I am running out of excuses…

A few times a year the kids have to miss school for swim meets, some are three and four days long, especially the big championship meets.  Up until recently we have been pretty honest but lately it has backfired.

I got lucky this weekend, in so much as two of my kids were extremely ill.  Fevers and vomit stop most people dead in their tracks and the questions are minimal.  I very much would have preferred lying, illness during a swim meet, especially a big one is no fun.

There are times when I have been honest.  There have been times were I have danced around the truth (college visit or out of town obligation).  And I have lied.  For those times were I simply need to spring them early appointment has always worked.  I’m sure to schedule all Doctors appointments after school so I can save those up for swim meets.  The last few times though I feel like I have gotten the evil eye.  It happens 3-4 times a year at most.

Our high school gave a few parents trouble today and said a swim meet was not an excused absence. While their peers were sitting in Spanish or study hall, those kids were getting Junior Nationals cuts.  And failing exams because they weren’t allowed to take them.  They had informed their teachers in advance they would be out and had tried to make the work up before missing school and the teachers said to wait.  As far as I know none of the teachers actually cared, it was the attendance office.

I hate lying – especially when it comes to my kids but I’m starting to find it necessary.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  I know there are people who refuse to take their kids out of school for meets.  Some who lie.  Some tell the truth.  Some schools are supportive and some not.  So what works for you?  What doesn’t?  What is your threshold for telling the truth?

7 thoughts on “I am running out of excuses…

  1. To be honest, I know my child better than anyone else. I receive his grades via email daily, I’m in contact with his teacher at least once or twice a week, and I sit and check all 30 of his math problems with a calculator (yes, I cheat — my math sucks) every single evening.

    He begs to attend a non-traditional school like his sister, however she’s an utter nerd and spends at least 20 hours a week volunteering to work with livestock, and is still an honours student… and he is a typical boy and wouldn’t do well in a non-traditional environment nor homeschool.

    I understand why government schools have such strict attendance policies in place. It’s to ensure fairness and consistency. But, I often think that the people who need the fairness and consistency to be enforced are the ones who try to cheat the system. When it all comes down to it, if you aren’t neglecting your child and you are committed to their education as much as their extracurricular activities, I don’t see a problem with it.

    I know it’s distracting and a pain for teachers to deal with kids coming in and out of class during the day, but if you’re talking about leaving at noon on a Friday, I hardly think a student is going to miss that much whilst in session.

    (Caveat: I think coming in late to school is a bigger pain than early dismissal.)

    At the end of the day, I’d still lie about it and say they have an appointment. My son’s school is not supportive of any non-essential absence due to a whole load of other reasons (low-cost of living area, budget cut backs, instructional time has been affected, etc) so they really stress the need for all students to be in attendance, so I have to just pretend that I agree whilst zipping out of town every now and then.

    • Thanks and I completely agree. And I could not do 5th grade math without a calculator. We were multiplying fractions and I knew the answer sophie has was wrong but it was torture for me to figure out why!

  2. We have been very lucky. My son’s high school principal is very understanding when it comes to swimming commitments. Teachers are typically understanding and willing to work with the students to make up missed work. So I’ve been very upfront about absences for swimming. In my opinion, it is none of the office workers’ business! (But just to be on the safe side, you may want to make them a batch of fudge for Christmas just to get on their good side.)

    Hope your girls are feeling better soon. Jackson had flu and bronchitis ten days leading up to the state high school championship. He pulled out best times and two second place finishes but it did take its toll.

  3. That is too bad that the high school administration doesn’t understand swimming. I am not sure my son’s high school does either but they do get it that athletes have to travel. He missed a whole week last spring for Y Nationals and we as parents were really worried about it but his school was surprisingly okay with it. Can you bypass the attendance office and complain to the principal? Explain that these championship meets are important for kids who want to compete in college? Hope your girls are feeling better.

  4. So far I have gone with honestly is the best policy and hasn’t bit me in the ass yet. But we are still in MS – things might get tougher in HS. I will say though, missing school for swim meets (or anything) is super stressful to these kids (especially swimmers who maybe tend to be more anal retentive). It is not fun to feel to like you’re behind and make up all the work…and still make it to practice when you have to make up tests and science labs afterschool….Ugh.

  5. That’s absolutely absurd. Had it been the men’s basketball program going to a big tourney game upstate or the football team needing to get on the road for a night football game, I GUARANTEE you they get a pass…..

  6. So far for my kids, it totally depends on the teacher. My daughter (in 7th grade) has a teacher right now who was a competitive skater, so she gets it! I get my kids out of school 10 minutes early every day (school is out at 3:37 and swimming starts at 4:00) and the teachers don’t seem to mind. They rarely miss school for anything other than swimming – they are rarely sick and we don’t go away that much. I took Grace out of piano because I felt guilty about her not having time to practice and having to miss lessons for swimming. It’s an intense sport and it’s kinda all or none at a certain level, which means sacrificing other activities and sometimes missing school. I don’t know kids who have a harder general work ethic though. These are some tough a** kids!

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