Wednesday, January 14, 2009
It's not actually playing hooky
When I was in high school, playing hooky looked like this:
Me to best friend T. (who was, oddly enough, both a boy and my boyfriend's best friend ... go figure) while driving to school: The thought of sitting in Physics is making me feel sick.
T.: Yeah, me too. I think we're watching a movie again anyhow.
T.: So it would basically be, like, wasting time to be there.
T.: Did you know that the Mint Museum has a new exhibit?
Me: No, what is it?
And just like that, with no real decision made, the nose of my car magically pointed itself in the direction of whatever museum or cultural opportunity presented itself. I realize that the vast majority of high school students do not spend their truant hours enriching themselves in zoos, museums, galleries and libraries. But seriously, T. and I did. We took in plays, sampled cuisine from hole in the wall ethnic restaurants, studied art from more genres than I can count and became intimate with the underutilized research section of a local university library. With frightening regularity, we shunned the classroom and declared mental health field trips that, in the end, have made me a far more interesting and educated person. Or so I like to think.
Not that I'm recommending anyone else follow in our shoes. First of all, you'll probably find yourself running over unexcused absences. In a delightful twist of fate, my school had decided to suspend those formalities for my junior and senior year in favor of letting the grades--not attendance--speak for themselves. You'll be stunned to learn that the bulk of the students failed to show up for those two years and found themselves repeating grades. I, however, managed to keep up with my work AND miss just enough school to keep me well-rounded. (Truly, I would have been a wonderful candidate for unschooling.) Since too many of my fellow classmates couldn't do the same, the 10 absence rule was reinstated the fall after I graduated. It was a lovely experiment that I thank the Lord for every time I think back over my teen years. See? God can even use the fickle winds of public education to bless us!
And second of all, no ... smoking pot on your boyfriend's couch while his parents are at work isn't a valid alternative to sitting in a math class, no matter how boring the math class happens to be. Get thee to a classroom, slacker, post haste!
But anyhow, this post isn't about me and my personal days of reveling in freedom from the confines of forced education. It's about the fact that I don't think there will be too much in the way of formal schooling going on here for the rest of the week, and why I'm o.k. with that.
My house is currently on the market. In typical fashion, Mr. Blandings and I are currently finishing all of those DIY projects that we never quite got around to: repainting the downstairs bathroom, painting the master bathroom, sorting through the amassed school books and whatnot, fixing the drawer fronts of two kitchen cabinets, etc., etc., etc. The reason we never got around to doing these very worthwhile things is (drum roll please!) we didn't have the time. Well, guess what? We don't have the time now, either. But the idea of someone calling and asking to see our house--and maybe, maybe even buy it--is enough to help you carve a little slice of motivation out of your day, if you know what I mean.
Which means that today, instead of presenting the great Botany lesson I had planned, I am hanging wallpaper.
And I don't feel the least bit guilty about it.
Five years ago, the thought of setting aside a short season of school to get through a rough patch, get something done or just revel in a snow day felt decadent and frankly, wrong. I had a hard time giving myself permission to let things slide. I was sure that I was setting a rotten example or, worse yet, doing my kids a disservice by letting them fall behind their peers.
Today, I see a whole lot of value in these days of pulling together as a family to get a project done. Jo may not be reading about China, but she told me today that she was using some of Oli's speech therapist's tricks with him and was delighted to find that they worked. Atticus may not be doing math, but he picked up Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates. Logan may not be practicing his handwriting, but he was my level pro this morning, and was an ace at getting a repeating wallpaper pattern just right.
Taking a page out of my own education, I'm enjoying the side trip that this move is giving us. Taking in the scenery. Letting life be the teacher, and throwing in what actual lessons I can when I can. We'll pick the books back up soon enough. A little hooky is good for the soul.