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KC-100
February 16th, 2005, 02:03 PM
I know that this can be an emotionally charged topic, but I am looking for advice and know I will find it here.

We are not able to travel during our children's school break and have decided to take them out of school for three days to go on a family cruise. (They have two days off at the beginning of the week due to staff development training days and we are taking the remaining three to travel.) Having many teachers for friends, I realize the extra strain it puts on teachers to keep the absent students up to date. And I know that many schools strongly discourage this practice.

How have others here addressed this issue of informing the teachers? Do you ask for school work to take with you? Has anyone done any educational activities on board and presented it in class?

We're leaving on March 12th for a week on the Triumph. My children are in elementary school. I've thought of offering to have the kids do one or more of the following activities and present it in class when they return:

- Keep a daily journal

- Interview one or more people from a foreign country

- Write a little report on one of the ports we're visiting

- Drawing and labeling parts of the ship

Anyone have any other ideas?

Thanks, Karen

ineedacruise
February 16th, 2005, 02:22 PM
I have pulled my kids from school twice for cruises and it was OK when they were younger and in elementary school but now that my DD has hit middle school and will be in high school next year, we opted to go over a school break so she would not miss any school.
I live in PA and they make you fill out an official form and have to prove to the school that it is an education trip. I have asked for missed work ahead of time and some of the teachers helped out, others did not. When on the cruise, I had my kids read 15 minutes each day, write in journal, and when they came home, they have done power point slide shows and then took them to school to show the teacher, principle and other students what they learned.

karen2cruz
February 16th, 2005, 02:29 PM
We have three kids (now14-18). None of our school breaks were ever a full week, so if we wanted to do something as a family that was decent, we have had to have them miss 2-3 days of school. We always informed the teachers, so they could either do the work ahead or do it while during down time (airports, sea days, etc). None of the teachers ever asked us to write a report. However, as a family we always studied the port areas we were going to visit. Then after visiting them we spent time discussing what we saw, heard, etc. We have never taken our kids on any vacation and just let them run loose...so they've always been educational. We haven't felt bad about them missing class. I work in the school system too.

Do what's best for your family and the kids. If they are good students there shouldn't be a problem. If they struggle, you might want to reconsider. Since they are elementary school age, it's an easier decision than them being in secondary school where grades count towards college admissions.

Have a great cruise!

Intrudr
February 16th, 2005, 02:35 PM
Do what's best for your family and the kids. If they are good students there shouldn't be a problem. If they struggle, you might want to reconsider. Since they are elementary school age, it's an easier decision than them being in secondary school where grades count towards college admissions.

Have a great cruise!

that's the crux.

Marge M
February 16th, 2005, 02:50 PM
I agree with Karen, as far as the kids being good students it will make it easier. We wanted to cruise over Thanksgiving week in '03, but my high school aged son wasn't doing as well in school then and we wouldn't take him out. He improved substantially over the spring so we decided to take the cruise over this past Thanksgiving, and he was fine. It's harder with kids in middle school and high school, in my opinion, because they have so many teachers.

Also, it depends on the week and what's going on at school then. We don't have any full weeks off during the school year where we live. Thanksgiving week they have 2 days of school, and there is a week in Jan where they have a 3 day week. Jan seemed good (figured it would be less crowded because it wasn't a holiday week), but when I looked at the calendar I realized it was finals week right before the report cards came out. So we went with T'giving week instead.

alb38
February 16th, 2005, 04:06 PM
KC-100

We just came back from a week cruise in which our kids missed six days. I have a daughter in HS and a son in MS. I am also from the state of PA and they had to get permission from each teacher and I had requested homework before we went. My son didn't get anything - My daughter got alot of Algebra. She ended up taking her backpack with homework along and worked on it during our flight. On the ship - we were on vacation and she didn't work on anything. Both of my kids are good students so I am not worried about them making up the work. They have both been staying after this week to catch up - the downside of this is my school district is on block scheduling for the HS so she did miss alot of information during the actual school day.

They both have to do a project from the vacation as well. They are both doing scrapbooks that way they have something to look back on and enjoy.

Hope this helps!

CASkippr
February 17th, 2005, 12:19 AM
When our daughter was in elementary school and middle school we frequently took her out of school for vacations. She was an excellent student so her teachers never had an issue with it. Occasionally they would ask her to write a paper or give a oral report on her vacation.

Now that she is in high school, she feels that it would just be too difficult to miss any school. She has a 4.2 GPA and in order to maintain that, she really can't afford to miss many classes. Yes, she is my ultimate over-achiever!

I agree with Karen2cruz. I think it really depends on the individual child. If they are good students then it really shouldn't be a problem.

