Monday, September 6, 2010

The Kids Prosper

Life has been moving forward at quite a pace and my blog seems to have been somewhat neglected.

Generally we are embedding ourselves deeper into our Israeli lives and England seems forever further away and increasingly 'foreign'... yet somehow we don't quite feel like Israelis yet either. We lap up Israeli culture and have become accustomed to the ideosyncrasies of day to day life here in Israel; which now feels natural and normal to us all.

Most of the time we barely think about being 'olim' and the weeks and months pass by with their usual share of family dramas. So let's catch up with the family.

A Black Eye and a New School

The other week my son did one of his 'specials' - another of his inexplicable, senseless acts that end up wrecking havoc. He decided to throw a brick at a deflating ball to see if he could puncture it - he didn't; it bounced back and whacked him in the face and giving him a black eye.

He has just started a great new school, having struggled in the Israeli education system since we got here. Over repeated years we have taken the decision to switch his school after it was apparent to us that he would not prosper where he was. This was frowned upon by many in 'the system' but we felt that however unsettling it was for him it was better to seek a good match than settle for a bad one. He was unhappy, he wanted to move, he wasn't working, he wasn't moving forward - so why stay put?

We made some wrong choices but finally, last year was the first year he felt comfortable in a school. Unfortunately though his age group all had to move up to the next level in the school system this year so we were left looking for the right 'next step' after several wasted years in schools that simply didn't suit him and that he was unable to thrive in.

Looking for Inspiration

Initial signs at the new school are hopeful; he reports that his new teacher talks to them, "with a smile on her face" and so far he is responding really well to her lessons - which are taught with the big masses of information and instructions all broken down into more manageable chunks and then subsequently recapped and re-inforced before the kids are asked to undertake tasks.

This seems to tick all his boxes in terms of being a second language speaker and also having poor concentration; he is participating more in class discussions and is keen to read from the board, give his opinion and answer questions. He is producing more notes and even, dare I say it, enjoying being educated. Now there's a turn up for the books.

After three long years of wrong choices and one year that put him back on track but was only ever going to be a single year before the changeover - could we finally have found his place after all this time?

In life you sometimes just need one teacher to believe in you or to inspire you. Maybe, just maybe, we have found someone to ignite his fire and unleash his potential.

Super Nanny on Wheels

Over the summer my elder daughter took to roller blading but is yet to master the art of balance - she whizzed around manically, arms waving to remain upright yet somehow has avoided major injury.

She has been amazing over the long (2 month) summer holiday, helping to take care of my 3 year old in the time between her coming home from nursery and me returning from work.

She would make up backpacks with picnics and take her to the park; she would invent imaginative games to keep her amused or choreograph dance routines which would be performed on my return.

One memorable day I got off the bus and as the doors parted, there they stood, dressed up in pretty frocks and necklaces, looking so beautiful and holding out freshly picked flowers. I just wanted to close my eyes and etch the sight forever on my memory and engrave it on my heart.

Bilingual at Last

My sabra is now three years old and has suddently become bilingual. Having struggled to understand everything my Hebrew speaker said, it is as if, suddenly, someone has flipped an invisible switch and her English has instantly kicked in. Just in time for the family visits over the summer!

So there we are, you are up to date now with my family as we settle further into our lives here and each of us finds our feet. We are hopeful that the year ahead will enable us to thrive further as individuals and as a family unit.

Wishing all readers a sweet, happy, healthy, productive year ahead where you follow your dreams and make a success of your chosen path. Shana Tova.