What’s Your Excuse?
We’ve all done it–called in sick to work when we aren’t, taken a mental health day, taken an extra day of vacation–it’s nothing new. Our kids are human, sometimes school and life is overwhelming, sometimes you just need a day to regroup, and that is okay, or is it? School attendance policies are at the strictest they have ever been, with truancy officers being sent to children’s homes and parents being threatened if their children miss any more school days. My son has been required to do “seat time” at the end of the year, basically 2 hours he had to sit after school and do homework, due to exceeding his allotted excused absences. An excused absence isn’t what it used to be either. I may be his mother, but my note is no longer accepted as an excuse for some absences.
What About Homework?
I always let the teachers know well in advance the week my kids will be out, asking that any work they will need to turn in when they return to be sent home on their last day. Our teachers have always been more than helpful, and my kids never fall behind in their work. The most recent trip we spent half a day in the hotel room doing homework, as well as on the drive there and home. They didn’t complain once, and everything was ready to turn in on their first day back.
Learning Outside The Classroom
Depending on where you choose to travel, your kids can be learning outside of the classroom. Our last trip was to Disney (okay, not exactly world traveling), but our visit to Epcot allowed them to see what several other countries look like, taste food from those countries, and learn about cultures different from our own. There are absolutely real-life learning experiences, even in Disney: money management/math with the money they’re given for spending, how to read a map/geography (it may just be of a Disney park, but it counts), history of parks/social studies, and, of course, time management (how to get to the park and make the most of your time there).
Perks of Skipping School
I will be the first to tell you that the biggest perk about off-season travel is that everyone else is at school and work. When it is off-season, you may be more likely to catch some really good flight and hotel deals. Traffic tends to be lighter, gas is less expensive. Depending on where you will be traveling, the crowds can make or break your experience.
School is Cool
Please don’t get me wrong, school is extremely important to my husband and me. We encourage good study habits, best behavior, and that school comes first. Our kids, now 12 and 15, are both honor roll students, never have had behavior issues in school, and do homework when they get home from school before anything they do anything else. They both enjoy going to school and don’t miss many days unless they’re truly not feeling well.
Time is Limited
It is true, babies don’t keep. We have 18 years before they head off to college and start their own lives. Roughly half of our kids’ lives from the ages of 6-18 will be spent at school. Throw in working parents, extra-curricular activities, and social lives, that time remaining is even less. Yes, kids have school breaks, but often that means they’re in some sort of camp or at home with a sitter. My husband works in retail management and I am a nurse. Can you guess what our busiest and most short-staffed times are at work? That’s right, school breaks and holidays. Typical vacation times don’t really work for us, so I have and will continue to take my kids out of school once a year to spend a week together. We are not guaranteed any amount of time with our children, so taking every opportunity to create memories with them, is as good excuse as any other. So my next note might read;
To Whom It May Concern
Please excuse my children from missing the last few days of school, we were taking time to make memories, rejuvenate our minds and bodies, and learn by having real-world experiences.