Posted: Apr 17, 2014 7:00 AM
Is skipping school bad? This mom doesn't think so. Find out why a working mom of two bends the rules when it comes to school attendance.
Photo credit: monkeybusinessimages/ iStock/360/ Getty Images

My kids will never have perfect attendance. For one, they're experts at passing back and forth every virus known to man. But more specifically, I let them skip school. Here's why.

My kids love school

When summer break rolls around, my kids can't wait to start camps. They love going to school. This might not be the case when they're older, but for now I enjoy a general lack of foot-dragging and fake illnesses. Because of that, I feel more confident allowing them to skip once in a while. It isn't fostering a pattern or encouraging them to whine or complain to miss school. In fact, I have to schedule missed school days carefully around things my boys are excited about.

My kids are little

When middle school rolls around, my sons are going to be loaded up with homework. One or two missed days of school could result in hours of make-up work. Their grades will start to feel important. They'll have extracurricular responsibilities. For now, while they're little, I don't mind pulling them out of school. It isn't going to make an impact on their elementary and preschool careers.

I don't go over the top

My older son attends a magnet school with a strict attendance policy. While we do skip school occasionally, I don't get out of control about it. I absolutely recognize that kids are often preparing for group projects, group performances and frustrating standardized tests. I don't want to inconvenience teachers or other students, and I understand why attendance policies are in place.

School is important, but family bonding is just as important at this age — and every age.

These years are precious

The only thing I can recall in detail from third grade was being picked up by my parents around 9 a.m. to skip school and drive to the Florida State Fair. I felt like I was being invited on a trip to the moon. I want to make memories like this with my kids, and sometimes that means doing fun things on weekdays when our local theme parks and destinations aren't so crowded they're not worth visiting. School is important, but family bonding is just as important at this age — and every age.

Kids are always learning

Part of growing up is learning from experiences and experiencing new things on the fly. That might mean a day at the beach, a trip to a science center or even a day at home cuddling and watching documentaries. (The latter is usually due to illness.) As a single mom, I don't have the freedom of unlimited weekend time. For now, I have no qualms pulling my kids out of school to experience life outside of the structure of rigid education.

I want my kids to own their time

They have to be truthful with their teachers that they were having fun and not out sick.

Skipping school, even at a young age, does have some consequences. Events are missed, a little bit of homework adds up. When I let my kids skip for family activities, I make sure they understand the give and take involved. They have to make up work. They have to be truthful with their teachers that they were having fun and not out sick. It's doubtful that I'll pull my kids out of school often when they get older, but if I do for any reason, I want us to make that decision together, with responsibilities and consequences in mind.

More on big kids

5 Reasons you needn't worry about gay boy scout leaders
How to recognize a gifted child
Rethinking homework