Should You Pull Your Child Out Of School For Vacation?
Years ago I babysat for a family who pulled their kids out of school for a week to go to Florida on vacation. I remember thinking at the time that this sent the wrong message to the child about the importance of education. I have thought about this a lot now that I have children of my own and have seen many people pull their children from school for vacation. If this were a "yes or no" question I would say no in a heartbeat. You shouldn't pull your kids out of school for vacation. But I have come to realize that there are exceptions that are OK.
First, I think age matters. Not to say that kindergarten doesn't matter, but in the grand scheme of things, pull your child from kindergarten rather than 10th grade. The older the child is, the more they miss each day they are absent and the harder it is to catch back up. This can really impact their grades.
Second, think of how it looks to the teacher. If I were a teacher and a family pulled their child out for a week to go to Disney World I would not be happy. I would not hold it against the child, because it is the parents making the decision, but some teachers will. Again, this can really impact a child's grade and how they are treated in the classroom all year long. I know a family who kept their child out the first three days of school to go to gymnastics camp and the teacher held a grudge all year long towards this child. I wouldn't want my child at a disadvantage because we wanted to go on vacation in September rather than July.
Third, what type of vacation is it? When a father is taking a business trip to China and wants to bring the family for the cultural experience of a lifetime, then you should absolutely go for it. If you just feel like going to the beach and found a great deal for a week in February, then forget it. School is more important than lying on the beach in the dead of winter. When I found out my parents were going to be in Washington, D.C. in October, we pulled the kids from school for one day so we could tour our nation's capital. This was an educational field trip that they all benefited from and one day of school is a whole lot different from a week. An educational vacation is entirely different than a ski trip in Aspen. Once in a lifetime opportunities are just that and should be taken advantage of. Just be careful what you consider once in a lifetime.
Fourth, if you must travel during the school year, time it around days off of school. There is a week in January here that school is closed on the Monday and the Friday for various reasons. Your child will only miss three days of school for a weeklong vacation, rather than five. Better yet, time your trips for a long weekend and don't pull them from school at all.
Allowing your child to miss school for vacation sends the wrong message to the child and the teacher. You don't put a priority on education. If you allow your child to skip school for a trip to see Mickey Mouse, then they are going to think it is OK to skip school for many other not valid reasons as well. I want my children to know how important education is. I want them to have every advantage in the classroom and in life. This means valuing education over everything else and making sure that they are where they need to be to learn the best they can.