Taking Kids Out of School Feels Sneaky

What is it about missing school that makes some people slightly judgmental? We’re taking kids out of school for a few days this week for a much needed break. The timing happened to work out this way, and not to mention, everyone knows vacations are better when other people are in school. So why do I feel like some people are giving us the raised eyebrow look of judgment?

My kids aren’t sick, which seems to be the only justifiable reason to miss school for some. Of course, this makes sense at a public school where funding is tied to attendance, but it seems that mentality sometimes follows to private schools. Oddly enough, my kids’ teachers are both understanding. However, it’s like the day in September when my kids missed school to attend the Giants’ last regular season home game, when the school secretary asked if they were sick, I quickly said yes, that they both had colds. What? I don’t know why it came out of my mouth. There isn’t a repercussion for missing a day of school, but still, I lied. My mom used to work as a public school secretary, which may be why I know the drill that to miss school, a child must be sick, and I cannot break the feeling of needing to hide the real reason.

For the record, at that Giants game, my daughter had a sign about missing school to attend, and person after person cheered her on or told me I was a good mom by raising my children with the right priorities. Of course, they were all missing work, school or life too that day to cheer on the Giants.

This time, when I tell people we are going to Disneyland, they comment that we are lucky to get two weeks off for Thanksgiving. When I say that we don’t, we’re missing school, I often get a flat, “oh,” in return. I can’t tell if people think my kids will miss out on crucial instruction, if the people are jealous, or if they simply don’t want to hear their kids ask why they don’t get to miss school. My son is in first grade, and isn’t missing much, but my daughter is in fifth, which is a little bit more complicated. Her teacher passed along handouts of what they’ll be covering in class, which means she isn’t missing much either. So why not go?

I used to dream of taking the kids out of school for a semester as we crisscrossed the country, but missing that much time without losing their spots at their school is impossible. Since we can’t do that, smaller trips feel like the compromise. It’s time together, seeing something new, having fun, and gaining real life experiences, guilt-free.

So, save your judgement. We’re going to enjoy some family time at the happiest place on Earth. Some things are more important than a few days of school.

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  1. November 14, 2012
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