Taking kids out of school for vacations — The Bump
Pre-School

Taking kids out of school for vacations

Have you or would you take your kids out of school for a family vacation? 

DH and I are hoping to take the kids to Disney next year and are torn about timing. Unfortunately, summer is a really busy time for DH at work and he wouldn't be able to take the time off so we're thinking about October. However, DS will be in Kindergarten by then and we'd have to pull him out for a few days. DH doesn't see it as a big deal (it's "only" kindergarten etc) but I just don't know how I feel about it.

 
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Re: Taking kids out of school for vacations

  • I say do it.  Family vacations are important- once they're in elementary school, they are gone 7.5 hours a day.  That time to connect as a whole family unit is important.  As a child, I missed a week every year for family vacation every year and those times together shaped who I am as a mom, daughter, sister now as an adult.   School is important, but you never know what the future holds and if the opportunity will be there again or soon.

    It will be so easy to fall in the rat race, school, homework, ballet, tae kwon do, laundry, dinner, and to miss out on that bonding time.  If that's how it works best for your family, do it!

    If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.

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  • As a former teacher, I am against pulling kids out for vacations...however, if you ARE going to do it, it's best at kindergarten or elementary age rather than middle or high school when the work load is heavier and it's harder to make things up.
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  • I say no big deal at this age. K-12 I would be more inclined to say no.
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  • I personally will not pull my kids out of school for vacation, but I know other people have different opinions on this. I grew up in a district that did not allow it (absences for vacation were considered truancy and if a family did so multiple times it would be reported to the police) so that set my attitude about it. I figure that school is only 180 days per year and we will find a way to work around it even if it's not easy or we simply won't go away.

    I might make an exception for a once in a lifetime opportunity, such as when I missed a week of school in 7th grade to go with my church to build houses for the poor with habitat for humanity. That time we got permission from the principal in advance because it was a charitable trip and was only being offered that one time. Aside from something like that my kids will not miss school for vacation.

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  • I don't think it's a big deal. I would talk to your child's teacher and principle just to make sure they don't have restrictions . For our family we will have to take vacations during the school year there is no other options since my hubby is the manager of a motel and has to work the summer months and spring break ect.. Now because of this we won't be taking vacations every year they will be years and years apart .
  • I think it is fine. My parents did this with my brothers and I from Kinder through high school and it was never an issue. It helped when we were in high school that we were very good students so we never really behind in our studies when we came back. In kinder and for just a few days I wouldn't give it a second thought.
  • We took DD out for two long weekends for family events, but we contacted the teacher and asked that missed work be sent with us.

    Before you make plans, though, check the school's unexcused absence policy. ZSome have a limit, while others have a no tolerance policy. For our district, if a child is absent for 5 straight days without an excuse, they are considered truant and by law a hearing is required.

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  • imageSpin313:
    As a former teacher, I am against pulling kids out for vacations...however, if you ARE going to do it, it's best at kindergarten or elementary age rather than middle or high school when the work load is heavier and it's harder to make things up.
    I am not a teacher however this was my initial thought when i read your post.
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  • I am not against taking the kids out at all.  But I would try to do it when they already have 1 or 2 days off that week.  So for me it would have to be a month that has some vacation days already.
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  • I'm in between on this - I wouldn't make a habit of missing school to go on vacation, but its OK on a limited basis.  I don't think I'd probaby miss a week at the beginning of kindergarten unless it was absolutley unavoidable. 

    I'd rather give DD a chance to get comfortable at school and with her new teacher & classmates.  If you really need to go during the school year, I'd go after the holidays.

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  • We actually did exactly this in Sept.  My DD had just started pre-k.  I did ask the school and their opinion was that as long as kids stay caught up with schoolwork (which is not an issue at such a young age) then family trips are also important and they can learn a lot from them.  I personally don't think it's a big deal as long as they aren't stressed out by missing school (again more of an issue as they get older and start having more work). 

