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Old 12-12-2012, 12:34 AM   #1
violetmonarch
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Having second thoughts about my family trip.

As I read through some threads about taking school-aged children out of class for a family vacation, I am hesitating taking our trip as planned...not because I fear that my middle-school aged daughter will have a hard time catching up with assignments, but rather because I feel I dont have the confidence to approach the teachers/principal about the subject.
I am single with two kiddos (ten years apart) and we have NEVER taken a vacation ANYWHERE, EVER! That said, this year has been a long, extremely stressful and emotionally taxing series of very unfortunate events. My thinking was that a good family trip, while being as educational as I can make it, would also serve as a shot of confidence or perhaps even just a reset that our little family needs.
Am I wrong for thinking that missing 5 school days are worth getting our family going off to a better start? I suppose that I am just putting this thought of mine out here for some feedback or maybe support.
If you have advice, I am happy to listen. Thanks so much for posting this exchange of information here&it does help to see what others go thru and their ideas.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:19 AM   #2
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We took my son (grade 6 now) out of school last Feb and again this past October for a DCL cruise. MR and Pixar. What little he missed he caught up on quite quickly but what he learned through all the different ports was priceless and would never be taught in school. In Mexico, he became interested in the ocean (beach and sea life he found while snorkeling. He wrote a report for school on it later. On the Pixar cruise, he learned about Alcatraz in San Francisco and the Muir Woods and redwood trees. Also about China Town and the street cars. Then about all the animals he saw in the San Diego Zoo. Again, he wrote reports based on this and decided to learn more about them because he saw them in person.

Funny thing that came up the other day. I was telling my mom about our trip and Lombard Street and how cool it was. My son then cut me off and proceeded to explain why the street was designed with the switchbacks to help vehicles (including horses carriages) with the steep slope.

Don't feel bad or stress. They will learn more on these trips than you might think.

And it will not only allow you all a great time, but may bring you closer as well. Enjoy the activities and the food!
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Old 12-12-2012, 03:50 AM   #3
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You are going to get mixed reviews on here. This can be a very hot topic, with strong opinions on both sides. That being said, do what is best for your family. Life is short and if this is what your family needs to restart, bond, laugh, cry, share, become a family unit again, etc DO IT without hesitation!! I have a child with medical issues, and for the most part he is great, but when he has a problem, the next step is a family vacation. We all need to de-stress and renew.

Good luck and enjoy yourself!
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:19 AM   #4
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It is a hard decision to make. But may family was also going through extremely hard times and I was set to have a complete and total nervous breakdown. So I took all the kids out of school and total they did miss about 5 days. I have 4 children ranged from 5 to 13. They don't get stupid in 5 days trust me. Life is too short. You need to get as much joy out of it as you can. My eldest developed a love of scuba diving. So now he is signed up for a trip to go for 3 weeks on a sailboat in the British Virgin Islands next year. He has to work on the ship, learn to sail and what not, to earn the time scuba diving to become certified. My younger son is now completely obsessed with marine life and ecology. My two youngest girls have completely conquered their fear of large crowds. It really is a truly amazing experience for all.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:30 AM   #5
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I was originally planning on taking my kids out of school the week after Thanksgiving for a DC, but chickened out and moved it to Easter week which is our Spring break because I am a single mom who works full time and didn't think I could handle getting two kids caught up. You don't seem to have that concern and it sounds like your daughter can handle missing a week. I would go.

Also, I'm in a very similar situation. Over the past several years a lot of major things in our lives have gone very, very wrong. I almost cancelled my Easter cruise after the last set of devastating news. But I ultimately decided that we needed this desperately to recharge, be away from the stress and chaos we've been through, and hopefully reset.

Good luck making a decision and I hope things improve for you and your family soon.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:43 AM   #6
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I took my son ,a middle schooler, out of school for 5 days to cruise. I emailed the principal and told him our plans. He did ask me to explain how the trip would be educating So I wrote a short essay about how he would learn about a different country and cultural. This was our trip to the Bahamas next yr we go on a western and will visit the Mayan ruins I can't wait to write that essay since ds is learning about the Mayans in school now.

I think family vacations are needed. Do what is best for your family. My boys have missed a wk of school every yr since preschool.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havaneselover View Post
I was originally planning on taking my kids out of school the week after Thanksgiving for a DC, but chickened out and moved it to Easter week which is our Spring break because I am a single mom who works full time and didn't think I could handle getting two kids caught up. You don't seem to have that concern and it sounds like your daughter can handle missing a week. I would go.

