Saturday, January 29, 2011

What's a snow day?

Back in Vermont it took a lot to close a school, in fact I can't remember a single closing.  This picture says it all.
Typical school morning back in Vermont

Towns in Vermont are PREPARED for snow and so are the town folk.  The city has a fleet of plows.  The neighbors even have their own plow attachments for their trucks.  Salt trucks crowd the streets in anticipation of a storm and we can all drive in the white stuff.  Feeling so equipped to handle snow, we used to trash talk mother nature to "bring it."  And she did.

This winter here in Maryland the kids miss the snow.  And they're also missing school.  A lot of school.  Their new school has closed several times and it isn't even February yet.  It has also opened late on many occasions, and closed early more than I care to count.  And we've had a total of 7 inches of snow so far the whole season.  Yup, that's it.  All these closings are more than a little disruptive to this part-time worker who no longer has a nanny to tend to and entertain her kids when they're off of school on a work day.  But we've been muddling through.

Thursday was a snow day so I moved my work day to Friday (usually a day off) and we tried to make the best of it.  After "helping" our next door neigbor with snow removal and having a snowball fight with friends, my three musketeers were bored.  I wish I could wipe the words "I'm bored" from their memories.  But I can't do that and I am still parenting under the influence of the Tiger Mother (see my 1/26/11 post or today's WSJ article about Amy Chua's presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland), so I refused to let them watch TV or play Wii to comabt their boredom.

Instead, we decided to play a board game and GJ brought up our ratty old box of Trivial Pursuit.  The questions are of course over the kids' heads.  They're mostly over mine too.  So we created some customized questions that were age-appropriate for each child.  Their questions were related to their current curriculum in school, their favorite books and movies, and so on.  With about 20 questions written per kid, we played a really fun game together.  It took us a long time (helpfully delaying an utterance of those dreaded two words); the kids were studying and didn't even realize it; and it really built their confidence to get tough questions right and to each be challenged at their own level. 

It was so much fun that one of my next projects is going to be kicking the kid's cards up a notch - categorizing the questions; writing many, many more; and making them look prettier.  Good luck with snow days in your house and here's to the coming of Spring.  Hurry up!
Here's our makeshift game.  Do you know where Marco Polo was born?
Yes, the boys are wearing bathrobes.  Just in from the snow my little old men wanted to be cozy.
...and back outside they go.  Time for Mommy to sneak in some email.

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