To take or not to take kids out of school,that is the question

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I'm planning a trip to WDW next Nov. 2002. The delemma is if I want to go before Thanksgiving when they are out of school (year-round program) or The week of and week after Thanksgiving so we can enjoy the Christmas decorations and events, which would mean my DD,DS would miss a week of school,(they'd be out the week of Thanksgiving), I'm not so concerned about my DD she will only be in the 3rd grade,but my DS will be in the 7th grade and I'm afraid he'll get behind, and it's hard to ask for work ahead of time if there is no school going on. Any advice from parents, and teachers would greatly appreciated. :cool:
You don't say what kind of students they are, whether they are usually good students who always go to school without problem or whether they are poor students who will use any excuse to miss school. If they fall into the former group, I would definately take them out of school. Discuss it with the teacher up front, possibly as early as the first day of school. That way she can prepare for it, and use the trip as a learning experience for the whole class, if she so desires.
She can also come up with a desired school project/report that your children can do upon the return to school.

I would have my children do as much work as possible before they leave. This actually would be a condition of going. Then they would have the trip to concentrate on doing the report/project they will present when they return.

By enlisting the teacher, letting her know that school is most important but family time is also important, and making sure that it's a learning experience as well as a vacation, I think it will be beneficial and I think the teacher would cooperate. (I hope)
We are heading to WDW Nov 2001 for the DIS Con. My DS will be in the 7th grade as well as my DD in the 7th and my oldest DD in the 12th. Both of my DDs are in Special Education clases and that will cause no problems to take them out. I am somewhat concerned for my DS who is an A-B student who otherwise has great attendance each year. (never more than a day or two each year, sometimes perfect attendance) I plan on telling his teachers at the beginning of school, and renminding them again at the first parent/teacher conference which is usually about Oct. This will give ma more of an idea as to how cooperative they are going to be with this. The week that the kids will miss will be right after Thnaksgiving.

This is always a hot topic. From past experience it is easier to take children out of school before they start high school. Middle school is more difficult than elementary. In other words, the higher in school you go the more difficult it is to make up the work.

Our best trips have been during the school year but we had work to make up when we got back! I wouldn't hesitate to take my children out of school just be prepared for the make-up work!


My son will be starting a new school in the Fall for 4th grade. We are taking him out of school in Oct for 4 days. Our trip is Oct 4-14 but because of teacher day and Columbus Day (yes we know there will be crowds) holiday it comes to only 4 days for a 11 day trip. But think of the educational opportunities that await him. Animals in AK, countries in EpCot, marine life at Sea World and space at Kennedy. Ive been taking our son on day trips since he was born and I honestly believe he is farther ahead in school because of it. His grades certainly show it. But hopefully we will also be getting the help and approval of his teacher.
The only time I've gone to WDW was back in '91 and I was a junior in high school. My family went the week after April vacation, and I had hardly any problems taking the week off school. I made sure to talk to all my teachers well in advance, did any work I could before we left, and made sure when I got back to get the make up work done as soon as I could.

I suffered no scars from missing that one week of school, but the memories I have from going to WDW with my family will last a lifetime!

I say go for it! :)

April '91 - Poly
Sept '01 - PO French Quarter (long awaited honeymoon!)

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It really depends on how your children are doing in school. I have to agree that the older they get, the harder it is, because they miss so much. If your children will not suffer from missing a week of school, then I would not hesitate to take them out. Maybe since your children have break prior to your vacation, the teachers would be kind enough to give them the work they will miss, so they can complete it during their break. Just let the teachers know well in advance, so they can get everything prepared before the school break. Then you could have a stress, and worryfree vacation :D Hope everything goes well for you.

Have a Wonderful day, Eeyore

I would ask the teacher.. as she would know if your children would get behind or not.. plus she would know what kind of student your child is.. if he would have a hard time or not catching up or not....most teacher will work with the child and give homework a head of time or let them make it up after they get back.. high school is the only time I ever found that you couldnt take them seems really hard to do it for a high school student..
I don't see a problem with taking them out of school. I take mine out for great learning vacations. My kids would prefer not to miss school, but I like to go at the cheapest and least busy time. The week before Thanksgiving would probably be a lot less crowded, and more fun, but I wanted to see the Christmas decorations this year also. They were still up in January and it was great to see them.
My DS will be in 10th grade when we go next Oct. I'm planning our trip during the week that the Ninth Grade Proficiency Test is given in Ohio. He passed it all the first time he took it, so that week he doesn't have to be at school until 10:30. He only has 4 classes a day and won't miss as much as he would another week.
be sure to check the school systems policies for excused/unexcused days. For some they do not allow make up work for unexcused days. Also make sure there are no test that can not be made up being given during the time you will be gone

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be a personal decision. Many do, many don't. Will have to be making the same decision in a few years and really don't lean either way.
It is a personal decision. I discussed taking my son out of school for a week with his teacher - it was no problem. She gave us work to complete and hand in ...we also did a special project . I would never have gone behind the teachers back. We followed school policy. We had a great time and kept up with his work, too! I love wdw off season!
We took our 5 year old out of kindergarden last September and had flack from his teacher because of it. We notified her as soon as school started for the school year, again and again as it got closer and heard nothing from her regarding work ahead of time. When we got back he had some extra worksheets in his papers. Come conference a couple weeks later, she really got on me about how far behind he was because we took him out of school for Disney. Well, guess what? It's the end of the year, he isn't behind his classmates (never was in my opinion!!). Would I do it again? Absolutely!! Disney is an educational experience in itself.
I am a 4th grade teacher so I have 1st hand knowledge of this situation from the "other side".
Kids who miss school because of vacations come in
2 different categories.......
Those who don't miss a beat,they do work ahead,during,and when returning from a vacation.

