Thursday, July 20, 2006

Chloe's School Interview, or What I Learned in the Big Apple

While we were in NYC last week, Chloe was able to interview for a great Christian school in Manhattan. It is unfortunate that this school would not accept her until they were able to interview both her and us, and by the time we got out to the city there were no openings in kindergarten. It's not a lost cause, I don't think, but for now I'm going to plan on homeschooling her this year. Homeschooling is something I've always kicked around, anyway. (Is it "homeschooling" or "home schooling" or "home-schooling?" I'd better figure it out if I'm going to do it.)

Some of you, like I was, may be wondering, "What on earth does a school ask when they interview a 5-year-old?" Keep in mind that schools in Manhattan (private schools, anyway) are uber- competitive and ambitious. It's not unheard of to have parents of a pre-schooler sit down with a headmaster and say, "Guarantee me that my child will be accepted into Harvard if they attend this school." Remember the school across the street from our apartment? The one that costs almost $10,000 a month? That's not really all that expensive, relatively. As a low key Midwesterner, I find it all a bit out of hand. But to the point--the school didn't ask Chloe all that many questions. Mostly they were concerned with ascertaining that Steve and I had a good understanding of the school and what we could expect from it (no, they won't guarantee acceptance into an Ivy League school, that sort of thing). Here's an approximation of how things went when they did ask Chloe questions (my thoughts are in italics).

  • Hi, Chloe. How are you?
  • Ok, honey, how about "I'm fine, thank you. How are you today, Sir?" Seriously, when have I ever taught her to say that? Has she ever called anybody Sir in her life?
  • Good. (smiles down at her lap)
  • Are you liking New York City?
  • "I'm finding it quite exhilarating and challenging, and I look forward to learning here." Wait, don't pick at that scab on your face. Don't pick!
  • Yes.
  • What's your favorite subject in school, Chloe?
  • Ok, Kiddo, anything is fine here. Just don't say recess or gym, and we'll be all set.
  • Crafts.
  • Crafts? Is that a subject? What about math? How about MATH?

You get the gist. You see, I fell into the trap so easily and quickly...the race of misprioritized ambition and competition. Of course we want Chloe to get a good education and have good opportunities in life, but I took it too far. Steve and I are going to the city to share the beauty and freedom of knowing that your value, your true value, comes not from what you do but from the love that Christ has for you. In that instant, I learned that it will be a great challenge for me to stay focused on the reason we're going to the Big Apple, to keep from getting swept up in the culture of Getting More, Doing More.

At the risk of making an understatement, I'm going to say that this journey will create just as much spiritual growth in me as it will in the people with which we work.


chelle said...

I like it that Chloe said "Crafts" was her favorite subject. Chase for sure would have said gym or recess.

God has shown you the way yet again. D, you will be an excellent home school teacher. Just make sure you have plenty of crafts on hand. Maybe sewing??

Dana said...

Sewing, huh? Do I sense a Project Runway appearance in Chloe's future?