Monday, June 23, 2008

Conversational Hebrew

My son finishes school this week and is excited about summer plans. He will be attending a few different summer day camp programs; a week here, two weeks there, that sort of thing. He has, however, added something new to the mix.

Towards the end of Hebrew school, one of the teachers, an Israeli who teaches Hebrew, asked my son if he would like to be tutored in Hebrew over the summer. It is not that my son needs extra help in this area, but this teacher thought he might want to keep his skills sharp during the summer and have more of an opportunity to influence the material he is studying. I am sure from the teacher’s point of view as well, it is a good way to earn some extra income over the summer.

My son is very excited about this and wants to start the day after school ends. His father, on the other hand, has mixed reactions. On the one hand, I am thrilled that learning Hebrew is so important to him that he wants to do it when school is out and wants to keep his skills sharp. On the other hand, I question if he truly realizes the commitment he made and will put the time in to this. He wants to learn conversational Hebrew and he will be meeting with the tutor once a week for an hour.

The tutor has already tried to caution me that when it comes to conversational Hebrew, for many weeks it may look as though he is not learning much and then all of a sudden everything clicks. I question that. To expect to learn this while only putting an hour a week is seems unlikely, even if my son follows through with his “homework assignments”. I fear that he will get frustrated and fed-up and refuse to do the work outside of his meeting with the tutor.

Certainly it is worth an attempt. I hope that this does meet his needs and expectations and I hope it does help him learn to speak conversational Hebrew. And, given a choice between my son wanting to do this over the summer or do a number of other things, certainly I approve of his choice.

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