Today, an insightful guest post from one of the most interesting ski moms I know, Lili, from Newfoundland. Lili and her son have organized their time so that he can ski all winter and homeschool during the summer.
Like the majority of you who read this blog, I have a child who loves to ski.
Like some of you, I have a child who wishes that it was winter twelve months a year and that he could ski all the time.
Like a few of you, I have a child for whom only two days a year matter – the Glorious Opening Day and that Annual Day of Devastation when our local resort closes. Not even birthdays or Christmas come close in importance.
Our family’s challenge has been to support this passion while keeping up with education.
Set Your Own School Calendar
For our family, the key to supporting my son’s passion is two-stroke: First, we homeschool (we had already started down this path before his love of skiing became consuming).
Second, we flipped our school year. There is nothing that says you can only school your child from September through June.
Now we start in April, school through the summer and finish up in December. We take our long break in the winter, so that he can ski.
It wasn’t a complicated decision but it did require us to do a lot of ground work.
Making It Happen
First, look hard at how your family dynamics and the physical and financial logistics would work. Do your kids really want to ski that much? Can you afford to have a parent at the ski hill full-time? Will your marriage survive if one of you is always skiing while the other is at the office? Are you willing to give up your traditional summer adventures? What will you, the parent, have to change to make this dream a reality?
Second, you need to take a serious look at how your kids ski. Talk to the staff at your hill. Get objective feedback. If you have a kid who does 3 runs and calls it a day, then you might be wasting your time. But if you have a child who wants to be on the first chair every single morning and is on the mountain until the ski patrol sweeps her off, your child might have the drive to make this a success.
Third, enlist the help and support of your ski hill. Sit down with the general manager and talk very specifically about your goals for your child. Then tell the manager what you want from the hill. Communication is vital. Resorts are not keen on having the same children hanging about day in and day out if they don’t have a clear understanding of what you are doing. But when they are on your side, when they are excited about the opportunities you are giving your child, then the hill will usually help in any way they can, compounding your investment in your child.
The financial investment is more than just the season’s pass. I registered my child for the Saturday kid’s program, the group terrain park classes, and 20 private lessons over the course of the season. I paid for these in October, at the same time that I bought his season’s pass. I was also clear that I wanted the same two instructors, for the same time slots every week. This aided the ski school in being able to schedule those instructors for those days. In turn, I was given a significant discount on the private lessons and the hill’s manager invited my child to spend 2-hours a week with him learning about how the resort operated. What a win!
We are coming to the end of our first winter trying this out and it has been a huge success. My son loved it so much, that we will continue for another year.
So pray for me… the Annual Day of Devastation has passed and the new school year has started… as does the countdown to the next season.
The Brave Ski Mom Adds…
Thank you so much Lili! I admire what you’re doing and the opportunities you’re providing for your son. Your practical tips and considerations are really helpful, too.
If you have any specific questions for Lili about how they make this work, she’s happy to answer them. Please leave your questions in the comments or send me your email via the “contact me” button and I’ll get you in touch with Lili.
Anyone else out there flip the school year on its head? We’d love to hear more about your experiences. Please share!
More On Parenting, School and Skiing:
- The Biggest Adventure, May 25, 2015.
- Learning to Fly, August 25, 2011.
- Parenting Teens: Off the Couch and Into the Outdoors, July 8, 2013.
- Mi Familia: Unplugged, June 30, 2014.
- No Regret Parenting, September 9, 2013.
- Skippin’ School, October 13, 2010.
- Why Our Family Loves to Ski Marble Mountain, Newfoundland, October 12, 2015.
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