Pulling kids out of school for a WDW trip

Kaleidodad

Librarian Mickey
Joined
Apr 3, 2018
We have done it when our DDs were in 2nd/K (full week) and then this year in 3rd/1st (extended long weekend), with zero regrets. There is literally nothing they can be learning at that age in school that can't be caught up, and I am much more interested in having amazing family experiences together than a few more days of elementary math and reading in a 186-day school year. Both girls are good kids and good students, and the only thing they really missed was that time with their friends. Of course, we have had several of their teachers take a few days off to take their own kids to WDW, so it's not uncommon in our district.
 

design_mom

probably more like my dad than I care to admit
Joined
Feb 1, 2007
We took my son out twice between kindergarten and 3rd grade. Although he was always a fine student, in 3rd grade he started to get anxious about missing school (even though he had no trouble catching/keeping up). We didn't even realize he was anxious about it till my sister texted to let us know that it was a "snow day" at home. He was so relieved/happy that nobody else was at school either, so he wasn't missing anything. At that point, we stopped doing it. Additionally, my daughter was in kindergarten at that point. She needed more time/direction with school than my son did, so I think she would have had a harder time missing days.

Our school had a pre-approval process that you could go through. Teachers were not required to give work in advance (though some would), but the pre-approval meant that it was classified as an "excused absence." I think the letters are sent out once you reach a certain threshold of unexcused absensces.

So, I don't think it is "wrong" to take your child out of school... but it's not always "right" either. You have to weigh the situation (and time with family definitely *is* important) along with the child's needs, etc.
 
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  • Samantha Morgan

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2019
    My district has a permission slip for family trips like this. We can’t just let the teacher know. It’s an official request that needs to be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the trip.

    I don’t know if anyone that’s ever been denied, it it prevents the unexcused days or visits from truancy officers.
     

    anniemae

    Either she is eating a delicious
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2007
    Personally, I think it's fine. It is very very common in our district, even in the older grades. People think nothing of taking kids out for a week, often people will take kids out the week before break to get two weeks vacation in and they only miss one week.
     

    Gumbo4x4

    Note to the ladies who forgot to
    Joined
    Jan 19, 2012
    I know its been discussed a million times, but for the first time, it's me.

    DD started kindergarten this year and we pulled her out of school for a week to go to WDW. It was a family trip with my parents. My mom has cancer and we don't have too many years left with either of them, so its important to me that my kids have these memories with them. January was the time of year we could afford and take off from work.

    We let her teacher know well in advance and her teacher was completely fine with it and understanding of our motive to build these memories with her grandparents. She was kind enough to put some homework together for her before the trip, and my DD finished it all. DD does very well in school and the teacher has no concerns about her progress.

    We received a letter in the mail today, from the school, letting us know about the absences. It was a pretty generic looking letter, reminding us of the importance of good attendance, etc...

    I don't regret it, and my parents are looking into booking for next year. I know there's going to be a point when I can no longer do it, but I also know there's going to be a point when my parents can no longer do it and I don't want to waste this precious time for my girls.

    Is it wrong??
    I’d advise discussing it with the front office next time (in adddition to the teacher) as they’re much more connected to policy. And they can fill you in on exactly what that form letter does or doesn’t mean.
     

    Micca

    SAHG: Stay At Home Grandfather
    Joined
    Dec 5, 2000
    DDs are all grow up now, but we took them out of school for WDW several times over the years. The teachers were cool with it and when told in advance of the reason for their absences, the most common response was: "Will you take me with you?" One DD became a teacher and is now a school counselor.:)
     
  • LCoulter

    Whoah Mouse
    Joined
    Nov 9, 2008
    You are not wrong to do it. Take advantage of the lower grades and pull them because before you know it, your DD will be in Jr. High and you won't be able to take her out anymore.

    We have been pulling our DD out a week in spring and a week in fall since before pre-school. She is now in 6th grade so we are winding down on being able to do it. We were thinking that this past fall trip was the last time we would pull her so we booked this years trip during her spring break. We are going with family fall 2020, including my Mom, so to go with them, we are pulling her out one last time in 7th grade.
     

    Sydney2977

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 10, 2013
    I think your intentions make complete sense, and as long as your kids know that school is important and making up any missed work is essential, it should be fine.
    We took our kids out of school for multiple trips growing up (see my signature for dates) and they turned out fine. I always let teachers know ahead of time and they were good about giving them work ahead of time or to make up. With my work in retail I can't get off certain times and DH was in the military so sometimes he was deployed- we had to work around those schedules.
    My dad was diagnosed with cancer the summer before older DS started kindergarten. We had gone to visit him and then actually came back home so he could start his first week of school. We got the call that Friday night that my dad had passed and had to pull him out of school the next week to go back up to Ohio. The next spring we took our first trip to WDW as a family and my only regret is that we never got to go with my dad and the boys. I have such fond memories of my brother and I with our parents at WDW as kids and I wanted the same for my kids.
     

    North of Mouse

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 31, 2011
    I know its been discussed a million times, but for the first time, it's me.

    DD started kindergarten this year and we pulled her out of school for a week to go to WDW. It was a family trip with my parents. My mom has cancer and we don't have too many years left with either of them, so its important to me that my kids have these memories with them. January was the time of year we could afford and take off from work.

    We let her teacher know well in advance and her teacher was completely fine with it and understanding of our motive to build these memories with her grandparents. She was kind enough to put some homework together for her before the trip, and my DD finished it all. DD does very well in school and the teacher has no concerns about her progress.

