Taking kids out of school to go to Disney. Horribly irresponsible or acceptable in some situations?

Kestryl

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
As a previous poster stated, we have 3 tiers here, algebra 1 7th, algebra 1 8th, algebra 1 freshman. Languages also start 7th grade, dd16 is in AP Spanish (her twin brother only Spanish 4). My 23 year old did not take AP calculus and took AP stat instead, a mistake since she only had pre calc before college (business major, accounting, lots of math). Kids here really try hard to test into algebra for 7th grade, because the pre-algebra teacher is horrible, and most kids need tutors.
The original line I took issue with was that you stated taking Algebra I as a freshman seemed late. I disagree. I think that taking Algebra I as a freshman is completely normal. Maybe it’s “late” for some kids. Those kids are hopefully in an honors or fast track program. Or maybe it’s “late” within a particular school, but I would wager that that particular school is relatively affluent or advanced to have Algebra I before high school as a standard.

It’s interesting that taking statistics was a mistake in your daughter’s case. At my undergrad, business majors didn’t need calculus, but they certainly needed statistics to graduate.
 

Summer2018

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 29, 2017
The original line I took issue with was that you stated taking Algebra I as a freshman seemed late. I disagree. I think that taking Algebra I as a freshman is completely normal. Maybe it’s “late” for some kids. Those kids are hopefully in an honors or fast track program. Or maybe it’s “late” within a particular school, but I would wager that that particular school is relatively affluent or advanced to have Algebra I before high school as a standard.

It’s interesting that taking statistics was a mistake in your daughter’s case. At my undergrad, business majors didn’t need calculus, but they certainly needed statistics to graduate.
It all depends on the school district. I took Algebra 1 in 8th grade back in 1978. I went to high school in a different town and although I got A’s in Algebra and high honors, I was still put in Algebra 1 again in 9th grade, because that’s how that town did it. Geometry in 10th. I was not as good at Geometry.
My DD had the option of Algebra 1 as an 8th grader and did well. Geometry as a freshman, but was not a math kid. She still got B’s though. Now there seems to be a lot more pressure. She was an average Math and Science student, but did great in Honors English. She graduated from a performing arts high school, and that was more her focus. She got on the Dean’s List in college taking Acting, Directing, Voice, English, and Psychology.
Every kid is different and will be successful if they enjoy what they are studying. I don’t believe in pressuring kids, just providing them with valuable educational experiences.
 

DGsAtBLT

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
My parents pulled me for vacations, often Disney, nearly every year through Grade 12. Those are some of my most cherished childhood memories. I now pull my own children without hesitation. Life is short. I see so much more value in week spent on a vacation with their parents and grandparents than any single week in school. We do try to schedule spring trips around spring break, so we’re only pulling for a week not two.

We are not American, for what it’s worth. The teachers have had nothing to say about it except “have fun!” If any of my children were struggling in school I would probably feel differently.
 
  • shocker

    It's a WDW realty that not every moment is magical
    Joined
    Mar 18, 2008
    When DD was little, we went to WDW over Christmas vacation, and we pulled her out of school for one day. You would have thought that I kidnapped my child. I informed her teacher in writing. It didn't matter. We still got a call asking where she was, and I told them that we were on the Jersey Turnpike on our way to Florida. They flipped out, and I said, "Oh well." It was ONE DAY people.

    Ok, this story had me laughing! I remember my mom called me out of school one day (I forget why but it certainly wasn't for something as fun as WDW, it was a loooooong time ago since I'm old) & my mom was one that you had to be vomiting, fever, or bleeding profusely to get out of school. I remember she was asked why I wouldn't be in, to which she replied 'because I said so.' Yes, she even spoke to the school like that. Thanks mom, for bringing me up to know I'm the guardian of my children, not the school. To know that I loan my kids to the school & they don't lend my kids to me on nights & weekends.
     
