Next Monday in downtown Sacramento, the California State Quarter will be released into circulation. The Director of the US Mint is scheduled to be on hand--she attends all the releases--and the Governor and/or his wife are scheduled to appear. Being an avid coin collector, I'm taking the day off school to participate in this civic celebration.
Should I take my 3rd grade son with me?
I emailed his teacher and asked if he'd miss math or English if I picked him up at 11 am. It's not that other subjects are unimportant, but these two are foundational; the other academic subjects depend on them. Anyway, I told her what the event was and asked for her input. And boy did I get it.
He'd miss math. He hasn't done well on his last two math assessments--let's just say he hasn't done well at all, judging by her comments. My reply was short and sweet, that he'd stay in school that day.
From some people I know there will be howls. There's more to education than just school! What a great opportunity he's missing, once in a lifetime! He'd learn so much more at an event like this than he would in a couple hours of being in a classroom!
All those thoughts swirled in my head after I sent my reply. Perhaps I'd made the wrong decision. I certainly made one that I honestly didn't want to make. But part of my responsibility as a parent is to set an example about the importance of education, and taking him out of school under these circumstances would not be sending the message I want my son to learn. There are always events that, individually, could be a justification for removing a student from school; there are social, cultural, family, and community events, any one of which might be a valuable learning experience. However, an aggregate of time spent in a classroom with a qualified teacher has a value all its own. Barring illness, he needs to be in class right now.
I'd like for him to be there with me on Monday, but more than that, I'd like for him to know his multiplication tables.
I'll give him a new California quarter when I get home.