Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hanukkah Party at Different Directions Collective

In the spring, I posted about a fun class Lina took at The ROC, a wonderful center for homeschoolers, in the East Village. That class was led by Tinamarie Panyard, who is now Co-Director of Different Directions, a welcoming homeschooling collective in Midtown Manhattan. Tinamarie organized a Hanukkah party on Monday and I'm glad we attended.

This fall, Lina won a full scholarship (worth 25k) to an alternative kindergarten program, but we learned quickly it was too restrictive and inflexible to allow for joyful learning in a self-directed fashion. She was not comfortable being forced to sit in a half lotus position for hours on the rug and not be allowed to stretch out her legs in front of her. For 5 hours to pass on a school day and a 5 year old not be allowed to sing, dance, draw, build much, make music, play pretend or even talk to friends, that's pretty sad. Lina learns a lot through play, creative activities and exploring the outdoors. She is very intelligent, curious, social and happy and I would like her to stay that way.

Since September 2012, as members of the New York City Home Educators Alliance, we have had the pleasure of many fantastic experiences within the homeschooling community - with very bright, caring and creative parents and children. So, we decided to continue with fun classes, field trips and learning at home until Lina is 6 years old and then we will make a decision regarding the best option for first grade.

We visited Different Directions Studios for the first time (which is located in a lovely red brick Victorian church) for a Hanukkah party this week, enjoyed greatly by children and parents. Lina is one quarter Jewish and thanks to this party she had three hours of hands-on learning about Hanukkah, including many first time experiences: spinning a dreidel and learning to play the game, eating a latke with sour cream, hunting for hidden gelt (chocolate coins) and watching the lighting of a menorah.

Of course, Midtown Manhattan is already decorated for Christmas:

It was nice to start off with a festive Hanukkah celebration, before the flurry of Christmas activities is upon us.