Why I’m letting my kids wag school on Friday

Thank God it’s the last week of school for term 1 in NSW. It’s been a long 11 week term and selfishly I’m looking forward to not having to rush around quite so much, make lunches or have fights over homework and assessments with my two older kiddos.

For two blessed weeks!

As of today there are officially only four more days left before this much longed for break. And I have made an executive decision to pull the kids out a day early to bring on the holidays sooner.

Yes, I’m allowing them to wag school on Friday.


Normally, I send the kids to school every single day, unless they are too mentally or physically unwell to attend. Ever since we mainstreamed Gilbert we have insisted that he be included in all aspects of school life and that he be encouraged to participate in all activities.

Last year, he undertook NAPLAN and ended up coming the top of his class in the literacy component. More recently he made a bush bass for a take home task and got great marks. Last year I even managed to get him to the school athletics carnival where he ran his 100m age race.

He can achieve if we give him the encouragement, the support and the opportunity to do so.

As parents, we pride ourselves on giving our kids every opportunity to try their best and have a go. It is not in our nature to give up or let them give up.


This Friday is the 2014 athletics carnival. On the last day of a long term. And I only found out about it last week so I’ve had little time to prepare the kids.

So when both Gilbert and Matilda asked whether they had to go and indicated that they would much rather not, I think I surprised them with my reply.

I said yes.

Last year’s carnival saw us waiting around in the sun for hours in between events. Gilbert is not good at waiting at the best of times and so much exposure to the sun is not ideal. In addition, he had a meltdown when he came last in his race and spent the rest of the afternoon demanding an eclectic range of junk food from the canteen.

Meanwhile, Matilda insisted on trying all sports on offer only to become upset when she was too scared to have a go at the high jump and couldn’t work out how to properly throw the shot-putt.

I have to come clean and confess that I did not enjoy the experience. Don’t get me wrong, I was proud of my kids having a go but the majority of the day was uncomfortable and unenjoyable. So that may explain my decision to let them have their way and ditch school for the day.

So what are we planning on doing instead?


image source

We’re planning on heading to the cinema to see The Lego Movie before having lunch and enjoying a relaxing afternoon.

I’m so looking forward to a day with my big kids. It’s going to be fun wagging together!

Have you ever wagged school with your kids? What did you end up doing?

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15 Responses

  1. Lee-Anne says:

    I think I can speak for most teachers when I say we LOVE it when students don’t come on the last day. In fact, apart from Year 7, most high school students learn very quickly not to attend (except for Year 12).

    It might sound very lax but teachers have so few days where they can sort stuff, prepare lessons, photocopy for the next term etc that in my school at least, kids are assigned ‘jobs’ if they turn up (they’re great helpers!) It’s a complete myth that the shorter hours and frequent holidays make a teacher’s life a breeze… and with my subject there is no escape now they can email their essays.

    So enjoy your day with the older kids with impunity (movie and lunch sound a delightful plan)
    Lee-Anne recently posted..I still have my marbles…

    • Kirsty says:

      As the wife of a high school teacher I completely understand our position! He’s been consumed by Year 12 reports this week and has parent teacher interviews this afternoon. It’s certainly not easy – I take my hats off to all of you for the difficult jobs that you have at times. Hope you enjoy you’re well-earned rest and fingers crossed not too many kids come in for you on Friday!

  2. Sounds like a great plan to me.

    I don’t know if I’ve ever let all my kids wag on one day (I have a vague sense I might have one day last year), but I occasionally let them individually take a day off just when I feel they are tired and could use the down time. Not so much anymore, but when they were younger I did it often.

    I’m not letting them wag Friday – I have things on, and so do they – but I too am sooo looking forward to the downtime of the school holidays. I’ve been looking forward to it since about week 2 I think! 🙂

    Enjoy your hooky day and the movie!
    Kirsten McCulloch recently posted..Why You Should Never Use Dyer Sheets (and How to Reduce Drying Time by 25%!)

