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Momversation: Taking Your Kids Out Of School

Have you ever taken your kids out of school for a vacation?

Do you get grief when your kids take a mental health day?

I’m dying to hear about it, because I am stymied by this one. Karen, Dana and Asha don’t feel conflicted at all… ooh, I’ll just call them the next time I take the kids skiing instead of to school.

14 thoughts on “Momversation: Taking Your Kids Out Of School”

  1. The way I interpreted it was that YOU were speaking more about a vacation and THEY were talking more “cultural experience” day. Of course we don’t see all the recorded video, but that is what I heard from them and you and why I think you might have a hard time understanding their position.

  2. We took ours out for almost two weeks last fall to go to Maui during shoulder season to save money. Our kids are 11 and 8 and both do very well in school. We gave the teachers warning that this was happening at the beginning of the year and asked them to pile some work on in advance of vacation to help put them ahead, and then we had about an hour of homework to do each day on vacation. They had a little bit of catching up to do when we got back, but not much.

    With my son being 11 it was okay, but in another couple of years such a lengthy absence is going to be pretty much impossible.


  3. I don’t have kids, but I have fond memories of getting to take a week off of school every now and again when I was a kid. I always loved school, and felt extra special when my teachers would spend time writing out my week’s assignments that I needed to take with me on vacation. I never fell behind – I simply did my work while I was gone, and anything I didn’t understand, I was able to ask the teacher when I got back. I went to a public school and always got good grades, and was happy to do my work while on vacation. I also never remember any teachers seeming frustrated or annoyed that I was leaving.

    I also was allowed to skip school whenever I wanted, and in all of elementary, middle, and high school, I probably “skipped” five days of school total. When I say skipped, I mean that I just didn’t feel like going and my mom let me stay home. I never skipped without telling her. My mom allowing me to do this made me feel like I had control over my life – but I was a weird kid in that I rarely wanted to miss school because I was afraid I’d miss something fun.

    I imagine it largely has to do with the child. If your kid loves school and is intelligent, it’s probably okay to take them out for a while. Some kids don’t fall behind as easily as others, right?

  4. I’ve never kept my kids from school for anything other than illness. I have a very hard time reconciling the fact that there is plenty of time throughout the year to take vacations and the state (Ca in our case) spending approx 9K a year per student for public school when the school only receives the funds for the days the child is in attendance. Any day a child is absent, the school does not receive the funds. And as is the case with our state, the school budget is consistently being cut and I just don’t feel right about contributing to lack of funds for our school.

  5. While I understand, Jessica’s position, I think it should be on a case by case basis and depends on your child, how old he or she is, where they are in their school year, especially if you take them out for longer spells. If you are paying for a highly ranked & competitive private school, it may cause your child more anxiety than it’s worth to have them miss a week or more of school for other pursuits. However, if they become ill or there’s a death in the family out of town (as I have experienced), keeping them out may not be a choice, and you have to cope with consequences.

    On the other hand, I have had no problem letting my sons have a mental health day or two or getting out on vacation a day or two earlier to beat holiday rush, as long as their homework was covered. Sometimes my kids needed a day off from the pressures of school (or the tough divorce they were weathering) and I think my youngest son benefited from the “special” time spent with me on those days. I also think it prevented them from playing sick in the long run if they knew they might be able to have time off just to chill from the daily grind, lessons, practices and shuttling back and forth between parents.

    Bottom line, everyone should do what’s right for them and their own situation. Thank you, as always, for an interesting debate.

  6. I always take my kids out of school for a week. March break prices are far too inflated and when you have 3 kids you have to weigh the travel cost savings over 5 days of missed classes. The teachers have been cool about it as long as they have caught up on the work.
    I guess it’s a tradition that I’ve carried on; my parents always used to pull us out of school for a week.

  7. Well, I don’t do it hardly ever- bc I think they should be there and attendance effects funding afterall. And I do not like homework and having hours extra is not enticing. I cringe when the older one is sick and must miss bc I know what lies ahead. Hours of agonizing make up work. The time mine missed for a trip was for Disney, and I planned it around Fall Break. We were gone 9 days and he only missed two of school. I was ok with that. I have a friend though whose kids will miss every single day allowed from being gone on vacation. She sends them sick to school to save days. What if an emergent situation occurs with one child late in the year? Like a bad illness or surgery? The kid isn’t suppose to advance. They stay gone for weeks not days, at a time. The latest one to get me was this: since the PT conference is a few days over break, we have to bring the kids with us and so we won’t be able to come back for few days after break ends. Hmm. And why is that, exactly? It irks most of us like crazy.

  8. The little guy isn’t in school yet, but from what I recall of my 13 years in school, I can literally count on my hand the times my parents pulled me out of school for vacations or cultural experiences. Now, in the system I was involved in, we had three months of summer vacation. That is when we went on family vacations. I was always brought up under the impression, an impression I wholly agree with, that school is your obligation from 8am-3p Monday through Friday from August to May from Kindergarten to Senior year. Period. If you weren’t attending, you had to face the consequences. My parents viewed taking us out of school as truancy. I do agree that systems differ based on location or type. There is public, private, charter, year-round, home-schooling. Circumstance will vary on the amount of time available to vacate with family or benefit from cultural opportunities, but for the most part, I know it is cliched, our children are our future and pulling them out of school when it isn’t 100% necessary, will snowball into lower and lower attendance and success. Deep. Profound. Uncharacteristically Serious. End.

  9. I regret that I did not take my son out of high school for a week to go on a business/pleasue trip to the Amazon. What was I thinking because what a wonderful experience that would have been for him. He went to a highly competitive private school and I probably thought he would miss too much work.

    Mental health day? I love that expression! I did tell my son early on that if he ever wanted or needed to stay home from school I was cool with that as long as it wasn’t to miss a test. My thought was that it was far better for him to be truthful rather than feigning illness. He never took advantage of that. In fact, I don’t recall him ever taking even one mental health day.

  10. We haven’t, but we are in May. Our daughter will miss 4 days of school, and I feel no guilt. truthfully, by the end of May the kids in our school system (in northern Virginia) have learned all that they are going to learn, and will only have two weeks of school left, which, by the way, are exceptionally unproductive.

    Our daughter gets exceptional grades, and we will take some school work for her to do, so we don’t have any issues with it (and guess what? We ARE going to Disneyworld).

  11. Take them out of school? You bet! Where will they learn more, at the Smithsonian in Washington DC, or in their classroom? Williamsburg, VA, or a social studies book? Disneyland (if a ride takes 3 minutes start to finish with four cars running and 24 people per car, how long will it take for the 1000th person to get to the front of the line?) or a math book (1000/(4X 24)*3=). Education is where you find it. And if my school doesn’t get it’s funding, it’s because no one will fight to get the rules changed (if the child is sick, the school doesn’t get the money for the day, yet the teacher still has to be there for the rest of the class. It doesn’t make any SENSE. It’s a bullying technique to make you feel obligated to send your child to school. ) JMO.

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