Saturday, December 16, 2006

Three Weeks and Counting...

We now have three weeks and counting until N.'s Bar Mitzvah!

On Wednesday we had our second appointment with the rabbi so that he and N. could work on the D'var Torah.

The D'var Torah is sometimes called "the speech" but it is really supposed to be a discussion of the Torah Portion of the week. N. is not fond of writing and due to his AS, he has difficulty with anything but the literal meaning of the text. What this means is that school has become mostly the Bar Mitzvah. I had planned on a break during Hannukah, but instead of a complete break we have taken a break from secular studies and we are focused only on Bar Mitzvah studies. All of what N. is preparing and practicing could be considered academic--he is writing an interpretation of a particulary juicy Torah portion, he is learning the trop marks for chanting Torah and Haftarah, and he is working on translation. These are all important skills--so why am I worried that we are getting "behind" in Saxon math? In the home-school context, what does "behind" really mean? After all, "behind" is a relative term!

I think the difficulty for me in going from schooling to homeschooling is more the mind-set than the curriculum. Sometimes I find myself wondering if I am doing the right thing!

The end of this week was also spent getting ready for Hannukah. Although we are careful to emphasize that Hannukah is not Christmas, there are still some preparations involved. Inevitably, when Hannukah is over and I should clean and polish the Menorot, I say to myself: Oh, well, I can always do this as we prepare for Hannukah next year! The problem comes at three o'clock on the day Hannukah is supposed to start when I am running around like a crazy woman grating 15 potatoes for latkes and then it is time to get the Menorot out, and then I say: Why the heck did I wait until now? If insanity means doing the same thing over and over expecting different results then I am truly certifiable at this time of the year!

There are, however, compensations. We are reading James Michner's The Source out loud. This week we read the chapter: In the Gymnasium--which dealt with Antioches Epiphanes and the Maccabean revolt, just in time for the celebration of Channukah. We had a great discussion about what the miracle of Hannukah really is. There was some good discussion over Shabbat dinner last night. N. finally said the miracle was that Am Yisrael Chai. The people Israel lives! Now that is a miracle.

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