As someone who went to religious school who's emphasis (at least on secular education) was less holisitic and far less serious, clearly I have a lot of baggage from my negative experiences in school that I don't want my sons to go through in their lives. Sure we've all had a teacher that we didn't get along with, but also a teacher that we loved. But the school that I went to emphasized rote execution of religious practice without the capacity for dialog or discussion. That works for some people, but didn't work for me.
I also to this day firmly believe that the principal had it out for me, but that is a whole other story.
I guess that brings me back to the title - what do I expect? In bullet points:
- I expect that he will be able to speak,read, and write Hebrew with a decent degree of fluency
- I expect that he will have a decent understanding of how to open up religious texts - Misha, Gemara, Chumash, Halacha, and be able to learn something on his own without relying heavily of english translations.
- I expect that he will have a strong understanding of our religion and the tools to be able, as an adult, to determine where and how G-d fits into his life.
- I expect that he will have the skills in secular studies that will enable him to get into a college that is on par with his abilities (I don't know if he is a genius or not, but if he is, I want his education to take him to an Ivy League school).
- I expect that he will have a good understanding of Jewish History - both from within and from beyond the bible - and how it relates chonologically with world history.
- Most importantly, regardless of how my children end up religiously, professionally, and emotionally, I expect them to have not only the ability to think for themselves, but also the desire to do so. For as we all know, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.