Snow Days and Goofing Off

Choosing to play instead of study, obviously!

Choosing to play instead of study, obviously!

We have entered into the time of year when the days are cold and often filled with snow which leaves the homeschool mom wondering how to handle snow days. When the call is made that the public school kids have a snow day you have to decide whether you will allow your children to have one as well, or if you will make them work while the neighborhood kids play outside your door. It is never the purpose of the homeschooling mom to torture their children, but snow days can be just that.

In the past I have done both. There have been times when I have let them take the day off and hang with their friends and there have been times that they had to work. Last year there were several days that the kids were out due to extremely cold temperatures. Well, kids weren’t going out and playing anyway, so there was no reason my kids couldn’t spend the day working.  But on those days when the snow and the sleds are calling, yes, my kids would be out enjoying it with everyone else. However, as homeschool parents we are also more likely to take more field trips, more days off for family related things, so these snow days have to be watched carefully or it makes the days that we want to take off on our own tougher to allow.

This year I am faced with a different predicament. My son is in public school and my daughter is homeschooled. How do I tell my daughter that she has to do work when my son is off? Initially, I decided that if he was off then she would be off and we would follow the same schedule. However, that quickly changed as there were field trips that she was taking while he was in school – which meant that if she also took off all the days that he takes off then when was I going to educate her?

It is never an easy balance between knowing when to say yes and when to say no, and that follows through in every aspect of parenting. This is simply one more example of how difficult it can be when walking that line and trying to make them happy, while having to be their parent instead of their friend.  Any parent will tell you that they make these decisions on a daily basis and it is only in the quiet of the night that the doubts come creeping in as to whether or not today was the day you officially screwed them up.

So what do you do? You try to find a balance. Because she gets more time off than he does, on snow days that the kids are sledding and having a great time, she has to give me some work. Not a full day’s worth of work, but some work; and days that they are off but not necessarily out and about – she can school as if they were all in school. If she chooses to take the day off with her brother, she loses her field trip day for that week and the next, depending on how many snow days he has. So far it seems to be working well, only time will tell if this was the move that put her in therapy at 35 – but I am pretty sure I have done a lot of other things wrong so she’ll have plenty to pick from.

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