by Barbara Lombard – wife, mother to 2, co-owner of Earth Babies , occasional doula
In deciding when they get to stay home I think each parent differs. I am relatively relaxed about it in that I do let them miss an occasional day of school. When would I let them skip? The obvious is if they feel ill, less obvious would be when something fun or interesting is happening or on those days when they really, really don’t want to go (which is not often) – they are after all only in preschool at this stage and I see no reason to already make school going a forced chore rather than a fun choice. I will admit that some days I insist they go to school as I know once they are there they have fun. It is just the drop and release that is an issue (I hate days like that). We will re-evaluate this approach when formal schooling starts but I think I will still be occasionally flexible on this. I have never regarded a perfect attendance record as being the ultimate. I see little value in it as I don’t think it shapes the child as a more responsible individual and children can also learn valuable lessons out of the school setting.
I am a stay at home mom so that I can be there for them when they need me, and they come home every afternoon. I would however never (unless I had no other option) home school. The idea gets me all panicky. My children and I need a little time apart in order to keep on loving each other haha. I need the space to get my things done in the mornings and they need time with friends, activity, running, playing, imagination games things that I as an adult can’t (and yes no longer want to) provide.
There is always discussion about when to keep a child home when they are sick, what qualifies as being sick etc. For me if they appear sick, are in pain, their normal nature is affected, they are running a temperature I keep them home for as long as I feel is required. If they have a runny nose or an irritating cough I don’t as both of these could last weeks on end.
This week past I had 2 extra children, they are homeschooled, so when we originally organized for them to stay with me while their mom is away, I thought I will just keep my own 2 home to play with them (both sets and 2.5 and 5 years).
When the time came though I decided to rather only let mine stay home occasionally. They get on better when they have some time apart, I need to maintain sanity. It is the week before my son’s school concert for which they are practicing and my daughter’s little school going routine, which is usually very looked forward to, can at times get upset, and then trying to get her to go to school is like pulling teeth without aneasthetic. She loves it once she is there but if she has missed 2 or 3 successive days when sick, the drop and release can be difficult – a full week away from school and she might think she has graduated and never has to return.
The first day they arrived it was early before school started so my kids stayed home – worked well they played nicely had fun and no issues all day long (Mom 1 / Kids).
Day 2 mine went to school and afterwards they all played, lovely (Mom 2 / Kids).
Day 3 Mine stayed home to play … bad decision I can’t take back, they were horrors together lol – the bigger ones fought all day about the most trifling things, and the smaller ones caused chaos wherever they could – they threw all the washing (piles) waiting for ironing on the floor, threw everything out of cupboards in the rooms, unpacked the product shelves in my work area (Earth Babies), painted themselves blue – or at least mine did (Mom clinging on to her rocker and back to 0 / Kids counter broke trying to keep track).
Day 4 as you guessed they went to school – it was a good day (Mom 1 / Kids).
Week end Day 5&6 went relatively well some fighting but not bad. (Mom 2 / Kids 2)
Day 7 mine are going to school, then get to play together for the afternoon before their friends go home as their mom gets back today.
In summary for me personally there is a balance, it is sometimes about what is best for them and sometimes about what is best for me.