Enjoy your cruise!

thoman
February 17th, 2005, 03:07 AM
I have an 8 year old that will be missing school also. It is the next to the last week of school so hopefully by that point everything she has learned until then will stay with her for 5 days. She is so looking forward it as much as we are!

ineedacruise
February 17th, 2005, 08:32 AM
KC-100

the downside of this is my school district is on block scheduling for the HS so she did miss alot of information during the actual school day.
Hope this helps!

My DD goes to block scheduling next year and this was a big concern of mine by taking her out of school for a week. The school and other parents told me if she missed a week, its like missing two because they do so much work each day. She is also my over acheiver and makes the distinguished honor roll each marking period. We sat down and discussed it together, and she did not want to miss any school. If she told she wanted to miss a week, we most likely would have gone because I know she could catch up.

bplazo
February 17th, 2005, 06:23 PM
I have always taken my daughter out of school every other year in September to celebrate her birthday. Her grades have always been excellent except for last year. She has never been able to catch up with what she missed in math. Next year will be her senior year and we have decided she will not be missing any school. It is a big mistake when they are in high school.

njcruisingmom
February 18th, 2005, 10:34 AM
I took my dd out of school when she was in first grade for a family trip it worked out fine. Her teacher supplied the homework/classwork papers they would be doing that week and made her a little 'journal' that she had to work on throughout the trip. (At that age, it was just a sentance or two, but it turned out to be a nice memento of the trip). We made sure she spent a little time each night doing homework, and we caught up with any missed work on the flight back. The teacher gave her a chance to read her journal in school shortly after we returned. Thanks to the homework sheet, she didn't miss any important concepts in class.

She is a very good student, and we did take her out of school during a partial week (the school was closed Thursday and Friday -- we took her out Monday and Tuesday.)

The only drawback was that this was the only year she missed out on a perfect attendance award!

Onessa
February 18th, 2005, 01:20 PM
Our daughter (now in 3rd Grade) generally misses a few days for our vacation each year. We try to travel during weeks where she has only two or three days of school.

In her school, it seems that over half of the kids end up missing school due to travel at least once a year.

With our DD, it has never been too big of a problem. She gets good grades and works VERY hard (last year, her second grade teacher purposely did not send anything along and assured us she'd have nothing to make up because she said that "she (DD) NEEDS a vacation")

Since pre-school we've done trip journals - starting when she was three and we were in New Mexico, when she and I collaberated on a story with pictures - I drew the outlines and she colored them in coloring book style. It is a great way to wind down at the end of the day and they make great keepsakes.

Travelling can (and should) be educational. This week her class is covering Italy - and she has been there! And although she was only five at the time, she remembers the leaning tower, several pictures from the Ufficio, the pigeons in St. Mark's square, the gondola ride, and making friends with a little Italian girl at a park in Milano (DD speaks English and Spanish, girl spoke only Italian but they had a great time!).

She's been to foreign counties; calculated exchange rate for potential purchases, toured the ruins of ancient civilizations; walked on glaciers; seen whales, elk, and cayotes in the wild - a day or two missed from school pales in comparison.

Prepare but have fun!

busybusybusy
February 19th, 2005, 04:26 PM
If your kids are in elementary school, I don't see this as a problem at all, especially for only a few days. However, I teach 8th grade, and many of my students miss class time to go on vacation. I'll admit, it annoys me when they go somewhere like Disney or a cruise that can be taken when we are off. Our district policy is that the kids don't get the work ahead of time, but they have to make it up when they return. For me, that is more work. What I usually do is assign the work ahead and it is due the day that they return to school, no exceptions. Last year I had a student accompany her father on a business trip to Australia and New Zealand for 2 weeks. I told her to have a great time, take lots of pictures, and give us a report when she returned. I had no problem with that because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

On the subject of block scheduling, my daughter's high school has it as well. They have implemented a new attendance policy this year to ward off vacations during school - any days missed without a doctor's note are unexcused. After 6 unexcused days, every day after is a "no credit" day, which means the student may not make up the work missed and receives a "0" for any work that is due that day. This seems a little harsh, especially since I don't take the kids to the doctor often, but I guess it just came to that!

Have a wonderful vacation!

Cruisin' Chick
February 19th, 2005, 08:59 PM
We took our daughter out of kindergarten for a week because we had a really great employee offer on a cruise (from someone who worked for my hubby at the time whose gf worked for a cruiseline). I asked for her homework to take with (yes, homework for kinders :rolleyes: ).

Unfortunately, all this leave-no-kids-behind mentality makes it difficult for any kid to take a day off, even when ill. And now LA started this "Count Me In" campaign directed toward truancy (the district needs every cent they can get from the state which is being stingy with the dough) but it's gotten to the point where the school is encouraging sick kids to come in (even if just long enough to count for attendance).

