School parties, performances and events – nice but not something I’ll miss much

Yesterday afternoon, I attended ds5’s siddur party.  A few days before that, I attended dd16’s high school event that is in lieu of a graduation ceremony. This coming week there will be a performance of some sort for dd12.  As the school year winds down, there’s a lot going on!

Ds5 receiving his siddur

Ds5 receiving his siddur

Ds5 center right

Ds5 center right

In the past two school years, I’ve attended a number of events – a sixth grade bas mitzva performance, my first grader’s chumash party and before that his siddur party, school birthday parties for the kids in kindergarten and other miscellaneous events.  There have been quite a few.  This has been particularly interesting for me as a long-time homeschooler, since people so often talk about how hard it must be for homeschooled kids to miss out on all of these special occasions.

Ds5 - kindergarten birthday party

Ds5 – kindergarten birthday party

Ds5 with other birthday boy at joint kindergarten party

Ds5 with other birthday boy at joint kindergarten party

It’s been very nice to attend all of these along with the other mothers and feel part of things.  This feeling was particularly strong in the first few months I was here, as I pictured how left out I’d be if the kids weren’t in school.  But as time has gone on, experience has shown how fleeting and insignificant this sense of belonging is.  I get a lot more connection and bonding by chatting with moms in the park or store.

Ds6, top right as the captain of the ship, leading his class onto 'stage' -first grade siddur party

Ds6, top right as the captain of the ship, leading his class onto stage – opening scene at first grade performance followed by receiving siddur

Ds6 top right, before stepping to front of stage for his solo

Ds6 top right, before stepping to front of stage for his solo

With few exceptions, the events have been very nicely done, with a lot of time and effort invested by the teachers/administration to make each one special.  I’m grateful that my kids were able to have these experiences and particularly glad that this year there was a siddur party in kindergarten (in the past it’s always been first grade).  After ds7’s siddur party earlier this year (which was particularly special), ds5 kept asking if he would also have a siddur party next year when he was in first grade and now he’s had it so it won’t be a perceived lack when he’s homeschooled next year.  (This party was the most meaningful of them all, since ds6 had the lead role in his class with two solos and a duet.  This degree of personal opportunity is unusual but he has a small class and he had the willingness and confidence for these roles, and we all enjoyed seeing him shine – I wanted to post a video of one of his solos but the blog interface wouldn’t allow me to upload the file type used -sorry!)

Ds6 at his siddur party

Ds6 after receiving his siddur 

As lovely as all of these have been, I must say that attending them gives me increased confidence that kids who don’t go to school (and their parents!) aren’t missing out on much.  I have absolutely no feeling of regret or wistfulness that the younger kids won’t have these opportunities, only positive anticipation about the experiences they will have as an integral part of homeschooling that dwarf  all of these.

Avivah

5 thoughts on “School parties, performances and events – nice but not something I’ll miss much

  1. Funny that you commented on this. I actually never really enjoy these events since 2 0f my 3 kids do not enjoy performing. It is actually a stressful event for me to watch. Often they feel bad that they have very little to do in show-but somehow can’t bring themselves to initiate more. When I told this to a friend recently she told me that unless they have a dream of being actors on Broadway-why should I care? I just think that unless your kids is the star it can hurt the self esteem of the kids on the sidelines.

    1. I know exactly what you mean and I agree. I really don’t think that school in general is a place that builds people up, not in the academic arena and not in the extracurriculars. I considered elaborating on some of the ways I feel that these events aren’t so beneficial but didn’t want to be negative so I avoided detailing my thoughts in this area.

      Dd16 was supposed to be in the dance performance for her graduation event and somehow kept getting not included (eg not told about when practice was, overlooked). Though neither she nor I think there was any malice on anyone’s part, more like they were so used to having the same girls do certain things that they kept overlooking her but it was really disturbing to both of us that she was left out of something that she wanted to be part of. I was hurt for her even though she didn’t make a big deal out of it, and didn’t enjoy the evening at all.

  2. I’m glad you wrote about this; as a homeschooling Mom whose children have never been in school, I sometimes feel badly for them that they are missing out on these types of programs. I’m happy to hear from a veteran homeschooler like yourself that there is nothing to miss :)

  3. Thank you very much, Avivah. My wife and I both attended school growing up but now homeschool our children. I had forgotten the performances from school, but I remembered as soon as I saw your article. What you wrote rings true for me, too, and I’m not sorry that my children will miss such experiences. Thanks again.

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