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Should You Pull Your Child Out Of School For Vacation?

Updated on March 12, 2011

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.


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    • talfonso profile image


      6 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      It really all depends on the school, although it's not a really good idea to pull kids out of it just for a relaxing Caribbean cruise. Most public schools aren't that flexible and treat vacations when families' school districts have classes in session as unexcused absences.

      Some private schools are flexible, and mine was no exception. I went on my very first cruise during my school year and made up all the work. I'm not really that guilty about missing THAT much school, and I took advantage of the lighter crowds on the ship!

      Wonderful Hub!

    • profile image


      8 years ago from Delaware

      The one thing to remember is that the schools are held accountable for ADM (average daily membership). They are paid by the state based on this number and it is a part of the NCLB Act. This means the schools lose money (granted not a lot when you consider one student out of a large pool) when students are out.

      I believe extra experiences are a valuable part of a child's education. That is why we go on field trips. Furthermore, family time can also be beneficial. Students grow up quickly and it nice to have those memories.

      Speaking of that, I have two students who will be out this week because they both just lost one of their grandparents. This too is a great (albeit sad) experience when families are stretched apart, it seems we only get back together for funerals and maybe weddings.

      Respect for instructional time is a must, but I, as a teacher, try to remember that while my subject is important, it is not the only thing a family is concerned with. I do this when assigning homework as well as when students must be out.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very well written hub. Well done!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      I agree with revmjm about patterns being set in your family. When I was a child my family did a lot of travelling and we missed big chunks of school but always managed to do very well at the final exams, that is one of the reasons why I think that strict school attendance is not essential in all cases.

    • Ingenira profile image


      8 years ago

      I pulled my son out of school only after his exam week since the teacher did not teach much then. I did that a few times last year. :P He still did very well academically, in fact, better than the year before. However, he did not get nominated to be a model student like in previous year. In spite of that, I'd still pull him out of school for the needed vacation breaks from school, especially for overseas trip.

      I am glad to see teachers and ex-teachers comments here. I am very careful with pulling my son out of school, and try to avoid it if possible. I feel that I am not giving the teacher the due respect if my son is absent for vacation reason, even if I talk to them or wrote them a respectful letter, and help my son to catch up with the school work when he is back to class.

      Jennifer, I agreed with what you wrote, as they enter higher grades, they will miss more if they miss school.

    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 

      8 years ago from Virginia, USA

      This is a very well written hub! The comments also offer very good points. I can see both sides of the argument now, although on the surface taking kids out of school seems wrong, there are reasons that make it a good choice at times.

      I also think that education doesn't begin and end in the classroom and seeing distant relatives and learning about other cultures may be more useful to a child if they can't do it at any other time.

    • shellyakins profile image


      8 years ago from Illinois

      As a former teacher, I agree that every day is important and kids should be in school as much as possible. They miss more than homework when they miss school.

      Having said that, my husband and I currently have jobs that make it almost impossible to travel during traditional vacation times (Summer, Spring Break and Christmas.) I wish we lived in a school district like where my mother teaches that has a week off in October and in March (a spring break time not associated with Easter.) In the real world of year round jobs, you can take off when there is a slow time in the work flow. This is not necessarily summer time.

    • revmjm profile image

      Margaret Minnicks 

      8 years ago from Richmond, VA

      You have made some good points about whether to pull your child out of school for vacation. When I had children in school, I used the summer months for vacation. Now my children are doing the same with their children. I think when a pattern is set, others follow the positive examples. Thank for writing this article.

    • Middlespecialist profile image


      8 years ago

      As a teacher, I will weigh in and say that we have so much pressure to ensure our students do well on standardized tests that it can really throw us off when a student is missing for a week or more. We can give them classwork to make up, but it is not the same as teaching them ourselves.

      I do think, though, that travel is very important for opening a child's eyes to the world. I'm not a fan of Disney vacations during the school year (well, maybe you could stretch the Epcot experience to make it educational). But the most important thing is to talk to your child's teacher and reach an understanding. We all want to do what's best for the child, and a lot of times it makes sense for the child to be out of school.

