A respected blogging friend of mine recently raised this point. Is it okay to pull your child out of school? If you haven’t seen her post, go read it now. Go ON, I’ll wait. I firmly agree it is a parent’s duty to teach our children that school is their most important priority. Believe me, I’m known in my family as holding on to convictions to the bitter end, sometimes painfully so. But as I’ve gotten older, and my family has gotten bigger and more complicated, I’ve become more flexible (sssh, don’t tell anyone). So I’m not sure I can say that I will never pull my kids out of school for a particular event.
One of my most vivid memories is the day my mom let me skip school. I was in middle school, seventh or eighth grade. I was a good student, missing one day would not impede my education. I didn’t have an exam. I wasn’t being pestered by a bully. I just didn’t feel like going. I wanted some time completely to myself (can you say introvert?). I sat on my parents bed, watching my mom put on her make-up before work. I playfully suggested I stay home. I offered to do any chore she’d like. Initially she just nodded and hmmmm’d. Then she totally floored me and said okay. I would have to scrub the kitchen floor … on my hands and knees. We did own a mop, but this was the requirement. I grinned and readily agreed. A thirty minute task for 6 hours of freedom? Deal.
It was a special day, specifically because it was so out of character for my mom. My parents left no doubt that school was our biggest responsibility. But it meant so much to me that my mom could see I could handle missing, and that sometimes we all need to shake things up.
I think missing school to go to Disney World or lay on the beach for a week is frivolous. (Even skipping to watch soaps and scrub the floor was frivolous.) But there are some trips that can’t always be easily scheduled during school breaks. What if an opportunity arises to piggy-back a business trip and go to another country? How about a family wedding across the country? We’d like to do some special trips to National Parks when the kids are a little bigger. And honestly, I don’t think I want to go the the Grand Canyon in the middle of the summer (crowds, heat). What if there was a special museum exhibit that highlighted my child’s deepest passion? Would I let him play hookey and go to the city on a weekday to see it? You bet.
So I agree … mostly. ‘Cause honestly we all could use just a little bit of hookey in our lives.