    Last edited:

    Boopuff

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 27, 2015
    When you work in a school this thread is a hoot. Several years ago I worked for a district in a fairly well-to-do area. Parents took kids out all the time! One family took a huge trip every February FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH! The district finally said enough! A policy was put in place that children missing school for "social-or non emergency" events - the teacher did not have to prepare a "work packet" and the missed work was the up to the child to complete upon return. I don't think parents realize how teachers plan for classes. That in a perfect world all the lesson plans would be done months ahead. Sadly not the reality. Many plans have to change daily, making it impossible to create a pre-plan to send with families on a trip.

    The current district I work for has a strict truancy policy. I'm in a pre-k classroom and kids are "dropped" from the program after 10 missed days with notification only 5 if the school doesn't hear from the family. And our spots are automatically filled.

    I did take my kids out of school twice: once when my oldest was in kindergarten and we bailed on the last week of school, the second time, we went during high school and I took the girls out Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. (many years ago before Fall became "the" time to go!")
     

    DrunkJam

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 1, 2016
    Here, in the UK, you can be fined for taking your child out of school for holidays (vacations) Many districts will fine automatically.
    We are lucky, we live in a place where the decision remains with the school, and is done on a case by case basis (this makes sense to me for lots of reasons, many people have jobs with holidays that cannot be taken during school holidays for example.) Therefore, when we needed to take our children out of school to go to WDW just before their father became too sick to travel, and given that WDW has a special place for us, as we got married there and our daughter had never seen it, we got permission as it was a specific case, and was unavoidable if we were to make the trip at all.
    Generally speaking, after the end of year 2 (once annual national tests kick in) I try not to take them out of school unless absolutely necessary, but I did deregister my son for a couple of months when he was about 5 so we could do some travel. He's 13 now and at the top of his year group, so, no damage done, my daughter, however, would be a totally different set of reasoning.
     

    shmom

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2013
    My son is at a private all boys high school and only 15 percent test out of Alg 1 as freshman- which I do think is low. My son took Alg 1 in 7th and Geometry in 8th, Alg 2 in 9th. Now as a soph he is in precalc and he's with older boys and it is awful. There are also a lot of hybrid classes that kids take in order to fit in Calc AB or BC junior or senior year.
     
  • eeyoreandtink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2014
    My son is at a private all boys high school and only 15 percent test out of Alg 1 as freshman- which I do think is low. My son took Alg 1 in 7th and Geometry in 8th, Alg 2 in 9th. Now as a soph he is in precalc and he's with older boys and it is awful. There are also a lot of hybrid classes that kids take in order to fit in Calc AB or BC junior or senior year.
    Why is it horrible, if you don't mind my asking? Almost all of our honors and above math and science classes aren't strictly one grade level and it hasn't been an issue for us.
     

    eeyoreandtink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2014
    The original line I took issue with was that you stated taking Algebra I as a freshman seemed late. I disagree. I think that taking Algebra I as a freshman is completely normal. Maybe it’s “late” for some kids. Those kids are hopefully in an honors or fast track program. Or maybe it’s “late” within a particular school, but I would wager that that particular school is relatively affluent or advanced to have Algebra I before high school as a standard.

    It’s interesting that taking statistics was a mistake in your daughter’s case. At my undergrad, business majors didn’t need calculus, but they certainly needed statistics to graduate.
    I think that it really depends on the kid, their ability, and what they want to do after high school. For anyone looking at a STEM career, 9th grade is late to be taking algebra I. It's going to mean either doubling up if that is a option or going into college without the opportunity to have taken a advanced math course at all. That puts them behind entering college. A kid looking to get a liberal arts degree or to go into the trades has no need for Calc. or Stats. in high school.
     

    mjkacmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2006
    The original line I took issue with was that you stated taking Algebra I as a freshman seemed late. I disagree. I think that taking Algebra I as a freshman is completely normal. Maybe it’s “late” for some kids. Those kids are hopefully in an honors or fast track program. Or maybe it’s “late” within a particular school, but I would wager that that particular school is relatively affluent or advanced to have Algebra I before high school as a standard.

