Pulling Kids out of school to travel.

Oct 22nd, 2003, 12:28 PM
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Pulling Kids out of school to travel.

We pull our kids out of school usually 2x a year for 10-14 day trips. We HATE to travel during designated school breaks because that is when everyone else is traveling also.

My daughters are exceptional students and I am tired of the schools making it so difficult for us to travel by penalizing my children by refusing to let them make up the work or not even telling them which assignments/tests they will miss.

Is there any better education about the world & people than the one you get from travling??
Oct 22nd, 2003, 12:43 PM
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Someone (a teacher) once told me..."Take your subject seriously, if it is a serious subject, but take yourself with a grain of salt". The teachers who are giving you a bad time need to get a life. Take your kids and travel and enjoy each other's company and stop worrying about the school. You are their parents, you have the final say.
teacherlady is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 12:54 PM
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There was a very interesting thread this summer on much the same subject. A woman was writing about taking her step daughter out of school. It generated a lot of discussion--maybe someone remembers and can pull it up?
Oct 22nd, 2003, 12:59 PM
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It's a great learning experience for kids to travel. But it's really hard to pull them out of school when they start jr. high-at least for my son it was. He missed a couple of assignments, the teachers made it his responsibility to ask for make-up assignements, he put it off, and his grads went down. This caused him to not be accepted to his choice high school.

High school is even worse. We are going in summer next year instead.
francophile03 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:04 PM
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Being the Devil's advocate, I see two major points for the school's position: (1) when you take a child out of school, the school loses its state funding for each day the child is not present; and (2) teachers are extremely overburdened in most cases and to accomodate every student for optional missed days of assignments is extremely taxing.

This is your choice to have your kids miss 4 weeks of school a year and, IMVHO, it is a lot to ask for the teachers to work around your preferred vacation schedule. Just imagine if a teacher had 30 students, all of whom missed a month of school ... the work it would take to arrange make-up assignments and tests would be nightmare.

On the other hand, I wholly agree that you are giving your children life experiences that are without equal. Not that you asked for suggestions, perhaps a good idea is to meet with your children's teachers at the onset of the semester and look over each class' syllabus. Then you'll have an idea of what times are best/worst to travel.

Your daughters are very lucky to grow up with such an expanded world view.
Chicago_Heather is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:05 PM
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TWICE a year? Once is more understandable as I know that many parents can not get their holidays always during school holidays.I know it is cheaper to travel in school term but don't kid yourself about it being the teachers who are penalizing your daughters.There are enough school holidays for it to be possible to avoid them missing 4 weeks of school every year.
fiona is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:09 PM
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Just a thought - why should the teachers make it easy for you to take your kids away from what, in essence, is their employment? It's more work and effort for them to give make up assignements and extra work to be done during the trip. And chances are it will never be done since most parents don't take the assignments seriously enough to make sure they get done.

It should be the student / parents responsibility to request work at least 1 month in advance of departure and to ensure that it gets handed in immediately upon return.

If you're going to let your child miss school then they have to know that that doesn't mean the get to skip the work.

I'm on the receiving end on the teachers side of this to have any simpathy for the parents or the students who get out of school to travel when there are definitely enough holidays already for that.
Matrexx is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:12 PM
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Let me clarify - they are NOT missing 4 weeks. On a 10 day trip, they miss 4 or 5 days. We do try to incorporate Monday holidays or Friday Teacher-in-Service days. On a 14 day trip, we still try to overlap with scheduled breaks but its not always possible so they may miss 7-9 days. For an average of 2 1/2 weeks missed. All 3 are "A" students and do not require much of any teacher's time...
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:15 PM
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They ALWAYS make up their and on many instances have been doing it while we were travleing. I request all work at a minimum of 3-4 weeks ahead but they can't do it or make it up if the teachers refuse to give them the assignements ahead of time or "won't accept it" upon their return.

