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Old 04-19-2014, 03:12 PM   #1
Poppins2010
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Teacher's advice on missing school

As a teacher, I am often asked my opinion about kids missing school for vacations. If you are considering this, here is my take... for whatever it is worth!
1) Try to schedule your vacation to avoid critical times in the school year. The first two weeks of school, and two weeks before standardized testing (usually in the spring) is crucial classroom time.
2) It seems that the older the student, the more difficult it is for them to keep caught up. It can be next to impossible for high school kids to maintain their work if they miss a week of school.
3) Of course each child is different, and you know yours best. If your child is behind on their schoolwork, or has a learning disability, it may be best to not take them out of class. I know smaller crowds are great, but ultimately their education is more important.
4) PLEASE don't ask the teacher for all of the homework that they are going to miss. This takes a tremendous amount of time for the teacher to put together (and quite honestly, most kids never do it.) Instead ask the teacher what you can do to support your child's learning while away. He/she might suggest reading on the plane, or keeping a vacation journal... something like that.
5) One more thing.... you might want to talk with your child about how he or she talks about the trip. Many kids are so excited for their Disney trip, that they talk about it endlessly the days before they go, and "brag" about missing school. Many kids in the classroom can't afford trips like this, and it can lead to hurt feelings.

Just my thoughts.... hope it is helpful to someone!
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:24 PM   #2
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Thanks for your thoughts on this. We are actually leaving for the last week of school. I am hopeful that means all my daughter will miss is field day, but it is definitely something to consider carefully. I agree that it really depends on the child. I will remind her not to get too excited though.
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:28 PM   #3
JeremyGNJ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppins2010 View Post
As a teacher, I am often asked my opinion about kids missing school for vacations. If you are considering this, here is my take... for whatever it is worth!
1) Try to schedule your vacation to avoid critical times in the school year. The first two weeks of school, and two weeks before standardized testing (usually in the spring) is crucial classroom time.
2) It seems that the older the student, the more difficult it is for them to keep caught up. It can be next to impossible for high school kids to maintain their work if they miss a week of school.
3) Of course each child is different, and you know yours best. If your child is behind on their schoolwork, or has a learning disability, it may be best to not take them out of class. I know smaller crowds are great, but ultimately their education is more important.
4) PLEASE don't ask the teacher for all of the homework that they are going to miss. This takes a tremendous amount of time for the teacher to put together (and quite honestly, most kids never do it.) Instead ask the teacher what you can do to support your child's learning while away. He/she might suggest reading on the plane, or keeping a vacation journal... something like that.
5) One more thing.... you might want to talk with your child about how he or she talks about the trip. Many kids are so excited for their Disney trip, that they talk about it endlessly the days before they go, and "brag" about missing school. Many kids in the classroom can't afford trips like this, and it can lead to hurt feelings.

Just my thoughts.... hope it is helpful to someone!
Thanks for this. We're taking my daughter out for Disney next month. We're specifically doing it this year because she's in 5th grade...and I consider 6th grade where "real" school begins. So I figure we take her out one final time. (unless in the future she's doing real good and I don't think she'd suffer at all)

We organized it so that we're leaving RIGHT after standardized testing. The last thing I would have wanted was for her to come back from vacation and then have to "study up" in a frantic manner to get ready for testing.

By your advice, I will not ask her teacher for homework!
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:36 PM   #4
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My daughter will miss 3 days. Do you think it's appropriate to say "if you already have the homework for next week ready, could you please send it along? if not, we will help he get caught up after our trip and don't expect you to get it ready for her"
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:43 PM   #5
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As a mom who took her DD out of elementary school for a week every year, I found your advice very sensible and right on the money! Now that she's in 7th grade, our week-before-Thanksgiving-no-crowds-whatsoever trips are behind us for a few years. I will admit she'll miss 2 days of 8th grade next year in October for Disney. And I can NOT WAIT!!
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppins2010 View Post
4) PLEASE don't ask the teacher for all of the homework that they are going to miss. This takes a tremendous amount of time for the teacher to put together (and quite honestly, most kids never do it.) Instead ask the teacher what you can do to support your child's learning while away. He/she might suggest reading on the plane, or keeping a vacation journal... something like that.
Thanks for the advice. I've been racking my brain on how to vacation next school year because my oldest will start Kindergarten We've already booked airfare for Thanksgiving so he'll miss 4 days there... but not sure about spring since spring break is way out of our budget.

