All of my kids, but especially my littles, ask this question. Often. And while the answer is usually “Yes”, there are a few reasons in our house that week days turn out not to be school days.
One reason we take a day off is for birthdays! The day belongs to the Birthday Girl/Boy, and we take the time to follow their lead rather than follow the schedule. All of my kids are Fall babies, so that means a lot of days off between September and December, but I find we don’t really end up missing very many more fall days than our public schooled friends. Which brings me to our next reason…
Public School Holidays! While we make no effort to match the public school calendar exactly, we also don’t like to miss the occasional chance to spend daylight hours with our public schooled friends. When the neighbors are out of school for conferences or teacher training, my kids are likely to be outside playing right alongside them!
We also take off school for American federal holidays. These are extra special days for us. Not only is Daddy usually home, but since we live overseas, the day is likely not a local holiday! This allows us to take in the local sights on less crowded weekdays rather than the crazy-busy weekends. We especially love eating brunch at the local chocolate factory on American holidays. Yes, you read that right. Chocolate. Factory. We live 5 minutes away from fresh-off-the-production-lines chocolate-filled crepes and hot chocolate made with steamed milk and a melting block of chocolate. There are no Oompa-loompas, but the smell in the air makes every visit feel pretty magical.
We do not usually take off from school for illnesses that would keep a child home from public school (fevers, respiratory infections, colds, and such), since plenty of our school day can be done snuggling and resting on the couch anyway, the school day absolutely disappears if the Teacher is sick. If I am unable to read out loud, I can’t teach. Following a month long respiratory illness this spring (never officially confirmed to be Covid 19 but I feel strongly that it was), I have made arrangements with a few friends who can step in and be my Substitute if it looks like I will be out for a while or if I just want to take a day off by myself! I highly recommend working this out with a friend as often as you can manage it!
We will also gladly cancel school when travel opportunities arise. These have been few and far between this year, but other years we have taken advantage of our own scheduling to travel in the off-season.
And finally, the best reason to take a day off from school is to avoid burn-out. When you feel you or your children are just going through the motions and you can’t remember the last day school went smoothly or was joyful, it is time to take a break. I have many days when a certain subject or two feel like they drag on forever, but when the whole day becomes a drag, I know we need a change in the routine or things will only get worse. I want my kids to love learning and to love me. A day off is sometimes just what we need to get both of those priorities back in line!
What is your favorite way to spend non-school days? Do you have other reasons you take the day off? I’d love to hear from you!