It’s the first week of school for us. The wee ones are both in elementary school now, Mister Man in second and Little Miss in first. At some point, the only time they’ll be able to be absent is when they’re legitimately sick. Right now, I’m still pulling them for family vacations. Sometimes.
I feel like a bad mom doing that, feeling like in a way it’s saying that fun is more important than school. They’re at the age when their teachers are starting to frown on it more heavily. And my husband is a teacher, so whenever we do this, he can’t join us. And he’s not a fan of it, either.
But there are some things that I want the wee ones to experience that they can’t except when school is in session. And so on the first week of school, after only three days in school, I pulled the wee ones to drive up to Minnesota with my dad. Growing up, the Minnesota State Fair is one of my favorite traditions. It was something everyone did, and I also showed my horse there every year. Missing school for it was never an issue, since school started after Labor Day for us up there, and it was a great family tradition. A tradition that I’d like to continue with the wee ones to some degree, though I know we won’t go every year. The Fair opens the second to last Thursday in August, and the wee ones are on their third day of school then. While we could technically go on a weekend – either that one or Labor Day weekend – it’s too expensive to fly and seven hours each way is a mind-numbing thought in a forty-eight hour period. Plus, the crowds are often over 200,000 on weekends, and that makes me nervous for the wee ones.
So I pulled them. And we went to the Fair on Friday and a Twins game on Saturday before heading home early enough Sunday that we could get some homework done and have them in bed so they wouldn’t be too tired for the upcoming week.
They did learn at the Fair. They learned a lot about the different kinds of horses and why the different breeds look so different. They saw pigs being born. They “worked” on a farm and saw how farmers make money from seed and cow to the store. And they ate. A lot. And they went on a few rides.
I feel somewhat guilty, but not enough to stop myself from pulling them out for another four days in October. They’re good enough in school and know that they have to write diaries about what they did on vacation for their teachers (my assignment) in addition to any homework they need to make up. That’s my mental rule: so long as they’re doing well in school and have good attitudes about the work they need to make up, I’m ok with pulling them from school for family vacations.
Or that’s my “for now” rule. I’m still trying to figure it all out. What about you? Do you or did you ever pull your children from school? What were your rules about it, and when did you or when do you plan to stop?