Maybe a little travelling might help a child learn more than learning how to spell "embroider" in second grade. (Yes, that is on this week's spelling list.) I'm just concerned that we're going to have a group of teenagers in 10 years with psychological disorders because of the pressure they're going through.

kerry.johnson
February 19th, 2005, 09:32 PM
We took our kids out of school last year for a cruise on the Carnival Conquest. (7 days.) Our kids were all teenagers. Guess what? Their experience on a cruise ship to other countries is one of the best learning experiences they have ever had. They had no problem making up the work when they got back. Just make sure that you check with the teachers in advance to see if they can do any extra work before the trip.
There is no better learning tool than travel.
Oh, and did I mention that I am a teacher and I feel this way?

cali-croozer
February 19th, 2005, 10:06 PM
It just depends on your school's policy and what classes your child is taking. Around here, taking kids out for vacation is frowned upon, but, in elementary and middle school, it is allowed as long as you fill out a contract with each teacher to make up work. In high school, it is unexcused and no make-up work is allowed or accepted. There is really no way to catch up in lab classes or even math (trig., pre-cal, calculus, etc.), if you miss the presentation of new material. It would be great to take advantage of off-season rates, but my kids have told me there is no way they could miss school........even the last week, traditionally a "party" week, is important in my kids school district. The last week is finals week.

Alex L
February 20th, 2005, 08:38 PM
However, I teach 8th grade, and many of my students miss class time to go on vacation. I'll admit, it annoys me when they go somewhere like Disney or a cruise that can be taken when we are off.

I personally would love to go on vacation when schools is not in session. However, since my vacation is assigned by seniority, I don't have this opportunity. If we want to go anywhere as a family, it has to be when I have the time off. At the current rate of motion in my job title, it will be another six to seven years before I can get a week off when my daughter's school is out (by which time she will be a High School Graduate) and at least 12 more before I can a week off during the summer.

busybusybusy
February 20th, 2005, 09:06 PM
See, I don't have a problem at all with someone in your position. I think family vacations are extremely valuable and needed to keep together, especially in today's world where we (at least in my house!) are running out every night. My pet peeve is with some of the parents in my district, which is fairly well-to-do, who take long weekends to go skiing or go to DisneyWorld or on cruises because their kids are in sleepaway camp all summer and they don't want to take them out of that! :confused:

I just think if it can't be helped, it can't be helped. But if you have your choice and are just doing it to save a buck or go when it isn't crowded, it isn't fair to the child or the teacher who has to deal with it when the kids return. It's been my experience (and I've been doing this for 22 years) that none of the work gets done and is often left in the hotel room or on the ship. Then the parents want sympathy and complain when you don't bend the rules for them.

joshmansmom
February 21st, 2005, 12:37 AM
This May we are taking our son (7th grade) and daughter (3rd grade) out of school for almost 2 weeks. They will end up being back at school for the last day of classes before the summer break. Although this was certainly not ideal, we are going on a family trip with my parents (who are paying) and my brother and his family and if we even waited a week, the price of airfare and the cruise would have made it to be too expensive to go.
We are going on the Golden Princess sailing around the British Isles with a stop first in Liverpool (where my son was born), a day in London, and 10 nights on the cruise.I already talked to my son's middle school principal to make sure that it is OK. He said to tell the teachers about a month ahead of time to get any work done or any tests completed before he goes.
I figured that my children will learn so much about history and other cultures that this opportunity should not go wasted even though the timing with school is the pits! We plan on learning about each port at home before we go so that they will have an idea about what they are seeing.
I know that this would be impossible if they were in high school.

lilmsonry
February 21st, 2005, 10:55 AM
Hi! We are a family of 5, kids ages 16, 11, 10. I am taking them out of school for 4 days during Labor day week. I am hoping since it is the beginning of school, they won't miss as much work as the middle or end. I am saving the "buck" as if we don't go then, then we don't go at all:mad: . We have never been on a family vacation, 14 years and I feel that we do deserve it, even if I have to take them out of school. I think they will remember it forever and am so very excited. 14 years have gone by, always "waiting until the time is right", and you never know where that will lead. September.....this saves me around 1600.00 dollars:eek: .....Happy sailing everybody!

