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Rule #6:
Make Certain That
You Take Your Kids
Out of School A Lot

All that talk about not doing our childrenís homework was pretty deep, wasnít it? Letís lighten things up a bit. Want to show your kids that school is really no big deal?

All you have to do is take them out of school at every opportunity: doctorís appointment, dentist appointment, hair cuts, long weekend, relatives in from SeattleÖ

Hereís my usual disclaimer: it is fine if your kids have to miss school once in awhile.

If they are sick, they are sick. Please keep them and their sweet, little contagious germs at home! Furthermore, if you can only get a dentist appointment at 11 am Thursday morning, then thatís when they have to see the dentist. Just try your best not to schedule your childís appointments during school time. Ask for an appointment after school or first thing in the morning. Yes, your child will get to school late, but itís okay if it happens ONCE IN AWHILE and for a good reason. You want to avoid taking them out in the middle of the day, especially if you have the kind of child (typical, normal) that will be so excited about leaving that they donít accomplish much all day. (You know, the way you feel when the boss is leaving early.)

Last week, I showed up to my sonís school to take him to a doctorís appointment. His doctor had been out of town for over a week, and when I called the office, I was told to bring my son that morning- or wait more than two weeks to see the doctor. Please note, I did NOT call his teacher to tell her that I would be there in 45 minutes. There is no point in making her stop in the middle of a lesson to answer the phone and say, ďThanks for telling me,Ē and then interrupt again a while later. I also did not want my son looking at the door every 30 seconds waiting for His mom! To come! As it turned out, I got there at recess, so all I interrupted was a tetherball game.

Kids miss school sometimes. Itís when it happens regularly that we have two big problems.

We already discussed how missed instructional minutes add up when students are only a few minutes late to school. How about missing an entire day of school? A few times a month? Do the math- thatís a lot of missed learning.

You donít want your kids to miss any school, but especially on Mondays when new concepts and stories are introduced. The other day kids need to be in school is Friday. Many teachers test in the morning and use the rest of the day for fun activities like art, science, music, dance, class parties, etc.

The second reason is that school is a Super-Important Big Deal! Learning is what they do when they arenít sleeping and enjoying their kid time. At this point in their lives, school is their job. Your job is to make certain that they get enough sleep and proper nutrition so that they can do their best work. Then get them to school/ work on time so they donít miss one second of learning, and keep them there unless there is a really, really good reason to take them out.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I have a "friend" that goes out of town to visit her family a lot. Once or twice a month, usually on a Friday, she picks her daughter up early and they hit the road. My friend wants to get out of town and miss Friday rush-hour traffic. I hate traffic as much as the next person, but my question is: what is her daughter missing so mom can miss traffic? For the last five years, this poor child has missed assemblies, class parties, oral reports, tests, science lessons- the list goes on and on.

It is no surprise that she has horrible grades. In fact, a number of her teachers have suggested retention, but my friend flatly refuses. She says that her daughter is just a little bit behind; sheíll catch up. She also loves to go on and on about how much she values education. She might as well save her breath.

Her child knows exactly how her mom feels.


Return to advice for parents.

Go on to Rule #7.