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Kveller: My 8-Year-Old Son Went on a School Trip for 5 Days

kveller-placeholder“We’re going on a class trip to France,” my 8-year-old Cai announced a week after he’d started his new school.

“Cool!” I said. In August, we moved our family from Jerusalem to Luxembourg where my husband Matt took a job with the EU. Going to France from Luxembourg is as easy as going to Queens from the Bronx but without the traffic. I’d taken a wrong turn earlier that day and ended up over the border, so I wasn’t fazed.

“I think it’s an overnight trip,” Cai added.

“Really?”

Now I was fazed. We’d just moved countries; he barely knew his classmates. Because the age cutoff is different from Cai’s previous school, he’d skipped from 1st grade to 3rd. Matt, who’d been working from home until this summer, now spent his days in an office–his absence was unfamiliar and upsetting to the kids. There had been so many changes. A night away seemed like too much to throw at a kid who’d never even been on a sleepover before.

Maybe we’ll opt out, I thought. The teacher’s email about the trip came. It wasn’t an overnight. It was four nights–from Monday morning to Friday evening. True to the laissez-faire European parental reputation, these people were sending their 8-year-olds away for five days. But I’m not European, so I felt queasy.
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