Passover is the time Jewish people get together and tell the story of Exodus so the kids learn where they came from (we were slaves in the land of Egypt… is the refrain). But no story you’ve heard every year for your whole life is interesting, so part of Passover is making the story fun for kids.

There’s a whole industry of products manufactured to make Passover fun. I am partial to the windup matzoh balls and the masks based on the ten plagues. But the best way to keep the kids interested is to tell them they can interrupt the adults at any time to ask a question. Kids are rewarded for asking questions about Passover.

I remember being shy as a kid about questions. The table was fancy and the dinner was orderly and I didn’t want to say anything stupid.

But my kids did not have that problem. For starters, when we read the Hagadah out loud, as a group, “I took your father Abraham from across the river, and I lead him to the land of Canaan, and I increased his descendants…” The kids burst out laughing. And then they squealed, “Sex! That means they had sex!”

Conundrum: Do I reward the kids for the close reading of the night’s lesson, or do I tell the kids to shut up?

Then the questions came. The kids never felt pushed to ask smart, impressive questions. They just wanted to chat with the adults.

Is God bad if he killed all those Egyptian kids? Do we follow a mean God?

Can we eat cookie dough on Passover? Google says it takes 14 minutes to start rising.

The questions were endless. And Passover became longer than I ever remembered. And I realized this is what the kids do every day as homeschoolers. People always tell me my kids are different: “You can tell they’re homeschooled,” people tell me. And I see that means that my kids will engage adults in conversation much more freely than kids who go to school.

It’s the goal of Passover. So of course on some level the unbridled conversation is good. But sometimes it gets tiring, and I confess that when the first half of the Passover seder lasted an hour and a half, I told the kids they each had only three more questions.

“Budget them carefully,” I told them.

And my older son blurted out, “Mom?!?! Are you trying to teach us self-restraint?”



8 replies
  1. Tobiyas
    Tobiyas says:

    I had a terrible passover today. As a “bible believing messianic christian orthodox non jew whatever else” being forced to work a crappy job I’m way over qualified for on the sabbath of sabbaths, I somewhat struggle with the world around me…I also try and intend to homeschool my son. He’s barely three and a half but I’ve already expressed my intentions to my family who keep asking if he’s starting kindergarten in sept. They are trying to do an intervention for the child’s own good because of my extreme and irrational behaviour which is based on my fears and bad experience in the system. Needless to say I am very frustrated and heartbroken as a result of my family’s ignorance and closed mindedness, and I have lost not a few night’s sleep over this. I am struggling with this as well as with my job and I have been taking some refuge here to reassure myself and refill my cup of determination after my family’s attempts to spill it, as I have no energy to argue anymore. Thank you all for your insights and know that there are those of us who visit your words in tears, in desperate need of comfort.

    • Donnajean
      Donnajean says:

      Just to encourage you, we all get comments from family who disagree with homeschooling. Also, in your state kindergarten may not be legally required so it is a stress free year to get your feet wet with homeschooling. Once you dive in and get through a few months you will probably feel more confident. Yes this blog is a great support network to all of us. Hang in there!

    • YesMyKidsAreSocialized
      YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

      Or maybe they ask fewer questions that are more complex and deep in nature? I don’t think I have ever stopped asking questions, and when I meet someone for the first time, sometimes I have to really try to keep myself from launching into rapid fire questions so that my intensity doesn’t scare people away.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        Yes, it’s the type of questions that annoy me. “Why don’t we just bomb ISIS?” Is a lazy question to me. Like, why don’t you do five minutes of research to figure that out.

        Another question that annoys me: “Why do you think God chose the Jews?” We could talk about that forever and get nowhere. We could debate even what the word “chose” means for fifteen years.

        I guess I am not a philosopher.

        Something that helped me ask better questions is my brothers emailing back to me “google” as a way of saying spend six second answering the question yourself.

        I know this is a whiny parent email, but what other homeschool blog can you find the author bitching about the kids’ stupid questions :)


  2. Mel
    Mel says:

    I love/hate how many questions my kids (7 and 9) ask. Sometimes I just need to let my brain wander on its own accord, without interuption. But I do love how interested and curious kids are about life. When I get to the point where I can’t answer any more, I tell myself I am helping them be self directed by finding the answers to their questions themselves.


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