What if we asked our children, “What do you want to know more about in Judaism?” and let their questions drive their learning?
It was so fast. I asked, children went off to write by themselves, and within a few minutes, every single sixth grader was back by my side, ready to talk through what they want to learn.
Grown-ups spend so much time organizing the lives of our children, determining what children need to know in order to grow up to be curious, connected adults. Yet children have their own ideas about what’s a “need-to-know.” In fact, they know their questions so clearly, they required only a few minutes to get them on paper.
Our sixth graders will be researching the origins of the kosher laws, Maimonides’ ladder of giving, sports in modern Israel (or ancient Israel, if possible), the influence of Jewish foods on Jewish community, and medieval Jewish history. These sixth graders are asking big questions, driven by their own need to understand something.
Our room hummed with purpose: we’re doing something that matters.