Thursday, September 17, 2009
The Learning Curve (how the kids are doing in school)
One of the most common questions that we are getting these days is about how the kids are doing in school. After all it is quite challenging to sit in class all day when the teacher is speaking your language, how much more so when you understand almost nothing. As one person put it: remember how you feel when you are listening to a speaker and everything he or she says is either terribly boring or going way over your head? Now imagine doing that 6 days a week for the whole day! Luckily, our kids have been pretty good about it so far. When they walk in we ask them how their day went and the response ranges from “good” to “the best!” Then we ask if they understood anything. To this they invariably respond with a huge grin and a very enthusiastic “not a word!” I call this success. However, we did have our share of blunders along the way. On the first day of school I went to put rosemary oil on their heads since this is said to repel lice – a nightmare for an American, but no big deal to Israelis who often let the lice take up room and board in their kids’ heads. In my haste, I forgot to mix the oil essence with water. In fact, I should have mixed a few drops of oil with a ½ cup of water. Instead I put more than a few drops directly on head. I figured out it wasn’t right when Shira started to cry and hold her nose and then when Akiva, who was up the stairs said, “What stinks?” Good thing she is only 2, or I may have cost her the chance to have any friends in her new class! The other blunder was not our fault. We had planned to drive our kids to and from school, thinking they were not ready for the bus system here, but they would have none of that. So on the second day of school, Ezra boarded the bus from school to our street, only they forget to let him off. After 30 minutes and a bunch of frantic phone calls he was located, still on the bus and happy as can be. The next day Akiva got on the wrong bus and ended up leaving Efrat and getting a tour of the neighboring town, Elazar. It took a while for him to figure out that he was no longer in Efrat and a very frustrated bus driver who could not speak a word of English eventually got him back to us. Since then it’s been smooth. I still marvel at their independence. At the ages of 4 and 6, they can come home from school all on their own and can even walk up the block to their taekwondo class all by themselves! They love the independence and it builds their esteem. Next stop: the grocery store. That will be cool.