  3. Ness says:

    They’re called Mental Health days and everybody needs them from time to time, even kids. Enjoy your day at the movies but be warned you will have the Everything Is Awesome Lego Movie song stuck in your head afterwards!
    Ness recently posted..Goodbye Bogan Blog

  4. We just let our 15 year old wag sports carnival too. She wasn’t interested in competing and classes were cancelled for the day so she took the opportunity to work on some assignments, study, run and have some alone time whilst everyone worked. You have to make the decision on where is kids are at any point. Miss 5 instead will be at cross country on the last day of school and I will be there to watch her!
    Eleise @ A Very Blended Family recently posted..Special Occasions and the Blended Family

  5. Zita says:

    We have lots of kids that don’t come to school on the last day that now we usually just expect it, which is sad really. A lot of kids also bypass Athletics Carnival day and I don’t blame them really, as a teacher it’s a pain to have to try and supervise events, and students who are not participating! Good on you for keeping them home as it sounds like it’s probably in their best interest anyway. And it is also enlighten to hear you excited about holidays!! So many people I know (my sister included) hate school holidays and whinge about having their kids around, that breaks my heart….
    Zita recently posted..for G

  6. Don’t seat it one little bit.

    For years we have allowed all our kids 1 “sickie” per term but once they use it that’s it. Unless they can convince me they are on their death bed it’s off to school.

    Why? To teach them resilience but to also reward them for resilience.

    Worked for us.
    Mark @ fullhalfglass.com recently posted..A Contract Really Says I Don’t Trust You

  7. Mine have asked, but I’ve said “no” this term… only because I have an appointment I need to attend on Friday, and taking the kids isn’t an option.

    But I definitely give my kids the last day off sometimes AND they also get Mental Health Days when they need. I don’t think it’s fair to send them if they aren’t mentally in the space they need to be in.

    Good on you for listening to them and giving them something to look forward to on Friday too! Awesome start to the holidays!

    MC #teamIBOT
    themisscinders recently posted..i was wrong, oh how i was wrong

  8. We’ve got a casual day on Friday and they finish an hour earlier, so I’d be in heaps of trouble if I didn’t let them go on Friday!!1
    I love the idea though, and I’m all for occasional wagging when it’s necessary.
    EssentiallyJess recently posted..Fish, Chips and Blogging #IBOT

  9. Marita says:

    We often miss the last day of school. It is usually a recipe for disaster with some special activity on and hyper kids all round.
    Marita recently posted..Autumn, I think you are the reason I give up on gardening

  10. What a good mum you are- I too believe kids need a day off just because sometimes… school is hard work for such small tots. You’re nearly there, just one more sleep! Happy holidays lovely x
    Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me recently posted..How to REALLY make a splash – Wordless Wednesday

  11. I understand where you are coming from. Sports days are part of the curriculum at our schools so they do have to go. But we nearly always have to leave early because one of the kids get injured, and/or the one on the spectrum has a meltdown. And the teachers are fine with it. They appreciate that we’ve made the effort to get there, they have participated in their events (or in the ASD child’s case, tried to), and done the best they can. I can’t let my kids wag, because they get sick a lot and miss too much school, but I believe sometimes special things like family days and travel can be more educational than a day at school. The only day was the last day at primary school last year when the teachers practically told the kids not to come, because it would be ‘clean up day’ and that would be the only thing any children who went to school would be doing. (They confirmed this to me when I checked). No grade 7s attended at all I’m told, and very few kids from other classes went. And we got to start our holidays earlier before all the travel.

  12. ann says:

    I was never allowed a day off unless I was sick.
    We have made it through our first term with no missed days. We are having the first week off term 2 as we will be away!! I almost caved half way through when my little big kindy kid was tired one morning but he changed his tune when I said it was nearly school holidays and he wanted to go!! I sense a sneaky day off next term just because!!
    Enjoy your day!!
    ann recently posted..Forever Young

  13. Deb says:

    It may not be the popular opinion, but I disagree with your decision.
    Absolutely wag the last day, but not the carnival.
    We all have to do things we don’t want to in life, and failure and inconvenience is a character development issue. “Sporty” kids are forced to fail at academics, so why should “academic” kids be excused from something that is not “their thing”.
    Sure we need to nurture our kids strengths, but it is equally vital to nurture their ability to be confident enough to “suck” at some things. J

    • Kirsty says:

      You raise a valid point there Deb. In the past my kids have attended the sports carnival for the reasons you’ve mentioned. In the last couple of years I have allowed them not to attend as, for me, the benefit of them attending is outweighed by other factors. Mainly the fact that my son has a medical condition that doesn’t allow him to tolerate long periods in the sun (and we have tried many ways to address this in previous years with the use of gazebos, etc) and the other fact that the long unorganised periods of waiting around between events adds to his stress and anxiety (this is also the main reason for my daughter’s absence too). I hope to get my eldest girl back there for her last sporting carnival next year (when her brother has moved onto high school) but for this year I felt this was the best decision for us. But I totally 100% agree with your point that we need to nurture our kids ability to be confident enough to “suck” at some things – that strikes at the heart of resilience, a quality I do want to foster in my kids.

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