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Should You Take Your Kids Out of School for Vacation?

by Susan Finch

Sep 6, 2018

© Lina Moiseienko | Dreamstime.com

Travel Tips

You’re dreaming of that big family vacation to the mountains to cool off, discovered a perfect getaway on a quiet beach or finally found a decent price to indulge in Disney without taking out a small loan to do it. The only problem is your own schedule and vacation time just doesn’t align with your kids. Now what? Should you take your kids out of school for vacation or just let it be and find another time? Here’s what to know before you buy those non-refundable tickets.


Check the School Policy

When you were a kid, it probably wasn’t a big deal if your parents took you out of school for vacations on a whim. Maybe they had the foresight to think about upcoming tests or exams, but otherwise a family vacation was a totally reasonable excuse to miss school and no one really questioned it.


That’s not the case anymore. Now school districts have strict policies on how many unexcused absences your child can have, and may even have the right to report as little as six absences to social services. And no, an excused absence isn’t the parents decided a vacation was necessary. You may find it excusable as a parent, but the school district may think otherwise.


Talk to the Teacher

If your school is amenable to a family vacation, talk to the teacher. Find out what kind of work will be missed and how it may impact your child. Will key learning be missed that will impact exams? Will the class be covering challenging material that could prove difficult to catch up on? Can the teacher send along homework your kids can do in the car or plane?


The teacher may also have ideas on how to pace ahead to stay on top of work or make recommendations and resources on staying ahead. The more you loop the teacher into the mix, the easier it will be for your child to get the needed support.


Strategize the Routine

Some kids just absolutely thrive on routine and feel lost without it. Long absences from school can prove challenging at best, and drive parents crazy in the process. Although the importance of routine shouldn’t make or break the vacation, it should be weighed carefully with the other pros and cons on your list.


If you ultimately decide the trade-off is worth it, try to keep the kids on a similar wake-up and bedtime schedule. Go ahead and add in some flexibility and loosen up a little to really unwind. But keeping on top of the sleep routine helps your kids hit the ground running when it’s time to head back to school.


Consider the Struggles

Before booking that family vacation, stop and consider where the struggles for your children lie. If they’re receiving special services for speech, reading, math or beyond, they may fall behind on valuable instruction. It might also be worth trying to work a vacation around a school break or include weekend time to reduce the amount of time away.


Of course, the real struggle could also be a strict school schedule followed with an overload of activities with little breathing room. A family vacation and break from the grind could be just what you and your kids really need.


What do you think? Would you take your kids out of school for vacation?


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