So you are taking a Disney Cruise during the school year and your kid(s) will miss all of their reading, writing, and arithmetic; fall behind, and never get into a decent college. It happens.
However, it doesn’t have to be as dramatic as all that. Recent studies have suggested that a week (or the duration of your choice) at sea, not to mention exotic ports of call, can actually hold educational value! Who knew?
Turns out that such real world outings, and the benefits thereof, are actually common knowledge. In fact, many public schools are happy to work with parents to make sure children (or the school funding that is dependent on said children) aren’t penalized by an extended absence. In most cases there are a few forms to sign, a homework packet sent home, and some sort of educational project relative to the vacation itself that will allow the school to record the child as present despite their being elsewhere. Please note, this is me paraphrasing it in a fairly simple manner, and the actual language may be much more confusing. Talk to your child’s principal, teacher, or office manager for the correct information in your district.
In our school district (in California) the child has to be absent five consecutive days to qualify for independent study, and the reason for the absence must be approved by the principal, which, in the case of a Disney Cruise, shouldn’t be a problem (see, days at sea/exotic ports of call).
We recently took a six night cruise on the Disney Magic out of Gavelston, Texas to the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico, which easily met the requirements for time away and educational value. Both of our boys (first and fourth grade, respectively) were assigned a packet of schoolwork that we had them complete before we even set sail, because let’s face it, doing it on the cruise would not have been fun for any of us. They were also responsible for documenting their adventure to share with their class upon their return, and though it caused some initial bellyaching the keeping of a daily journal filled with words and photos quickly became a fun part of the routine.
During our trip the boys swam with dolphins and sea turtles, walked through Mayan villages, met people from all over the world, and experienced things they never knew existed. They also made Flubber.
When we returned from our Disney Cruise Line vacation the boys sorted through all of the photos that they took and created a slideshow, which they presented, along with an oral telling of their story, to their classmates. It was educational on many levels, and it was also a lot of fun.
If you are planning to take a Disney Cruise during the school year, talk to your child’s teacher in advance for the type of project they will accept. It doesn’t have to be the traditional, double-spaced report that many people tend to associate with such things—it can be creative and enjoyable!
For another great idea check out this video from blogger Sami Cone (we met Sami and her wonderful family on our cruise). Her children created a lapbook (which is apparently popular in homeschooling), and not only did her school accept it as the required project, her kids had a blast completing it. That’s a win-win!
How to Make a Disney Lapbook:
Special thanks to Sami Cone for allowing me to share her video!
My family and I were the very grateful guests of Disney Cruise Lines on the voyage outlined above. All opinions are my own unless otherwise noted.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).