Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Signing Over the Kids

Recently I've spoken with a few parents who have first-grade children in day schools in order to have a measure with which to compare David's limude kodesh progress.
In some cases the parents tell me plainly that they're not really sure what their kids are doing in school. Other parents respond with generalities but it's clear they really don't know. In one case a parent told me his kid was learning x, y, z and offered to show me some of his school books and papers, but when we inspected them it became evident that the parent was clueless.
One thing that I've realized since switching David out of day school is the extent to which so many--I acknowledge not all--frum parents have handed over the responsibility for chinuch--in the widest sense--to others. We just assume that our kids will get everything need Jewish-wise in school. I don't write this as a value judgement, but simply as an observation of the way things are. Although I could justly be accused of seeking to micromanage my son's education while he was in day school and as much as we mentally prepared ourselves for public school, there was simply no way for us to anticipate the scope and full implications of the burden we were to assume. Only parents who already have children in public school can appreciate that burden.
* * *
One of the benefits of not sending a child to a day school is that a parent can (theoretically) provide him with a limude kodesh education tailored to the parents' wants and the child's needs/abilities. Keeping this mind, there is some irony in my attempts to compare David's progress with that of his day school peers. After all, why should it matter? The best answers I can come up with:
1) We have no idea what we're doing and it's helpful--or at least it feels reassuring--to have some type of external measure.
2) We want to make sure he can switch back into a day school, whether next year or in five years, and not be at a disadvantage (or worse).


Shoshana Z. said...

Your honesty in trying to deal with the many complicated issues of parenting and educating your son is very inspiring.

Orthonomics said...

I have to say, it is so easy and tempting to just turn everything over to the schools. The kids come home late and everything is very busy. Dinner needs to be prepared and put on the table. Parents are exhausted from their day of work. Kids need to unwind. I guess one advantage of having a kid who needs an eye kept on his work (both kodesh and chol) is that it brings the chinuch back to its ideal place, the home.

Miami Al said...

I don't think it is unreasonable. You want a yardstick for comparison.

When people talk about the secular component of the schooling, they generally compare it to the local public schools, which seems fair.

Is your son ahead or behind his peers is a VERY fair question.

Abba's Rantings said...


"Is your son ahead or behind his peers is a VERY fair question."

only if you think the standard the peers are subject to is a good one. but that's for another post

Miami Al said...

Abba's Ranting:

I disagree.

I think it's a fair yard stick. Now, being above average at the local Yeshiva may still be a crappy education, or it might be stellar, but that is still the fair measure of "is my solution better or worse than the alternative."