We are a school-loving family. We value education and raise our children to be committed to lifelong learning. As a former high school teacher, I know firsthand that school attendance is a major predictor of academic success. However, sometimes my kids miss school for what many would consider “no good reason.” My husband and I don’t see it that way. Our oldest is a straight-A student who takes gifted and talented classes, and our youngest is loving Pre-K. Attendance is important, but life experiences outside of the classroom heavily contribute to their success also.
This year, we went on vacation the first week of September. We did this for the first time two years ago. My friends thought we were crazy for taking the kids out of school for an entire week, especially since school had just started. We chose that week because I’m off, travel destinations are less crowded, and travel is less expensive. Even without those reasons, we don’t need much to justify missing school for vacation.
They missed a week, but we didn’t panic over it. We didn’t bring schoolwork on vacation, not even in the car, not even to study sight words or math facts. Nothing. The work will be there. It can wait. We deserve a total break. School and work are priorities most of the time. Our family doesn’t feel guilty for occasionally shifting those priorities. Education is not contained to the classroom. We take learning beyond the classroom through meaningful experiences and lifetime memories.
Hooky for Hermes
We play hooky on Hermes Friday. Yep, we skip school to accommodate the Mardi Gras parade schedule and avoid uptown traffic. We like to set up our spot (ahem, neutral ground side) early and enjoy passing the time by playing cards, throwing Snap-n-Pops, and soaking up culture. This tradition started with my parents when I was a little girl. I never fell behind in my school work, and we spent the day excitedly preparing for the Super-Krewes of the weekend.
Last year, my son had an excused absence for talented art testing. His appointment was for 9:00 and was finished by 10:15. Many other parents at the testing were returning their kids to school for the remainder of the day. Instead, my son and I went on a date. We went to Barnes and Noble, ate lunch at his favorite Italian restaurant, and went home to play Legos. We rarely spend time together just the two of us. He still talks about how much fun we had that day.
You might think it’s absurd that we are already planning to miss six days of school this year. But school will be there when we get back. My kids won’t remember everything they learn in school, but they will never forget the time we spent as a family doing things we love.