Reasons to Miss School for a Kids Vacation
Photo by amishsteve, flickr.
Many will argue that schools offer a lot of breaks, and there is no need for kids to miss class. Others will remark that travel broadens a child's understanding of the world and is an invaluable teaching tool that is equally important as classroom learning. Both valid points, of course. However, life isn't always scheduled around a school calendar.
I'm a parent that is very involved in my children's education. I volunteer at their school, and I make sure homework is done, as well as the mandatory thirty minutes of evening reading. Of course, when the opportunity arose to take my kids to Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards, I immediately booked plane tickets even though the trip didn't fall within a designated school break. I will admit that I initially questioned whether I was compromising my children's academic careers for a chance to meet the iCarly cast. But I saw the entire experience as educational. You can learn wonders just sitting in an airport. Also, many folks never get the experience of attending a live awards show.
Age does play a factor (my kids are still in elementary school) and it does become more of a challenge as they progress in their schooling. But to alleviate some of the guilt and fulfill your parenting duties, you should inform your children's teachers that you will be leaving town and find out what you can do to keep them updated on assignments. You also don't want to schedule at trip and take them out of school when they are on verge of taking their SATs or if they will miss any important finals, midterms or test-preps.
Here are some other guilt-free reasons why you should relax and enjoy the trip.
1. Cheaper Rates
Every time school is on break, it is the "high season" for travel. Ever notice that if you flew the week before school break it would be hundreds of dollars cheaper? If you are on a serious budget, taking your kids out of school is a great option. Also another alternative is leaving a day before break or coming home a day after break, which might also lower rates, and you won't have to take your children out of school for an extended period.
2. Fewer Crowds
School breaks mean higher prices as well as larger crowds, which means family-friendly travel destinations become inundated. Who wants to spend an entire Disney vacation waiting to ride for Space Mountain? Go when school is in session and there will be smaller crowds and way shorter lines.
3. Family Celebrations
Your grandma is celebrating her 100th birthday in Miami, your sister is getting married in Chicago, your parents are throwing a 50th wedding anniversary party in Mexico -- no one wants to miss these monumental family events. And chances are those dates don't line up with the school vacation schedule.
4. Long-Distance Vacations
Want to travel further than a domestic flight? You might want to take more time than the standard week break. New Zealand native Brogan Ganley brings her children up in America and has taken her kids out of school for a trip back home. "If a child has the opportunity to travel and experience another culture or environment or be with family they don't often see -- that is just too rich an experience to miss out on," says Ganley. "It is something that can enhance their learning and their perception of the world they live in."
5. Work Trips
If you are traveling for work and can bring your family, it's a great and economical way to take a family trip. When New York mom Aubrey Mayo was able to accompany her husband on a business trip to London, they brought along their five-year-old daughter, despite it being the start of kindergarten and a huge transition for a child. But Mayo filled the week with visits to museums and showed her daughter around the historic city. "She learned way more during our week in London than she ever would have sitting in a classroom that same week," says Mayo.
6. Your Schedule
If you can only get a certain week off and it's while your kids are in school, you should take them out without feeling guilty. Going on a family vacation and spending time with your children creates lasting memories and is great for a family's overall happiness.
7. Special Events
Want to take your child to see some spring training games? Nominated for an award and want your kid to be there? These trips are priceless bonding moments with your children.
8. Once in a Lifetime Opportunities
A friend has invited you to visit their family in India, a club that you belong to is organizing a trip to China -- don't pass up opportunities that might not happen again.
9. Great Deals
You get an email with a deeply discounted trip to Europe. If you feel that a trip is too good to pass up, do it! Or did you just realize that you are sitting on 300,000 frequent flier miles, but you can't use them because the blackout dates are when your kids are in school? Don't feel guilty because you can get free airfare for a family trip. Take advantage and enjoy a vacation with the family.
10. World Exploration
There are some families who take their children out of school for more than just a vacation. Canadian travel writer Diane Selkirk is traveling around the world with her husband and their nine-year-old daughter on a 40-foot catamaran. Regarding her daughter's education at sea, Selkirk says, "She's able to immerse herself in new cultures at kid speed. Rather than rushing through as much as we can fit into a two-week break, we get to immerse ourselves in places gradually and learn to love and respect the cultural differences."
- Off-season Travel: Things to do on the Jersey Shore [AOL Travel]
- Lonely Planet's Top 10 Countries for 2011 [Lonely Planet]
- National Geographic's 20 Best Trips of 2011 [National Geographic]