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It’s that back to school time and I’m already thinking about what days we’ll take off from school during the year for family vacations. Blasphemy, I know. We’re often excited to send the little boogers back to school, and back to a routine. But think about it for a moment… what is the best thing you did this summer? What was it when you were a kid? Vacation. As cheesy as it may sound, we really do enjoy the time away from the daily grind as a family. That’s why I advocate taking time off during the school year too. And not just during holiday and spring breaks. Take a long weekend, or heck, a whole week in the middle of October, just because you can.
I know, I get it. Schools often impose limits on the number of days kids can miss. I have thoughts on that.
Actually, in all seriousness, I do have reasons why you should take the kids out of school for family vacations as well as suggestions to the school administrators.
Reasons as a Parent to Take the Kids Out of School
It doesn’t take much to convince me to take the kids out of school for family vacations. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I’m homeschooling them in the later years, so we have more flexibility. But in case you aren’t sure that you should, here’s a few more of my reasons.
Do you know how fast 13 years go by?
That’s how long they are in school, and by the end of it, they are ready to leave the nest. This year it hit me that I have a 13-year-old. In five very short years, he will be off on his own. Now is the time to spend with my kids. Yes, there are summer vacations, but why not make the most of family time throughout the year. How many times do you look at old pictures and think it was yesterday, only to be reminded it was on this day 7 years ago. (Thanks, Facebook!) It flys by in the blink of an eye.
Another reason to travel during the school year, fewer crowds. Because not everyone is trying to squeeze in days in that short amount of time, many popular places have downtime.
And in order to entice those who wouldn’t be traveling during the school year, many places lower their rates.
Fewer crowds, save money. That’s all I need to know!
Reasons for the School not to Count Absences Against The Kids
I get it. I’m not a rule breaker, per se. The schools enact absence limits so that children aren’t gone for weeks or even months at a time. We have to have some semblance of structure. And I am not, by any means suggesting we break the rules for sake of breaking them. However, like a wise man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Sometimes, there’s a good reason to miss school.
Preparing for the real world.
In the real world, we take vacations away from work. We don’t have long summer breaks (unless we become teachers, but even then, their break is not as long as the kids.) Often, while someone covers the critical functions of our job, there is still plenty of work to get done ahead of time or make-up when we return. Showing kids the responsibility of covering their absence prepares them for the workforcee and demonstrates accountability.
Nearly any trip can be made into an educational one. Even if you’re going to the beach, the kids can study eco systems, weather patterns, and sea life. Add in a history exhibit while you’re on vacation. Seeing history in person is immensely more valuable than reading it in a book. That’s why schools take field trips after all. You could study a culture, a language, science, history, literature. The possibilities are endless. Offer to work with your kids on recording what they learn while they’re away.
Need a few more ideas on traveling for history? These are a few of my inspiration books for Traveling with kids.
What are your thoughts? Have you taken the kids out for an amazing vacation? I’d love to hear about it. Please comment below with your story about how you took the kids out, if you had any consequences from the school or if you think I’m completely off my rocker!
Tonya Denmark is a busy mom of two children. She loves planning travel, road trips, 80’s movies, and coffee. She’s been detail obsessed for as long as she can remember and brings her best finds and travel advice to the Detail Oriented Traveler.