As we planned our spring break vacation, we realized the dates weren’t going to match up with the school calendar. With two boys in two schools, the professional days don’t always align. If we were to go to Mexico for a week, our Grade 1 son would have to skip out on three days of school.
I didn’t flinch for a second at the idea, booked the tickets, and we went anyway. While I’m not a big fan of homeschooling, (I believe education is best left to the professionals, and in a group environment), I had no problem pulling my kids from class to experience the real world, and learn by experience instead of sitting in rows.
You might want to check with your teacher before you leave for vacation, some teaching unions discourage teachers from planning course work for kids who will be missing school. Also, one UK family found out they weren’t allowed to pull their kids from class and returned from vacation to an $1,800 fine. Seriously.
For the most part, instructors are great about letting kids get out and explore the world. We spoke to my son’s teacher about the trip and she just encouraged us to keep reading together and to have him write sentences about his adventures.
So we did — and my son learned so much more than a few sentences and stories.
A Third Language
My boys are in French Immersion programs, so they’re interested in learning new languages and were eager to put their Dora and Diego vocabulary to use in another country while picking up a few extra words along the way.
My guys are big on animals. I took my oldest on a solo trip to a mangrove forest in a park where we had a private tell us about native birds, plants, and even crocodiles.
The boys swam every day, played soccer on the beach, and ran. Instead of a simple phys-ed class once a day or a few times a week, they worked their bodies hard.
Arts and Culture
We took a cultural walk through the heart of old Puerto Vallarta and the boys learned to appreciate sculpture and architecture.
Our sons got to test their personal limits and fears by rock climbing and zip lining in the jungle without the friendly hand of a parent nearby.
What do you know? My 6-year-old son picked up a hobby that wasn’t found on an iPad. He used my old camera for most of the trip and now loves photography.
Planning a spring break? Take the kids out of school. Don’t sweat it. If they’re older, bring some things to keep them on track with their peers, but the lessons you learn when you are out living in the world are bigger and richer than ones any classroom could ever teach.