Taking Your Kids Out of School to Travel?


Julie H., a middle school math teacher and mom of two, says, "Some students can miss school and have an easy time making up necessary work. Others have a tough time, so they will need extra help following the vacation. Families can use their vacation experience in place of some assignments, with possibilities including researching the history or geographical features of the area visited. It is up to the teachers to accept these assignments at their discretion, in place of class work."

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 may be very important to him or her. Don't start the trip on the wrong foot with an angry teen who missed the homecoming game.

What Grade Is Your Child In?

For obvious reasons, the younger your children are, the easier it is to pull off a vacation during school time. It's fairly easy to pull a child out for a few days in elementary school. Middle school becomes trickier, as students begin to rotate between multiple teachers, and it becomes even more difficult in high school for kids to miss any length of time. Even the best students can fall behind easily and may have a difficult time catching up. This is particularly true of junior year.

Tips for Taking Your Child Out of School

The deal is too good to pass up, your school doesn't prohibit travel, and you and your child are ready to book that vacation. Here are some tips to make it an easy transition.

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 World. Let teachers know what your intended plans are, and ask how you can work together to make the absence as seamless as possible. Remember that you are creating extra work for the teacher, and be appreciative. Teachers have your child's best academic interests at heart, and most have dealt with this situation many times. Listen to their advice.

Don't just ask teachers for the homework you child will miss while away, ask for the lesson plan. Spend your vacation going over the lesson plan with your child. Discuss possible extra credit work, such as a report or school presentation based on the trip so your child can share what he or she learns from his or her travels with the class.

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.

Says Vicky L., a Board of Education member and mom of two teenagers, "Give teachers ample notice. Try to give at least three weeks' notice before a vacation, and then remind them again a few days before you depart. While your vacation may be top priority for you, you can't assume it is for everyone else."

Keep the Trip Short

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