewish holidays, including holy Sabbath. We are grateful that my parents, my Chinese in-laws, as well as our secular relatives and friends, are respectful of our Jewish observances. My brother-in-law, who is Protestant, had joined us on several occasions and experienced Sabbath and Sukkot (Festival of Booths), and even had a taste of matzah on Passover. We give lai-si (red packets containing money, decorated with characters and drawings symbolizing luck and wealth) to our children on Chinese New Year.We may catch a dragon boat race during Dragon Boat Festival, or play with Chinese lanterns around August Moon Festival. When we are sick, we seek medical treatment and advice from both Chinese and Western doctors. Last year I had opportunity to meet many of my wife's relatives and childhood friends in Hong Kong, as well as to visit her schools and converse with her former teachers. Belinda also enjoyed meeting my aunts and cousins in Rome. These experiences are very special and memorable to us.