Last week we taught about the importance of personal days for adults. What about your kids? Do you - or would you - ever let them take a break from the daily grind of school (even if they don’t have a fever)?
My mom worked and went to school full time for much of my childhood. No one took days off. I don’t even remember staying home from school sick, although surely it had to have happened at least once in thirteen years of public education. The expectation was clear: kids go to school.
I had that same attitude when my first child headed off to kindergarten. Fortunately, he seemed to love every minute of the experience and so requests to ditch were nonexistent. But at some point in the last nine years - and I’m not exactly sure when - something has changed.
My son still maintains a nearly perfect attendance record, but his sister has stayed home for stomach aches, headaches, and the occasional severe cold. They’ve also both missed school to visit family out of town. And there was that year they didn’t step foot inside a traditional classroom because we were driving around the country in an RV.
Somewhere along my parental path, I’ve lost a bit of my regard for the sanctity of the school day.
Perhaps it’s because I work from home, and so a sick kid causes very little interruption to my work day. Or maybe it’s because the fundamental nature of school has changed so much since I attended: less recess and more standardized testing has created an atmosphere that isn’t very conducive to learning, exploration, or socialization.
While school was the central element of my young life, I see it as just one element in my children’s lives. Education is absolutely important, but schooling is something to be balanced with family, play, and personal interests.
I admit to being a little uncomfortable with this stance (which is perhaps why I’ve written an entire post to justify it) mostly because it is so completely different than the paradigm in which I grew up.
What about you? Where on your list of priorities does perfect attendance fall? What’s a worthy excuse for a skip day?