I personally feel that they don't like to give up control.
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:20 PM
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The school year is mandated to be 180 days long. If you take your children out of school for 10-14 days at a time, twice per year while school is in session, and accounting for weekends, each of your children misses 16-20 days per year, or approximately 12% of the class year. When you take into account that a child may be absent up to an additional 5 days for illnesses and appointments, that percentage rises slightly higher.

Because of budget cuts, teachers have more students in their classrooms, and are correcting more homework. There is less individualized attention. Because you wish to take your children out of school, you are making a teacher's job even more burdensome. Why should a teacher be required to provide lesson plans in advance and alternate types of homework to cover missed classes?

I don't see anything wrong with the school system penalizing your children for vacations that are interrupting the school year. It is your decision to pull your children out of class.

However, if you don't like the school system's rules, you are more than welcome to home school them or enroll them in private school where there may be some flexibility.

If your children were furthering their academics at a college, I really wonder if you would continue to pull your children out of class for extended family vacations because you don't like to travel "when everyone else is traveling also". Possibly you wouldn't do this because you would be paying the tuition directly instead of as part of your taxes.
leslie is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:21 PM
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of course it is possible for them not to miss school- you just choose not to go during holidays. I also note that the two of you are self employed so don't have the argument that some have of their employers deciding when their holidays are. If everybody had your attitude how on earth is a teacher meant to cope? I am not against holidays taken in term time once every so often but twice a year? Teaching is not only about giving out assignments. Give your children an education by letting them travel AND by keeping them in school-you may be saving money but its at a cost your children are paying.
Mary1 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:29 PM
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It doesn't really matter what others think about this subject, you are the parent. So perhaps your question is more rhetorical. As a parent, I have found that we often have to justify to others (or even to ourselves!) some of our actions. Just do what feels like the right thing to you (and your kids)...it's not like the 'wrong' thing would be that detrimental anyway in this case. You say your kids are exceptional students so now you just have to deal with the teachers' attitude towards missing school days. It is difficult to accomodate a child who has missed school and the schools purposely don't give out assignments before you go on vacation because they want to deter this from happenning. In affluent communities you see this more because parents have more disposable income and tend to travel more. When there are two working parents that both need to take time off of work at a 'convenient' time and make sure that the time coincides with the childrens' convenient time, planning can be impossible. We do what we have to do and if the teachers get upset, so be it. We shouldn't forget the ultimate goal of education, and that is to prepare children to be stable adults able to make smart decisions, feel comfortable in their skin and have knowledge of the world. We all contribute in a way to this goal, whether it be in the classroom or traveling to Costa Rica to see the rainforest. When my kids were younger, I would pull them out of school because I always used miles (that I earned through business travel) to book our flights and hotels stays and this was impossible during Spring Break, Thanksgiving and Christmas so I told the teachers that I couldn't afford to go on vacation during those times, therefore I was taking them out of school. Mine were good students too so this was not a problem. As they get older, I find that the work that has to be done to make up the missed school time is so horrendous that I have stopped doing this and just save the money to pay the premium to go on vacation during the 'busy' times. Our school refuses to give us the work upfront. Anyway, do what you (and your kids) feel is right.
Maggy is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:30 PM
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In response to Leslie- I actually did miss 3 weeks of college my sophmore year to accompany my family to the mid east. Still graduated cum laude 2 years later. So, YES, I would take my kids with me even then!
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:36 PM
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Sounds like you aren't really interested in what peoples' views are. You are just trying to justify WHY you are doing it! Its cheaper.
Mary1 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:41 PM
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I think of my kids' school as a community to which we and they belong. Like any community, it can only function well if everyone does their best to work together. When one or two or several members of the community choose to disregard the rules or norms, they are essentially saying they are better than the rest, or deserving of special treatment. A handicapped member of the community might be entitled to such treatment, but not, IMO, just those folks who choose to flout the rules.
I think it's hard enough for teachers these days to deal with basic issues of safety and discipline and order in the classroom, not to mention that I think the hard work that teachers do just teaching is underrated in this country -to ask them to make special concessions to people who have decided their children don't need to be in school at certain times is not fair. What if a third or half of parents did that? How could the school achieve its goals?

