And… I’m not trying to bag on schools! We just had limited funds and the best travel deals fell in the middle of the school sessions.
right I hear that.
The best thing would be for us to travel friday-tues/wed or sunday-friday due to hubby’s 24 hr shifts. and i’m all about minimizing airfare for sure!!
I have no issues taking my kids out of school for 5 or 6 days for a vaca. Now that my oldest is in middle school it is a little more complicated and she is more concerned about missing days. We will try and respect her wishes because I think it is responsible of her. When they are young the work is easy to make up and teachers have always been supportive.
We take our kids out for a whole week during lower crowd times, just like you are. Now, we do not do it every year, but have twice already. And even at older ages than your DD. The kids teachers are used to families traveling and always send some school work assignments with to do during the trip.
The great part about taking a whole week is being able to visit the parks on Tues/Wed/Thurs which are the lowest crowd days.
My DW is a special education teacher and she is even OK with missing a whole week. Her co-workers actually encourage it. She takes her job very seriously. It makes for a lot of extra work for herself just to be able to be off for a whole week, but it’s worth it.
You’d be crazy not to do a whole week!
This, exactly same as @Minnie27mouse. In second grade they can easily make up a week of work. 7/8th grade gets tougher. Do it while you still can!
I’d highly recommend talking to some other parents about how your school is likely to respond. I would imagine at 2nd grade it wouldn’t be a big deal, but you’ll get an idea of how much support/pushback you’ll encounter.
Our school district is NOT supportive so we know the absences will be unexcused (we won’t lie to get them excused), but we still do it on occasion. (We took our kids out last January for 2 days for our Disney trip.) Our teachers have all been understanding and cooperative about the makeup work, though. But we do get a “nastygram” from the district at a certain number of unexcused absences (5?) threatening to take us to court on truancy charges. I haven’t talked to anyone that’s actually had that happen though.
There was this extreme example posted here previously, but with an older student:
I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, just best to have an idea what the response will be.
We have done 5 days with no issue. We have a rescheduled trip in November (the week after Thanksgiving) this year and my kids are missing 3 days. They have off Monday and Tuesday that week as part of their Thanksgiving break. We did this on purpose since my oldest 2 are now in middle school. I don’t really take into consideration sick days. Our school district allows up to 5 educational trip days a school year.
No issues here. My kids are young and strong students. I would be less inclined to take them out for an extended trip if they were older or struggling. I also speak with their teachers well in advance so they know about it and we plan around it.
The way I look at it is that adults get vacation, so why shouldn’t kids? I know they have the summer and a few holidays throughout the year, but it isn’t the same. They need a break too.
I also wonder with all of the changes in the last year if virtual school for vacations might be a thing in the future.
Agree with a full week being acceptable. We’ve done it a couple times and made sure we had a good rapport with the teachers about it. We really lucked out this year to avoid the issue and to go to WDW on their Spring Break with great weather and much lower than typical Spring Break crowds.
I don’t think this is an agree / disagree situation because I think you have to take a lot of factors into account, including what grades, how your kids do in school, meeting your kids’ teachers beforehand and getting a sense for how they would be impacted, etc. I personally try to avoid taking my kids out of school more than a day or two, but I wouldn’t hesitate to do up to a week if circumstances required / allowed.
Thankfully we are usually able to do our vacations when schools are on break because they have occasional breaks at non-peak times that line up with my work schedule.
I am very fortunate to live in a district that has very flexible policies on this. If a student is going to miss a week or more of school, we are allowed to place them on temporary independent studies. We just have to give three weeks notice (unless it is an illness). We have a large population of of police and fire personnel in our district and I think they recognize that many of them (especially the firefighters) cannot take their vacations in the summer. The teachers (at least most of them) are very supportive. I had one teacher make all the home study assignments about our trip, i.e., write about your parts of the vacation or calculating the tip from your meal or keep a record of how much you spent on you gift card (she knew I gave both my boys $50 GC for souvenirs) or walk 5k steps (which we blew out of the water), and research why your stomach feels funny on the roller coasters.
I do want to mention @jsanta as your daughter gets older, please check the MCAS dates (I can tell you the window) from grades 3-8 (generally April and May).
Also, be aware, by law, MA schools are required to hold formal meetings with families If there are 8 (or is it 9) or more absences in the year. There is attendance language embedded in the school discipline laws.