With the abundant technology these days, do you think it's reasonable to ask the teachers to text or email the homework, even if it's a picture of the handout, each day it is given out?
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Old 04-19-2014, 03:54 PM   #7
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Excellent advice, and as a teacher, I concur. Might I also add to avoid asking "Will my child miss anything important?" The vast majority of teachers (even those in elementary, which apparently isn't "real" school) fill their days with important learning opportunities, and this question can be offensive to some educators. Instead, tell the teacher what you're planning and ask what skills you can focus on during your child's absence. Of course, your mileage may vary.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nalajms View Post
Thanks for the advice. I've been racking my brain on how to vacation next school year because my oldest will start Kindergarten We've already booked airfare for Thanksgiving so he'll miss 4 days there... but not sure about spring since spring break is way out of our budget. With the abundant technology these days, do you think it's reasonable to ask the teachers to text or email the homework, even if it's a picture of the handout, each day it is given out?
While this would be preferable for some teachers, I know many who are less than tech savvy. I would not ask for an electronic copy. I am also a teacher and while I don't mind putting together a packet of work, I also won't give each and every thing that we will do in the day. Instead I require special assignments, like a trip journal and a special book to read and give a summary of, along with any science, math, and social studies we are going to do.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:02 PM   #9
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Let the teacher offer this. As long as you don't come off as expecting it, the teacher will suggest what is best for the student and the teacher both. Using photos, dropbox, or other technology would be my personal preference, but not all teachers are comfortable with the gadget approach. How old is the child? Sometimes a responsible classmate is a great resource.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by nalajms View Post
Thanks for the advice. I've been racking my brain on how to vacation next school year because my oldest will start Kindergarten We've already booked airfare for Thanksgiving so he'll miss 4 days there... but not sure about spring since spring break is way out of our budget. With the abundant technology these days, do you think it's reasonable to ask the teachers to text or email the homework, even if it's a picture of the handout, each day it is given out?
I totally agree with Poppins. Your son's teacher should be able to give you a general idea of what they will be learning the days he's out. For instance, in K, he might be learning a specific letter and/or number, etc. You can work with him on those things, but honestly, there's not a lot of worksheets anymore.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:04 PM   #11
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We must have really on top of it teachers... They always give us a packet before we go, and sometimes it is more than they get done while we are gone (ie we get back and learn that dd finished sheets that the kids hadn't gotten in class yet)... This year (4th grade) dd will miss 8 class days, carefully avoiding class trips, testing, and special projects. The teacher wrote it on her calendar and said she'd give dd a packet the Friday before we leave (we will actually be there for school that next Monday) this way she has a weekend to get a jump on the work. She told us about the research project so dd can start coming up with an idea of who to do her report on etc... Anyhow, we are not too worried and plan on pulling her out as long as it doesn't seem to impact her grades... Probably thru 9th grade I figure. I know there some things she will miss that can't be replicated with a worksheet. But being able to travel with us and see things she has never seen before are super important too, and so far every teacher has been super supportive of that!
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:04 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by nalajms View Post
Thanks for the advice. I've been racking my brain on how to vacation next school year because my oldest will start Kindergarten We've already booked airfare for Thanksgiving so he'll miss 4 days there... but not sure about spring since spring break is way out of our budget.

With the abundant technology these days, do you think it's reasonable to ask the teachers to text or email the homework, even if it's a picture of the handout, each day it is given out?
nalajms - I would not worry at all about having your kindergartner miss a week of school. Kindergarten is largely a socialization experience more than an academic one. Most all families in my two children's kindergarten classes missed several days for vacation. Like some of the previous posters said, it is a lot harder to miss when the kids get older, like 6th grade and above.

My fourth grader missed 4 days this year for a Disney trip and it was fairly easy for him to make up the homework and his grades did not suffer at all. With many schools now all homework is posted online each day. I have my kids bring home all their textbooks before we leave and then I check the website each day to see what the homework was. That way, the kids can do a little at a time and aren't swamped when we get back.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:07 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by 2goofykiddos View Post
Thanks for your thoughts on this. We are actually leaving for the last week of school. I am hopeful that means all my daughter will miss is field day, but it is definitely something to consider carefully. I agree that it really depends on the child. I will remind her not to get too excited though.
You may want to talk to your child's teacher and find out if you can email any assignments that may be necessary for report cards. I had a student leave for the last week last year and her report card ended up being delayed while I waited for a few assignments that were necessary. They may not have minded, but that also meant a delay in finishing my end of the year paperwork and class recommendations.
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:15 PM   #14
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My daughter will miss 3 days. Do you think it's appropriate to say "if you already have the homework for next week ready, could you please send it along? if not, we will help he get caught up after our trip and don't expect you to get it ready for her"
^^^This is basically what I tell my kiddos' teachers (and I was a teacher before I became a mommy). I email them, let them know that we'll be gone (usually at least a couple of weeks in advance) and say something like, "Let me know how you want to handle the make-up work while we're gone. We're flexible with getting the work before we leave and doing it while we're gone or making it up after, whatever works best for you."
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Old 04-19-2014, 04:18 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by nalajms View Post
Thanks for the advice. I've been racking my brain on how to vacation next school year because my oldest will start Kindergarten We've already booked airfare for Thanksgiving so he'll miss 4 days there... but not sure about spring since spring break is way out of our budget.

With the abundant technology these days, do you think it's reasonable to ask the teachers to text or email the homework, even if it's a picture of the handout, each day it is given out?
One year we had to travel across country unexpectedly for a family funeral. My DS (who is a straight A student) stopped by school, picked up all his books, and asked his teacher if she would fax his assignments to his grandparents' house while he was gone. He was very anxious about getting behind. His teacher said yes and faxed him his assignments daily. God bless her!!! She knew my son well and knew how stressed out he was about missing a week of school.
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