Letting Kids Miss School For Family Vacations

Schools, however, tend not to look kindly on families who choose to vacation during the school year. The official line from most school districts is that parents who vacation at their convenience put their kids at an academic disadvantage. They'll miss discussions that can't be made up outside the classroom and fall significantly behind.

However, while this is just one example, my daughter is only 8. The last time we vacationed during the school year, her teacher sent home a week's worth of photocopied worksheets, which she completed in about 45 minutes. She didn't have any trouble getting back in the groove when we returned, and her grades never slipped. However, if she were in high school studying Mandarin and A.P. Physics with college looming, or if she were a student with special needs or educational challenges, things would be totally different. I'd be useless as a tutor (having studied French and gleefully fulfilled my college science requirement by taking Physics for Poets), and her GPA (and, ergo, chances of getting into a good college) could definitely suffer. I foresee curtailing our travel drastically over the coming years.

Ultimately, of course, it's the parents' decision. And, clearly, it's a complicated one. If you're going to take the kids out of school to travel, here are six tips for making it easier:

- Schedule your trip around standardized tests and exam weeks. Many school districts won't approve excused absences during these times, anyway.

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