    • profile image


      8 years ago from Delaware

      This hub be a great hub. Me mom tooken me out of shcool fore vacations every year. Eye did knot even suffer that mutch. We whent everywear. Skippin shcool was weigh cool. Now I does the same fore mine kids. Whee have to go when the rates R cheeper cuz I don't be making mutch money.

    • sincerely25 profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Yes, you only live once.

    • mepperly profile image

      Shelly Epperly 

      8 years ago from Vancouver,WA

      Oh we don't do it when ever we want.. it is planned. I want my kids to know that they should enjoy what ever job they have whether it is school or a dream job.. My husband and I both live our dreams and that includes having fun and having jobs that we are able to plan great vacations.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      I do not think we should pull kids out for vacation. What are you teaching your kids by doing this? That everything can be put on hold when ever you want. No it can not ! That is why there are vacation times with a job and school. Oh, lets break the rules when we feel like it.

      It is very hard to make up school work when you are in high school. Even if you bring some with you, you can not bring it all.

    • mepperly profile image

      Shelly Epperly 

      8 years ago from Vancouver,WA

      We have taken our kids out of school on several occasions to go to both Disneyland and Disney World on off season for the weather and the easy access to the rides during the off season. They have always collected school work and we make time during the vacation everyday for homework. I do agree that when they get older it gets harder but it is not impossible. I have kids that get good grades and know that education is important but also know that having fun is equally important.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      I do take my little ones out of school rather often and it has never affected their grades.

      Of course the school doesn't like the idea and I got a letter once telling me not to do that. So now before I take them away I tell them about it and ask for the classwork to take away with me. The school still not very happy, but I believe that it is better to take the children away with us rather than leaving them behind for the sake of school. Besides, I try to make each trip as educational as possible (within the limits so they still have fun).

      Our last trip was to the Basque country, a couple of weeks ago. They missed a few days of school but I feel that they learnt a lot about the Basque culture, they attended a children's club everyday and there they learnt the local dances, the basics of the language and a lot about the culture. In my view that is more important than just sitting in a classroom learning maths.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Jennifer, I have to agree, it is sending the wrong message.

    • NickSimpson profile image


      8 years ago from Jacksonville, Illinois

      Interesting read, thanks for sharing Jennifer.

    • chspublish profile image


      8 years ago from Ireland

      I guess families have to look at both sides of the story - the needs of the family (cheap holidays in offpeak times) and school needs. Perhaps schools could also play their part by indicating what times of the school year wouldn't really 'hurt' the students needs to keep up with school work and the school needs to have full attendance and control over the school year.

      Great stimulating hub anyway. Thanks for it.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 

      8 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      We are taking our son out of school for a few days at each side of his school holidays so that he can go to Turkey with his Turkish father. It's just too hot and expensive to go in the summer, plus we need all hands here to run our B&B and gite in France. I think the benefits of him going to see his family, speak Turkish and see Istanbul outweigh a few days off school. Having said that I also agree with you, and missing a week or two of school can leave great gaps in knowlege that can't be filled in later.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is a really good hub. It is often easy to justify the reasons for pulling kids out of school, especially when it suits our own plans. We need to consider what is really best for our children.

    • Lily Rose profile image

      Lily Rose 

      8 years ago from A Coast

      Very well said. I agree that parents should really think about it before pulling their kids out. Last year I kept my daughter out of preschool for 4 days to go visit family across country and I felt guilty about that, and it was only preschool! She is in kindergarten and all is different now. If we go on vacation now it will have to be when school is out or during a long weekend and maybe miss one day of school; I would be okay with that, but not a week.

    • speedbird profile image


      8 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      True, to me I don't recommend parents to pull their children out of school for vacation but it is also important for parents and teachers to create time for children to get some fun and play.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      When my niece and newphew were in middle and high school, my sister took them out all the time for Disney and cruise vacations. Her reasoning is that it is too hot in Florida in the summer and that her kids were good students and they would catch up in the school work. I would love to take my kids out in May to go to Williamsburg, VA because it is great weather wise but in my home, kids are in school, vacation is after school lets out. People today do what they want, there will always be a reason why they do things.


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