The Mother of Five and I have made a decision to pull the boys out of school for a week. This is not something we do on a regular basis, but given the circumstances (which I will cover shortly), this is a choice I can easily justify, and am more than comfortable having made.
I am curious to find out if you think we made the right decision, and if you would have made the same decision.
First off, I do understand and acknowledge the importance of a good education. Remember, we go out of our way to send our kids to a private school at great sacrifice to our family budget. We do without a lot of "stuff" in order to ensure that they receive what we feel is the best possible education. It's not easy, not by a long shot - but it is THAT important to us!
Regardless how wonderful I feel about our kid's school(s) - "education" is not something that the school district has a corner on the market with. The school district's formal education has it's place - but it is also the responsibility of parents to educate their children above and beyond what the school district can and does provide. Sure, there are the core elements... Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic - along with a few others like music, foreign language, and history. Then, beyond those traditional "lessons", let's not underestimate the social aspects of life our kids learn while at school... Things like pecking order, dealing with confrontation, dealing with adversarial peers, how to get along within a (diverse) group of people. It's all a sort of plethora of social problem solving skills that will help guide them throughout their life.
While these are all good lessons - and important for the kids to learn, there are other lessons, lessons not taught in schools, that are both important and in many cases necessary to get through life. Things like how to maintain a vehicle - how to maintain a home - basic plumbing - basic electrical - basic woodworking - basic lawn maintenance - gardening - lessons like these that are not taught by the schools.
Remember, my first job (and it was a job I stuck with for seven years) was in a neighborhood hardware store. The things I learned from working in that store were some of the most important lessons I have learned, and are things I still use in my day to day life - even now, twenty-five years later...
Uncle "B's" house is in desperate need of a roof. He has interior damage to his home as a result of significant leaking from his roof that occurred over the winter months. My Father-in-Law is a former "house flipper" and has a lot of experience roofing houses. By taking on the job himself, Uncle "B" will be able to add some sweat equity to his home while saving some serious money at the same time! Unfortunately, this particular roofing job is significant in that it will require removal of three layers of old roofing material. (i.e. A lot of manual labor)
Uncle "B's" ability to schedule vacation time is limited by the seniority he has within his workplace. This dictated when he was able to take his vacation (vacation time that will be used to roof the house). The roofing job is scheduled to begin on Monday. In desperate need of help with the job, my Father-in-Law is taking a week away to help Uncle "B". Having helped my Father-in-Law roof in the past, I would have joined them, but I was unable to schedule time off of work. #1 of 5 is just settling into a new job and has a lot going on within his personal life right now - so a week away is not a viable option for him.
Instead, The Mother of Five and I asked #2 and #3 of 5 (13 and almost 15 years old) if they were interested in helping out. Hearing that we would consider letting them get a week off of school they were "all in". We officially offered them up as "cheap child labor".
No, the help they are going to provide will not equal what another adult could - but they will certainly be able to provide some help - all while they learn the basics of roofing a house. Who knows, some day what they learn this week may save them thousands of dollars on a future roof repair job of their own!
And of course... Let's not forget the other lesson that they are learning. Helping a family member in need.
Now, one last factor that aided our decision to pull the boys out of school for the week to help. It is a short week (Monday is Memorial Day) that is made even shorter by the school's annual end of the year Track and Field day (which the boys were not disappointed to hear that they may miss out on). Out of the five day school week, our boys are only missing three days of "school". Since this is also the second to the last week of school (and the last week is also a shortened week) - I question how much "learning" would be going on anyway!
I truly believe that the lessons they will learn over the five days spent helping Uncle "B" and Grandpa re-roof the house will far outweigh whatever the school would be teaching them in the three actual school days that they are missing.
I am curious how you feel.
- Do you think we made the right decision?
- Would you make the same decision?
- Why or why not?
Leave me a comment!