Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Summer Camp Alternative: How About Learning Other Fundamentals?
No wonder camps have a virtual monopoly on summer! Over at imamother, a mother who is not sending her 8 and 10 year old boys to summer camp is wondering what she can do in terms of learning because her boys are learning mishnayot/gemara in school and she isn't schooled in such subject manner and thus isn't sure what to do (hire a tutor? Send to camp half day?).
It is possible that my own children's Jewish education is severely lacking and that they are so severely behind schedule in terms of Torah learning that this post should be completely disregarded and relegated to the virtual trash bin.
However, if this is not the case and you agree that 8 and 10 years olds should be spending less time (perhaps no time) with their head in a gemara, and more time absorbing some of the fundamentals of Jewish life, mostly through Tanach, then the answer as to what to do is not only a simple answer, but the presentation of a great opportunity to teach (good old fashion) Torah.
Summer is a great time to expand your children's Torah knowledge through a presentation of various subject matter they may never cover in school. Perhaps you can tackle some of the megillot. Perhaps you can learn some of the great books or stories in Nach. Perhaps you can expand upon already learned parshiyot or areas of Torah. Perhaps you can examine some of the tefillah and how it relates to the fundamentals of Torah. If you are insistent on learning an area of Torah that you don't feel competent in, go ahead and grab a sefer with translations and English commentary.
Just because an 8 or 10 year old is learning mishnayot doesn't mean you have nothing to offer said child. In fact, I'd bet that you have plenty to offer the child that is not being offered in school and you put your own stamp on their learning in the meantime.