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Old 01-08-2013, 06:54 PM   #91
hrhdhd
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Originally Posted by barbja99 View Post
I live in Texas. The party line that they send to you in the "policies" every year is "the children aren't learning if they aren't here" blah blah. Well, ya, that's true. However, my mother was an attendance secretary at an elementary school for a lot of years and she gave me the skinny: the school gets paid from the state for how many students that they have. They get paid on a day to day basis based on the number of students that they have at 9am. If a kid isn't there, they don't get paid. If a kid is late, they don't get paid. You can see that THEY have a vested interest in making sure that your kid is at their school. They aren't being completely altruistic.

Oh, and now they are instituting REVERSE tardies (at least they did last year in his elementary school -- I don't know if they are in his middle school now). You get a tardy if you pick up your kid from school early without a valid excuse. Geez.
Of course a school has a vested interest in making sure kids are in school. And because they are paid with taxpayers' money, I, as a taxpayer, am perfectly fine with that.
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Princess Ruby 11/14 Western Caribbean, RCCL Brilliance 05/15 Transatlantic

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HAL Zuiderdam 08/05 Western Caribbean, HAL Westerdam 12/05 Eastern Caribbean, HAL Westerdam 12/06 Western Caribbean, Princess Dawn 05/07 Alaska, HAL Westerdam 12/07 Eastern Caribbean, Princess Island 12/08 Panama Canal, HAL Ryndam 11/09 Western Caribbean, HAL Westerdam 01/10 Southern Caribbean, HAL Westerdam 12/10 Southern Caribbean, Disney Magic 05/11 Transatlantic, Princess Emerald 12/11 Southern Caribbean, Azamara Quest 10/12 Sicily / Malta, Princess Emerald 11/12 Eastern Caribbean, HAL Eurodam 03/13 Eastern Caribbean, Azamara Quest 08/13 Northern Europe, HAL Eurodam 11/13 Western Caribbean
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:59 PM   #92
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Will the state be mad at me? Perhaps, but I'm doing what's best for my kiddo . --Katie
FWIW, I have always found the Disney parks to have amazing therapeutic value for my son with special needs and really for the entire family. I'm looking forward to seeing if the cruise has the same effect on us all.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:06 PM   #93
carolinamom
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We also miss on occasion for illness, vacations, etc. our school in SC has a consistent district-wide policy. A missed day for illness requires a doctors note. That is the only "excused" absence. We are limited to 5 excused and 5 unexcused absences a year. Unexcused means a child has missed a day- they're still requiring documentation as to why- for anything other then a doctor-excused illness.
Our system is also based on the high incidence of negligent parents, and school funding is tied to attendance level.
I volunteer (only parent in the class who does), I always notify the teacher of upcoming absences, and my kids do their make up work before anything else.
Our last Disney trip, we missed 2 or 3 days, but the written work took about 8 hours for my 3rd grader to complete.
Bottom line: I used to be paranoid about missing school. A few years ago, my son missed 23 days the same year he skipped a grade (missed due to heart surgery...and vacation). Now I don't stress. I try to minimize the inconvenience to the teacher, sure. And every year I get called in to fill out an action plan with the principal. But as long as my children are socially and academically successful, I will continue to take family vacations and sometimes they will miss school.
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:42 PM   #94
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I am a teacher (kinder and recently first) and I am always fine with it (but why is it always the nice quiet kids who go on a two week vacation- can I suggest a "friend" to take with you ) One thing to note though in my district we are a) not allowed to give out work ahead of time and the child has the same amount of time to complete work when returned and b) if you miss 10 consecutive days without a doctor's note, you are disenrolled and have to re-enroll at the district office- which is a pain because it is like 30 minutes from my school, but we are at opposite ends of the district. Technically, you *could* be placed in a different class upon re-enrollment, but I have never known this to actually happen.
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:12 PM   #95
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Lets call a spade a spade...you are not learning a ton at Disney or on most vacations.

As a home schooling family, I feel like my kids learn a lot on most of our vacations. I think it is fine to take kids out of school (and I have in the past when mine were in school) as long as they aren't failing classes because of it!

Kids DO learn on vacation, if you do it right.

I will use these examples (I could think of PAGES of vacation learning experiances, these are just a FEW):

-Epcot is built around hundreds of educational topics!!! All you have to do is show up and have fun- kids learn while having fun, it is better to learn hands on and having FUN...just because it is fun doesn't mean it cannot be educational!