    However, I will say that now that I see how much school they miss for scheduled in-service days, breaks, holidays, etc., that I have to cover with childcare anyway, I'm a lot more likely to try to do it during that time.

     But we spent my DD's 5th bday at DW and it was awesome.  Just this morning she said "Do you remember when we went to Disneyworld?  That was so much fun!"  This age is completely precious and it's a magical experience for them.

  • While we don't vacation much, this is something we will likely do.  My DH's work is basically busy from December-August.  If we ever want to go to Disney, we will have to go in the fall.  We don't have the option to do 'summer vacations' or even something over Christmas.  I have heard that it gets harder as they get older, have more homework & such, for me doing it in elementary is NBD.  As long as you're not pulling them out 3x/year to do vaca, I think it's fine.  And really, even if I didn't have my DH's schedule to consider, I think I'd still pull my kids out to do a "big" trip like Disney in a less busy time of the year. 
  • My kids are in PreK and Kindy and this year, we did pull the kids out for a Disney Trip.  Our schools are closed every Oct for MEA for 2 days and a lot of families travel that week or part of the week so they were far from the only kids to miss.  They missed a Friday and then Mon-Wed of the next week and school was closed Th-Fri.  I am not typically one to pull my kids out of school for trips like this but in all honestly, they are in kindy and PreK - its really OK.  As they get older, I would not do this as then they are missing more that is harder to make up but at this point, I feel like its fine.  My sister pulled her kids out for a week trip to Israel (3rd grade, 4th grade and 6th grade) and had no issue as it was a very educational trip.  I think the type of trip and ages of kids makes a huge difference in what I would do.
    Jenni Mom to DD#1 - 6-16-06 DD#2 - 3-13-08 
  • rsd12rsd12 member
    We have not taken our kids out of school for vacation and do not plan on doing it. I don't even like scheduling doctors appointments during school, and try to schedule important ones at the beginning or at the end of the school day.

    I did take my oldest out of preschool for two full weeks after one of his surgeries, and may have to do something like that again when he is in 2nd grade and I am not happy he will miss school.
    Boy 1 2/06 - Boy 2 12/07 - Boy 3 9/09
  • I'm not a fan of taking kids out of school for vacation. I just don't see how it's a good idea for them to miss being in class - even at a young age there are things that are easier for them to learn from direct instruction over just doing the work the teacher sends home. The only exception I can see making is to travel for a family event - baptisms, weddings, that kind of stuff.

    Of course, in our case it's not really an option anyway, because DH is a teacher and can't just take off whenever, so that might skew my opinion a bit.  

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  • imagecmeon_the_water:
    Sure, October is a muuuch better time of year for Disney than the summer, for many reasons. I honestly think school is important- but, not so important that you can't take a week or so off in a year for family things.

    This. Especially when kids are this young. Do it. Family memories are important too. And don't let the school send him with a ton of "homework."


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  • DS is in Kindergarten this year and we are taking advantage that it is "only" Kindergarten and he is in halfday and Kindergarten is not compulsory in our state. Most importantly DS is ahead in his class so I had less worry. Many will cringe but he is missing 4 days for Hong Kong and 4 days for Disney. He also missed one day for seeing NYC before Christmas and I think 3 sick days and he will miss another day next week. I am glad that we are doing these vacations although I will say that after the sick days I cringe at how the school is going to look at this because I have no real idea. But I will never plan more than one week of vacation again in the future but there is a chance we will miss a week every year for Disney because my almost 77yo Mom has a timeshare and as long as she go Disney we will likely go with her.
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • Thanks everyone, I appreciate your feedback! As far as I can tell the district doesn't have a set policy on non-medical absences. This would be our only WDW trip until the kids are much older (probably late elementary school or later) and we don't plan to make this an every year kind of thing. We talked about it last night and agreed that if we do it, we'll try and plan it around Columbus weekend so he would only miss a few days or try and push it to Easter break if DHs schedule allows.
     
