The other night some friends and I got into a discussion regarding private school for our kids. Most people would agree if you can afford it, there are benefits, such as smaller classes, more intense curriculum and most importantly, the chance to be a cheerleader even if you cannot do a basic somersault, much less a back flip off a pyramid made of other cheerleaders. I did not attend private school, and it is a known fact that Jewish girls don't tumble, so I had to be content with being on the "pep squad" otherwise known as, girls with dark hair and braces who will not in their wildest dreams ever be cheerleaders. Ever. Dream on losers.
When I became a parent I wanted my kids to attend private school. Let me rephrase that, I demanded that my kids attend private school, (and yet the reasons for my failed marriage continue to elude me.)
Even though my oldest daughter M answered "Oh I dont know- I think they're studying the civil war or something," when I asked her why there were photos of Hitler in the 6th grade classroom, I still felt my kids were getting the best possible education, not to mention chef created lunches with a full salad bar. Arugula, I kid you not.
Divorce brought our years of private school to a screeching halt, meaning my youngest has spent his high school years in public school. Here are some of the things I have observed:
Two years ago, J began arriving home very late even though he was on the school bus. When I asked him why he said," Oh sorry mom. Our bus driver likes to drive us past his old house every day."
Last year, while working on his diagram of photosynthesis, he told me he was feeling very sorry for his science teacher. When I asked why, he said, 'Well he is getting a divorce and he has to live with his mom again, and he is really upset about it and he misses his wife."
This year when he was struggling with some math homework I asked why he didn't just approach his teacher for help and he told me that the teacher just sits at his desk with his head in his hands saying "Why me?"
I am very pleased that aside from getting a traditional education, he is learning empathy and understanding for others. Thanks to that displaced bus driver, he has seen parts of the city that he may never have known existed. Not only did he learn the photosynthesis cycle, he also learned that living with mom, after a failed marriage is not something to strive for. His math teacher has taught him that sometimes people need space and quiet time, and that we can find answers to alot of our problems on Google.
Ironically, he is the only one of my four that is pursuing a traditional path of a four year college with an early acceptance to an excellent university and an invitation into the National Honor Society. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that it is the kid that makes the kid, not the school that makes the kid. He had no desire to be a cheerleader anyway.