The living with the land tour- we've done it twice. My entire family learned more through that tour than a person ever would by opening up a book. They learned about plants, life cycles (plants AND animals), fish- animal habitats...(this covered 2 sections of our state ciriculum and I tested them on it when we got home- they passed with flying colors!)

They don't have the resources in school to teach things like that in our area!

-The spaceship earth ride, a TON of history. I even found that it covered parts of the state ciriculum. Try teaching THAT all in a fun way.

-Innoventions- education and fun all in one!

-Carousel of Progress is a great show that teaches all ages about the history of how things developed over several years. They've learned things about the progress of technology, about the different ways of life. Sure, it's fun to watch- but there are added pieces of info. that you can't get in a fun way in the classroom...

-My girls learned more about the presidents from MK than they ever would care to in school- plus it made them want to learn more when they were in the Hall of Presidents. (once again, also part of our state ciriculum)

And that is just Disney World alone.

We went on a trip to Washington D.C. and if you say THAT'S not educational, you've never been there like we have. The same year that my 8 year old was learning about the smithsonian in class, we went there and it was 1,000 times better to learn from it in person than a picture on the page! We also toured the monuments and it opened up their desire to want to learn more about history. (U.S. history, also covered in our state ciriculum)

On a cruise...well sure, there is LESS to learn there. BUT, in school they barely touch the history of other countries and cultures. By GOING to other places, they learn about their cultures, parts of their history.

We are doing a dolphin education and swim (animal/marine life also a part of our state ciriculum). I know, that's mostly fun...But They will learn MUCH MORE doing that than they would sitting in a classroom and watching a 20 minute video clip of someone else doing it. They have an entire unit at school based upon water/marine mamals. I bet they'll forget 1/2 of what they learn about that unit in school. I can tell you that my girls will have a hard time forgetting it, because they experianced it.

-we've gone to sea world- which is packed with education about animals and conservation. Yeah, it's fun- but my girls got hands on education as well. (earth conservation, animal education, all part of our state ciriculum)

-Every time we go to a different state, we make it a point to learn about the state and do things while we're there that teach about the state. (learning the U.S.A. states, part of our ciriculum AND the added bonus that they'll remember the history and culture of those states I think that makes them even smarter!)

I could go on and on and on with more of my thoughts on this subject, but I think you get where I'm coming from.

It all depends on how you work out your vacations. Sure, many families go and their kids learn nothing BUT how important it is to have family time! And, even if that's all that happens, it's still a great time!!! But, vacations CAN BE VERY EDUCATIONAL and FUN all at the same time. Most times, it's the best way for kids to learn certain things- because they are having the time of their lives while they are learning...and sometimes they don't even KNOW how much they ARE learning while on a vacation.
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Feb/March 2013...FIRST CRUISE (certainly NOT the last!)...July 2012, 4 nights Paridise Pier Disneyland...Sept. 2011, 4 nights pop century 3 nights AKL...March 2011, 11 nights pop century on dinning plan...May 2010, 8 nights all-inclusive Dreams Cabo...December 2010, 5 nights-Royal Pacific Universal resort...October 2009, 5 nights Wilderness Lodge...February 2009, 10 nights split between pop century and animal kingdom lodge...December 2007, 7 nights pop century

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Old 01-09-2013, 07:21 AM   #96
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Panmm-
Way to go!! My family vacations as a child were always very educational too. I realize now that it requires a big commitment from the parents to make this happen- kudos to you for doing it right!!
An aside- our dolphin encounter a few years back at Atlantis was much more educational then I would have expected! The emphasis was on preservation and keeping folks informed re the species, so you might luck out!
Enjoy!
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:46 AM   #97
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Did anybody's school give you grief for pulling your kids out of school for a week?
My kids school used to give me problems about it. Now they just say, "When are you leaving this year?" This is the charter school that my youngest goes to.
My middle child switched to public school and apparently her teacher said something to her about it being inappropriate to miss school for Disney. Not knowing about that conversation, I called the teacher and was telling her that I was so excited to have special time with my child. How important it was that I was able to get to know her as a person and get to understand her likes and dislikes. More important than that, how much fun it was going to be just to laugh with her. She never said anything to my child again about missing school.

I think people that are militant about school are fine. I know a lot of parents that are like that. I just happen to put a bigger emphasis on my personal relationships with my children. I'm not saying that people who are militant about school don't have a relationship with their children either. (Don't misconstrue that statement) In the end, I think it's up to the parent to decide what works best for their family.