  • KL777KL777 member

    At the kindergarten level, I think it's a personal decision.  I however, have no intentions of pulling my upcoming kindergartner out of school for a vacation when he starts K in late Aug (funeral, yes).  I would have to make the vacation work around DH's job availability during the non-school part of the year.

    However, I do pull DS out of school now in Pre-Kindergarten once every other week (out of a 5 day school week) and we do fun things together each time.  I don't feel bad about it because I know there are many Pre-Kindergarten schools that are only two or three days per week.

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  • imageSpin313:
    As a former teacher, I am against pulling kids out for vacations...however, if you ARE going to do it, it's best at kindergarten or elementary age rather than middle or high school when the work load is heavier and it's harder to make things up.

    I'm a teacher and I don't understand this argument.  While I may "only" teach elementary school this is the age where the foundation is laid so that students can be successful in middle/high school. 

    I teach 4th grade and missing a week is a lot.  Could I send worksheets home for your child to do?  Sure.  But your child missed the hands on activities, the class discussion, the review, etc that went along with those worksheets your child is doing.  Nothing I send home can recreate that.

    **I promise I'm not being snarky Wink Elementary always gets dumped on Wink

    Also, FWIW, I'm not required by my district/school to send any work home for an enexcused absence. 

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  • I would ABSOLUTELY do it and can't believe how many people wouldn't. Seriously?? Family memories from that trip last way longer than whatever the kid misses in a few days of school. AND, I think it's a problem in our society that a kid can't miss a few days of elementary school without having tons of homework and being "behind."
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  • I wouldn't-definitely not later than kindergarten though. I am a teacher, and in my district teachers do not have to allow work to be sent home for planned days off.  Some of colleagues, have kids constantly in and out of vacation all the time-sometimes 3 or 4 different kids at different times in a month.  It is a ton of catch up-tests, chasing down missed homework, bringing them up to speed. And those don't include kids that are llegitimate sick. One teacher was telling me that she didn't have a full class since the winter break!

    But also, as a teacher I have to schedule my vacations around the hottest/busiest/most crowded times.  

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  • I personally wouldn't do it.  There are so many days off during a school year, that I personally I would find a long weekend where you could go then.

    Also, you never know how often your child may be sick throughout the year.  So, a family vacation in October may be fine, but what happens in November -March when it is cold and flu season?  A few days here and a few days there adds up quickly. 

     

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  • imagecmeon_the_water:
    The OP is talking about KINDERGARTEN, here. If we're really living in a society where you can't take your 5yo to Disney for a week in the middle of the school year because IT WILL SET THEN BACK!!!!, I'm just done with it all.

    I think I'm biased because I grew up in a teaching family and I teach high school math.  And it's been a long week.  So, I will apologize in advance for my comment.

    However, your comment makes it sound like Disney is more important than school.  I don't care the age; school should be the first priority.  I agree with the elementary teacher as well.  They miss out on so much in class material when they are out of class.  It makes a huge difference.  And I think that idea begins in kindergarten.  You need to make it known that school is important to your kids...unless it's not, of course.

    I absolutely hate when my students miss an entire week for a trip.  It's so hard to make up that much math (and you can't really teach it to yourself) and keep up with your current work.  At least in kindergarten your parents could help you with the concepts, but still.  A week of school is so much to miss.

    I really can't believe everyone who says it's not a big deal. Well, actually I can from the number of students I have that miss. 

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  • Even though it is ONLY kindergarten---and maybe they won't be missing as many concepts, but the routine of school/transitions will be off--especially in the early part of the year as well. 

    Plus if you take a week in the fall--and then your child gets sick for a week or a few days here and there--that may be already 2 full weeks of school that they missed, and some of that could of been avoided.  

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  • I personally wouldn't do it.  I'm really weird about missing school and probably a little too uptight about this, though. 