Just to be clear, I'm not arguing that travel isn't valuable for young and old alike. Or even that an occasional missed day for travel isn't acceptable.

I also don't think traveling when everyone else is traveling is so awful, since (1) presumably you're referring to European travel, and European school schedules don't always coincide with U.S. ones at all, and (2) I've never noticed (and I've traveled for years and years with my school-aged kids in Europe) we had any particular frustrations being in tourist locations during my kids' school break times or summer.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:42 PM
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I took my kids out of school in the elementary years--but once you hit middle school, and especially high school, I can't imagine missing. There's just too much to make up. Besides, aren't your kids in sports, music or other activities? Those, for the most part, correspond with the school year. My son couldn't go on a trip this fall break because of football--there are only 10 games so if he misses one that is 10% plus if he missed practice that week, he would not be allowed to play the next.
We love to travel, but now it takes place during school breaks. When the kids are gone, I look forward to wonderful trips with cheap tickets!
RachelG is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:44 PM
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I dont likt to travel to Europe in the summer either, but is a sacrifice that I do for my grandchildren, because I understand how important is to have a good education and how hard it will be for them to catching up with the school assignements.
Every time I go back to Europe I always take one with me.. I have 3 grandkids, but one is only 20 months old, anyway I told the little one that when she is at least 6 or 7 years old, she can also accompany grandmama abroad.
kismetchimera is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:45 PM
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Normally I would be sympathetic to someone doing this a couple of times TOTAL during a child's school years. But you seem to be doing it twice a year on a regular basis. That is pretty selfish, IMHO, as you are asking everyone, including underpaid, overworked teachers, to accommodate you simply for the reason that you don't like to travel with the masses. It makes me wonder about the values you are teaching your "exceptional" kids--specifically, a "me-first, MY time is so much more valuable than YOURS" attitude.
Based on the tone of your posts, I get the feeling you give the schools a lot more grief than they give you.
The school has NO obligation to help you out twice a year, virtually every year, just so you can enjoy your holidays at a more convenient (for YOU) time. Teachers have to make do with taking their holidays during the peak summer period; don't expect a lot of sympathy for your demands.
BTilke is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 01:49 PM
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We have taken our kids to Europe on vacations the past three years and are planning another trip this coming year. The kids are now 16 and 13 and are both fantastic students. They love history, the arts and travel. That being said - the most school that they have ever missed for a trip is 2 days! Sometimes we start the trip a day or two before the school vacation. I think that it sends a wrong message about the value of school and education to simply pull the kids out of school for a trip. What would a classroom look like if everyone just took off when they felt like it? Often my kids have projects with other kids - how would that work out? You would end up penalizing other kids just for your vacation. I agree that travel during Christmas and Easter can be expensive; so we have done all of our traveling during their winter vacation in February! It may be chilly, but we are not pulling the kids from school, fares and hotels are cheap and sites are not crowded! This year it does not look like we can travel in February, so we will just have to pay more and go in the summer - it is not an option for us to pull the kids out of school.
Susan56 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2003, 02:20 PM
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Me detects a bit of envy, hmmmm??
You all seem to be giving maryintwin quite the hard time...

My children are grown and my wife and i traveled quite a bit with them when they were younger and many times had to remove them from school for longer than average time periods, and they all turned out to be well educated, productive, contributing adults.

I fail to see how one child missing even 6 days makes things more difficult for the teachers.

It is inevitable and every year the flu virus or strep throat or chicken pox, or whatever hits the schools and you may have HALF the children out for a week or more and they are all leaving and returning at different times and all needing to make up work, etc, etc. Those children are definitely NOT all "A" students and therefore will require more of the teacher's time and help to catch up and yet some of you argue that one good student missing class is going to cause a major upheaval....

On the contrary, if the teachers are so overwhelmed, overworked and underpaid I think they should be glad to have one less student in their class!
FancyFree is offline  

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