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How To Skip School For A Family Vacation

On Tuesday, my son will head with his grandparents to Disneyland. The trip of a lifetime will happen April 16 – 20. Tuesday – Saturday.

Nana and Grandpapa may be excited to take their grandson to Disney, but they’re not made of money. So it is a trip away from spring breaks, and midweek flights. They’ll save more than $1000 by taking him mid April instead of having done it mid March.

So that means a week off school. After already having school district mandated week-long holidays in February, and March my son will get one from Mom and Dad in April.

I have absolutely zero problem with my Kindergarten kid skipping a week of school. Despite bucking up to send him to a private school with French Immersion, the lessons one learns in real life can often be more valuable than behind a desk.

I’m not alone in this belief. Alyssa Chirco, a mother near St. Louis,  told Today, “I reserve the right to check my child out of school at any time, for any reason.” 

That attitude may be a little farther than I’m willing to go. I believe in responsibilities. Just as I have a responsibility to go to work, my kids have one to go to school. Some parents champion “mental health days,” but in my books that could just equate to “I don’t feel like it” being taken advantage of.

My son is going to Disneyland with his grandparents and skipping a week of Kindergarten. Big deal.  I’ve talked to his teachers, and each day he will have a journal where he will draw a picture, and write a few sentences about his day.  Exactly the same sort of things he would have done in class.

My son is 5, this week off will help him personally more than it will ever hurt him scholastically.  Would I have the same opinion in Grade 3 or Grade 5 or Grade 9?  Y’know what? Probably.  If it’s not an every month occurrence, I have no problem with real life learning, and family bonding taking the place of the factory setting in a school.

What’s your take?

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  • Would You Let Your Kids Skip? 1 of 13
    Would You Let Your Kids Skip?
    Family Vacation Critic and Disney Family have posts on the topic offering some tips if you want to visit with the kids on a school day
  • Younger Is Better 2 of 13
    Younger Is Better
    It's important to note that it's much easier to take younger kids out of school; once kids enter middle school or junior high, policies are tighter and workloads are heavier. And if your kids are in high school, you'll really have to think carefully about the impact on their grades of missing classes and getting behind on work. via Disney Family
    Image via Serena
  • Meet With Teacher(s) Beforehand 3 of 13
    Meet With Teacher(s) Beforehand
    Before you even book your trip, set up a time to meet with your child's teacher(s). Ask, don't tell. No educator will appreciate you waltzing in and announcing you're pulling your kid from class for two weeks to go to Disney. Let teachers know what your intended plans are, and ask how you both can work together to make the absence as seamless as possible. Remember that you are creating extra work for the teacher, and be appreciative. via Family Vacation Critic
    Image via NWABR
  • Independent Study 4 of 13
    Independent Study
    Ask about your school's independent study policy. Setting up independent study is a good idea for longer trips, because it helps kids stay on top of schoolwork and relieves the pressure and anxiety of kids' feeling they're going to come back way behind. via Disney Family
    Image via Anthony Kelly
  • School Funding 5 of 13
    School Funding
    Find out whether absences impact school funding. Schools and school districts receive their per-pupil funding according to different formulas, so it's important to ask the attendance office about the fiscal impact your child's absence will have. and to take steps to minimize any loss. via Disney Family
    Image via David Schott
  • White Lies 6 of 13
    White Lies
    As to the touchy subject of whether a parent should tell the truth about an absence or attribute it to illness, it may depend on the situation. In many districts, funding depends on attendance, so a school loses money for every unexcused absence. In these cases, a "don't ask, don't tell" policy may be understandable. via Disney Family
    Image via Towne Post Network
  • How Does Your Child Feel About Missing School? 7 of 13
    How Does Your Child Feel About Missing School?
    Sure we call the shots as parents but talk to your child about the possibility of missing school, or even a weekend to travel. Your child may have a special project he or she doesn't want to miss, or the weekend's game is very important to him or her. via Family Vacation Critic
    Image via Lori
  • Plan Ahead 8 of 13
    Plan Ahead
    Teachers don't like surprises when it comes to attendance. Let them know as far in advance as you possibly can about your trip, making sure to give them exact dates, and avoid making any changes to the itinerary once it's approved. via Family Vacation Critic
    Image via Joe Lanman
  • Keep The Trip Short 9 of 13
    Keep The Trip Short
    Just because the deals are great, this is not the time to take a three-week family vacation to your cousin's vineyard in Italy during the school year. Such an extended absence often outweighs the educational value. If possible, plan around a long weekend so you're only missing a couple of days. via Family Vacation Critic
    Image via Tim Pierce
  • Time The Trip Wisely 10 of 13
    Time The Trip Wisely
    If possible, schedule your trip later -- as opposed to earlier -- in the school year, so your child has a chance to become familiar with the routine. The first month or two of school is an adjustment, no matter what your child's age. Always avoid testing periods. via Family Vacation Critic
    Image via Dan Moyle
  • Make It an Educational Vacation 11 of 13
    Make It an Educational Vacation
    What does your child stand to gain, educationally speaking, from this trip? For example, if your child is studying the Revolutionary War, taking him or her to Boston, Concord, Lexington and Bunker Hill is a way to make history books come to life and give him or her a better understanding of what they are learning in school. via Family Vacation Critic
    Image via Buzz Bishop
  • Don’t Make It A Habit 12 of 13
    Don't Make It A Habit
    Treat school-time trips as the exception and not the rule. Pulling your children out of school for family vacations is not something you want to do on a regular basis -- certainly not more than once a year. via Family Vacation Critic
    Image via David Lytle
  • Thank you 13 of 13
    Thank you
    Thank teachers for understanding. If your child's teacher goes this extra mile, be sure and send a thank you card and small gift to acknowledge your appreciation. via Disney Family
    Image via Desi

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