Winter (Christmas Break), Spring Break and Long Weekends come at such a great time for all those in the tourist industry but at such an inopportune time for the average traveler. While children are conveniently out of school and most companies are giving time off, hotels as well as airlines and any travel related company are making you pay for those conveniences! Many families, like my own try to take their winter vacations a little earlier or a bit later to outsmart those corporate savages! Before, you get too excited thinking you’ve pulled a fast one, think about how this will affect your children’s education.
- EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES EXPERIENCES: Not to say laying poolside drinking as many fancy drinks as you can isn’t a fantastic way to spend your vacation; it is; but opting for a trip with some sites, history, and culture is a better choice. Children can learn a great deal by travelling, even if it is just to a neighbouring city. We open their eyes to a world that most text books can’t do justice to.
- Family Time: This is very important. Time well spent as a family is vital for the emotional and psychological development of children. Our lives are chaotic and often the only time we get with our children after school, work and extracurricular activities is just a meal here and there. My daughter complains sometime that she is wanting some time with me but we just can’t get that on school nights. Getting downtime to laugh, tell stories and make memories is priceless! Snapping a picture or two doesn’t hurt either!
- Seeing the World Through New Eyes: Children experience the world very differently than we do. Travelling together can teach both parents and children a whole lot. It’s amazing the things that our daughter points out. The questions she asks and the things that excite her are so different than what move or excite us.
- Missed Important Exams: Timing is important. Leaving school close to the end of semesters or report card terms can being detrimental to your child’s education. This is especially true for older students.
- Falling Behind on Curriculum: With lots to learn and just barely enough time, every moment in the classroom is vital. Depending on the length of time of your trip, students can miss a great deal of instruction as well as the activities and projects that go along with it. This can be difficult to make up for. You may want to ask for some work for your child to do while on vacation. You can schedule this in after breakfast each day before hitting the pool.
- Change of Routine: When in school, students get into a good routine. A steady routine that includes school, studying, extra-curricular activities and early bedtimes. While on vacation those routines change and for some students it takes some time to get back on track once the vacation is over.
- Extra Pressure Afterwards: With any time missed, assignments, projects and assessments will pile up. Students will still be expected to complete those assessments and learn the material. This can put more pressure on them as well as you and the teacher.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- Timing: Choose your travel time carefully. Like mentioned before, it is important to plan your trips around significant assessments, report cards, parent-teacher interviews, etc.
- Length of time: There is a big difference between being gone for a week and being gone for a month. It is best not to take too much of an extended vacation no matter the age.
- Age/Grade: Younger students will generally be affected less than older students. With that said, do not ignore the affect it could have on your youngster.
- Ability: This is probably the most important thing to consider. You need to be honest with the fact that some students should not be missing in class instruction. As much as we may want to take that trip, if our children are unable to handle the pressure of being out of school, then we need to put their best interest before anything else.
- Teacher’s Input: Ask your child’s teacher their opinion about your travel plans. They know best when it comes to what your children need from an academic perspective.
Wherever you go, enjoy every moment with your family. Travelling with children can be tough but incredibly rewarding! Once you get past the chaos and obstacles that come with travelling with children you’ll be so happy you went. It’s about that moment when they say: “Mama, remember when we went to _________ and saw________?” That is just priceless! Safe travels!
What are your thoughts about taking children out of school? What are your experiences?