Time2gocruzn
February 21st, 2005, 11:21 AM
My parents used to take me out of school all the time to travel, I think I turned out alright, LOL! Mom would tell my teachers way ahead of time so they would be aware we were leaving. They would give her all the reading assignments and worksheets I needed and it was all on a daily schedule, I am assuming just copied from the teachers lesson plan. We would take time everyday for me to sit down and do what was assigned for that day. If we had something neat planned for the next day I might do 2 lessons instead of just that days, so we could have the entire next day to see new places. We did this for MANY years. I can honestly say I think I have been to or drove through almost every state and 2 other countries (by the time I was 13) and saw all the usual attractions that otherwise I would have just read about in my school books. I would also get to bring back pictures and such so the teacher could share them with the rest of the class. In the end I graduated with almost all A's (a couple B's, lol) and was able to graduate from HS early due to my grades. ;) :)


I wouldn't worry about pulling your child out for a minute! Visiting new places, seeing other cultures, and understanding that not all people live as we do, and seeing that this world is not just about the little bubble we live in day to day is very important for kids. I wouldn't even think twice about it:)

karen2cruz
February 21st, 2005, 11:21 AM
Lilmsonry,
You, as parents, know what's best for your family. 14 years without a family vacation is a long time. The 16 year old is the only one that might get the flack from the schools, depending on the teachers. Our high school teachers always say,"Wish we could go with you-have a great time". But our kids are good students too. Have a wonderful time. Report back on the Elation. We've never been on Carnival before.

kerry.johnson
February 21st, 2005, 11:28 AM
Have a ball! What a great experience for your kids!! We just went on a cruise with our teenagers and I'm ready to go again!

I Luv Crusin
February 23rd, 2005, 12:21 PM
I work in a dept store. A family came in looking for cruisewear. I asked about school and the Mom said that she told the school system that the kids needed off from school to attend their dads wedding. :-/ I didn't think that was a good example to set for her kids. We live in one of the stricter school systems....

It's much better to be up front with the teachers.

gregandamy
February 23rd, 2005, 04:22 PM
We just came back from a 10 day cruise with our sons, one of whom is in 1st grade and missed 6 days. His teacher had no trouble with us taking him out and actually agreed that it would be a good thing. She said his work would be waiting for him and a trip to a far off place would be an invalubale learning tool. (Has anyone seen where our staudents rank in geography, many kids can't pick out their own country, let alone others.

We decided to have him do a journal each day. He also made a sign for each port, we took his picture near a landmark of some sort and made it part of the journal. He presented it to the class and it was a big hit.

I realize the younger the student, the easier it is to miss school. By the way, we're doing it again, same time next year and same number of days out of school.

TXRoo
February 24th, 2005, 11:39 AM
I might let my kids miss a day or two...but I don't think I could do a whole week or two. It's just too much pressure on them to learn whilst they are trying to vacation and then too much to catch up with when they get back.

I wish I could since the hubby works offshore and sailing on the off season would be ideal...but I just can't swallow it.

Suesan Jean
February 25th, 2005, 11:33 AM
We (my DH and DD) are going on the Norwegian Dawn next year in February, on an 11 day cruise. My daughter (13) will be missing school, either 9 days or four, it all depends on when her winter vacation is next year. Of course I am hoping that she only misses four days, but if is it nine, so be it.
It is not that I am a lax parent, I am NOT, but, I think that there is more to education then just going to school. Life experiences are very important too. When I was in 10th grade,(33 years ago) my Mom let my sister and I go to France with two Aunt's, she felt that the opportunity to go to France might not happen again, we were gone for over a week, we did bring some homework if I recall.
My memory of France is one of wonder. We had such a GREAT time!!! My Aunt and Uncle who live in Paris took as everywhere!!! We saw so much and we "experienced" Paris from a Parisien's point of view (my Uncle is French), we had such a great trip, I remember talking about it for years....
So, when I planned the February 2006 cruise, I knew Sara would miss school and I was OK with it, I want my daughter to see other countries, swim in beautifull blue water, and I wanted her to be with me when I celebrate my 50th Birthday, which I have been wanting/dreaming/hoping to celebrate on a cruise ship.
For us, it is OK to be taking our daughter out of school, she is only in Middle School, maybe when she gets to High School, maybe I won't think the same way, and of course I would NOT pull her out of college, that education is MUCH TO IMPORTANT, but for now, it is fine.

Suesan:):):)

MKC529
February 25th, 2005, 05:32 PM
...we are planning our 1st cruise Jan 06 and we're going to have to pull our girls from school. Believe me, if I had a choice - I wouldn't, but DH has been trying for 4+ yrs to get ANY school vacation week off but can't due to seniority at his workplace. By the time he picks his vacation those weeks are long gone. So we either pull the kids from school or never take a family vacation.

I'm voting for the family vacation!:)

dyslexic pirate
February 25th, 2005, 06:01 PM
My kids will be missing all of next week as we are leaving Sunday for a 7 day cruise.

