Snowbirding with kids

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by cndmama05, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. cndmama05

    cndmama05 Earning My Ears

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    Not sure which forum to post this in. But
    I was wondering if anyone has done this. We live in northern ontario where it is super cold and snowy for 6 mths of the year. We dream of snowbirding but the dream always comes to a halt because of the kids. We have 3 kids, 14, 7 and 3. The 14 year has an option to take online courses so he is not an issue. The issue is with my 7 year old. I'm not sure I will be able to take her out of school for 2 or 3 months. She is a very social child and does amazing in a class environment. At this point in time i do not want her homeschooled. Of course we will try to incorporate as much educational activites as we can on a daily basis while in Florida. My husband and I run a business and can technically work remotely as long as we have internet and phone. We would love to get away from the cold. It is really weighing on my mind these days.
     
  2. lanejudy

    lanejudy Moderator Moderator

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    I think you'd have to speak to the school about how they would handle an absence of that length. Here it definitely would not be considered an "excused" absence, and while that likely isn't an issue for a 7 yr old, it could be in middle or high school. In fact, it might even be considered a withdrawal and require a homeschool plan to be filed with the state (that's here, not sure about rules in Ontario).

    Are the online courses for your 14-yr-old the exact same lessons taught in the classroom? I'd worry the student would miss out on material covered in the classroom, and that future lessons build on prior learning - so even if doing online courses for 2 months the student struggle when returning to school. And similar for the 7-yr-old, though at that age not likely as big a consequence. Even if you plan to do "educational activities" during your time in FL, unless it follows the classroom curriculum the child may miss info that her classmates learn, and next year's schoolwork may be harder due to the missed content. I would never expect a classroom teacher to put together a packet of lessons for that length of time except in extenuating circumstances.

    Could you plan a long vacation? Maybe 2-3 weeks that wraps around with some school vacation time to make it less time out of school. I would at least give that a try before jumping into something so long as 2-3 months.

    Good luck!
     
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  4. katyjeka

    katyjeka DIS Veteran

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    Stupid me but I though you meant snowboarding and spelled it wrong!!! We live in Pa. by a ski resort so I was going to answer all your questions. My parents are "snowbirds" and have been for several years. My dh was thinking of it until our last trip to Florida. My parents live in Clearwater and he's decided the traffic is to crazy for him to retire in Florida. Taking kids out of school for extended periods of time is tough. We homeschool and have for over 15 years but have friends who go back and forth. One month their kids are in school the next they are keeping them home. I feel sorry for the child as well as the teacher who has to figure where the child is academically. My only suggestion(since you are self employed)take a few mini vacations during the coldest months and stay a few days each time. You wouldn't have to go as far as Florida to escape the cold and if you plan it over weekends your kids would miss less school. Funny we LOVE the cold and snow and can't wait until our first big snow to get outside. We are actually in the early planning stages of a trip to Alaska no big deal but we are thinking of early December. Our friends think we have lost our mind, maybe we have!!!! Good luck. It's a very tough question.
     
  5. cndmama05

    cndmama05 Earning My Ears

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    No I definitely don't expect the teacher to put anything together as far as work is concerned. We will keep up with daily reading, have our own workbook she can do everyday, not to mention learning from and soaking in all the places we will be visiting.
    I have sent an email to the principal and the school board to inquire about the possibility.
    Thanks for the insight!
     
  6. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    We live in a popular "Snowbird" area (deep South Texas) and I can tell you that no one does it here. All our "snowbirds", or Winter Texans, are retirees.
     
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  7. cndmama05

    cndmama05 Earning My Ears

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    The problem with taking many scattered long weekends is the cost of flights. I think DH prefers that we just spend at least a month there every winter.
     
  8. katyjeka

    katyjeka DIS Veteran

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    Makes sense. Like I said its a tough question.
     
  9. emilyrachael

    emilyrachael Mouseketeer

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    Have you thought about moving to Florida? If the summers are too hot, maybe you could head back up north for the kid's summer breaks. It might be easier for them to spend the entire school year in Florida.
     
