This episode is a fun one! We decided to turn away from talking yet again about how coronavirus is affecting schooling for a refreshing and interesting interview with those who choose never to go to school – the homeschooling community.

While its true that an overwhelming majority of Observant Jewish families send their children to private Jewish schools such as Yeshivas and Day Schools, there are quite a few that choose to rather homeschool their children instead.

Bethany Mandel is one such example. A writer for the Forward and other publications, she spends a good part of her day homeschooling her children. While her initial motivation for doing so was financial – given the high cost of Day School tuition – she has come to see the positive aspects of homeschooling as far superior to the experience of traditional school.

During our very interesting and wide ranging conversation, we covered many of the questions lots of people have about homeschooling, such as:

  • What are some of the benefits she realizes from homeschooling
  • Practical tips on how to homeschool successfully
  • How children are able satisfy their need for social interaction when not going to school
  • Don’t homsechooled kids have too much unstructured time on their hands

Now, I fully understand that most of our listeners are not about to pull their kids out of school. However, I thought this was a good topic to pursue, for a variety of reasons:

  1. Homeschooling is exotic and interesting
  2. During coronavirus, we are all homeschooling to an extent
  3. Who knows? It might become accepted in the coming years as a viable alternative to traditional schools

Bethany Mandel is a Jewish mom of 4 young children, a writer for Forward and an editor of She can be found on Twitter at @bethanyshondark

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