Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Perfect Attendance ? Fail.

Well, I may as well add another quarter to the therapy jar, because a recent decision that Mr. Quimby and I made for our family has resulted in Beezus being unable to obtain an award in 13 years.

A few years ago, when I was the parent of a then 2 and 4 year old, I remember reading an article about a high school senior in a nearby county who had never missed a day of school.  Kindergarten through 12th grade - never.  In the hyper-competitive culture of Washington, DC where we live, this sort of dedication isn't necessarily unusual.  Race to Nowhere or The Overachievers, anyone ?

I remember a familiar mantra of my childhood "You're not too sick to go to school.  Now go get ready because I'm not going to walk in and tell the office why you are late - you'll have to and you'll feel embarrassed."  It worked - I rarely was late or missed school.

Mr. Quimby and I have already decided that we are going to make different choices for our children.  The downside of Mr. Q's job is that he gets to travel a lot to some random places in the U.S.  Louisville, Kentucky.  Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Boise, Idaho.  While those places aren't as exciting as Disney World for small children, the girls and I plan to go along for the ride whenever we can.  I love the idea that our children may get the chance to see some of the great cities that have helped shape our country: Dallas, Texas.  Kansas City, Missouri.  New Orleans, Louisiana.  Sacramento, California.  (Okay, no offense, but that last one isn't quite in the same league).

When we can, we will tack on a couple days and do a quick family trip.  I want them to get a feel for these cities, walk some of the streets, and see two or three of the iconic attractions or features of these places.  I want them to see something different than what they grow up with.

We started this endeavor this past weekend.  Mr. Q had a meeting in Chicago, Illinois on Monday afternoon, so we all flew out on Saturday morning and spent some time exploring a small town in rural Illinois as well as the city of Chicago.  To do this, Beezus had to miss school on Monday and go in a little late on Tuesday.  She was worried that she hadn't been able to do her homework on Monday evening (it was handed out in school on Monday).  I explained to her that this was a choice our family was making and that her teacher would not be mad. 

I know that other families would make different choices for their children and that's just fine for them as this choice is for me.  Parenting (and the choices that go along with it) are deeply personal and individual experiences and within some established parameters, there's lots of room for choice.  We won't be able to do this for all of Mr. Q's trips, and there may be years where it will be too difficult or stressful for the girls to miss 1-2 days of school, but I'm hopeful we can do it 1-2 times per year.  I can't imagine that I would ever let my children stay home for fun but I will let them miss school for some out of the classroom learning.

Bon voyage !


(Not) Maud said...

I think that's great. Travel really does broaden the mind. They'll learn things they couldn't possibly learn at school.

I've still never been to Chicago. It's on the list.

Laurie said...

Consider it a type of home-schooling! I bet they learned more through their visit to IL than they would have in the classroom that day!

Homework already? I'm lucking out that Zoe doesn't have it this year yet.

Helen said...

Oh you so did the right thing. The kids will never remember those missed school days, nor will those missed days matter. But the kids may remember that trip!

As you say, you may not always be able to take days from school. But I say do it when you can! :)

But you knew I'd say that . . . .

Elaine said...

Wait a minute. I thought Mr. Q was spending time in Topeka. KC? That's totally different! We've already scheduled our week long ski vacation - and it won't be the last of its kind!!

3XMom said...

i SOOO agree! Family vacations can be great learning opportunities. My kids will NEVER have perfect attendance, and we have already promised them that!

Pharmacy said...

Informative post

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