Parents typically look forward to summer vacation when the kids are out of school. An opportunity to loosen up on the strict schedule, enjoy more outdoor activities, and of course travel!! The problem is that everyone else has the same idea. This drives up the costs of flights and hotels during the summer months. Not only does it cost more, but you’ll see longer queues and bigger crowds at major sites.
So, why limit yourself to just a few months of the year?
For our family, travel is a priority. With our extensive travel wish list, it’s impossible to squeeze everything we want to do into just summer vacations. Of course, that leaves us with the dilemma of whether to allow our son to skip school for a couple weeks each year for a trip (or two).
Our first big trip abroad was when Aiden was in the 3rd grade. We found great ticket prices to Europe for the month of October. Until then, we had never let him skip school.
Concerned about pulling him out of school for nearly two weeks, we decided to discuss the trip with his teacher. Much to our surprise, she was totally excited and encouraged the trip. Not only did she reassure us that there wouldn’t be an negative impact to his studies, she helped us develop a study plan to ensure that he didn’t fall behind.
One of our planned stops was Italy, so leading up to the trip, the teacher read the book I Survived the Destruction of Pompeii with the class. Aiden’s assignment was to visit the historic site and prepare a presentation for the class for when we returned. She also created a study packet with two weeks worth of assignments and homework to complete during our numerous hours of transit time by plane or train. We also purchased a journal for him to write in every day.
There is no doubt that experiencing another culture is an educational experience in itself. There are some things that simply cannot be taught in a classroom.
Unfortunately, Not every teacher or school will be as supportive. Some schools actually discourage any extended absences from school. The reason may not be related to education at all. For many schools, they receive funding for each student for each day they attend. If students miss school, they don’t receive funding for that day for that child. Take the time to understand how your school is funded. It may explain why you might not receive warm support of your travel plans. Fortunately, we live in a school district that is funded through property taxes, so the school gets paid whether the student misses a day or not.
Ultimately, our trip was a huge success. Ever since, we’ve continued to have at least one trip during the school year. We do our best to avoid critical times of the year such as state testing. Other than that, the rest of the year is fair game. Let’s face it. Our kids are only kids once.
Thank you for visiting The Wandering Millers. A travel blog that follows a family of four on adventures around the world! For more info, please see our about page.
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