The other night, I went to dinner with a number of good friends I hadn't seen all summer. Over drinks and Pad Thai, we were able to catch up, talk about our crazy summer schedules, and wonder at how…fast time flies. A new school year was fast approaching. Our children had gone to preschool together, had attended each other's bar and bat mitzvahs the year before, and were now entering high school. I am truly lucky to have a circle of friends who have supported each other through the ups and downs of… >> Read More
Earlier this year, I wrote a piece on how I was thinking about Jewish day school for my now 4.5-year-old son, but was torn because to send him, I’d need to return to work full-time to pay for…tuition. In that piece, I pretty much summarized the dilemma I’d been having for months in my head—that sending my kids to day school would mean never seeing them because I’d be working all the time. Now in the interest of full disclosure, I did go back to work full-time after having my son, but… >> Read More
When my late husband Peter was a teenager, his mom stumbled upon a box with leather straps in his closet. Disturbed over her discovery, she raced downstairs to address him. He explained it was…tefillin (phylacteries). Around the same time, he started keeping kosher, taking countless trips to Israel, and dating more observant women. Eventually, I came along. I’m a cultural Jew who spits out fakakta and kvetch in everyday conversations, but I’m hardly practicing. Once we moved in together, I gave into the kosher kitchen, but I wasn’t happy… >> Read More
My daughter Sophie will be 3 this November. My husband Philippe and I have decided to let her start half-day preschool (she’s begged). Still, we’re late starting to look at options. I can’t…settle on anything, and as a doctoral student in education, I fear my knowledge of the research—my vise-grip on “how things should be”— has gotten in the way. Ironically, in the world of parenting and education, it seems as though you can really know too much, or at least can be too critical. Then, I see an… >> Read More
Drill and Kill.
That’s what rote memorization is often called in educational circles today. The general thinking is that mindlessly learning facts quashes kids’ natural curiosity and teaches…them that finding the right answer is more important than understanding why it’s correct. All over the country, there’s a huge backlash against “teaching to the test”—expecting kids to learn the “right” answer without understanding why—and an effort in schools to make learning fun and meaningful instead. My own kids’ school is no exception. I… >> Read More