    We received a letter in the mail today, from the school, letting us know about the absences. It was a pretty generic looking letter, reminding us of the importance of good attendance, etc...

    I don't regret it, and my parents are looking into booking for next year. I know there's going to be a point when I can no longer do it, but I also know there's going to be a point when my parents can no longer do it and I don't want to waste this precious time for my girls.

    Is it wrong??
    Absolutely not wrong!! Haven't read the replies, but am certain you've had plenty of 'you'll ruin your child's education if you do this' replies!!

    We raised three children that all graduated with high honors, and we took them out every single year for one to two weeks - yes, even through high school! They did great.

    We always had good relationships with their teachers and made sure our children were never trouble makers, and were responsible for good grades and homework.

    The teachers/principals were always agreeable because they knew the standard we held our children to and there would be no falling behind.

    Good luck! Remember, they're 'your' children! Family time is very important, and it doesn't always fall conveniently in months when children are out of school.
     
  • LongLiveRafiki

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2017
    We haven't taken DD out for a Disney trip, but I would have no qualms about doing so. She's in 3rd grade now and we have taken her out for a few days every year to go out of state to visit family. The first time we did it, she was in K and DS was 2 months old. We went to visit their great-grandmother in the hospital. She passed away a month later. Had I not taken her out of school, she would have missed a final opportunity to see her great-grandmother, and Nana never would have met DS.
     

    wilbret

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 1, 2018
    I agree that it is important to make memories with your family, but am going to play Devils Advocate for a minute too. I am a teacher at an Elementary School. If a child misses and entire week of school, even in Kindergarten they missed TONS of instruction, most of which can't be "made up" with a homework packet. At our school we really strive to not have much work that is done as worksheets. So much of the work is hand-on or small group instruction. There is no way a teacher could make up a weeks worth of missed small groups with a student.
    All 3 of ours somehow manage, and we live in an area where this isn't uncommon. It depends on the kids, the parents, and the school.
    I'd say if your kid isn't a great student, it would be a poor choice to pull them out. Ours are all in TAG programs, etc, and earn the privilege to miss a few days. Put in the work, reap the rewards.
     
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2016
    I am going to be the person who dares to share the opposing view. As a teacher I believe that school is important. I understand that there are circumstances where health issues arise and a trip must be planned during a time that would otherwise be avoided. Stuff happens. As for making it a habit - I would not. What a lot of people don't take into consideration is the amount of work that a teacher must put in to pull work together for a student early or time spent catching them up upon return. Additionally, students who were not absent must wait to receive assessments back until all students have taken the test or quiz. It is more work than most people realize. People also frequently expect teachers to spend extra time with the student upon return to catch them up on the material that they have missed. Just something to think about before choosing to pull out a child. (not trying to start any drama - just sharing personal, professional perspective)
     

    amandaleigh2

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2014
    We take our kids out of school pretty much every year for a week long family vacation. I see nothing wrong with it. Our school district doesn't give us a hard time about it and the teachers seem more than happy to give make up work.We'll continue to do it unless my kids feel like they will have trouble catching up. Oh, and I never feel guilty or feel the need to justify the decisions we make as a family. :)
     

    jpakstis

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 3, 2018
    I have no opinion about whether its good or not to take kids out of school (we did for a couple of days for our Disney trips). I don't know how every state is but in Massachusetts, school districts are required by law to send home a notice if a student has 5 or more unexcused absences in the school year. We've always cleared the fact we would be taking a few days off in advance and the teachers have always been fine with it. So maybe your state/district is the same and its just a requirement that they have to send home the notice.

    Our district has gone toward a "teachers discretion" option with regard to homework (i.e. no homework) so they've never fallen behind in that way. However, that will change once they go to middle school, so we are planning one last trip when our older daughter is in her last year of elementary school.
     

    leebee

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 14, 1999
    We took DD out of school almost every year to go to WDW. Sometimes a week, sometimes a shorter time. Her school department had no compulsory attendance policy so it's not like she was considered truant or anything. We let the teachers know about a month in advance; sometimes they put together work for her, sometimes not, sometimes asked for her to write a journal, etc. It depended on the teacher and the grade. I believe she was in 8th grade when she said nope, not missing school for Disney again. It was too stressful making up the work missed, and she has always been an A student. After that, we went to Disney in the summer only... still do, now that she and I both work in education!
     

    pezgirlroy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 29, 2016
    We will be taking my 2nd grader out at the beginning of April. She will be missing 4 days of school. This is because her grandparents are taking us all on a Disney Cruise. I was not about to say no to that. This is what worked with their schedule. I did speak to the teacher at the beginning of the year and just recently. I have alerted the school as well. The teacher is very understanding. The only big issue is I just learned that my daughter will miss her music show while we are on the cruise. She will not be happy when I tell her that but hopefully being on the boat will help. I think next year will be the last year we do it.
     

    FlightlessDuck

    Y kant Donald fly?
    Joined
    Jun 20, 2006
    I mean, I guess it depends on how well your child does in school. If you have an A or B student, it's probably not a big deal. If your child is a C- or lower student, they need all the help they can get!

    My kids were out of school twice to go to WDW -- both times were with the high school band and choir.

    You'll also have to consider tests and stuff. You don't want to miss a major exam or standardized test. Or concerts, plays, important sport competitions.
     



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