Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bittersweet Beginings

My oldest starts school tomorrow. Not sure how I feel about this yet. She has been home with me for three years, although she did go to day camp this summer, this just feels different. Maybe it's because I had a hard time in school, but I feel bittersweet at her starting school. I definitely feel we chose the right school for her and that she will thrive and flourish at this school. She is smart and funny and very social, and yet something in me is saying "don't let her go, keep her home another year". I hope that she succeeds in school and does well both socially and academically, but I also want to be certain that we aren't pushing her and putting too much pressure on her. (I know, I know she's only 3! this is what keeps me up at night. indulge me.)
As I said this may be coming from my own experience in yeshiva day school, which unfortunately wasn't great (in elementary school, by high school it managed to level off, but I was so traumatized  by elementary school that even though high school was good it took me a long time to get over it and not sure I ever fully did). This is one of the reasons we chose to send her somewhere not quite as traditional, because the traditional schools still haven't quite figured out what to do with kids who are not exactly in the "mold". This is where i get on my old soap box :) Yeshiva day schools serve a specific purpose and therefore end up catering to a specific type of child. If a child happens to be a little "different" or more unique that child will have problems throughout their school experience. While the attitude is slowly changing, it is just that: slow. Also, many people do not think or want to think that there are any problems with Jewish day schools. To quote one rabbi "I am not aware of discipline problems in Yeshiva" (apparently the kids in that school are perfect). It is this exact attitude that causes problems. Jewish kids are just like any other kids. Some are well behaved, some are not, some are quiet, some are loud, some learn slower and some learn faster. And unfortunately some of them can be really mean to each other. Despite my negative early experience, my high school experience was far better, which is why I am still frum today (although a little more on my own terms), but the experience has definitely given me a different view on Yeshiva. In the meantime, I will be sending my child to a Montessori school, where she will learn how to be a mench as well as her ABC's and 123's etc.
I wish her lots of luck and Mazal, and I hope I myself will have the wisdom to see how she is doing and help guide her in the appropriate way for her.

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