The recent discussion about how we should make up ‘lost’ school days due to winter storms, is a colossal waste of time and completely backward thinking. As a parent of three terrific kids, I welcome each and every storm day as an opportunity for our whole family to spend uninterrupted time together – ‘found’ family days – not ‘lost’ school days.
As a child, some of most favorite memories came from playing board games by candlelight, while a wild winter storm raged outside (it is probably the reason, to this day, I find the sounds of stormy weather soothing rather than disconcerting).
In today’s over-scheduled, competitive, high-tech world, these storm days are a welcome break, and spending time with your kids without distraction, is almost novel. Am I worried how all this time off will affect their test scores? In a word – no.
Mainstream education, generally speaking, is lecture-based, using standardized curricula and exams that focus on getting ‘acceptable’ grades and scores. Rote memorization is emphasized over creativity and critical thinking and the system rarely accounts for varying learning styles or the needs/desires of the individual. The goal is to score well on tests, not learn for the sake of curiosity and delight.
Human beings are born curious, with a natural love for learning. Perhaps we can use these ‘lost’ days to celebrate children’s individuality, creativity and varying interests. Instead of ‘storm chips’ have on hand, a box filled with ‘storm activities’ and include ideas from all family members. Art and crafts supplies, baking items, board games and cards, photo albums and books, costumes for dress up, music for dancing – the sky is the limit!
And when the weather is fit, bundle everyone up for a little time in the fresh air, sliding, crawling, building, creating, laughing and having fun (it is great exercise for the whole family).
At the end of the day, you will notice some rosy cheeks, bright eyes and plenty of smiles. You might just find your own inner child emerging too!
Family game night is still one of my most cherished childhood memories.