    DD is in kindergarten and has many days off throughout the school year (not just summer) so I schedule vacations during those times.  Plus, her school doesn't allow many personal absent days and I would hate to use those up on vacation if there was an actual family issue that required her to miss school.  It does suck to have to wait in long lines and and go on trips when vacation destinations are much busier. 

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  • imagecmeon_the_water:
    The OP is talking about KINDERGARTEN, here. If we're really living in a society where you can't take your 5yo to Disney for a week in the middle of the school year because IT WILL SET THEN BACK!!!!, I'm just done with it all.

    Kindergarten is not pre-school. It's regular school.  Its' there for a reason.   So, I personally don't think it should be missed, especially for a vacation.  

    But then again, I teach first grade and see kids coming in behind and then have to try and catch them up.  So, yeah.

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  • I am also a fourth grade teacher...and I would not do it.  People are killing me when they are saying that it is "just Kindergarten" and to make sure you don't let the teachers give them too much make-up work.  Like it is fun for teachers to put together seperate activities for students who are going to be absent so they can try to keep up and not fall behind!  BUT beyond all that, I think from the get-go you should be instilling a love of learning in your child and a desire to go to school each day.  By pulling them out of school, you are modeling to them that it is not that important.  I understand that one week when they are in kindergarten is not a huge deal, but I would not make it a pattern. 

  • imagejk43008:

    I am also a fourth grade teacher...and I would not do it.  People are killing me when they are saying that it is "just Kindergarten" and to make sure you don't let the teachers give them too much make-up work.  Like it is fun for teachers to put together seperate activities for students who are going to be absent so they can try to keep up and not fall behind!  BUT beyond all that, I think from the get-go you should be instilling a love of learning in your child and a desire to go to school each day.  By pulling them out of school, you are modeling to them that it is not that important.  I understand that one week when they are in kindergarten is not a huge deal, but I would not make it a pattern

    This.  Thank you.   I tried think of how to say this, and just couldn't come up with it. 

     

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  • imageNicoleWI:
    I would ABSOLUTELY do it and can't believe how many people wouldn't. Seriously?? Family memories from that trip last way longer than whatever the kid misses in a few days of school. AND, I think it's a problem in our society that a kid can't miss a few days of elementary school without having tons of homework and being "behind."

    This! I was dying a little inside reading these responses!
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  • imagecmeon_the_water:

    I don't expect most public teachers to be thrilled with a child missing school for any reason at all, and I don't see any fault in that- but, family time is at least as important as school time, and valuing school above all else is not something I will ever get behind.

    And FWIW, we're paying for private school- clearly we find some value in formal education. ;)

    I have taught in both public and private schools and I still don't think its a good idea. 

    ;)

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  • Also do you really understand how much is missed in an entire week?    Not just homework wise, but entire parts of units?

    I had a girl that was sick for a week and she missed our entire experiment and data analysis of our science fair project.  The Science fair is next week and she has no idea what we did, how we did it or what the results were.   I can tell her, but she still doesn't "get it" and she just sits there looking lost when we work on our presentation boards and our presentations

    And I teach 1st grade.  Not high school. 

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  • I don't see a problem with it at all.We are taking DS out of school for 6 school days in may to go to Disney.  I wouldn't do it multiple times per year or do it every year, but once in a while, I see no problem with it.
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  • imagecmeon_the_water:
    imageali0608:

    imagecmeon_the_water:
    The OP is talking about KINDERGARTEN, here. If we're really living in a society where you can't take your 5yo to Disney for a week in the middle of the school year because IT WILL SET THEN BACK!!!!, I'm just done with it all.

    I think I'm biased because I grew up in a teaching family and I teach high school math.  And it's been a long week.  So, I will apologize in advance for my comment.

    However, your comment makes it sound like Disney is more important than school.  I don't care the age; school should be the first priority.  I agree with the elementary teacher as well.  They miss out on so much in class material when they are out of class.  It makes a huge difference.  And I think that idea begins in kindergarten.  You need to make it known that school is important to your kids...unless it's not, of course.