I had a trip scheduled to Paris two years ago during April. In Dec, two weeks before Christmas, but the same school year, my father died suddenly. I pulled them out for the two weeks, then again for Paris. We had a treasure hunt in the Louvre, we had a private guided kids tour walking the streets of Paris. We saw the part of the original boarder wall of Paris. These are things they will never learn in a classroom, but are not any less important.

I have run across both teachers that are extremely supportive of taking the kids to Disney and other countries during school, and run into teachers that are very much against taking kids out. The best people to talk to are retired teachers. I was talking to two retired teachers from Pennsylvania when I was in New Zealand this past summer. She said when she was a teacher, she would have been frustrated with a parent taking their kids out of school. Now that she is older and wiser, she would encourage it. It's all about perspective and everyone is going to have a different view, opinion, or angle to look at it.

Bottom line, do what you feel is best for your family Regardless of what anyone else thinks or believes.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:16 AM   #98
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No one really says anything about it here. A lot of family pull their kids out of school during the winter since it gets so cold here. I suppose they realize we can all use a break from the North Dakota winter. Our kids also don't get more then two days off in a row during the school year except the 6 days they got at Christmas. Also with it being such a big farming community a lot of people can't stop their jobs in the summer to go on vacation. We just try to work around testing schedules and have never had an issue. Actually this past year when we went to WDW the school and teacher forgot that my son was going to be gone for a week so we got a call that Monday while in Epcot asking where he was. The office just laughed off the error and told us to have a great time when we got back he was given as much time as he needed to catch up on homework.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:30 AM   #99
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Which district in GA? My DD starts in Gwinnett Co. for fall 2013.
I am in Gwinnett and the public schools are a little more strict about the 5 days of unexcused absences. For middle school, Gwinnett offers a virtual school as well as your local school. My son goes to a Charter virtual right now, but he actually wants me to home school him completely next year. I love that there are school options in Gwinnett.

Overall, I have been able to take my kids out with nothing but some gripping from teachers. However, I have mostly done the charter school (the only one) for primary grades and then virtual for primary and middle. My middle child is the only one who is going to really have trouble if I pull her out because she is the only one in a true public school. However, I have never had a problem with excused absences at all.

My youngest fell extremely ill last year (1st grade) and it was a fight just to keep her alive. She missed 5-6 weeks of school over the year. Again, she was charter and had the most amazing teacher. I never heard a word about the missed school. In fact, I forgot to call the teachers and say anything at all. Her teacher ended up calling me. Then the 2nd week missed, she called me again. She explained that my daughters work was there whenever I had a chance to pick it up and that her classmates (and teacher) really missed her.

I have found that it really depends on the teacher you get and the school's understanding and tolerance. While Gwinnett overall has a set rule of 5 unexcused absences, I've found that if you talk to the teachers ahead of time, you will get a better sense of what you can and can't get away with. Good luck with whichever school and teacher you attend.

One a different note:

One teacher, on this board, brought up being in the classroom. No doubt that is important. I truly believe that my middle child does best when she is listening to the teacher because she is an auditory learner. So for subjects like social studies, she does best when she is there. She gets mad when people talk in class or misbehave because she is trying to listen. So, when she falls behind because of she was not in the classroom, as another person pointed out, that is on me. Not the teacher's fault at all and I know that. I think most of us would agree that there are going to be concepts or terms missed on tests because the kids were not in the classroom. That isn't to say the child will never grasp the concept at all. Just not for that test or at that time. I know many many children at my kids schools that get awards for perfect attendance, but never awards for honor rolls or principals award. So while I agree being in the classroom is important, it is not so important as to forgo family time.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:44 AM   #100
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Before we took our last cruise, I had spoken with all the teachers in advance and everything was all set prior to leaving. Unfortunately, I neglected to tell the front office of their schools about their absences. We put our phones in airport mode before sailing so that we don't mistakenly use anything that would cost extra money. So at the end of the cruise we sail back into Port Canaveral, switch the phones back to regular mode, and get bombarded with messages! Our district uses a computer messaging system for truancy alerts. We ended up with a text message, email, voice mail on the cell phone, and voice mail on the home phone - for every day we were gone and for every one of our 3 kids! And just to make things more fun, the middle/high school sends messages for every class missed (total of 8 class periods each day). I called the schools immediately and they fixed it but boy did I feel stupid! I won't make that mistake again!
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