This post is dedicated to "remy," a commenter on my "Why I'm going to homeschool" post.
Here is one full letter from the Yated (Feb 20. issue-I'm behind), and a description and quote from another, followed by my humble POV. :-D:
As a longtime reader of the Yated who has always enjoyed your paper, I hope that perhaps my letter here will spurn some change in the way our children's schools give vacation. Our daughter is a preschool student in a Brooklyn girls' yeshiva and the amount of vacation that he school gives has baffled us.
You see, not more than six weeks removed from a long Chanukah vacation, it appears to be necessary to give off almost an entire week for mid-winter vacation. Two weeks later, President's Day is a mandatory holiday that we all must celebrate because the school gives off. Finally, three weeks after that, there is a three-day vacation to celebrate the Yom Tov of Purim which, the last time I checked, is only a one-day Yom Tov in Brooklyn. Of course, four weeks after that is the two-week Pesach vacation.
In today's environment, where for many children both sets of parents are working to make ends meet, the amount of vacation that our children's schools are giving is broering on inconsiderate. Asking aprents to make arrangements every few weeks for thier children so that they can go out and make a parnassah or to ask the same parents to stay home instead of going to work should be reconsidered.
I beleive the time has come to reasses whether it is beneficial for our children to be out of school as often as they are. We must find a good medium that works for students, parents and teachers.
The second letter is about a guy whose son came back from a camp reunion, excited about going to camp the following summer. The father on the other hand was having financial difficulties. He had no clue how to tell his son that he wouldn't be able to go to camp, so he decided to speak to the kid's Rebbe in hopes of getting advice. The Rebbe said the following:
"camp is no longer a luxury, but more of a necessity in developing within them a cheshek for Torah and Yiddishkeit...the wonderful blend of ruchniyos and gashmiyus of Camp (fill in name here), and especially the experience of Shabbos Kodesh spent b'kedusha and in the presence of gedolim and bnei Torah, could not and should not be so easily discounted."
blah blah, the guy called the financial office of the camp and agreed on a payment plan for his kid.
So now, here are my opinions of the disturbing letters above:
While I see the point of parents being annoyed by the constant vacations, and the constant need to find babysitters, I find it truly disturbing how parents lack in creativity skills and lack in respect towards their children.
Finding a babysitter on the days that most schools are closed should not be so hard- find a neighbor who has older children who also have off, and work out a deal. Maybe have them watch your kids for free, and in exchange drive them to school. or drive them to weddings or set up some kind of an arrangement.
There is also the concept of getting a grandparent to watch the kids, or a retired aunt or uncle. That's what my parents did. Sometimes they had the babysitter do it. Schools have CALENDERS for a reason. It's not like they call the Friday before Presidents' Day to inform parents of school closing!
The truly disturbing part, is the last paragraph:
"I believe the time has come to reassess whether it is beneficial for our children to be out of school as often as they are. We must find a good medium that works for students, parents and teachers."
Parents seem to be expecting the school to be their kid's babysitter, not their kid's educator. Parents also seem to not care too much about the student's, because students, young and old, seem to LOVE the days off (at least I remember loving them,and I know my sister loves them, too).
In comparing this with the second letter on how camps are mandatory, we can logically conclude that schools expect camps to teach. Especially since there was a part in the letter that mentioned that the Rebbe the parent spoke to happened to also be a sleep-away camp Rebbe (not the same camp this letter was talking about), which only goes to show that school, pretty much is year round instotution in the frum community. Which brings me to the reason for dedicating this post to "remy":
Many frum people lack in the creativity and maturity skills to be decent parents. They have children and expect society to be their babysitter. The few days, weeks & months off once in a while should not be a problem for any parent with an ounce of creativity.
1- kids can be sent to a relative to be watched
2- a babysitter can be hired.
3- parents can take turns taking days off w/ aunts & uncles, and just watch cousins and have "play-dates" on those days off.
To shamelessly write letters to the Yated complaining about too-many CALENDER days off, is pathetic. It shows that my "misinterpretation" of your schools "discussion" was not far off.
Take a look at the facts. Frum people see no problem ridding their kids, and administrators are power-hungry. You think that camp is more necessary now than it was before? How so? Did our parents generation forget less when they were younger? Did they study more?
I do find this rather humorous. School is already year round, parents are open to financially sound options of preventing their kids from forgetting how to learn. And Remy is denying the intentions of the school.
Having parent-friendly schedules is one thing. But children aren't parents. They need more time off to be a kid and to learn about themselves.