    I absolutely hate when my students miss an entire week for a trip.  It's so hard to make up that much math (and you can't really teach it to yourself) and keep up with your current work.  At least in kindergarten your parents could help you with the concepts, but still.  A week of school is so much to miss.

    I really can't believe everyone who says it's not a big deal. Well, actually I can from the number of students I have that miss. 

    I live in Orlando- Disney is not more important to me than kindergarten. A week of family time very well MAY be, though- particularly when family is unable to vacation during the summer or other breaks from school. The idea that 5yos should be denied a fun family vacation, simply because they'd miss a few days of kindergarten, is just absolutely absurd to me.

    I know that having a child's butt in their seat is very important for school funding, that not having it there presents some challenges for their teacher, but, no-fun-only-work should not start at 5. 

    I have a Kindergartener. We haven't taken a vacation that caused him to miss school- we don't need to. We sure have taken him out for a beach day here and there, though- and suffice it to say that his education hasn't suffered. ;)

    As I said previously I do not think a week vacation is a big deal as long as the child is doing well.  And I agree with cmeon, Disney certainly is not more important but family time is.  And there are families that cannot take off during the summer so for some teachers to say that they have to take vacation during the summer so should everyone else (not just the OP but others IRL) is a little short-sided, that is assuming all families have the entire summer off to take a vacation at the date of their choosing, teachers are not the only ones that have their vacation days dictated to them.  Also some people can afford a vacation during the year and cannot possible do it if they had to pay summer prices.

    As a parent I (with DH) have decided this year when DS is in Kindergarten that vacations with grandparents, including a trip to Hong Kong to see my FIL that the kids have only met 3 times, is more important than class time.  I have a teaching degree, school is extremely important to me but so is family.  And I know that my son will miss stuff in class, and DD in preschool too, but I have already told the teacher if there is anything she would like us to work on or if she would like to send him with class or homework we will have it all completed.  He will also hand in his monthly and weekly homework before we leave, we leave on a Tuesday and in the morning before we leave I will drop off his weekly homework assigned the day before.  We will bring books for the kids to read and to read to the kids.  And they will be exposed to so many things that they could never learn in a classroom including the little Cantonese that they have learned in anticipation of the trip.

    And for Disney we have booked the Behind the Seeds Tour because DS wants to learn more about the greenhouse stuff, it is not elementary school and his class and I truly hope his teacher understands because it is not a reflection at all on our feelings about school.  Then again he would not be reading and adding/subtracting at the level he does if we did not care about his education.

    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • imageKdgTeacher:

    imageSpin313:
    As a former teacher, I am against pulling kids out for vacations...however, if you ARE going to do it, it's best at kindergarten or elementary age rather than middle or high school when the work load is heavier and it's harder to make things up.

    I'm a teacher and I don't understand this argument.&nbsp; While I may "only" teach elementary school this is the age where the foundation is laid so that students can be successful in middle/high school.&nbsp;


    I teach 4th grade and missing a week&nbsp;is a lot.&nbsp; Could I send worksheets home for your child to do?&nbsp; Sure.&nbsp; But your child missed the hands on activities, the class discussion, the review,&nbsp;etc that went along with those worksheets your child is doing.&nbsp; Nothing I&nbsp;send home&nbsp;can recreate that.


    **I promise I'm not being snarky Wink Elementary always gets dumped on Wink


    Also, FWIW, I'm not required by my district/school to send any work home for an enexcused absence.&nbsp;


    I'm not trying to minimize the importance of elementary school, honest! As I said, I'm not for kids being pulled out for vacations, especially for an entire week. The basis of my comment is really that parents are USUALLY more able to help their kids catch up in Elementary...it becomes harder for parents and children as the workload is larger and more complex. I know I could help my kids with reading and basic math, but I'll have to get them a tutor if they struggle with math and science in high school...I just suck at that stuff!