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  10. siren0119

    siren0119 DIS Veteran

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    This was going to be my comment too - I'm not sure what the regulations are in Canada, but here (at least in MA, not sure about other states) a child cannot have unexcused absences from school for more than 5 days before social services is called in and it is considered truancy. Pulling them out to snowbird in FL would definitely be considered unexcused. The alternative would be to switch them to homeschooled status, which requires that the parent file a curriculum that is approved by the school board, and submit testing at the end of the school year to prove competency on grade level. It might be more lenient in Canada, but if not be prepared to do a LOT of legwork to prove your kiddo is staying on grade level - and prepare for the possiblity that it's an "all or nothing" situation (either they are all homeschooled for the year or all in-school)
     
  11. quandrea

    quandrea DIS Veteran

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    I think you’d have to consider homeschooling to make this work. We’ve homeschooled for seven years now. Don’t worry about the social aspect of it. Everyone does, and I swear, it’s not an issue. My three kids are all very social. Their friends come from a variety of areas in their lives—swim team, baseball, old preschool friends, family friends, summer camp friends. The freedom it affords is unbeatable, and your kids will get a superior education.

    My daughter is now fourteen and at a regular bricks and mortar high school. However, because she is so far ahead and took online high school courses while still in elementary school, she is able to carry a reduced course load over the length of her high school career, which assists with balancing her athletics.

    My twins are in grade four but working far ahead as well. They will be in the same position as their sister.

    Online courses for your high school child can get very expensive. That is why dd, 14 is in regular high school, albeit part time.

    When all three kids were homeschooled, we spent most of January at our dvc. We’d do school there. It was wonderful. I miss the freedom terribly and this January is killing me. Unfortunately, dd has to be in high school. Homeschooling high school can be tricky in Canada, as I’m unable to confer credits. If I was willing to go the private online high school route, it would be a snap.

    Avon Maitland school board does provide provincially funded online high school. You just have to get your school board to agree to release your child’s funding to them. My school board would not agree, but my cousin was able to get permission for her son to pursue studies with Avon Maitland. Worth a try.

    I’m happy to help you get started. Just pm me. Snowbirding with kids is possible.
     
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  12. cndmama05

    cndmama05 Earning My Ears

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    We have thought about it as my husband is a dual citizen but we have 2 businesses in canada and the tax implications would be too much. That would have been ideal though!
     
  13. HopperFan

    HopperFan "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."

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    You need to talk to the school. If you did that here, your kids in the school system would likely be un-enrolled from the system.

    Have you explored that you split your residency? My Mom's husband is a resident of Florida and she is a resident of Georgia, this done for tax purposes.
     
  14. stace1214

    stace1214 DIS Veteran

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    I had two friends growing up who's families did this due their jobs. They spent half a year in NY and half in FL. They had a house in each place, so they were able to stay at the same schools. Both were good students and didn't seem to miss a beat education wise.
     
  15. cndmama05

    cndmama05 Earning My Ears

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    I just wanted to thank you for the advice on Avon Maitland. I contacted them to ask about it and they told me I just have to get permission from our school board.
    I have also been doing lots of research on extra curricular and enrichment programs available to homeschooled kids in and around the Orlando area and there is a ton! Very excited about the possibility
     
  16. mjkacmom

    mjkacmom DIS Veteran

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    I’d be concerned about the 14 year old and friends. At that age, my kids placed a lot of value on their friendships (my oldest wanted to skip a cruise at that age, fortunately she met new friends on the ship). I would imagine that areas where snow birding is popular has a lot of senior citizens (my grandparents spent winters in Florida every year, we’d come to visit, there is only so much shuffleboarding you can take).
     
  17. quandrea

    quandrea DIS Veteran

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    You’re welcome. Homeschooling is more popular in the states than in Canada; I’m sure you’ll find lots of programs for students. Avon Maitland is a great option. Peel school board would not agree for us, so it doesn’t work for us. Hopefully you’ll have better luck. Homeschooling is really one of the best things we’ve ever done as a family. Lots of flexibility, kids have been able to be Hugh performance athletes, we’ve traveled the world.
    You’d be surprised at how homeschooled kids view their peer relationships differently—they are not nearly as important.
     
  18. mjkacmom

    mjkacmom DIS Veteran

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    But her teenager isn’t being homeschooled, plus most kids I know who are homeschooled are involved with other kids their age, plus the OP said her 7 year old is very social. My cousin'sfamily used to live 3 months of the tear one 1 coast9 months of the gear on the other coast (school year) and it was very hard on the kids (who went to catholic school).
     

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