My mom took my sister and me out of school for one week of every school year for a family vacation (our family being the three of us.) My mom mapped out the best way to get to where we were going, found the best deals at hotels to stop at along the way and planned multiple activities for us to do once we were there. One year we went to San Francisco and spent open to close at the Exploratorium. Another year we went to Seattle and stood under the Space Needle and another year we went to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. One of my favorite trips was when we went to the Pacific Northwest and spent entire days at the beach collecting sand dollars.
I learned more on those vacations about nature, science, the weather and topography than I ever learned in school. By the time I was done with fifth grade I knew how to find the best hotel room, cook over a campfire and read a map better than most grownups. So when it came to taking Addie out of school for a week so we could go to Florida? I didn’t think twice about it.
Perhaps if she were struggling I would feel differently, but she is doing so well that the opportunity to spend the week with her family in a place we’ve never been and that is so much different than where is more valuable in the long run. When Cody was in law school we spent so much time apart and this is the first time we’ve really been able to be together and just enjoy ourselves. Our tiny one bedroom hotel room is forcing us to be with each other in the best way possible.
Addie has gone to bed every night happily exhausted from swimming, seashell hunting, sandcastle building and playing with her baby sister. She has learned about high tide, low tide and rip tides. We have found every shape of shell and even found one with someone still living inside it. She’s learned about wind and navigation, rain and humidity. She even had a little lesson on Mardi Gras today. She’s had the beaches and the pool to herself, a luxury that would be impossible during spring or summer break.
School is important, but so is getting out, experiencing life and hanging out with your family.