Spring fever brings out the rebel in many of us. After Spring Break has passed, we enter the Death Valley of the school calendar. Eight or more weeks of school pass with no holidays or three-day weekends. Everyone, from the students and teachers to the lunch ladies, has a hard time facing the endless school days.
My solution may be surprising coming from a teacher’s wife and die-hard homework monitor – but WE SKIP SCHOOL.
We have had a Spring Skip Day for as long as our kids have gone to school, even now that one is in college. Being dedicated to good grades and excellence day after day can take a toll on kids and parents alike. Taking a mental health day has been a super positive tradition for our family. We eagerly plan and anticipate our skip day, discussing what we’ll do and where we’ll eat, for weeks beforehand.
Preparing for a one-day break from school takes more planning than a mini-vacay.
First, we have to be squared away with school. We have to have some spare absence days available, more than just one or two. We need a day when there are no quizzes, reviews, or tests. The kids have to be caught up on their schoolwork. There have to be no school activities that evening.
Once we have the school issues covered, we check the weather forecast. We pick a good weather day, because we want to spend part of our skip day outdoors. That’s kind of the whole point!
Finally, I plan a crockpot meal for supper that day, because moms need a vacation too. My go-to crockpot recipe is pot roast, so I throw it in the crockpot in the morning, and off we go!
The perfect skip day has a balance of fun, food, and frolic.
Our first stop is usually one of the museums, because spring mornings can be kind of chilly. We may choose Science Museum Oklahoma, where even my older kids have a great time. After an hour, we head over to the OKC Zoo, where we can enjoy the sunshine and warmth, and see the animals doing the same thing!
Some years we choose the OKC Museum of Art, where we stroll around the exhibits and soak in the visual arts. Viewing art has the effect of transporting us out of ourselves, and fits right in with our skip day.
Downtown OKC offers the incredible Myriad Gardens, where we can wander – and take more than a few selfies amidst the riot of spring flowers. Luckily for us, OKC has an abundance of things for families to do on a free day.
Lunch usually means a stop at Sonic on the way to our next destination.
We can roll down the windows, put our feet up, and eat in the car. Somehow it feels different to eat in the car on our skip day – much different from when we eat on the run on a regular school day. With the radio on, we eat ice cream and talk about anything except school. Soon we are refueled and ready for our next stop…
Spring Skip Day lets us take our time doing things we would normally try to squeeze into a weekend.
Some years we will take in a movie that we have been wanting to see. Other years, we will go to the hobby store to get inspired. The bookstore is another favorite place to take it slow, because on skip day we have enough time to look at ALL. THE. BOOKS.
If the weather is fantastic, we might go play miniature golf or go to a park with a playground. Even older kids and parents can still swing and see how high they can go…
If it is a year when the prom is coming up, we might go to the mall and try on formals when the stores are not as busy. Our objective is to take care of us and our needs for one day…
If time allows, we might make one more stop for ice cream, at Braum’s this time, because who says you can’t have ice cream twice in one day, on one day a year?
Finally, we head back home again, to where supper is ready and waiting, and we have to settle back into reality for the next day.
Our Spring Skip Day is a tradition that takes some planning and foresight. It also means the kids sometimes have double homework to do the next day. But for us, it is way worth it.
That day of freedom from responsibility and just plain fun makes a huge difference in everyone’s attitude and energy level. We get refreshed, recharged, and go back to real life the next day, ready to meet the challenges of the rest of the school year.