• Simone Penn

I’m not homeschooling but my children are still learning.



Today I received instructions on how to download ZOOM so my daughter can continue to participate in classes. My daughter is two. I politely declined.


Now, by way of preface let me just say that I am in no way writing this because of any disrespect I have for the school. I think the level of effort the teachers are exhibiting is astounding. They deserve, as before, gold medals!


I have just taken a different approach.


My decision is to lean in. I choose to lean into this time. There is so much fear as it is, I think the mind of the entire population is full to the brim. We cannot handle one more thing. One more rule. One more task. And so I choose presence.


I believe in GD. And, as such, I believe this is all from him. I don’t believe he’s trying to see how much we can suffer whilst still keeping life “normal”. I believe with every fiber of my being that HaShem is shaking the proverbial jam jar of our world and saying: YOU’VE GOT IT ALL WRONG.


I’ve suspected this for a long time now, anyway, and have done what I can to make life choices accordingly.


I had looked into unschooling previously but decided against it because I felt it would cripple my children in the world and reality I had brought them into. A pre-Corona world.


We now seem to be en route to a new reality. For multiple reasons I really hope we are. There were times I found my pre-isolation existence rather lonely. Paradoxically, as always, I’ve reconnected to myself in isolation.


So no, I will not be maintaining school work.


My children are younger so this is an easier choice for me, I acknowledge. But those on the other side of the fence would argue that these formative years are the most important and if they don’t learn to hold a scissors now they won’t be able to do math, or something.


I’m going with my gut on this one.


I have observed my children learning more in the past two weeks than I’ve ever seen from them in their short, magnificent, lifetimes.


They’ve learnt to play with each other. And to be best friends. They’ve learnt to sit still. To “read” a book for the pictures only. My five year old completed an age 9+ LEGO castle build in a day. Alone.


They’ve also learned to listen.


And I’ve learned. Oh my goodness have I had an education in the past two weeks.


I had suspicions before but I can say with all certainly now that basically everything is inessential noise. We need so so so little. We need nothing in fact. Just each other. People far less privileged than I live with nothing every day and still manage to smile.


I’ve learned to leave them be. To make a mess. To put my damn phone away. I thought I knew these things before.


I wonder how I will feel if this corona paradigm truly ends but I suspect I will want to go live in the mountains. Or I’ll be in Israel after the arrival of Mashiach.


Either way I propose leaning in to isolation and switching off the noise as the antidote to the fear.

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