Monthly Archives: April 2011

Response to question about homeschooling in Israel

>>I have to say, I’m a little confused by your decision. Did you homeschool in the US mainly because of the cost, and not because of ideological reasons? <<

This is exactly the reaction I was referring to in my recent post when I said I feel a certain amount of pressure regarding making the decision to homeschool.  I knew that some people would judge my decision as not being “pure” enough and will make assumptions regarding my integrity all along, and others would be glad that ‘even she’ was giving up and sending kids to school, as if that was vindication for their negative impressions of homeschooling. 

Anyone who’s been reading my blog or other articles I’ve written about homeschooling knows that cost wasn’t a major factor in our decision to homeschool, and in fact, I’ve often discouraged potential homeschoolers from making the decision strictly as a financial choice – because those people burn out very fast since they don’t deeply believe in what they’re doing; they tend to see school as the ideal but an ideal that is too expensive to afford.  That doesn’t mean not considering finances at all!

New situations mean taking into account new realities.  When you have two children under the age of 4, things may seem very black and white.  But my reality has lots of shades of gray!  I think it’s very reasonable to consider the expenses you’ll encounter and how to meet them, particularly when moving to a country without a job or ample savings (which will be liquidated to pay for our move, since we aren’t eligible for the financial assistance offered to new immigrants).  

>>Because, if anything, I find more ideological reasons to homeschool in Israel vs the US. Schools in israel have an even more “one size fits all” philosophy than they do in the US (I know that doesn’t seem possible@), and administration does not think highly at all of parents who try to “meddle” (i.e. get involved) with their child’s education.<<

Ideology is a good servant but a dangerous master.  Everyone has to find their balance between ideology and reality.  I’m familiar with school systems in Israel to some degree, since my oldest son completed first grade there (and four years before that in school-run ganim).  I’m not saying that you’re incorrect in that the administration doesn’t appreciate meddling by parents, but most administrations are glad to have involved and concerned parents.  A big part of how you’re seen depends on how you interact with the administration and how you project yourself.  (Obviously, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be negative experiences at some time.) 

It’s because I’m aware of the challenges of a one size fits all school system that we aren’t considering sending any of the kids to school who are under the age of 12, and are undecided about the 12 year old.  (The littles may attend gan, but will resume homeschooling before entering first grade.)  This is also why I said that I’m able to be supportive of dd14 entering tenth grade, because she has the ability to hold onto herself even in an environment that supports conformity.  That was the critical factor, and why we’ll spend more money to send her to school than to homeschool her – because this is the right thing for her at this time. 

>>Israeli schools aren’t so cheap either in comparison to israeli salaries…<<

True, but 80 – 300 shekel a month for tuition is a LOT less than private tutoring.   That being said, I believe if homeschooling is the best decision for a particular child, we’ll be sent the means to provide what he needs and cost will not be the primary issue. (Please keep in mind that I don’t detail all the many factors involved in this decision – but there is a lot more involved than the brief points I noted in my post.)

>>I guess I’m just a little… i dunno… by your announcement, because I’d used you as “proof” that you can homeschool kids long term… and now that you’re stopping to homeschool now that you’re coming to israel, I’m almost starting to second guess myself. Almost, but not really.<<

Did I say I wasn’t going to continue homeschooling when I move to Israel???  Please reread what I wrote, since I said I plan to continue homeschooling some children.  Would eleven years of homeschooling (including all the way through high school) suddenly be invalidated if I were to make different choices based on the needs and desires of particular children at this point in time?   I hope not!  😛

I’m gratified to hear that I’ve in some way been of support or encouragement to you, and I hope that I won’t lose my value to provide that in some way because of where my children are educated.  However, always keep in mind that every family has different factors to consider.  I have to consider moving to a country where my kids don’t know the culture or language, juggling the many different ages and needs of my children along with all that’s involved in resettling in a new environment, and how to manage it in the way that is best for my kids.  

Most of us have physical and emotional limitations – I sure do!  I didn’t go into this in my post- at the conference I plan to speak about recognizing and dealing with burnout – but recognizing and honoring your limitations is critical to living a life of joy.  If I push myself beyond my limits for an extended period of time, I’m going to compromise what I offer to my kids.