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Old 08-12-2011, 07:52 AM
 
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I've been given an opportunity to go to Disney World at MINIMUM expense and is planned for the 2nd week of school! The kids, grades 7 and 5, will have to miss 6 consecutive days of school. It's going to be tough when they return, but unless something changes drastically, we will not have an opportunity to go to Disney for many years to come.

Just wondering how others handle this with their kids' schools. I know administration and teachers hate when kids are kept out of school for vacation. I know this sounds silly, but I am actually nervous about informing the school about this, like I'm going to be viewed as a bad parent or something, or be reprimanded! LOL

Our district does not allow vacations as an excused absence, and so this will be 6 unexcused absences right off the bat. The only other option would be lying about a family emergency, which I DO NOT feel comfortable doing at all.

I know many, many years ago I took my oldest (then youngest) out this same week for vacation and the school had no problem with it at all. But times have changed....

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:01 AM
 
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We often took our children out of school for vacation. If we hadn't, we might not have been able to have a vacation at all because vacations are cheaper during the school year.

Our schools allow "educational" family trips. Basically, there was a form to fill out requesting approval for vacation and justifying how it will be educational. Yeah, you CAN make Disney educational. I often included things like "learning how to budget money" and how to "calculate travel costs by distance" and all sorts of crazy stuff. Even if your district doesn't have an official form, you could send a letter to the principal to avoid a face to face. Plus, it's always best to have everything in writing anyway so nobody accuses you of not informing them because they forgot about the conversation with you.

I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to take my children on a heavily discounted trip to Disney! Then again, I'm not the type of person who worries about what anyone thinks of me. Seriously, I highly doubt the school staff will remember this a few months from now. You're not that special. They've got plenty of other parents and students who give them bigger problems. Your trip to Disney is not going to make them think you're a terrible parent.

Last edited by Hopes; 08-12-2011 at 08:31 AM..
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:08 AM
 
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What will happen if you have unexcused absences? I personally would not take my kids out of school for six days to go to Disney. I might take them out for that long if we were doing something like traveling to a foreign country where they would learn something. To me, Disney is not educational and while it is fun they had all summer to have fun.

I do have a HUGE issue with a school district telling you what you can and cannot do. The kids are YOUR kids not theirs. What authority does the school have to discipline you in any way simply because you choose to take a vacation?

I think you should make whatever choice you think is right for your family. I would not let the school district dictate to you what you can and cannot do. However, if it was me I would not take my kids out for that long for Disney. I would do it for another more educational trip but not Disney. Why wouldn't you be able to visit Disney at some other time that does not interfere with school?
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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How well do your children perform in school? Are they fast learners that grasp concepts with ease or do they learn a little slower and need a lot of reinforcement? How were their grades last semester? Is the 7th grader in a middle school setting for the first time this year or does your district start it in 6th?

How willing is the school going to be in providing you with the materials so they can study during vacation? How familiar are YOU with these concepts that they will be learning? Can you explain them well if they do not understand them while on vacation and later in the year when they come up again?

Is it possible to shorten your vacation a bit? 6 consecutive days is mighty long time to be out of school.

To be honest, unless the school was completely on board with me I wouldn't do it. (I'd be upset about it though!) The thing is the grades your children are in is where they learn a lot of building block concepts, if they miss the foundation of an important concept they could have trouble for years in a subject. Plus in these grades teachers tend to jump right into the cirriculum, not like in the lower grades where there tends to be more of a settling in period before the real learning begins. If your childs teacher introduces something on the first day of your vacation 6 school days later she's already taught it, explained it in different way, reinforced it, reviewed it, made sure every one understood it and moved on.

I understand why you are torn and I would be too, but I don't think you should go. and definitely not for 8 or more days, you should scale back to 4 days so they only miss 2 school days if you absolutely can't cope with not going.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:12 AM
 
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I would go in a heartbeat. Be upfront about going, make them aware and see if there is a way to get any assignments they might miss, so they can do them on the trip down and back. They're your kids, I seriously wouldn't be worried about what the school thinks of my plans to take my family on a vacation. If anyone gives you gruff remind them that most of them have 2-4 weeks vacation, 15 or more sick/personal days and still have off in the summers as well as all the holidays. Besides since it is the second week they will be missing, most of the classes will still be in review from the previous year mode or trying to find chapter 1 in the textbooks.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:19 AM
 
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I want to clarify something from my post.

