Should You Take the Kids out of School for Vacation?

Posted Travel Tips by Janice Sakata-Schultze on December 15, 2015

Confession time here: I’ve never been a big fan of the “perfect attendance” award that some schools still give out. The most obvious reason for this outdated recognition is it encourages kids with a cold or flu to come to school. The other not-so-obvious reason is it potentially discouraging parents from taking their kids on something that could be just as or even more educational than being in the classroom.

It’s going on vacation during (gasp) school.

The perfect attendance award notwithstanding, more parents are following this trend. There are several benefits for taking time off during school. It’s not summertime, and you won’t likely encounter the usual hordes of tourists. Taking off for vacation when school is in session means you’ll often find better prices and great deals on lodging and transportation. Plus, the less stress you and your family members encounter when you’re not waiting in mile-long lines, the happier you’ll all be.  

But before you think that this is a call for rebellion to take your kids out of school at the risk of making enemies teachers, relax.

Here’s a quick checklist to make sure that your child’s school achievement won’t decline while you give them a life-enhancing experience outside the classroom walls:

1) Make sure you kids are doing well in their classes


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You’ll want to make sure that your child is adequately keeping up with his or her studies before taking them out of the classroom. Check their current grades and make sure they’re solid. If they’re not particularly strong, you just might want to postpone your vacation until classes are done. Most schools now have confidential online access to your student’s progress.

2) Notify teachers well in advance

Third, you’ll want to come up with  a schoolwork makeup plan that will be acceptable to your child’s teachers while your family is gone. Of course, this is far easier at elementary schools than at middle school or high schools, because you’ll only have to talk with one teacher versus six. But don’t let that stop you from taking your preteen or teenager along on the trip. To handle this complication, obtain these teachers’ email addresses and send them one general note stating your plans.

3) Gather all homework and makeup work


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This is a no-brainer, but there are some families who think their children will be excused from doing all work while they’re away. Don’t fall into that trap.

4) Suggest that your child can write about their experience


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If your trip goes two weeks or longer, they can also create a blog that could be shared with their classmates. Otherwise, help them to put together a nice PowerPoint that they can present, or offer assistance in their report.  

5) Prepare your child for the transition coming home

He or she will be a little anxious about returning to school. You might want to make sure they have all their work completed, and talk to them about any potential problems they might encounter, such as upcoming tests or jealous classmates.