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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Kids Are Too Young To Be Applying to Schools!!

My son took his first junior high school entrance exam today.

Yes, you read that correctly. My son is in the middle of sixth grade, and he is taking entrance exams to get into junior high school. No pressure..... (yeah, right....)

Last night, I made sure he had everything he needs: two sharpened pencils, an erasor, and a sharpener. I spoke with him about test-taking. I tried to be casual/matter of fact about it all.

He seemed to be calm, cool, and collected. I was relieved that he was not uptight about the exam (or so I thought).

Later, when the kids were in bed, Moshe came over and asked if I had talked with MD about the test. Something about the way he asked caused me to think twice. Though I answered "yes," I went to MD's room to check up on him.

MD was lying in bed, listening to the radio. He removed his earphones when I came in.

It took me only a few seconds to realize, both from what he said, as well as the expression on his face, that he was really anxious. He noted that he is especially nervous because the exam is for the school he really wants to attend. We spoke for a few minutes about what he can do to stay calm, especially during the exam. Without prompting, he mentioned his ability to calm himself by focusing on slow breathing. I was pleased that he knew what to do to control his emotions.

We spoke for a few more minutes.

I asked if he wanted me to be there when he went in for the test. He said "yes," so I told him I would be there.

Then I reminded him of the importance of getting a good night's sleep. He agreed right away, and turned off the radio.

The I tucked him in (you are never too old for your mom to tuck you in!) and gave him a hug and a kiss good-night (you are never too old for this either).

Smiling, I turned off his light.

In my head, I said a silent prayer.

I wish my son did not have to go through this! I went through this with my daughter, and it is no easier the second time around! My kids are too young for this!!

Where I grew up, no one applied to junior high or high school. I actually did have to apply to my high school, because I wanted to attend Teaneck High's Alternative 1 Program. But there was no pressure. Everyone who applied got in.

My son wants to attend a junior high that is relatively small. There are not enough places for all the kids who want to attend. All the kids are painfully aware that most of them will not be accepted into the school. I did not feel that sort of pressure until I applied to college!

I pray that God will help our son get into the school that is right for him, and I pray that God will give us the wisdom to help our son make the right choice.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...

Don't forget snacks for the test breaks (if applicable)!

Also, for those tests down the road, extra batteries for calculators (if applicable) can be very useful.

SuperRaizy said...

That is a lot of pressure for a sixth grader. Just reassure him that if he doesn't get into his first-choice school, then it wasn't bashert, and that you'll help him find another school where he will be happy.
Good luck though!

Cheryl Pitt said...

WHAT!! You have to APPLY for junior high?? That is a lot of pressure. But it sounds like you're doing a good job, he takes it seriously, communicates his emotions and knows how to deal with the stress of it-that's awesome!

I really like your blog and how you summed up your cancer experience in 3 sentences-I see where your son gets his strength.

adena said...

Rivka: thank you so much for posting to my blog. It is good to have the companionship of others who are going through similar things. I wish you well as you deal with this difficult challenge. And I will continue to read your blog, and send healing thoughts your way.

Batya said...

Good luck. Is it a two or three year deal? I'm glad the set-up was 8 and 4 when my kids were in school.
The right drinks and non-sugar noshes help. Also, the kids should know that if they need the toilet, they should ask, because "holding it in" will affect concentration.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you. It's too young for children to be faced with the possibility of rejection of this sort. But having gone through this with 3 children (always very stressful) I have to say that I believe that for the most part everyone ends up in a school that is very suitable for them. Any school will be lucky to have your son attend so I hope he gets his first choice.

RivkA with a capital A said...

tnspr569 -- the test was scheduled for three hours... with NO BREAK! My son did not complain, but I think that was insane!!

Super Raizy -- it is a lot of pressure. I don't know it I believe in "bashert," but I will certainly do my best to help find the right school for him!

Cheryl -- thanks!

Adena -- thinking of you too (and following your blog)

Muse -- this is a 2 or 6 year deal, depending on whether or not he stays for high school....

Anon -- me too!

Engineering Goddess said...

Hi RivkA - gosh the maturity level of my kids at 6th grade - well - it would be have been alot to ask them to go through testing like this! My youngest would not have made it through a three hour test!! In the US in some states (like ours - Texas), they have instituted standardized testing to pass into the next grade in different subjects each year though but that is just to meet minimum requirements. It's not always bad to push our kids to excel though either - sometimes they can simply AMAZE US!