For the last two years they've missed a week each year to travel. They have grown intelluctually by leaps and bounds. They've been to the Mayan Ruins, they've seen harsh poverty up close and sampled and tasted different ways of life.

They also are not as materialistic as a bunch of the kids they know. It seems kinda like an oxymoron - go on cruise/become more thrifty. After seeing kids their own ages begging at the dock it really hit them how much greater their opportunities are here in America. (For example: we will be doing some outreach work with the Roatan Orphange now that we now they have some real needs.)

Some folks are shocked that I pull the kids out of school. I'm shocked that they let the school "frown on them" for wanting to take their kids on a life changing adventure. How can our kids grow up and have the desire to improve and change the world if they've never seen it?

SqueakyDust
February 26th, 2005, 07:50 PM
We live in the UK and will be pulling our two children from school at the tail end of the year. I'm aware our education system is different to yours but we need 'permission' too.
Over a year ago I spoke with the Headmistress to enquire when the 'best time' would be, and if she wished should we encourage the kids to do journals.
At Primary level (age 4-12) the kids are usually only preparing for the Christmas nativity play all of December so it was agreed this was the best time. She did however say NOT to force the kids to do a journal (she'd tried it with her own and it wasn't an enjoyable eperience!)
Although she is dictated to by the council/government she feels that family holiays are just as important an education - especially nowadays. Her comment of "I bet they remember visiting the caribbean for years to come, but they won't remember what they did in the first 2 weeks in December 2005, if they were at school", and she is sooo right!
Another thing that was said that the kids could as easily be ill, and they as a school do usually not give out class work to ill children.
Luckily we are not at the stage that we need a 'Doctors line' to 'prove' illness:eek:

Enjoy your time together as a family

kerry.johnson
February 26th, 2005, 08:12 PM
Have a fantastic time! And it's true, your kids will remember their trip for years to come and the experience is going to be so valuable.

kerry.johnson
February 26th, 2005, 08:17 PM
Dyslexia -
I agree with you completely!! Kids gain a world (so to speak) of experience by travelling. Now that mine are in high school, I have to weigh the benifits versis the troubles. (Work upon return.) From our last two experiences though, our kids are still talking about it and corresponding with their friends they met on their cruise.
An experience that no child should miss out on.

kerry.johnson
February 26th, 2005, 08:20 PM
Sueson -
You are so right. Take your kids out and have the experience of your life. I guarantee your kid will!
I'd take my children out of school again for a cruise experience in a second!
Now they are all in high school, but I think I would still do it!

kerry.johnson
February 26th, 2005, 08:22 PM
I might let my kids miss a day or two...but I don't think I could do a whole week or two. It's just too much pressure on them to learn whilst they are trying to vacation and then too much to catch up with when they get back.

I wish I could since the hubby works offshore and sailing on the off season would be ideal...but I just can't swallow it.

Do it!! Don't hesitate! They can make up the work. But...they may never have the experience again. Don't wait until it's too late.

dianelevene
March 1st, 2005, 08:02 AM
I took my kids out of school for the first two weeks of January this year. They are still young (kindergarten and preschool) and I did not worry about what they missed. I had both of them keep journals and collect postcards from the places we visited. I think I will continue to take my girls out of school for family vacations for the next several years. I had cancer last year and while my health is fine right now, it made me realize that life is tenuous. Giving my daughters happy family memories will mean much more in the future than which week they learn fractions. I was a teacher for 10 years before becoming a mom and I frequently gave work to the kids who went on vacation. Often those kids were able to complete more than I ended up covering in class while they were gone. I am sure I will have to think more carefully about taking them out of school when they are in middle school and high school but for now, family vacations win out.

estherhead
March 3rd, 2005, 10:49 PM
I have a child starting kindergarten next year and all of this is scary. Don't take my freedom away! Hmm... homeschooling anyone? What is this block scheduling? Why is it two weeks worth of school?

Onessa
March 4th, 2005, 01:06 PM
My daughter's first grade teacher encouraged us to take her out of school for a week two years ago.

Now her third grade teacher is glad that she missed school for our meditranean (sp?) vacation, because today my daughter brought in her journal, pictures and memorabilia from Florence and Venice to present for her class' unit on Italy.

