Taking your kids out of school for non-health related reasons

I always tell my kids that their job is school. It is their job to learn and do their best at the lessons taught. Because I believe school is important, we try not to have them miss school.

I am a firm believer that if they aren’t really sick, then they need to be at school. If they aren’t running a fever (over 100) or throwing up, they are going to school. The one time I relented to this rule, I regretted it.

Of course, there are also doctor or dentist appointments to consider. We try to make those after school but that isn’t always possible, so I try to make them later in the school day, so they don’t miss too much. (School may start at 7:30 am but they have to be in class at 9:30 am to be counted for the day. Even if they come in later than that, they are still marked as absent.)

I know quite a few parents who have no qualms about taking their kids out of school for any reason – vacation, mental health day or whatever. Yes, places like Disney World are less busy during the school year, but I would feel too guilty taking my kids out for a week. There is no amount of makeup work that can replace actually being there.

Jase and Lexie on the tall slide.

Jase and Lexie on the tall slide at the rodeo.

Now, I must admit that I have taken the kids out for some not medical reasons. The last time was just two and a half weeks ago. Every year, San Antonio has a Stock Show & Rodeo in February.  This is a two-week event featuring not just a rodeo and agricultural exhibits but major singers nightly and a carnival.

We don’t typically go to the rodeo though it is very popular (read crowded). I took the kids when Jase was 6 and Lexie was 3 for what they call Dollar Days. Admission, all carnival rides and some foods only cost $1 on these days. Two years later, I took them again and then again this year.

The best way to beat those crowds on these discount days is to go early so I have taken the kids out of school around 11 am (or during the first year just waited until Jase was out of his pre-K class).

Lexie watching baby chicks hatch.

Lexie watching baby chicks hatch.

It isn’t all riding rides. We do some of the other kid activities and check out the petting zoo. I hope that some of it is at least educational for them. It at least lets them see another side of life if nothing else.

This is only one afternoon every other year, so I don’t feel too bad about taking them out. Last year, they also missed a day in the spring. My husband had a conference at South Padre Island, so we went up the weekend before. Since it is a 5-hour drive, we decided the kids and I would just drive back on Monday. But I knew the kids didn’t have any tests or major activities happening that day, so I felt fine with our decision.

And Jase missed the last day of school the first three years of elementary school. But then again, all the teaching is over by then, and we were going on vacation, so I didn’t feel bad at all about this.

As the kids advance in school, I actually expect it to be harder to feel okay with taking them out of school for a day here or there. Yes, there are some things like doctor’s appointments but most of their time is best spent in school learning.

My Top 10 parenting blog posts from 2014

As this year comes to a close, I wanted to take this time to highlight some of my parenting posts from this past year (in no particular order). If you missed out on these and want to read more, simply click the “more” link to see the complete post.

listening1.) Eight tips to end the “my kids never listen to me” dilemma – You’ve repeated your request a thousand times – or at least if feel like that. But there sits your child ignoring what you just told them to do. The funny thing is that even though we know our kids may tune us out and choose to focus on their TV program we keep doing the same thing. Sometimes it feels the only way to get the kids to listen is to raise my voice. Then I feel guilty about yelling at them. (more)

2.) If you have children, you need a will (and life insurance) – Most people don’t like to think about death or dying – especially when it is their own life they are considering. And this fear of thinking about it causes many to ignore the subject all together, falsely believing that it won’t happen to them. Or perhaps they have decided that they don’t care what happens after they die. I mean they are already gone, right? (more)

3.) The thing I hate most about party planning – the RSVP (part of 3 part series on parties) – Throwing a party for your child can be a lot of work. I don’t mind the actual party or even the planning of my kids’ parties. In fact, I love designing their invitations. What I hate is waiting for people to RSVP. (more)

4.) Adding a Lego-twist to an army-themed birthday party – After Jase’s birthday party in 2013, I decided that we were done with throwing a party and inviting the whole class to some sort of party place. As Jase gets older, I want to scale back his parties. So we started talking about doing one at home or maybe something with just a few friends at another location. (more)

5.) My kids’ lack of care with their possessions – Just an instant before it hit the water, I realized the doll my daughter tossed into the bathtub was a singing (electronic voice box) doll. Even though my son fished it out quickly, I feared the damage had been done. (more)

CIMG28986.) Planning a trip to Disney World – Part 3 – Our Disney World vacation is getting so close – just a few weeks away in fact. There are so many things I could cover, but I think today I will talk about an ever-changing development as well as one of their annual events. (more)

7.) One down, three ups – “You’re stupid.” “You’re so ugly.” “Poopyhead.”  “You big baby.” Yep, these are all things out of the mouths of children – specifically those would be my children earlier this summer. Some people may brush this off as kids just being kids. Often times kids simply repeat things they hear on TV or from other kids without thinking that these things can hurt others. But they can and they do. (more)

8.) Scheduling Time for Family Dinners – My kids are lucky enough to live within close proximity to both set of grandparents. My parents moved to a city 20 minutes away before my son was born, and my in-laws moved to a small town about 20 minutes north of here about 2 ½ years ago. (more)

9.) Avoiding the Summer Slide – school work in the summer – “Ahh, mom, do we have to?” This is the typical response I receive from my kids when I announce we are going to do school work today – during school vacation. Yes, this summer I am making them review school work and read books so all the knowledge they learned last school year stays “fresh” in their minds. (more)

10.) Why the Otterbox Commuter is so worth it  – When I got my iPhone 4 back in December of 2011, one of the first things I did was look for a cover that would protect the phone if I (or more likely, one of my kids) dropped it. I had heard Otterbox phone cases were very popular and after reading reviews decided I needed one. (more)

So here is to hoping everyone has a wonderful 2015 and I hope you will join me in the new year for more parenting posts.

V is for Vacation #AtoZchallenge

VToday on the A to Z Challenge we are up to V. Since summertime is nearly upon us, I thought vacations would be an excellent topic.

We are planning a trip to Disney World in Florida this June. As anyone who has planned a vacation to Disney World knows, this is not a cheap endeavor, especially if you plan to stay on Disney’s property as we are. Last year, we chose to stay closer to home. We went to Corpus Christi for just a few days and actually ended up tying the trip into a conference my husband was attending.

Actually, that is typically how we vacation. Or I should say I and the kids vacation. We tag along every summer to South Padre Island for a three-day conference that my husband attends. We spend our time at the beach while he is at the meeting. But my husband doesn’t get much of a vacation that way.

Here are the kids and I at Disney World in 2012. My husband didn't join us because he started his own law firm 6 weeks before the trip. My mom joined us instead.

Here are the kids and I at Disney World in 2012. My husband didn’t join us because he started his own law firm 6 weeks before the trip. My mom joined us instead.

So this year’s trip to Disney World will be his first real vacation in quite a while. See when you have your own business as he has, it is harder to take off time from work. He is the sole attorney in his practice so if he isn’t billing clients, no money is coming in.

But even for those who do get paid vacation time (and roughly ¼ of Americans don’t get a paid vacation), taking off time is not always easy to do. According to an Expedia survey, the average American employee has two vacation days left over at the end of the year.

Reasons for not taking their full vacation time included not having the money to take a trip to not wanting to be away from work because they think it will affect raises or promotions or simply there is too much work to be done that they can’t be gone.

This last excuse is why many years my husband didn’t take his vacation days. When he worked for a law firm, there were always cases to be worked on, and he rarely took a day off. Those that he did take were often used for medical reasons.

So now that he is his own boss, I hope to get him to take a day here or there as well as our eight-day trip to Disney World because after all, everyone needs a break from work now and again.