The children have been out of school for a record two-weeks straight and now after three days back, we have yet another day home! My own children are thrilled. In fact, they were not looking forward to going back to school. They have too much fun when they’re not at school. Whether they were playing with friends, sledding, snowman building, making treats, or having sleep overs, they were busy. We even squeezed in reading, lunches out, a trip to the art museum and bookstore, a community service project, and finally birthday party. They were not bored.
Going back to one of my schools this week was a reminder to how very important school is to some. I discovered the first couple years of working at low-income schools that breaks from school are not always good things. They miss seeing their friends, feeling safe, and having meals. In fact, I have stopped asking students if they ‘had a good break’. Instead, I ask, “Were you glad to come back to school?”. Yes, they usually are.
Yesterday, the majority of sweet students I talked to did not play in the snow at all. Many simply said they don’t like being out in the snow. My kids and I are over-the-moon to run through the snow! But, while my children were lucky to get snow boots for Christmas and kind neighbors to give them hand-me-down ski bibs, they were perfectly comfortable outside. Somehow, playing in jeans and tennis shoes doesn’t feel the same. So, that may be one reason.
Sadly, another reason may be that they were sucked into their video games and got to play as long as they wanted. I had many boys excitedly tell me about beating a game or getting to some next level. It’s all basically a foreign language to me. To them, however, it was the highlight of their break. How sad.
And while my son and daughter did get some game-time, it was limited (and more limited than they’d like!). Luckily, I was home with them supervising them. I place limits on what they do and provide some fun and educational opportunities. Fortunately, we have the means to go places when the roads allow. And, we live in a safe neighborhood where the children can be outside by themselves.
This is not the reality for all. And, I just feel sad that their childhood does not include snowman building. In fact, I had two fifth grade friends tell me yesterday in response to our counseling questions, they were “disappointed when:____” their parents promised to play in the snow and build a snowman with them and they never did. Two weeks off of school and their parents never went outside to play with them. Now, think of how lucky your kids if you are taking the time to read this. Thank you for being involved in your children’s lives.
As we experience another day home, we are getting ready to go out and run errands before the roads may get slick. I cooked them breakfast. I will make them read for 30 minutes. They will do 2 chores. They can play with kind neighbors. I will make them brush their teeth. For a lot of kids, this is basic. For other children I know well, they will be on their own today. I am thinking about those kiddos this morning and betting they wish they could be at school.