Friday, September 9, 2011

Can I Still Pull My Kids From School For Vacation?

It's the first week of school for us. The wee ones are both in elementary school now, Mister Man in second and Little Miss in first. At some point, the only time they'll be able to be absent is when they're legitimately sick. Right now, I'm still pulling them for family vacations. Sometimes.

I feel like a bad mom doing that, feeling like in a way it's saying that fun is more important than school. They're at the age when their teachers are starting to frown on it more heavily. And my husband is a teacher, so whenever we do this, he can't join us. And he's not a fan of it, either.

But.


But there are some things that I want the wee ones to experience that they can't except when school is in session. And so on the first week of school, after only three days in school, I pulled the wee ones to drive up to Minnesota with my dad. Growing up, the Minnesota State Fair is one of my favorite traditions. It was something everyone did, and I also showed my horse there every year. Missing school for it was never an issue, since school started after Labor Day for us up there, and it was a great family tradition. A tradition that I'd like to continue with the wee ones to some degree, though I know we won't go every year. The Fair opens the second to last Thursday in August, and the wee ones are on their third day of school then. While we could technically go on a weekend - either that one or Labor Day weekend - it's too expensive to fly and seven hours each way is a mind-numbing thought in a forty-eight hour period. Plus, the crowds are often over 200,000 on weekends, and that makes me nervous for the wee ones.

So I pulled them. And we went to the Fair on Friday and a Twins game on Saturday before heading home early enough Sunday that we could get some homework done and have them in bed so they wouldn't be too tired for the upcoming week.



They did learn at the Fair. They learned a lot about the different kinds of horses and why the different breeds look so different. They saw pigs being born. They "worked" on a farm and saw how farmers make money from seed and cow to the store. And they ate. A lot. And they went on a few rides.


I feel somewhat guilty, but not enough to stop myself from pulling them out for another four days in October. They're good enough in school and know that they have to write diaries about what they did on vacation for their teachers (my assignment) in addition to any homework they need to make up. That's my mental rule: so long as they're doing well in school and have good attitudes about the work they need to make up, I'm ok with pulling them from school for family vacations.


Or that's my "for now" rule. I'm still trying to figure it all out. What about you? Do you or did you ever pull your children from school? What were your rules about it, and when did you or when do you plan to stop?

10 comments:

Pat September 9, 2011 at 12:32 PM  

It sounds like a wonderful idea to me. As long as one's children are doing well in school and they are not in high school yet, I think it's a great thing to do with them, enriching their lives by giving them new experiences that otherwise they might not have. We never took our kids out of school for a vacation. My husband, being a teacher, was adamant about that.

As a high school math teacher, though, even I thought it was not a good idea to take kids out of school for a week because they would miss a large amount of new material at that level of education. I found that kids who missed a week of school, no matter what the reason, had a difficult time catching up and some never did and their grade reflected that. It meant that they would need to come in after school for days and get catch-up help from me one-on-one.

Heather E September 9, 2011 at 12:55 PM  

I think you know your kids best, and you know their study/work habits, and you are making the vacation somewhat of a "homework" for them with writing the diaries so I think it's okay. We were always absent from school the day before spring break, and the day after because my mom knew that we needed time to recoup for travel, etc, in order to be optimal students.

Once I hit high school though, it didn't happen as often, and then the high school ended up just giving everyone the option to miss the Friday before because so many students were gone.

I say you do what works best for you and for your family :)

Tara R. September 9, 2011 at 2:05 PM  

I'm sure you can work in some teaching moments on a trip like this. While they are this young, missing a day or two of school is not going to hurt them, especially so early in the year.

septembermom September 9, 2011 at 4:11 PM  

Don't feel any guilt at all. Look at those smiling faces. Those are moments that they will treasure. I'm glad that they all had fun.

My kids would love me to pull them from school for Disney!!

Headless Mom September 11, 2011 at 11:34 PM  

There's plenty of time for school--when they're in jr. high and high school!

Brandie September 12, 2011 at 1:13 PM  

I'd pull them too. I don't think for most kids it's a big deal and there is more to education than just what you learn in school.
That said, I've just learned in our district vacations are no longer excused absences, so should I ever pull my kids out, I'd have to lie or face them getting in trouble. Which really irks me. A couple days a year will not make or break a kid IMO. And in fact, could give them way more experience than a few days in the classroom.

Lisa Noel September 12, 2011 at 1:19 PM  

So you pulled them one day?? I so wouldn't even give that a second thought. Mine are in 2nd and 3rd and I plan to give very little thought to pulling them for a whole week should DisneySMM happen again and we get in!!! I do understand that school is important but this is how I look at it....will it have an effect on them in the long run? If they are struggling in school, maybe a week is too much. But I simply don't see the harm one week does for a student who is really doing above average. My son's teacher has already missed 3 days...ALREADY. I'm so not feeling guilty. And I'm not teaching them that 'fun' is more important than school but that family is more important than school and I am Ok with that lesson.

Michelle September 12, 2011 at 3:54 PM  

Pat - That was my idea... so long as they're doing well, then I'm ok with it. My husband hates it though... I did still go on 1+ week vacation in hs, but I have a feeling I'm in the minority there AND we won't be doing it then.

Heather - Well yeah, but the work/study habits aren't yet well established, which is part of the worry. I do ensure they work, but ...

Tara - Oh I did, trust me :) I just feel badly disrupting the routine of school before it's even established.

Kelly - Those smiling faces are a big part of why I do it. That's what I need to keep reminding myself!

Headless Mom - Yeah, but the homework doesn't reflect that ;)

Brandie - Oooo they aren't excused in my district either. I hadn't even thought about the implications of that. Oops.

Lisa - I did. But it's the thought behind it and knowing I'm going to be doing it again. And we may have to pull them a third time for Disney SM Moms IF it happens. Oops.

tiarastantrums September 19, 2011 at 11:12 PM  

so much fun - I do this for the IA state fair!! My hubbie wouldn't let me this year - I should have anyway! (buy my son had just started the new school by you) I totally agree and take my kids out! They are only young once!

Michelle September 23, 2011 at 9:48 PM  

Teresa - Glad you're with me on that one... I've never been to the Iowa State Fair, but the Minnesota one is great - much better than the Illinois one :)

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