    But when kids are pulled out, regardless of the level, they are missing valuable instruction, review, hands on practice, etc, and that just can't be made up. And, it's especially unfair to teachers to dump more on their workload in order to make up for someone's week of fun.
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  • I used to be more by the book than this...I am a RTI teacher.

    This year I had a PreK4 & 2nd grader.  We took 2.5 days off to go to a wedding in November--my brother's wedding.  My kids were in the wedding.   I spoke the kids teacher's both were A-OK with them going (as well as my employer--different district). I offered to make up any missed work.   In PreK, there is no "grading."  My second grader has managed all A's this year. She also won 4th in the science fair.   She knows how important school is.   She hasn't missed any other days.   My PreK son has missed three additional days--1 illness; 2 for day surgery.  I really don't count family events (weddings, funerals, etc) as an unexcused absence, even if the school does.  

    On the other hand, next year, we will miss 3 days for Disney in November.   I think this will be the last  (only?) year that will pull out without discretion.  In 3rd-8th, state testing begins.  In 5th grade (in Texas), its a retention year if you don't pass STAAR.  I really don't ever see my DD struggling with this but...I could see my second son struggling.  Then again, we are not there yet...he could mature...

    As a teacher, we are only allowed to miss 3 days (at a time) and of course, not go over the amount of banked days we have.   

    I think you can miss a few days and still teach to your child how important school is.   But just because your in school, your child should also know how important family is.... 


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  • imagecmeon_the_water:
    I know that having a child's butt in their seat is very important for school funding, that not having it there presents some challenges for their teacher, but, no-fun-only-work should not start at 5. 

    I have a Kindergartener. We haven't taken a vacation that caused him to miss school- we don't need to. We sure have taken him out for a beach day here and there, though- and suffice it to say that his education hasn't suffered. ;)

    Forget funding and challenges for me, how about when your child** comes back and is frustrated/in tears because they realize that we didn't stop school because they left and they see that learning has moved on and built upon what they missed and that are now tasked with catching up from what they missed and keeping up with what we're doing now. 

    Also, "a day here and there" is different than 5+ days in a row.

    **I mean a general child

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  • Wow. I really didn't mean for this to start such a debate Embarrassed

    And for the record, I wasn't meaning to diminish the importance of kindergarten or school in general - I worked in education prior to kids and know how valuable the class time is at every level which is why this is such a debate for me and DH. But we've talked at leangth about this over the past 2 days and the reality is we really can't take a true vacation during the summer. It's just not possible (and no, it's not b/c we want to avoid crowds as some have implied). So if we need to pull our kid of of half day Kindergarten for 3 days so that we can have some fun as a family, so be it.

     
  • imageKdgTeacher:
    imagecmeon_the_water:
    I know that having a child's butt in their seat is very important for school funding, that not having it there presents some challenges for their teacher, but, no-fun-only-work should not start at 5.&nbsp;

    I have a Kindergartener. We haven't taken a vacation that caused him to miss school- we don't need to. We sure have taken him out for a beach day here and there, though- and suffice it to say that his education hasn't suffered. ;)



    Forget funding and challenges for me,&nbsp;how about when&nbsp;your child**&nbsp;comes back and&nbsp;is frustrated/in tears&nbsp;because they realize that we didn't stop school because they left and they see that&nbsp;learning has moved on and built upon what they missed and that are now tasked with catching up from what they missed and keeping up with what we're doing now.&nbsp;


    Also, "a day here and there" is different than 5+ days in a row.


    **I mean a general child


    I should probably follow Cmeon and not comment but what could possibly be happening that a Kindergartener comes back after a week vacation and they miss so much that they are crying over it? Or even 4th grade? Are we talking about kids that are totally on target or ahead and not struggle? I can all but promise that my Kindergartener is going to be so excited to go back to school after vacation and will not be crying over the missed days although he really does not like missing school.
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • DS will be in Kindergarten next fall and we are taking him out of school for a week for a Disneyland Trip. When he is in Junior high/High school we will probably not do it as often but I think its fine.
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