One of her classmates did something similar when they were studying Costa Rica. Her teacher (an award-winning educator) said that the kids are so much more interested when one of their classmates has been to one of the places they are studying!

skyview851
March 4th, 2005, 01:24 PM
My sons missed a week last month when we took them on their first cruise. Most of the teachers were very supportive of our decision, and gave them their assignments in advance so that they could keep up with classwork. Only one teacher reacted negatively, and now that we are back, she seems to be "showing" them that they should not miss school. She gave them failing grades on the assignments that they did during the cruise, because they were turned in late, even though she knew in advance they would not be in class.
The funny thing is, the class is Spanish. We visited San Juan, & Dominican Republic, and the kids had a blast trying to decipher the signs & menus that were written in spanish. I believe that they learned more in that week than she could have taught them in the 5 hours that she would have had them in class. Traveling is a wonderful educational experience, but be prepared that your children may have to pay the price when they get home. I would still take them out of school for a cruise in a heartbeat!

Shelly97060
March 5th, 2005, 01:22 AM
We are cruising on 3/12 as well on the Diamond and the kids will be missing 2 days of school. I wrote letters to each of the teachers explaining that we will be gone and why and requested any homework that they would have over spring break or any thing they needed to complete before we leave. We will also be missing conferences so I included my perspective on how things are going and asked them to let me know about any concerns. I am confident that it will be just fine. :)

sunkey1
March 5th, 2005, 10:17 AM
We've taken our kids on two cruises so far, when they were in Pre-K and 1st, then when they were in 1st and 3rd. In both cases I was up front with the teachers and they were fine with us going. I'm fortunate in that my kids are both very advanced and had no problem missing a week of school. A small amount of work was given by the teachers and they did this in the car on the way down to Florida. I had them do daily journals where they had to write something about their day and then draw a picture. These have been great fun to look back on as trip "souvenirs". We are leaving on 4/30 for another cruise with the kids but this time missing school won't be an issue. I pulled them both out of public school this past year and began homeschooling them. I was so frustrated with the inadequacy of the schools in Georgia that I had to take drastic measures. One of the aspects of homeschooling that we've enjoyed the most is the opportunity to do lots of field trips. I think our society is so stuck on book learning (don't worry, we do PLENTY of that too) that we forget that there is a GREAT BIG WORLD out there! I am so looking forward to taking my kids and showing them Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg Battlefield, not just having them read about them in books. I want to take them to Europe, Canada, Africa - there is so much out there do, see and learn and I truly believe kids can learn so much through life experiences, not just rote learning. Go on your cruise, value that family time - it is so precious, and the kids will be just fine!

Marge M
March 5th, 2005, 10:55 AM
I am so looking forward to taking my kids and showing them Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg Battlefield, not just having them read about them in books.

I just had to comment on your trip to DC! You will have a blast, there is SO much to do, and most of it is FREE! Since the Washington Monument is currently closed, the next best view is from the Old Post Office Pavillion. Most visitors aren't aware of it. The trip to the top of the tower is free, and you get a fabulous view of the Capital, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial from up there. Another neat place to visit is Ford's Theater, it has a really nice Lincoln museum underneath it that is also free. These are a little off the beaten path, but well worth a visit. In fact, they aren't too far from the White House.

http://sc94.ameslab.gov/TOUR/tour.html This link has clickable blue areas that have information about each place. Can you tell I love DC? LOL

Laurin612
March 5th, 2005, 06:09 PM
My daughter is in 1st grade and is very advanced for her age. I was upfront with her teacher about our upcoming 10 day cruise and her teacher was fine with it. She is of the opinion that world travel is a fantastic learning experience and opportunity and all that she asked is that my daughter keep a journal and do an informal "presentation" to the class about her trip when she returns.

I am also going to bring along some books and some "fun" activity books.

ETA: Forgot to mention that she attends a private Lutheran school.

JerseyGirl23
March 6th, 2005, 12:11 AM
We are taking our daughters (9th grade and 3rd grade) out for the 4 days before Christmas vacation (a week) this year. I'm assuming that it will be a slow time at school because it's leading up to a winter break week, where they return to school after New Years. It's the only time we can get 2 weeks vacation. And don't suggest we take a vacation during the summer! my husband would never set foot in Florida let alone the hot, hot Caribbean during the summer months.

angelsx4
March 6th, 2005, 01:05 PM
This was the first year we ever let our kids miss school for a family vacation. It worked out well enough this year that for our cruise next year we are too. My dh is a highschool principal of a neighboring district and gets three weeks of for Christmas and our kids only get two. So... We're going on vacation 3 days after they go back to school and they will miss 4 days the next week. We plan on having them getting as much work as the teacher will allow(prepared) before they go on Christmas break so they can turn it in even before the cruise.

The big thing is to make sure you aren't taking them out during district or state testing. Your district office should have a schedule so you can ask ahead of time. Have fun!!!!

