Part III: School is back in session

It goes kind of like this for my kids: 4 years, 4 schools (including home school). For my 7 year old, she’s been in 5 schools in 6 years – not bad!

My eldest started school last Thursday. She applied and was accepted to two (private) schools near Rehovot, and we gave her the choice to make alone. She chose a school that is only girls, and is for middle-high school, so begins in 7th grade, and ends at 12th grade. In many ways the decision was smart, because all the 7th graders are new, not just her. Of course, many of the girls already knew other kids from their elementary schools, or from youth groups. My daughter had met one other girl before school started, another English speaker (though native Israeli), so she wasn’t completely alone. Her school is a 20 minute bus ride from Rehovot, and there is a “hasa’ah” (bus) that picks the girls up in the morning and drops them back in the afternoon. So far, she seems happy. She is slowly making friends with girls who are not English speakers, and she has met the teacher who will be helping her weekly with Hebrew, and homework.

Today, September 1st, the other two started school. Their school is the local public religious school, and it’s a mere 12 minute walk from our apartment. Within the next week (or few days if this heat doesn’t subside a little) they will be walking to and from school together.  This morning was a little overwhelming, with hundreds of kids and parents walking onto the campus all at the same time! The gate was decorated with a balloon arch, and the teachers and administrators were standing at the entrance to welcome the kids with baskets of candy.

We escorted the kids to their respective class rooms, where they found a seat and sat down. My 2nd grader was a bit wobbly initially, but she didn’t cry. She knows 2 other kids in her class, both of whom are English speakers. I spoke to her teacher and made sure that she knew we are very new to the country, and that her Hebrew is not so great. She immediately went over to my daughter and let her know that she speaks English. At that point it was time for us to leave, and there were no tears or tantrums. My 5th grader (can’t believe this boy is almost 11!) was perfectly happy, having met up with a buddy from synagogue as soon as he went into his classroom, and was found wandering the halls as the bell went off… let’s hope he spends most of his time doing what he’s told.

School was only for a few short hours today, and when we arrived to meet the kids we were greeted with smiles. They each had a good day, met new friends (the 2nd grader seems to have bonded with another girl in her class who speaks no English, but who managed to help her understand what was going on nonetheless). And she came home calling me “Ima” instead of Mommy…

This week is all short days, which, while hard for parents to get anything done, is definitely a bonus for my kids. Gives them a chance to get comfortable, meet other kids, and start getting the hang of Hebrew. Very soon they should be getting pulled out of class a few times a week to be taught Hebrew, and to get extra help with homework and stuff.

Definitely a huge hurdle to have passed, and I’m happy day one is out of the way for everyone. I anticipate some difficulties eventually, as it wouldn’t be normal for it to be all smooth all the time, but one day at a time, and I’ll take what I can get!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cynthia March
    Sep 01, 2014 @ 22:15:36

    so how does Israeli private school tuition compare to U.S. tuition?


  2. vanessabrooksceo
    Sep 02, 2014 @ 11:04:47

    Oh Cynthia… that could be an entire post in it’s own right….
    The number, in shekels, (inclusive of the bus) is less per year, than the cost of one year at a Jewish Day School – elementary level – in dollars. In addition to that, the school offers scholarships based on income where applicable. The bus is available to all students, whether on financial aid or not.


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