Also, I'm in a very similar situation. Over the past several years a lot of major things in our lives have gone very, very wrong. I almost cancelled my Easter cruise after the last set of devastating news. But I ultimately decided that we needed this desperately to recharge, be away from the stress and chaos we've been through, and hopefully reset.

Good luck making a decision and I hope things improve for you and your family soon.
It sounds like the best choice for you all as well. There's nothing like regrouping and forgetting everyday issues. Good luck to you all and I hope this affords some sort of relief to all. I know it did for my family and I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:06 AM   #8
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I just took my daughter out of 8th grade for 5 days. I told the school that we were going out of the country and she had to go with us and we were going to have a little family time. I also explained to her counselor some of the things we as a family are going through right now and that we needed the time together. Since she is a great student who rarely misses a day of school they had no problem. They just expected her to work hard to make up the work.

I was really hesitant to talk to the school also because I heard stories of schools not excusing the absence. But I went in and talked to the counselor and made my case.

You have to do what's right for your family. We had a great vacation together probably one of our best. We can out behind us our troubles and refocus on the future.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:50 AM   #9
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As a middle school teacher I am asked this quite often. In our state there are simple independent study procedures to set up ahead of time and work to turn in upon return. If I know about an absence ahead of time and some simple, honest explanation, I am able to be more flexible with required work and deadlines. As a vice principal, I never denied any independent study requests. Email the teachers and the school counselor and they will direct you to whoever manages these things at the school. Don't let nervousness to approach the school be the reason you don't go. Make your decision based on what's best for your family.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:04 AM   #10
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State laws differ....and some school personnel are obviously easier to deal with than others. That said, YOU are in the best position to make the right decisions for your family.

I took my DD out for a Panama Canal cruise. THe really funny thing was that the only teacher who objected was her geography teacher. The way this school set up parent/teacher conferences was that ALL the kid's teachers were in a room and the parents entered...each teacher said his/her piece while most of the others sat there. They were supposed to gain insight from what the other teachers said. Well, they hadn't seen THIS parent before. DD had made up all work and had all As. They basically went around the room saying good things (and I advocated for challenging her more). Then came Mr. Geography who expressed his disapproval of taking a kid out of school for a "family vacation." I asked him if he taught about the Panama Canal...Central America, etc and of course he said "yes." So I asked if he had ever seen them...and didn't he think it would make a bigger impact on a student to SEE starving animals than to read that the average per capita income in a country was X? To SEE the water come up and go down in relation to the windows in the dining room than to read about how locks work? To realize that it took a whole day to traverse the canal rather than to read it was X miles long? Those facts and figures mean NOTHING to a kid--they are just stuff to be memorized. Seeing and experiencing is real learning. The funny part was Ms. English behind him cheering me on.

If your child is a good student, go for it. And remember, YOU are responsible for YOUR child, not the government or the school system.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdwimmer View Post
It sounds like the best choice for you all as well. There's nothing like regrouping and forgetting everyday issues. Good luck to you all and I hope this affords some sort of relief to all. I know it did for my family and I am thankful to God for giving me the opportunity.
Thanks for the kind encouragement. Sometimes a week away from chores and deadlines is so important. I am very close to where you were at. And the thought of seven days on the Fantasy with my children (and my mom) is one of the few glimmers of hope I have right now.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:21 AM   #12
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If your child is a good student, go for it. And remember, YOU are responsible for YOUR child, not the government or the school system.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:21 AM   #13
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We are taking our middle school son, as well as our two elementary children out for 5 days in January. And we've done this almost every year since they've been in school.

I also hate confrontation so I find communicating by email is easier. We did mention it to the teachers during conferences in October, and next week before Christmas break I will send an email with specifics and ask them what we can be doing.

I try and let them know we will do as much as possible to help them catch up. I think letting the teachers know you are willing to be flexible as far as doing work ahead of time, taking work with you or doing it when you return is helpful.

Go and enjoy!!! I was taken out of school a week every year as a child to go WDW and I can tell you the memories I have FAR exceed any negatives of missing school!!
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:51 AM   #14
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OP--if you are nervous to talk to the teachers/principle, I'd suggest sending a letter. Not asking permission to go, but rather telling them the dates your daughter will be gone. Ask what your daughter can do to make this time easier on them--i.e. complete assignments early, read while on the cruise, etc. If you ask them for permission, they might try to talk you out of it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:00 AM   #15
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Go for It!

I say go for it! We have also taken children out of school to go to Disney World. I would just make sure though that you question/ask if any work missed will be counted or marked as zeros. This can be a major problem, especially at the High School Level. Spend time with and love your family they will remember forever the fun time you had together.

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