Should You Pull Your Child Out of School for a Family Vacation?

Once children hit school age, it can become slightly difficult to plan family vacations.  Yes, children have certain days and weeks off throughout the school year, and there are always a couple months for summer vacation.  However, those times of the year are often a little overpriced and the most popular destinations are beyond crowded.

Plus, not every school has the same schedule, so siblings may have less days off than others.  Once you take a parent’s work schedule, or both parents’ work schedules, into account, there may be no other choice but to plan a family vacation when the kids are supposed to be in school.

Some parents do not hesitate to pull their kids out of school for a family vacation, while other parents wouldn’t even think about it.  Then there are other parents that will consider it when their children are younger but stop once the kids reach middle school or high school.  Some parents have even foregone vacations for years, simply because they couldn’t find the time to get away due to everyone’s schedules.

Family Vacation

Now, there are obviously a few pros to pulling kids out of school for family vacations, but those pros are basically the same as they would be for a family vacation when your child is off from school.  They must be stated though and they include the following:

– An amazing hands-on education where you, as the parent, can control the curriculum and make it as enriching as you want.

– The ability to see history and geography up close, which will make it all come to life much better than a book or lecture possibly could.

– As a family, you will make lasting memories of everything that you saw and learned about, which is never possible in school.

There are a few cons that go with family vacations during the school year though, and these cons would definitely not be there if you took the same vacation when your child was not in school.  Those cons are as follows:

– Your child will either need to get their schoolwork and homework in advance, which means that they will either need to finish it before you leave or spend part of the vacation completing it all.

– Not every vacation has educational values, so depending on your destination, you may not have that as an added bonus.

– If your children are in middle school or high school, they may not be able to catch up in their classes when you return.

– Major exams could be missed, as can major projects and special events.

If you are considering taking your child out of school for a family vacation, you will first want to ask yourself how your child is doing in school.  If your child is already struggling to keep up with what they are learning, and just has borderline grades, now may not be the best time to pull them out.  However, if they are doing well, their grades are high, and you know that they can readjust when you get home, you can probably allow them to miss a few days every so often.

Once you know the answer that best suits your child, it will be time to discuss it with their teacher.  There is no point in lying, as the truth will come out eventually, so just state the facts and let them know what you are planning.  This is the time to find out if your child will miss any major tests while you are gone, which should make you think twice about your decision if that is the case.  It is also the time to nicely ask the teacher if they can gather up your child’s schoolwork and homework that they will be missing and give it to your child at least a couple days before you leave.  You should also ask the teacher when all the work will be due, as some will want it back the day that your child returns to school, while others will give students a few days more to finish catching up.

Family Holidays

Most of the time, missing a day or two, either before or after a holiday break, is the best way to go about pulling your child out of school for a family vacation.  Usually the day or two prior to the vacation is best, as long as there are no major exams, because most teachers use this time for planned catch up.  That way they know that their students are caught up on everything that has been done and are ready to start fresh when everyone returns from break.

Obviously, this is not always the case, but by planning a vacation around those one or two days, your children might not miss as much as they could at other times of the year.

One other thing that you should take into consideration is how your child feels about missing school.  While you may not think that it is a big deal, your child may feel differently, because they may know about special activities that are taking place at that time or something else that they don’t want to miss.  Younger children may not want to miss a special art project, while teenagers may not be thrilled to miss a special dance or sporting event.

You may think that you have everything in order and are ready to plan your family vacation, even though it involves pulling your child out of school for a few days, because your child will easily be able to keep up with their lessons.  In fact, you may be ready to grab the phone to call the teacher or write up a quick email to send out.

Before you do that, you may want to find out what the laws are where you live.  While some states and cities will allow parents to pull their children out of school, there are a few that will not allow it.  Some schools even have policies against students missing school for family vacations.

Many schools will allow their students to miss school for a few days each year, but they are supposed to be for when the students are sick.  When that happens, all you need to do is write a note and that absence is considered excused.  Missing school for family vacations is usually deemed as unexcused absence and, in some areas, that is illegal.  Some states will even fine the parents if they take their children out of school for an unexcused absence.

Family Trip

There are even a few schools that will tell parents that they can take their children out of school for a family vacation, but those days will count towards the number of sick days that students get each year.  And since some schools only allow children to be out sick for five days a year, using up any of those days will mean sending your child to school sick or taking the chance that your child will miss more days than they are allowed.  There are usually consequences to missing more than the mandated number of days, and those consequences vary according to each school.

As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to pulling your child out of school for a family vacation.  There are many variables at play and only you will know if it is worth all the work that will need to be done.

Therefore, if your area allows you to pull your children out for family vacations during the school year, and you are okay with your children missing school and gathering their work ahead of time, then go for it.  And if you don’t think all the extra work is worthwhile, then find a time when they are on vacation to get away from it all.  Even if it is for just a couple days, it is better than nothing.

Just make sure that you follow the guidelines for your state and city, or your school district, because no family vacation is worth getting in trouble over!

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