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School absences - any tips for convincing reluctant mom and teachers?

School absences - any tips for convincing reluctant mom and teachers?

Jun 23rd, 2003, 04:34 PM
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We are planning to take a dear niece to Paris this Thanksgiving week. Both her parents are teachers, and they have already arrange all the assignments she has to comply with before and after the trip. On Wednesday, 19 Nov 2003, she has to make a presentation during her Social Studies class about the trip; sights in Paris and history associated with it. Upon return, another presentation on sights visited. This summer she was given a French language workbook and she is to be done by the first week of August. She isn't crazy about the homework, but she is thrilled about Paris. I can't agree with Bob more; if done well, a travel opportunity can be turn into a lesson for a lifetime.
Jun 23rd, 2003, 07:59 PM
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First I tend to agree with let the Mom and dad work this out part of this situation.

But it's kind of interesting seeing some of the teacher's views. Sometimes it seems like teachers think they own my kids during the school year. I guess, living in the US,(and as we like to say over the silliest things "It's a FREE COUNTRY") I feel like I know my kids best and I have never asked permission of the school or the teacher to take my kids out of school for vacation, mental health days after my son's father died, my daughter's figure skating competitions or even to take my daughter to lunch on her birthday. They are both good students, it's never hurt their education and if they were struggling, I might make different decisions, but bottom line --they are MY children--I know them best and it's MY decision and it kind of rubs me the wrong way to when others, even teachers whom I respect and realize they don't get the respect they deserve, think they know better than me what my kids need.
Joelleinitaly04 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2003, 08:08 PM
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"They are both good students, it's never hurt their education and if they were struggling, I might make different decisions."

I think you said it all there, Joelle. I've had students who were absent for a week and never missed a beat, and even some struggling ones who managed to get caught up (we do move at a snail's pace). What really matters is the student's attitude. If the kid doesn't give a fig for school, he/she won't make the effort and it's downhill from there.
LVSue is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 07:27 PM
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I did not ake the time to read every single post here (sorry) but my mother is a teacher in a very strict school. some schools these days are VERY strict indeed. At her school when you have miseed 3 or more days in a row or any 5 days you have to go to Saturday School for a whole day (even if you got the work in advance and have done it all already) I don't know what the limit is but after a certain number of days missed total be it for sever illness, vacation, dentist appt, school trip even, you have to have a doctor's excuse for every single miss after that and there are no additional "freebies". So theoretically in a school like this if you have missed say 7 days total (for travel and illness combo for the entire year) every day after that HAS to be by doctors orders or you get 0's for hoemwork. again school have really toughened up on absentiism in the last 5 years. I am not looking down on you for going. Travel is great and is does broaden the mind, but PLEASE check with the school for their true policy first and truto miss as little as school as possible. BTW I think itis great that you want to give her this experience and agree with the others it sounds like a real power struggle from the mom's point of view.
sunlover is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 07:40 PM
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Holy cow! I jsut took the time to actually go back and read all the posts here. I agree wit the teacher that this girl already misses A LOT of school and yes an additional 4 days could really hurt her. especially considering she is not all that good of a student to begin with . The average kid misses about 3 days /year for sickness (unless they have something serious) plus maybe 1 or 2 "half days" for a dr. or dentist appt. Tacking another 4 days onto the number of days she already misses could really hurt. Not to mention if the school does in fact give her 0's for tests or hoemwork during those days. All those zeros will bring her average down a minimum of a letter grade even if she does catch back up and get on pace again for the rest of the year!
sunlover is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 07:49 PM
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My kids go to private school, where this kind of thing is explicitly prohibited for good reason.School days are school days and that is that. Yes, one can argue that travel is as good as school, but no one can assure that a day of travel equals a day of schooling.
StCirq is offline  
Jul 5th, 2003, 09:50 PM
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I respectfully disagree. My daughter missed several days in the sixth grade because she was in Italy with her grandmother. It went against the grain for us to take her out of school, but we ultimately felt the life experience the trip afforded her far outweighed the lost days.

Now our daughter is entering an academically excellent, private preparatory high school. If I were to ask what she did in the sixth grade inside the classroom, she couldn't answer.

If I were to ask her what she did in the sixth grade OUTSIDE the classroom, namely her Italian trip, she could go on for hours. That trip inspired in her a passion for Italy, a lust to see all that the world offers, and an intellectual curiosity that has led her to read many books about the greats of Italy, such as Michaelangelo.

A day of travelling for my daughter more than equalled an ordinary classroom day. Perhaps yanking her out of school to visit Disney wouldn't have produced the same effect, but we were wise enough to realise that some travel is more equal than other, and some days at at school can be missed with complete justification.
Jul 5th, 2003, 10:01 PM
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I'll toss my opinion into this ring, too. I love traveling with my children and think it is valuable. When they were in elementary school, I took each one out of school for a couple of days for a quick trip to Paris where my brother lived. Each kept a journal of the trip and the school was fine with that. Now that one is in middle school and one in high school, neither can afford to miss school. Both have to work hard to get decent grades, and it making up even four days of school would be a major stressor. We still go on wonderful trips, but not on school time. And we have a tutor for our son to help him with the subjects that are difficult for him.
I think this is a very individual thing and depends on the ease at which a student can catch up. I don't know your circumstances, but my heart aches when a Mom is so concerned about her daughter being able to catch up. Unless this is some sort of family thing, I think that Mom must be struggling to keep her child above water and you should really listen to her concerns before making a decision on this.
And, PS, why can't you have her go for 4 days less and not miss any school at all?
gocats2002 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 02:34 AM
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Good answer, gocats2002.
BrimhamRocks is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 05:08 AM
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Some of the posters have hinted that freshman year itself may be a sticking point. It was in our household.

