I’d like to begin to conveying my deep appreciation for everything you do to educate our children. All the tremendous hard work, extra devotion and dedication that you all do is both so apparent and appreciated! It is not going unnoticed and I am extremely thankful to you all.
At the same time, I struggle so much with what I see every evening when I come home from work. It’s the vision of my girls, elementary age school children, sitting at the table and plowing through endless hours of homework. When I ask them when they began, they tell me from the minute they’ve walked through the door.
My heart sinks and I need to use all my strength to hide my extreme disappointment in the system. My children, who are extremely scholastic and bright, have just sat through hours of school. They’ve worked hard at school to try their best and give it their best. They come home tired and hungry and yearn for a few hours of time to relax and unwind. However because of the pressures of immense amounts of homework, they have none of that.
I just don’t get it.
What am I not understanding?
Did they not do enough in school?
Did they not try hard enough?
Did they not give it their best?
Are they not human?
Would you want to sit down after a long day only to deal with hours of homework?
We have one chance and only one, to give them the most beautiful and positive schooling experience.
Do we want them to remember it as a time of dread and stress?
Thankfully my children don’t struggle with it on an academic level and I can only imagine what it’s like for the children who aren’t as bright. The hours of tutoring, frustration and stress. All for what??
By the time they are finally finished, they are absolutely spent.
Is this what we really want to do to our children?
Are these the memories we want them to have of their school years?
Stress. Competition. Tests. Marks. Grades.
Is this what it’s all about?
On another note, I ask you an honest question.
Today, do you really remember every ramban, pasuk, midrosh that you have studied and memorized for hours on end?
Does it serve any purpose for them to know every explanation to every pasuk?
Does it help them to know every single Halacha about the shofar?
Do they really need to memorize all of the yideos klaliyos that they are forced to?
Do you remember any of it at all today?
Did you remember it a year later, or even a month later?
What are we teaching our children?
Are they just machines, that we need to download as much information as possible and have them replay it back to us in perfect sync?
Are we turning our beautiful, innocent and pure children into computers?
We are we trying to do?
What’s this all about?
It hurts me so much to see it.
We have one chance to instill in them the beauty of yiddeshkeit, the pride of being a Jew, the joy in being Hashems children and so much more.
Their brains are being developed and we have this one opportunity to mold it into what we so badly want in our children.
Having them study for ours on end, memorizing random facts that they won’t ever need, teaching them that Judaism is all about rules and regulations, in my opinion, just won’t do it.
Please correct me if I’m wrong and I’m open to criticism, but if you ask the average school child, are they truly a proud Jew, do they feel Hashem’s love for them, do they feel happy about all the halachos they are keeping, I venture to say that we both know what they would answer. And that answer scares me.
I just don’t see the hours of homework, the homework subjects and the way everything is forced down their throats as the way to instill in them what we hold and believe in, so deeply and dearly.
I’m not angry, nor am I bitter. I’m writing this as a result of an article. I’m simply trying to understand and make sense of this all and it breaks me, that I, an adult, had to teach myself everything about true yiddeshkeit, Hashem’s infinite love, and what religion is all about. It was all my own learning, searching, asking and working on and nothing came from the hundreds of hours I’ve spent studying.
These children are our precious assets. They are out next generation.
They will carry over the mesorah to our grandchildren.
Can we take a deep, brave and authentic look at what we are doing and perhaps more at what we are not doing?
It has been bothering me for years and that vision I see every day when I come home from work, breaks me so much!
It just feels so off.
If this is truly what they need, I plead with you to give me the answer to tell them when they cry to me how little time they have, how stressed they are and how frustrated they are with the endless work.
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