    It’s interesting that taking statistics was a mistake in your daughter’s case. At my undergrad, business majors didn’t need calculus, but they certainly needed statistics to graduate.
    She definitely needed calculus, it wasn’t that long ago. All of my kids are math kids, CPA, finance major, exercise science major planning on a DPT program, and both of my twins plan on majoring in business. I personally don’t know of any kids who take algebra 1 freshman year, but I’m sure there are some. I took algebra 1 freshman year at the same high school but was not a math kid. DH has a MBA and is in finance, he did much better in math in HS than I did!
     

    mattbaker

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2019
    To answer the question in your title...I think it all depends on the kid. :)

    To answer your last question, yes, your district's policy does sound strict to me. Our district allows kids 5 excused absences for vacation as long as they are pre-approved. (And I personally have never known them to deny anyone unless the child was struggling in school.) So, you can use the two adjoining weekends and take a vacation of 9 days without incurring any unexcused days at all.

    Now, beyond that, our district does state that they may consider it a truancy issue if a child has more than 5 unexcused absences. But, your child has to miss more than 3 days in a row to require anything more than a parental note of excuse, and anything more than 3 consecutive days can be excused with a doctor's note. Plus, you can get those 5 excused vacation days here, so really, your kid has to be missing quite a bit of school for this to really be an issue.
    Would say the same! It can be an issue!
     
  • shmom

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 11, 2013
    I think it is hard being the only soph in a class with all juniors and seniors. Seniors have one foot out the door for sure. I had a math teacher tell me once that it is imperative to have your child "be with their tribe" and I understand that now. The super advanced soph at our school are in a hybrid alg 2/precalc class but my son took alg 2 as a freshman so he isn't "with his tribe" and instead a bunch of big kids he doesn't know - plus he's about the youngest in his grade to begin with..
     

    mjkacmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2006
    Would say the same! It can be an issue!
    It never bothered my kids, last year my sophomore was in the same AP stat class as my senior, it was great. There is usually an age range after freshman year with math, the only issue I’ve had was when my freshman daughter started dating a junior in her math class (and his previous girlfriend was a senior). Didn’t last a year, but he was her first boyfriend and I didn’t like the age discrepancy.
     

    eeyoreandtink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2014
    I think it is hard being the only soph in a class with all juniors and seniors. Seniors have one foot out the door for sure. I had a math teacher tell me once that it is imperative to have your child "be with their tribe" and I understand that now. The super advanced soph at our school are in a hybrid alg 2/precalc class but my son took alg 2 as a freshman so he isn't "with his tribe" and instead a bunch of big kids he doesn't know - plus he's about the youngest in his grade to begin with..
    I can see why for some kids that would be important, regardless of their academic ability, but I don’t think it applies universally.

    My child has never been “with her tribe” if by that you mean age peers, neither was I. I was at my happiest when I was able to be with older kids, same with her. When she was little, kids her age were, in her words “too silly”. She had no interest in much of what they did. She was bored “with her tribe”. Her happiest times were when they were pulled into a multi age class for gifted students once a week. Now, she has the opportunity to take more advanced subjects with both older students and students her own age and ability. It’s what works for her.

    She is a dancer, and put the time and work in to dance with older kids. She has dancers with kids a couple years older since the end of elementary.

    Not everyone needs to be with kids the same age all the time.
     

    Hikergirl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    I think that it really depends on the kid, their ability, and what they want to do after high school. For anyone looking at a STEM career, 9th grade is late to be taking algebra I. It's going to mean either doubling up if that is a option or going into college without the opportunity to have taken a advanced math course at all. That puts them behind entering college. A kid looking to get a liberal arts degree or to go into the trades has no need for Calc. or Stats. in high school.
    My dd is currently a Senior in college in a STEM field and had absolutely no issues because of her math courses in HS, she did the standard route and then an optional intro to college math in 12th.
    She went in to college without taking an advanced math course and has fulfilled all her math requirements (including all advanced courses) without doubling up on anything.