When I said "unless the school is completely on board", I didn't mean that the principle should be thrilled and the teachers are throwing you a party, obviously the school is going to try to get you not to do it, they never encourage extended absences.

What I meant was, even though they don't like it they will cooperate with you. If they are willing to give you the materials and homework assigments to work on during the trip and will allow your child to either make up any tests given or at least not give a 0 for tests they missed if they can't make them up.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:27 AM
 
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Yup, I vote for the go. We once had the opportunity to take the boys to a conference at Disney, all expenses paid, and didn't think twice about it.

Some school districts make it easy. We lived in the Northeast at the time, and were able to get work ahead of time from the teachers without any repercussions at all.

Now, in the south, you have to jump through hoops, and, unfortunately, lie. But, in order to attend a family wedding out west (and use the opportunity to take the kids to the Grand Canyon), that's what we did. The middle school principal signed off on youngest missing a week, but the high school principal wouldn't. It wasn't until I showed up with the approval from the other school that he backed down.

Obviously, it gets harder as the student gets older. You don't want the kids to get zeros for missing the work, so in the end you need some sort of approval from the administration.

The kids won't remember the 2nd week of school, but they'll remember the trip to Disney.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:31 AM
 
14,756 posts, read 33,237,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icibiu View Post
I want to clarify something from my post.

When I said "unless the school is completely on board", I didn't mean that the principle should be thrilled and the teachers are throwing you a party, obviously the school is going to try to get you not to do it, they never encourage extended absences.

What I meant was, even though they don't like it they will cooperate with you. If they are willing to give you the materials and homework assigments to work on during the trip and will allow your child to either make up any tests given or at least not give a 0 for tests they missed if they can't make them up.
I'd have to say I would throw a fit if the school would actually penalize my children for me taking them out of school for something like this. I could understand them being miffed if it was an every year thing or we made a habit of extended absences, etc. The OP is discussing a one time thing, that also appears to be a one time opportunity that they may not have again for a long time.

The school doesn't have to like it, but they shouldn't penalize the kids for it. If this were my kids and the school refused to provide the covered material and was not going to offer a makeup opportunity for any missed tests/quizzes I would raise holy hell over it. For nothing more than the simple fact that I was honest and could have just as easily lied to them about why we were going or even gotten a doctors note excusing the absences.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Eastern time zone
4,469 posts, read 6,009,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wsop View Post
I've been given an opportunity to go to Disney World at MINIMUM expense and is planned for the 2nd week of school! The kids, grades 7 and 5, will have to miss 6 consecutive days of school. It's going to be tough when they return, but unless something changes drastically, we will not have an opportunity to go to Disney for many years to come.

Just wondering how others handle this with their kids' schools. I know administration and teachers hate when kids are kept out of school for vacation. I know this sounds silly, but I am actually nervous about informing the school about this, like I'm going to be viewed as a bad parent or something, or be reprimanded! LOL

Our district does not allow vacations as an excused absence, and so this will be 6 unexcused absences right off the bat. The only other option would be lying about a family emergency, which I DO NOT feel comfortable doing at all.

I know many, many years ago I took my oldest (then youngest) out this same week for vacation and the school had no problem with it at all. But times have changed....

Any suggestions?
Well, honestly, I'd do it, and state "family emergency". It's nobody's business how I define an emergency.
And in seventh and fifth grades, if they have to go without making up work because the school's taking a hard line, then they just have to take the grade hit. It's not as if they were in high school and it's going to kill their GPA. IME, much of the first couple of weeks of school are a review of the previous year's work. Assuming they're not generally C or D students (in which case you have bigger things to worry about), they'll be okay.
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Old 08-12-2011, 08:40 AM
 
Location: here
23,993 posts, read 27,479,909 times
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I'm fundamentally opposed to taking kids out of school for vacation, but after doing Disneyland off season, that is the one trip, I just might do it! The school will probably consider it an unexcused absence, but I don't know what kind of penalty there is for that.
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