I love homeschool and I love teaching, so why did I make the choice to send my kids to regular school systems?
Before we get really get into this, I want to give you a little bit of background about myself. I am an American immigrant living in Israel. My family moved here when I was 13 and I had a really hard time adjusting to the Israeli mentality and I suffered immensely socially. In the sates, I was doing alright, I had just started public middle school, I was making friends, and because I had a much wider pool of people to interract with, I was able to find people in all of my classes who I could get along with.
When we came to Israel I was put into a very religious, all girls school with very Israeli students. I didn't speak Hebrew. Talk about culture shock! My clothes weren't right, my religious views didn't match up, and whenever I got the guts to say something in Hebrew, everyone laughed at the grammatical mistakes I made and my strong American accent. Needless to say, my social life and self-confidence took a huge dive.
As I got older, I found that even though I was acclimating to the school system and Israeli culture, I didn't really quite fit in. I had missed out on a lot of the cultural things that most Israelis take for granted, things like Israeli preschool experiences, growing up with your class ( a lot of students here stay with the same classmates from first grade till eighth grade.) The way that families interact with their children's friends in this country, it was all very different from what I grew up with.
In highschool, I ended up in a class of 15 students, 5 newer french immigrants, 5 American immigrants and 5 Israelis. I thought, "Great, now I will finally have a peer group!" But no, I was surprised to find was that I had already adopted enough Israeli culture that I didn't really fit in with the American crowd.
My Own Children:
Jumping way ahead, when I had my first baby, I had my heart set on homeschool. I loved the idea of being with my daughter all day, taking an active role in her development and learning, and doing what I do best- teaching. I could see that she was really special and I wanted to be able to work with her at her own pace. However, as she got older and was getting to the preschool age, I really had to think about what I was doing.
So here's me, this crazy, misfit young mom, trying to raise an Israeli child. And let's be real here, my children were born and raised here in Israel. They speak English, but they are Israeli. They will be going to the military, or social service when they get older, they will have to find work and know what's expected of them from their Israeli peers. I want them to be able to blend into Israeli mentality as much as possible. That means they have to have social behaviors that mesh, they have to have the ideologies that mesh. And by homeschooling them, I couldn't be sure that they would.
The second reason for sending them off to school was that I wanted them to learn Hebrew from Hebrew speakers. We speak English in the home- I still want them to be able to communicate with our English speaking family- but I wanted them to learn proper pronunciation, casual grammar and slang terms vrs the grammatically correct Hebrew that immigrants are taught. I wanted Hebrew to come naturally to them so that they wouldn't have to mentally run through every sentence they are saying while they speak. This is something I could never provide for them at home. No matter how good my Hebrew gets- and it's pretty darned good- it will never flow as smoothly as a native's.
In the end, the choice was clear. Even though I really wanted to homeschool, my kids would be better off going to a regular school. It was a tough decision to make, but honestly, I don't regret it. My kids are able to fit in with their peers as Israeli students, they speak effortless Hebrew, and I am still able to teach them at home when something non-school related sparks their interest.
What are your views? Do you homeschool? Would you homeschool in another country? Let me know in the comments below!