Do you let your kids play hooky from school?

Avatar for melissamc
Community Leader
Registered: 03-22-2007
Do you let your kids play hooky from school?
13
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 12:47pm

I was just reading a piece from Today's website that I thought raised an interesting question, on whether it's okay to let your children miss school for events, fun stuff or just a day off.  Here is the link if you'd like to read it:

http://www.today.com/moms/parents-split-over-whether-its-ok-let-kids-miss-school-1B8186531

When I was growing up, we had to have at least a fever or vomiting before our parents would let us stay home sick, just feeling crappy wasn't a good enough excuse.  There were a couple of exceptions when I was in high school when my parents let me miss for a fun reason (and probably only happened because I was the youngest!).  We did a day trip when my oldest sister was visiting from out of town and another time we went for the day with my dad to NYC when he had a meeting.   I don't think two days in my entire high school career did any harm ;)   I would do the same under very special circumstances, I have let my boys stay home for one day if the grandparents are visiting so that they can have some one on one time with them.  I've also taken my youngest and one of the twins out of school for a week to go visit my parents, my mom's health is too fragile to travel.  I wouldn't take my high schooler out just because with his issues makes it's impossible for him to get caught back up, and I honestly don't think he would want to miss a day either.  I also wouldn't take any of them out for trivial matters like a haircut, and try to schedule all their doctor/dentists appointments for after school if possible.   While my dh was allowed to take "mental health days" in high school, that's not a practice I plan on adopting.

The one part of the article that really has me shaking my head (for lack of a better word) is the mom who will let her daughter be absent for just about any reason, and that her daughter gets A+ for all subjects except ones that have a participation grade.  JMHO, but I think you are setting your child up for very bad habits as an adult.  When she gets a full time job, will she be calling out sick once a week, because she just doesn't want to put in the effort to get up and go to work?  When she gets to college, will she just sleep through her morning class because she doesn't want to go?  If so, she's going to have a huge wake up call.   I consider school to be my children's "job", they have to show up, do their work and get paid with an education.   Fun opportunities need to occur after school hours, just like in the real world.

What do you think?

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Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Sun, 02-10-2013 - 6:16pm

Yes, we pull our kids out a great deal in the past with no regrets. Both kids did a lot of professional theatre from 4th to 8th grade. This often meant pulling them out early for rehearsals and matinees for months on end. It was fun but they were also working, getting paychecks and being held to adult level responsibilities. We pulled the kids out for 2 vacations (once so DD could accept a national writing competition award across the country and once because we had the opportunity to have some special D.C. tours and dinner at the White House... not with the president, just some family in high places lol.)  I've even pulled them out occasionally for a family Disney day if I feel things are too pressured or stressful. We've always been upfront with the schools and they've always been incredibly supportive. 

There is no question in my mind that my children have gained from these opportunities and it hasn't weakened their sense of responsibility at all. It was always their responsibility to communicate with teachers, to gather and complete the work in advance or have ready to turn in first day they come back. They've continued to be excellent students and always firm about when they can and can't miss.  

Do I think all families could make this work? No. My kids put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves to do well. They pick-up academic material quickly and easily. They often need someone to make them stop and smell the roses once in awhile. If they weren't like this naturally, I might not have been so open to them missing school.

In the end, if there is an understanding between the school and the family, I don't think it's up to anyone else to object. 

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Tue, 02-05-2013 - 10:33am

Thanks for asking!  This is her competitive team and they did wonderful!!  They placed first in their Senior Level 5 restricted division as well as grand champions for level 5, which meant they had highest points scored for all the level 5 teams, regardless of division.  Because of that, they won a paid bid to a huge national competition in New Orleans in April (though I am having trouble tracking it down on the cheerleading website for info on it), which is apparently a really big deal partly becuase of the exposure since this is only the second year this gym has had a competitive team and this particular group of kids has only been together for 6 months, and partly because these kinds of national competitions are very expensive, something like a $150-200 per kid.  They are supposed to have a team meeting soon about it to decide if they are going to actually go since it wasn't on the schedule and wasn't exactly planned for for travel, hotel and meal costs.