And then there are those who may as well have stayed wherever they went because they don't do squat before they go, and they don't do squat when they get back.

I deal with students and parents who miss because
of vacations on an individual basis, the only thing that irks me is parents who give lip service
and then don't make their kids follow through with
schoolwork committments.

One more caution, make sure you check your districts attendance policy, some do not excuse
absences for vacations.
Like "mudhen" stated be sure to know your districts policy on absences because in our county vacations during the school year are unexcused absences. They feel that they give plenty of breaks throughout the year so you can plan a vacation without kids having to miss any school. My DS is in the 4th grade and my DD is in the 1st and seeing the work they do in a weeks time I feel that they would miss a lot. There principal is very big on attendance and has shown studies that children with good attendance do better in school - she encourages the children to come to school every day (unless they are sick of course) and my kids listen - they both have perfect attendance this year and are very proud of it, there grades reflect it too! We just took our kids to WDW a few weeks ago during their spring break week and they didn't have to miss a day of school for the trip!:D But all in all I guess if your school does not have this policy it's a personal decision - after all it is your children.
The last time we visited WDW was in 99.We went for three weeks in Sept'.When we returned we came in for some stick from the Head teacher.We said to her, our three boys in the last three weeks have learnt about Energy,Communications,the human body,learnt about the cultures of over twenty countries in Epcot and the Millenium Village,hand fed dolphins,been within a metre from ,Gorilla's,Elephants,Lions,Tigers and Bears (oh my)
oh! and watched the Space Shuttle take off.What did the kids do in class for the last three weeks Miss? Anyway she was kinda lost for words.What I'm tryin to say is children will learn and experience more in a week in Orlando than they will in six months at school.
I usually take my kids out of school for our WDW trips. The last time was in 99. DD was in 1st gr. and DS was in the 9th gr. They both got work ahead of time and had most of it completed before we got home. DD was given a journal to work on while she was there which worked out great for her. DS had to make up quizzes and tests within 1wk of return to school. It is important to note that my DS is a very smart boy and has never had any academic trouble in school. DD seemed to do well also. I think it depends on what kind of students they are. We are going in Aug. for our next visit because some of the other families we are traveling with have academic concerns with their kids. You just have to know your kids!
Family vacations are considered "family business" in my house, and that is all they really need to know.

Have a TeRriFiC VaCaTioN!!!:) :bounce: :) :bounce: :) :bounce: :bounce: :) :bounce: :) :bounce: :)
that there is a direct correlation to absence rate and academic performance. In reflecting on my very best students over the years, they never have high numbers of absences. I have some good students with a high number of absences (10-15) and I'm sure there are exceptions out there, nevertheless the top are committed and that of course is one of the qualities that puts them in that position.

In agreement with a teacher posting previously the impact of a week or so out of school varies individually. It tends to be much harder on marginal students, often throwing them into a month or so recovery period. I've had kids go and return with relative ease and I've had kids go and spiral downward the rest of the year.

As a lower elementary teacher, I find the notion that attendance in the early years of education is less important than in the later years a serious oversight. The parents in our school with this attitude typically have students with a much weaker foundation than those who realize the importance of education at the earliest levels. Many of my struggling students have a history of poor attendance. If there were validity to this notion it would be indicative of a poor educational system. The work of the lower grades should be every bit as important as any other level of education.

From my personal standpoint, removed from being a teacher, I feel that commitment is among the most important qualities a person can have. From a child I was instilled with the idea that commitments must be honored for the good of the others involved and your own personal benefit as well. For my family, all vacations would be scheduled around our commitments, both adult commitments to work and children's commitment to school and extracurricular activities. I think it would truly be a rare occurrence that a vacation could not be scheduled within the 12-14 weeks each year that children are not in school. If that occurred I would postpone until we could work around our commitments. Only in the event that this absolutely would not be possible would I consider doing otherwise.

Switching back to my teacher perspective, we have families that once in the five years of elementary take a vacation on school time and that's not too big a deal. Then we have family's that go twice a year every year for 10-15 days. In my opinion that reflects a poor attitude toward the work of the child.

With all that said, it is not my intention to get any of the previous posters upset. I am stating my opinion and it is directed at no one in particular. I'm sure there are valid reasons to contradict my line of thought.

To bottom line the issue, most of the time a student with 15-20 absences will be a marginal student. Under 10 absences is good. My very best students typically will have 5 or less absences. Occassionally there have been exceptions. I have never had a good student with 20 absences.


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