SharleneinTexas
March 6th, 2005, 02:57 PM
this year we are taking our daughter when she's on school break.........no longer considered excused absence at her school............can't make up work and in high school, that is too important...........plus you have to count on them being healthy......after a certain number of missed days(even excused) and it's mandatory failure here......
from what I understand they had to change policy here for missing time because the school's funds come from attendance.........children miss time from school equals less money coming in to support the school.
I consider these trips a learning experience and so I will continue to find time to take our school age daughter and we'll just have to pay more to do it ........ :)

Sharlene

Marge M
March 6th, 2005, 06:59 PM
...plus you have to count on them being healthy......after a certain number of missed days(even excused) and it's mandatory failure here...Sharlene

They will fail them with too many excused illness absences? In our district, if your child has too many illnesses or an extended illness, they will assign an at-home tutor. My neighbor's child had an at-home tutor for several months last year with an extended illness. This was provided by our public school system. Granted, it took a month for them to provide one, but they did.

Pudgesmom
March 6th, 2005, 07:44 PM
sharleneintexas is right about the Texas schools. Besides, a vacation is considered an unexcused absence. We'll be in Costa Rica the first week of January. If high school kids visit a college, they can have an excused absence. We'll be touring the University of Costa Rica in San Jose.This will also allow them to exempt final exams, which they can't do if more than 2 absences are unexcused.

Beth

Cruisin' Chick
March 6th, 2005, 08:05 PM
Schools don't want the students out for two reasons: 1. for each child, they get money from the state (at least that's how it is for Calif. schools) and there is so much pressure to improve test scores (forget about learning, it's all about those tests) that supposedly each day means missing out on so much info. My girl missed some of this week because of a sinus headache and infection (her temp got up to 104 degrees one day this week). When I took her back to school, the teacher wasn't too happy because much of the class was there sniffling and coughing. I bet if there wasn't so much pressure to bring your child in, it would cut down on days missed because of illness!

SharleneinTexas
March 7th, 2005, 09:50 AM
They will fail them with too many excused illness absences? In our district, if your child has too many illnesses or an extended illness, they will assign an at-home tutor. My neighbor's child had an at-home tutor for several months last year with an extended illness. This was provided by our public school system. Granted, it took a month for them to provide one, but they did.


they will fail them........had a co-worker one year have a rude awakening........he and his family had just moved here from Louisiana and when they went to register their daughter for high school, they were told that she would have to be held back a year...........because of #days missed from her previous school.........
my daughter has a friend in school now that has missed many days because of illness.......excused absences but she will have to go to summer school to pass the grade she's in and the school will not pay for it........but then again, that is for illness and not vacation time.........
they have off so many days from school for teacher work days and for holidays.......it's not as if you can't find time they are out of school to take a vacation.........we'll adjust

Sharlene

Cruisin' Chick
March 7th, 2005, 11:41 PM
It's funny but in the current school newsletter, the principal said don't bring your kids to school if they're sick. She must have realized how many kids are coming in coughing and sneezing. But I know they still frown on the "non-illness" absences, no matter what.

Marge M
March 8th, 2005, 12:13 AM
It's funny but in the current school newsletter, the principal said don't bring your kids to school if they're sick. She must have realized how many kids are coming in coughing and sneezing. But I know they still frown on the "non-illness" absences, no matter what.

I mentioned this in another thread, but a couple of years ago we had a principal who got up at an assembly and told the parents to send their children in even if they were sick during our MD state testing (MSAs). She specifically told us to bring them even if they had fevers (we are usually told to keep them home with fevers or vomiting), and that they could go home right after the testing. She even called parents whose children were actually sick at home to badger them about why their kids weren't there for the test. One was my neighbor's child who had a fever and sore throat, and ended up testing positive for strep. The principal was having a fit because it was the last day of testing, and said "you need to bring her in to finish". My neighbor had some choice words for her. Sometimes the schools care more about those tests than our kids.

katzacruisin
March 8th, 2005, 08:19 PM
I just recently went on the Carnival Victory outof Miami. I had my kids out of school for a week. What I did was ask the teachers for homework (not alot) but something to keep them updated with school. Keep in mind that I did ask. But all they told us to do was to keep a journal. So when we were done for the day we used the ships stationary to write about our day. Another tip (if you don't mind) NEVER EVER book a cruise when school is out, cause if you do, the ship is wall to wall kids, and I'm not talking just young kids, but also rowdy college kids.

Marge M
March 8th, 2005, 11:20 PM
Another tip (if you don't mind) NEVER EVER book a cruise when school is out, cause if you do, the ship is wall to wall kids, and I'm not talking just young kids, but also rowdy college kids.