Our oldest begged us mid-ninth grade to end the family practice of leaving a few days prior to or after spring break to get reasonable airfares. We had to face up to the fact that missing even one day at her high school puts her behind tremendously.

It's not a matter of an unwillingness of the teachers or her to bridge the gap--it's the fact that there simply is not enough time to get caught up. Courses on that level don't run on a "on Tuesday, Nov. 11, we will learn..." schedule, either, so advance warning is of limited value to her and to them.

Student type? Straight A kid who loves to travel. Again, her teachers are wonderful, hard-working people and we have never experienced any resistance from school staff.

Jul 6th, 2003, 09:27 AM
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I think your plan is fine. I also think four days is not too much, and that the counselor setting up a meeting with all the teachers is also a great idea. There may well be things she could finish up before she leaves that would put her a couple of days ahead of her classmates, so that she doesn't miss out as much as one suspects. The math problem isn't going to be hurt by this four days...the best way to deal with that may be a tutor if after the first two weeks of school, she seems to be struggling. If it is a work habits problem...and often with math that is what it is...just doing homework with a friend who is a good student might be enough to help her out for the rest of her life.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 09:59 AM
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Two hap'orth from across the pond. Having seen the reference to the possibility that the young lady may soon study the Industrial Revolution in the U. K., then from Warwick you can and must visit Ironbridge in Shropshire. She will cover her whole course in the day you spend there. It is a World Heritage Site.
Frances is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 01:34 PM
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I took a week out of high school to go to Spain with a group from another school in my district. The first words out of my princpals mouth were "Unexcused Absense, she will flunk everything" My mom was so MAD! He refused to talk to her. So I went to each teacher and all but one of them were great. The one exception.... I dropped her class second semester. I did not need it to graduate was a good student and thought she was a "XXitch" anyway. I just took study hall, the only study hall I had in 4 years. The trip was much more educational then the week I missed trust me (In one class they were doing the EXACT same thing a week later!)
CarolLA is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 02:44 PM
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I hope Melissa H writes back in November and tells how it all went. We've all certainly fussed enough about her dilemma.
Jul 6th, 2003, 03:52 PM
Original Poster
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Yes, I will update everyone probably sooner than November as the meeting with the teachers will be mid-August. Depending on what the school policies are and teachers think will be our first hurdle.

Thanks everyone for your insight into a tough and delicate situation. Your responses have enlighten us in many ways.
MelissaH is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 04:04 PM
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I just re-read the responses and Melissa, you have started quite the interesting discussion! I had this additional thought:

No matter how beneficial travel might be in an informal sense, it might not be very valuable depending on the practical purposes to which a given student's education is going to be applied. For example, most college admission boards won't accept trip experience as a substitute for good marks in formal education, no matter how passionately we might make the case for travel as being educational. Boards, and for that matter, employers, must strive to compare candidates meaningfully, and thus they rely on education that can be defined and quantified in objective terms. Melissa's step-daughter is still a few years off from college, but it is possible that this might be what is troubling the child's mother: informal education is rarely accepted, rightly or wrongly, as a substitute for good marks made in the less exciting, but more universally recognizable school.

Good luck with your decision Melissa.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 04:15 PM
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Thanks for your reply, Melissa. I for one hope everything turns out for the best.
Jul 6th, 2003, 05:09 PM
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From all the thoughts and ideas posted, the one that makes the most sense (IMHO) is the one that states that the outcome of this scenario depends entirely on the child and the teachers. I don't think there is conclusive evidence that it is detrimental nor that it is certainly positive, but that it up to the effort(s) of those involved. A friend of mine took his son out of school for a week so they could travel to her country of origin to meet with relatives (a rare occasion when a large number of family members gathered at one location). The teacher told her there was not a thing she was planning to teach that week that could take the place of such an experience for her son. He worked extra hours upon return and was able to do both. I have to wonder about a school curriculum where a child will "messed up" her future academic life by not being physically present in a classroom for a week. Sounds more like neurotic parents to me.
Jul 6th, 2003, 05:48 PM
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Regarding a college looking more at grades than informal experience~ that simply is not true anymore. Yea you need good grades, but good grades alone are not enough. They are looking for interesting people. People who have done more in high school than stick their noses in books.

Like travel.

Joelleinitaly04 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 06:31 PM
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Many years ago when I was an exchange professor at a University in Germany for 3 months my kids were in elementary schools in the states. We arranged for weekly assignments to be mailed back to the local school on a weekly basis (no EMail then). In addition on their return they were to hand in a journal of their daily experiences. They were actually enrolled in a German school and our dealings with the principal were delightfull. They attended all the required classes, but were often used as a resource in the English classes. They enjoyed their experience and we appreciated the German system of required classes in the AM and elective classes in the PM. A trip to Europe is in itself an educational not to be missed. Talk to your teachers and make sure that you will assure all reguirements are met.
CharlieB is offline  

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