    Here HS students take Algebra 1 (or honors) in 9th, Geometry (or honors) in 10th, and Algebra 2 (or honors) in 11th. That is the standard route for the majority of students. (This was the same when I was in HS 30 years ago).
    11th and 12th graders do have additional options, like calc, multivariable calc and linear algebra, and AP classes. If a student is attending the local CC they have the option of dual enrollment and if their grades qualify they would take the CC's calc class for both school's credit.
    Taking Algebra 1 in HS isn't not a guarantee a student will be behind in a college STEM field. Many students can prove that every day.
     

    eeyoreandtink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2014
    My dd is currently a Senior in college in a STEM field and had absolutely no issues because of her math courses in HS, she did the standard route and then an optional intro to college math in 12th.
    She went in to college without taking an advanced math course and has fulfilled all her math requirements (including all advanced courses) without doubling up on anything.

    Here HS students take Algebra 1 (or honors) in 9th, Geometry (or honors) in 10th, and Algebra 2 (or honors) in 11th. That is the standard route for the majority of students. (This was the same when I was in HS 30 years ago).
    11th and 12th graders do have additional options, like calc, multivariable calc and linear algebra, and AP classes. If a student is attending the local CC they have the option of dual enrollment and if their grades qualify they would take the CC's calc class for both school's credit.
    Taking Algebra 1 in HS isn't not a guarantee a student will be behind in a college STEM field. Many students can prove that every day.
    I majored in a stem field in the 90's. We were expected to start with Cal 1 at a minimum freshman year. It was preferred that you already had Cal 1 so that you could go ahead with cal based physics as a freshman. We HAD have Cal 2 competed by second semester of our freshman year to start cal based physics as a sophomore or we were going to delay graduation because courses within our major track required cal based physics. That is standard for all the universities DD is looking at now, and we aren't talking about anywhere crazy, even at the state school options. So, if you didn't take pre cal at a minimum in high school, and you are pursuing a STEM major you are doubling up to get where you need to be. The exception would be something loosely connected to stem like a biology degree. Very few true STEM majors don't require a cal series and cal based physics these days.
     

    Kestryl

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2019
    I majored in a stem field in the 90's. We were expected to start with Cal 1 at a minimum freshman year. It was preferred that you already had Cal 1 so that you could go ahead with cal based physics as a freshman. We HAD have Cal 2 competed by second semester of our freshman year to start cal based physics as a sophomore or we were going to delay graduation because courses within our major track required cal based physics. That is standard for all the universities DD is looking at now, and we aren't talking about anywhere crazy, even at the state school options. So, if you didn't take pre cal at a minimum in high school, and you are pursuing a STEM major you are doubling up to get where you need to be. The exception would be something loosely connected to stem like a biology degree. Very few true STEM majors don't require a cal series and cal based physics these days.
    *Blinks.* I have never heard someone refer to biology as “loosely connected to STEM.” Reminds me of the physics faculty who looked down on the chemists in my grad program because chemistry wasn’t “real science.” Yikes.

    Just to reiterate, even if you “only” take Algebra I as a Freshman, that’s still on a standard track to take precalc in senior year. Which gives you Calc I (and probably II) your first year in college. So if anyone is reading this and thinks that can’t do STEM if they don’t already have a Calc I credit entering college, don’t panic. It’s entirely normal.

    I went to undergrad in the late 00s/early 10s. I took Calc I and II as a first year in college. Took calc-based physics my sophomore year. The only classes required in the chem major (BS degree) that required calc-based physics were Physical Chem classes. Everything else could be taken concurrently or was a higher-level chemistry elective. So if you took calc-based physics your third year, you could take P Chem your fourth year. And most people did that in our program.

    This was also true at the state school where I went to grad school. In fact, I just looked it up- their outline for a BS in Chem has first years taking Calc I and Calc II.

    But maybe I’m wrong- maybe chemistry doesn’t count as STEM.

    ETA: Sorry if this comes off as aggressive. I’ve witnessed a lot of my peers who weren’t always in “advanced” paths get judged by others who thought they weren’t smart enough to be in the field. It rubs me the wrong way. Some of us have more privilege than others, and not everyone has the opportunity to just walk in college with math college credit.
     
