Skipping School

I would make a horrible school parent.

My boys are homeschooled during the school year, but this summer, my oldest three are all taking summer school. It seems a bit funny to set alarm clocks and pack backpacks in the summer — especially when you don’t all year — but hey, I’m a homeschooler. We do things a little bit differently.

Boy #1 wanted to take summer school. He enjoyed Chess and Harry Potter last year, and looked forward to revisiting both. Boy #2 has never taken summer school (or attended “regular” school, beyond one year of preschool), preferring instead to “play outside with friends” in the summer. One problem — all the friends are at summer school. The program is so popular that there are literally no kids in the neighborhood on summer mornings.

Plus, Boy #2 is a slow-to-warm-up kind of kid. I *knew* there were classes he’d enjoy (isn’t Fun & Games just “playing outside with friends?”) — plus I was having babysitter issues and needed a safe place for him to be a couple hours a week while I worked. So I signed him up. While I was there, I noticed that Boy #3, age 6, was eligible as well. I signed him up too.

Despite fighting me the first day, the boys have, all in all, been enjoying summer school. They like seeing their friends each day and push me to get out of the house by 7:35 am so they can arrive before the bell. (“Otherwise all the good computers will be gone, Mom!”)


Their enthusiasm is not all encompassing. Summer school is a Monday thru Friday venture, meaning that it includes Wednesdays as well. Wednesdays are Green Market days, and Boy #1 has been selling at the Green Market since he was six. After his mentor died, he was more determined than ever to sell at the Green Market. I let him go. I know my son, and I could tell that selling at the Green Market was an important part of his grieving process. Plus, what’s more educational than selling produce to the public? You’ve got science, math, business, public relations and more, all right there.

That was three weeks — and three Wednesdays — ago. He’s missed each and every Wednesday (plus a Thursday and Friday, for 4-H camp), and I don’t have a problem with that. I know he’s doing what he needs to do.

So this morning, when Boy #2 announced in no uncertain terms that he was NOT going to summer school, I decided to let him stay. Something told me that somehow, some way, staying home was more important for him today.

It turns out that he’s been feeling overwhelmed by his brothers. With three brothers constantly home, including an older brother who likes to get his own way and two younger brothers who constantly push his buttons, he’s been feeling very little peace. What he really wanted (and needed) was some alone time with Mom.

I called and told the school he wouldn’t be attending today. We went for a bike ride. We played Qwirkle. And he played for hours on the computer, uninterrupted.

Today, that was more important than school.

Have you ever let your son skip something for something you deemed more important? Tell me about it.

The Building Boys Bulletin

The Building Boys Bulletin Newsletter gives you the facts, encouragement, and inspiration you need to help boys thrive. Written by Jennifer L.W. Fink, mom of four sons and author of Building Boys: Raising Great Guys in a World That Misunderstands Males, Building Boys Bulletin includes:

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“I learned a lot about helping boys thrive over the past 20+ years — most of it the hard way! I’m eager to share what I’ve learned to make your path a little easier.”   – Jennifer

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5 Responses

  1. I love it! I just stumbled across you on Twitter! I am a homeschooling mom of 4 (only my oldest is a boy), ages 11, 8, 4 and 2 (almost the same as yours!). We did public school for a year, and it took everything I had to get them there. Then, I realized I wasn’t happy with what they were learning, so all those efforts were for nothing! 🙂 We love homeschooling! My two blogs are at and
    Take care!

  2. As a teacher I find it really frustrating when kids skip school for a day or two here or there. When teaching 14-17 year olds it only take 3 – 5 missing from a class of 25 and then the others don’t see the point, start skipping themselves and it interrupts the sequence of teaching.
    However, unquestionably your son learnt more from his day at home! I regularly question why we teach abstract facts and concepts that have no application in the real world.

  3. Glad you found us, Anna. Welcome!

    Certified Dad — You bring up an interesting point. I can definitely see how kids skipping could be disruptive to getting anything done — kind of like when one my kids gets to do something and all the others whine, “Why don’t *I* get to???” 🙂

  4. I am so glad you let him stay home and spent time together. I don’t know why, but it just makes me cry a little. He probably wouldn’t have remembered that day at school, but I know he will remember the special alone time with mom (and uninterrupted computer time!).

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