Tuesday, July 23, 2013

discussion about when to matriculate to "real" school

Chana went off to sleepaway camp yesterday.  She's heading into 7th grade, and last year began making noises about not having enough friends (her two close friends and she are all going through phases where their growing personalities are emerging and developing and finding perhaps they want to expand their friendship horizons).  Her good homeschooling friend is entering high school this year, so she's going to feel more lonely.  I sent her to a local daycamp last year, which she enjoyed, and socially integrated into very easily (I know, I know, how did she know how?), and a couple of girls even called her for a few months afterwards, but she didn't make any special friends that she really clicked with.  So my options were to send her to school this year or to wait until high school.  I prefer to wait until high school, and so we decided to send her to sleepaway camp, where hopefully an immersion experience will help her find some close friends.  (I went to sleepaway camp and did not make any long term close friends, so I'm aware that it may not work.  But then again, it might.)

It was suggested to me that I send Chana to school, with the hope that she dislikes it intensely and then returns home and homeschools for high school.

I very much would love to homeschool my children for high school.  I think that the mind opens up remarkably in the teenage years, and the academic possibilities for homeschooling are a dream come true.  Having time and freedom and the ability to pursue academic interests is incredibly exciting.

However, teenagers are also incredibly social beings.  I teach in high school and although we do spend a lot of time accessing their intellects, we also spend a lot of time immersed in the social.

So, although Chana might thoroughly dislike school, I would not send her to school with the intention or hope that she should dislike it and come home.  But I will send her to camp, hoping that she will make some intimate friends.

Sarah is an extrovert.  Chana is a social introvert.  Chana despises schedules and being told what to do.  Chana spends 4-5 hours a day on her art.  Sarah doesn't mind schedules or authority.  I don't see school as the best fit for Chana, but if she wants to hang out with a bunch of like-minded Orthodox Jewish peers for a significant portion of the day, then she will certainly try out high school and see how it goes.  Sarah knew that she could decide at any point to return to homeschooling (she almost did, at the end of 10th grade, until she finally settled into a "chevra").  The same holds true for Chana.

In NY, there is a great group of teens and preteens who are homeschooling.  We could make an effort to join them.  But Chana desires intimate friendships with Orthodox Jewish girls.

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