    Last edited:

    eeyoreandtink

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2014
    *Blinks.* I have never heard someone refer to biology as “loosely connected to STEM.” Reminds me of the physics faculty who looked down on the chemists in my grad program because chemistry wasn’t “real science.” Yikes.

    Just to reiterate, even if you “only” take Algebra I as a Freshman, that’s still on a standard track to take precalc in senior year. Which gives you Calc I (and probably II) your first year in college. So if anyone is reading this and thinks that can’t do STEM if they don’t already have a Calc I credit entering college, don’t panic. It’s entirely normal.

    I went to undergrad in the late 00s/early 10s. I took Calc I and II as a first year in college. Took calc-based physics my sophomore year. The only classes required in the chem major (BS degree) that required calc-based physics were Physical Chem classes. Everything else could be taken concurrently or was a higher-level chemistry elective. So if you took calc-based physics your third year, you could take P Chem your fourth year. And most people did that in our program.

    This was also true at the state school where I went to grad school. In fact, I just looked it up- their outline for a BS in Chem has first years taking Calc I and Calc II.

    But maybe I’m wrong- maybe chemistry doesn’t count as STEM.

    ETA: Sorry if this comes off as aggressive. I’ve witnessed a lot of my peers who weren’t always in “advanced” paths get judged by others who thought they weren’t smart enough to be in the field. It rubs me the wrong way. Some of us have more privilege than others, and not everyone has the opportunity to just walk in college with math college credit.
    I don't mean to come off as judgy. I just want to see kids be as prepared as they can be, and have realistic expectations.

    I have watched a lot of kids leave high school and struggle, really struggle in college because they decided they didn't need to take what was being offered in high school. They felt like the basic requirements to get into their program were enough, so why do more in high school. Most of them end up regretting that.

    Just because a school will allow you to come into a STEM major not having had Calculus or AP Physics, or any of the myriad other offerings doesn't mean its a good idea. If your planned major is math heavy, you should be doing calculus in high school if you can. If you plan on a chem. major, you NEED to be in AP chem. I have had so many kids come back and tell me that they wished they had done this or that course in high school because it would have made college so much easier.

    I had a totally different experience in a state school chemistry program. Instrumental analysis was required junior year 1st semester, and required cal based physics. You need IA for descriptive and analytical as a second semester junior, and it built form there. You had to have completed cal based physics by the beginning of junior year to be on track to graduate. That was true of chem, engineering, biomedical sciences, ect. It's true of most of the degree paths DD is looking at as well. For physics students that bumps up to the end of freshman year.

    yes, you CAN come into college with just precal and complete the stem requirements, but that is the MINIMUM and I don't recommend it. Much better to have a working knowledge of calculus going in.

    As to privilege or lack therof. The days where only wealthy schools offered AP are on the way out. Every public school in our district offers AP Calculus. Every child in our district MUST have equal access to AP courses. If it isn't offered at your school, you have the option to be bused to a school that does.. At the district's expense. Every child in my state has the opportunity to leave high school with college credit. Need based waivers are available for exam fees, and in title 1 schools no one pays to take AP courses or exams so that is not a barrier either. Our district doesn't have a huge tax base, mostly inner city. We make it work. Most districts that don't already have this model are being forced into it due to litigation
     
    Last edited:

    ILOVEPOOH1

    Adore the hundred acre wood
    Joined
    Feb 18, 2004
    I love these threads! Here is my personal take on the whole subject. I took my son out of school for a full week to go to WDW EVERY YEAR from the time he was 6 years old until he was 17. I respectfully told the teachers I would be taking him out (I did not "ask") They always were very understanding and gave him homework ahead of time. As he got older, he would suggest projects to his teachers that he could complete based on his WDW travels (ex. history of the countries around World Showcase). He graduated high school, got into a good college, graduated college, met the love of his life, etc. He is now 26 and getting married (he took her to WDW this fall so she could experience the place that brought him joy as a child), buying his first home and has a good job. Moral of this story....your kids will be fine. Make the memories. They will last longer than anything they might have learned during that week in school.
     



    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates


    Top