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Avatar for melissamc
Community Leader
Registered: 03-22-2007
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 3:42pm
LOL, I would've let her sleep in under those circumstances as well. How did the competition go? I'm REALLY enjoying our sports hiatus right now, because I know that in another month it's going to be crazy busy with baseball.

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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Mon, 02-04-2013 - 9:55am
Melissa I thought of this post this morning as I was writing ODD a note saying she was missing first period, which is her cheerleading class, because she was at a cheerleading competition all weekend, didn't get home til 10 last night and still had a mess of homework to do. LOL! If it wasn't that class, she would have dragged her butt out of bed to go to class, but knowing 3 other girls in the class, as well as the coach who has a daughter who was also at the competition this weekend, were going to be out, she didn't see a reason to sit around and do nothing when sleep was a bit more important.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Sat, 02-02-2013 - 11:34am

The tone of that article was kind of a set up, suggesting that the alternatives are missing school only for a dire emergency or missing school for any ol' whim.  I'd say it's highly dependent on the kid, the school, the age, and even the classes to be missed.  I do not agree that school experiences translate into future work ethic.  The kid who is earning A+s without attending class is likely in a learning situation that just doesn't match up with him.  He may well be miserable sitting through classes and needing the break from them and he may have no options.  I think we all hope that that isn't what the working world holds in store for our kids! 

And then when I read Melissa's response that her mom is ill and can't fly, my immediate reaction was that of course the kid would miss school to see his grandparent!   Or if I had a child struggling with anxiety or depression, I'd be pretty liberal with the time out of school, particularly if this was endorsed by a therapist.   Or if there is a kid who is in school while also performing or competing on a professional level (believe it or not, we know two in dd's school), the kids miss a great deal of school.  On the other hand, the parents who cavalierly put their own needs over the needs of the school and their own children and pull their kids every week to head up to the ski house early are hard to justify.  To my way of thinking it has to be decided on a case by case basis. 

And yes, I would take my dd out once in a blue moon to see a show or get her hair cut, lol.

Avatar for melissamc
Community Leader
Registered: 03-22-2007
Fri, 02-01-2013 - 6:01pm
I have to say I agree with you, that isn't a valid reason to let them stay home!

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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Fri, 02-01-2013 - 11:05am

Melissa, I think your situation is a little different with a relative in frail health.  I was thinking more along hte lines of just plain visits from family in general.  My parents can't come during holidays because my mom works retail, so they come visit during "off" times for her, but they always do their best to plan it around when the kids are off for an extended weekend or on spring break because it doesn't make sense for them to come to visit the kids if they are going to sit at my house all day long while the kids are in school and I am working, that's all I meant by that.  We had a family we were close friends with back in Michigan, the mom would let the daughter stay home on any old half day because she said it didn't make sense to get the kids up and out to school for a half day when likely there was no learning going on.  I thought that was a completely crazy reason IMO, but I guess to each their own!

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Avatar for 3EggsnAL
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-06-2012
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 11:37pm

I don't let them stay home just cause.  They have to be sick and we live a high allergy area so that happens more then I'd like.  I try to keep them on allergy meds but we forget and they end up miserable.  Also, I have pulled from for funerals and once to run to Texas to see my grandfather who they were close to and we knew he'd die soon, he did 2 months later.  Also, once and only once I let my son go in late after a concert we went to up in Nashville.  It's a two hour drive and so he slept in a bit and I took him.  That was just once.  I try not to ever do that if at all possible.  There have been nights where my son won't be able to get to sleep.  He has troubles with that when he is highly stressed.  He also has some metal health issues that will cause him to have I guess what you'd call a panic attack if I didn't let him stay him to sleep in and go in tardy.  Lack of sleep and stressing about something will cause him to panic and he curls up in a ball and wants life to just pass him by.  He is better now that he is older but I don't want to go back to that so we are careful.  He is learning to let things go and not stress so much.  He had that break through this year actually.  

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 9:52pm

No, they need a good reason to stay home. We have pulled them out fir vacations, but they were always short weeks, two and half days. We did that 3 times in thirteen years.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

Avatar for melissamc
Community Leader
Registered: 03-22-2007
Thu, 01-31-2013 - 2:40pm
Tracy, just to clarify, my mom can't fly and is in very poor health. We don't know how much time there is left to visit, so I don't have the luxury of waiting for when school is out of session. I wish I did though :(

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