Family Travel Question:
Q | Any suggestions on how to pull kids out of school for a long-weekend getaway?
I've got school-aged kids (2nd and 9th grade) and am trying to figure out how to pull them out of school for a few days so we can turn a weekend away into a long weekend. Any suggestions about how to approach this? - Sheila, Pennsylvania
A | Save most of your traveling for school vacations
I walk a fine line when answering this question, because I’m both a teacher and a mom who loves to travel. I don’t personally see any problems with students missing a few days of school to travel with their parents. I admit that I take the occasional long weekend trip with my child, since I’m a firm believer in the family bonding that comes through travel. But I also make sure my child knows that school and learning are his top priority, and I advice other parents to do the same.
Parents and students need to approach their teachers and the schools respectfully about their need to make up work due to a travel-related absence. Parents need to understand that, in most instances, schools receive funding based on daily student attendance. So when you call the school office to inform the attendance clerk of your planned absence, your requests may not be received with much enthusiasm. Become informed about your district’s policy on unexcused absences and independent study contracts, which are usually only given for extended absences.
You or your child should ask the teacher about any missed assignments or homework, but understand that she may not be able to get it to you before your planned absence. In any case, it shows the school or the teacher that the student is responsible and willing to make up any missed work, regardless of the grade level. Also ask your child’s teacher about her policy on missed exams. Even a second-grader is likely to miss a spelling test on any given Friday. Will she be able to take the test when she gets back on Tuesday?
Older students should be responsible for doing most of the asking, but not all of it has to be directed at the teacher. They can ask classmates for notes on lessons they may have missed, or check the boards or class calendars for missed reading assignments. I’m going to be straight with you: teachers don’t like to have interruptions or to give out information they already gave, when the absences where unexcused.
The bottom line is that the less days of school that your child misses, the better. Miss a few days for that ski trip, but save most of your family vacations for the summer.