If you are interested if you want to PM me I am sure I can find a link. It was really weird the way they did it and might be interpreted by school district’s legal council that schools should be very tough on attendance……because that is much more important than the arts or a well-rounded education….(sorry-I can’t stop myself).
We have taken DS out of school since kindergarten and all of his teachers have supported it. In K-3, it was usually a week. Once he hit 4th grade, it was 3 days max. His middle school principal and I have discussed it and he said that for a student who does well in school, he has no issue with kids taking off for 3 days for vacation. I usually try to do what @PrincipalTinker says and built it around half days or professional development days to make the most of it.
And yes, we built around the MCAS days! We got the dreaded letter telling us we were on the verge of too many absences in 3rd grade. He had pneumonia that year and missed a week because of that. But I talked to his elementary principal and she told me that was a formality and they need to send it but she wasn’t concerned.
This. I think for some kids, missing 4-5 days of school is no problem. Other kids could really be impacted by the missed days.
I know my school is not supportive of missing days for vacation - they are unexcused absences and the work cannot be made up. This was fine for me to take my advanced kindergartener out for 2 days, but I don’t know how much we’ll be able to do it in the future.
You know your kid. You know your school system and their appetite for these types of absences.
I would probably say go for it, but I think you have a better understanding of all the factors.
We haven’t had to do it yet as my daughter is just in Kindergarten this year and with Covid we haven’t been doing any trips. Our cancelled trip from last year was a longer one (10 days) and I didn’t want to shorten it in order to reschedule, so we are waiting until school is out. But I would not hesitate to take her out of Elementary school for 5 or 6 days in order to go during a better time crowds- and weather-wise. Here in our district they are unexcused absences. I think after 5 unexcused you get a snarky letter in the mail and after 10 you have to go to a meeting or something. I know that they can’t/don’t really “do” anything unless or until it’s really egregious.
I’m a h.s. teacher. My advice is not to lie about the absence because little ones will talk. I don’t blame them. I would be excited as well and would want to talk about my trip to Disney. Once a student reaches the grade levels that require state testing, take into consideration that the immediate days and weeks leading to the tests are focused on review and preparation. Therefore, missing right before the tests may not be good.
HS parents/about to be HS parents-
I’m an AP teacher and I teach my final unit two weeks before the test and we review the week before. If your child is in AP classes, wait until the 3rd week of May once the AP exams are over. This is also taking into consideration that your child’s school is giving the paper exams, not the digital exams. If that’s the case, you’ll need to wait longer.
Also, attendance at the high school level is different in some states. For example, Texas requires the student to be present in class at least 90% of the time the class meets to receive credit regardless of the student’s average. This is on a semester by semester basis. Therefore, if a student misses 10 days in a semester, regardless of the reason, they have to make up time they missed to meet the 90% requirement. Students are required to attend Saturday school and/or after school detention to make up the time. In other words, missing high school is complicated. Make sure you know your school’s policy before you go.
I always took my kid during the school year. I made sure her assignments were up to date & she was an almost straight A student w/ no issues. This made me feel OK taking her out for an entire week. We would often leave on a Thurs night / Fri morning and she wouldn’t get back to school until the Monday after next.
I did stop telling her teachers I was taking her out for vacation after one teacher & principal threatened to call the cops if I did it again. So, I just started saying she was “sick” for a whole week.
In high school she was once required to bring a doctor’s note upon her return. We went to the walk-in clinic at the grocery store. I paid the $20 co-pay, explained it to the doctor and left with an “ok to return” note within 20 minutes. The doctor didn’t care or even blink. He gets paid for the “exam” and I get an excuse note. Much easier than dealing w/ the school!!
Our district allows 5 consecutive days for family vacations (once per school year). We did it when kids were elementary, but stopped once oldest reached middle school.
There was a similar topic a couple years back, and it was about high school, but here is an edited version of what I said then:
I’m a high school science teacher. The reason I normally have an issue with this type of thing is I have had multiple instances in the past of students being out the entire week before or after a week long break. The problem from the teacher’s end is that this usually result in the extra work of catching the student back up falls on me. I am sympathetic to the situation of cost of travel, but it does set a perception that school is not important and others will make it work for you in the end.
Having said that, I would hope the homework and speed at which the content is dispersed at 2nd grade isn’t quite the same as a high school student is expected. If you were to let the teacher know and let your child understand they are responsible for what they miss, I personally don’t see an issue. The fact that you are trying to minimize the time off already sends the message that school is important.