We cruised over Thanksgiving week and there were about 950 kids on that cruise (all ages combined up to 17), and my 15 and 10 yr old kids were 2 of them :D. I can't say it was horrible, in fact, my kids loved having so many new friends to mix with. I enjoyed getting to know the friends they made too. I had several conversations with teens here and there around the ship, and found they were quite interesting (and a lot of times very funny) to talk to. There was some mischief I witnessed, but nothing really bad. I came across an "elevator party" (I gently tsk-tsked them, and then they ran off to find something else to do), and I remember one teen asking the pizza guy very seriously, "Do you dream about pizza?" The pizza guy's expression was priceless. I would cruise on a "kid heavy" week again in a minute :).

When my husband and I were waiting in line for the past guest party, there was a couple in front of us complaining about how many kids were on the cruise. They were traveling alone. They turned to us to commiserate and we just smiled and said, "Yes, there are a lot of kids. We have 2 of them." I still chuckle when I think of their faces when we said that.

4 cruisers
March 9th, 2005, 12:18 AM
We've taken our sons out several times over the years (using frequent flier miles makes peak travel impossible!). We are taking our 13 year old out the week after his spring break next month, but figure that once he starts highschool (he struggles with grades), we won't be taking him out for a few years :(

I agree with the poster who mentioned that their kids have learned NOT to be spoiled by seeing the way many live in other countries...Our youngest got sick to his stomach in Istanbul when he saw the children begging and selling gum by the stick...we asked him if he would like to give them some money and maybe that would make him feel better. He got back off the bus and did and I know he will never forget that feeling.

I'm so happy to see such a positive thread concerning this issue. There was a time when we families would get blasted off the boards for taking our kids out! Times are certainly changing! Oh, and we fill out a formal request for the district and the teachers then provide the work for that week, then the school apparently gets paid while we are away. It works for me!

Onessa
March 9th, 2005, 05:17 PM
I'm so happy to see such a positive thread concerning this issue. There was a time when we families would get blasted off the boards for taking our kids out! Times are certainly changing! Oh, and we fill out a formal request for the district and the teachers then provide the work for that week, then the school apparently gets paid while we are away. It works for me!

That's one reason I like the family thread! Less judgement and more of a sense that everyone is really trying to help.

You are right, this has been a good discussion!

cacruiserjen
March 9th, 2005, 07:46 PM
Our son is 11 and in the middle of the 6th grade and our daughter is almost 9 and in the middle of the 3rd grade. In California (and likely every where else in the US) you can get something called an "Independent Study Contract" which for us has a 5 day minimum and 20 day maximum. Here is what it says about it at our district's website: "Students who will be out of town on extended family travel not to exceed 20 school days are eligible to complete an independent study contract for the planned absence and to make up work missed. The parent and student shall be responsible for initiating the request for an independent study contract at least 5 days prior to the trip and for obtaining the requirements for the completion of makeup assignments. Contact your school principal for information about Independent study."

The absences are not counted as unexcused AND the school does not lose their daily monetary reimbursement (which keeps them happy!)!!

My children have PERFECT attendance. Neither one has missed a single day of school - they are very healthy!! So I have NO problems removing them for a family vacation! Life is MUCH more than sitting in a classroom and learning spelling words and math facts every day!

We will be leaving for our 12 day cruise on the Wedneday of our Spring Break so the the kids will be missing one full week of school this year. I have already signed the IS contracts and the teachers should be sending home their work a few days before our vacation starts. They will likely complete it all in the 5 days of school break before we leave. They will also each a few books to read on a regular basis as well as their own cameras and a journal. Their photos and journals will be shared in class.

Last year's cruise was to Alaska so we definitely went in the summer so they missed no school. The year prior was a 12 day Panama Canal cruise. We were out of school for the week of Thanksgiving and we went to visit family in Texas and then departed the Saturday after Tday for the cruise. They missed a full two weeks of school and returned to a week of school and then out for two weeks for Christmas vacation. Neither one fell behind - they always have work in advance and are ahead of the game anyway. A few years earlier we took them out for a week in October (ds was in 2nd grade I think) and he missed two weeks in Kindergarten for a cruise as well. Every single one of their teachers has applauded us on their educational vacations and preparing in advance (IS contracts) and ensuring we keep them in school the rest of the year. If there comes a time when it is harder and too distracting for them to miss time from school, we will try to work around it. But with dh's job and my job, we have to plan around schedules to take time off. Not to mention go when there are deals as well!

Great topic!

Traveling Mom
March 18th, 2005, 10:34 AM
I will be taking my 2 daughters out of school (grades K and 3rd) for 6 days this spring. Due to DH's and my job the only coordinating time of is during school. I have already talked to both teachers and they were great. But unfortunatly the school rules will mean that the absences are unexcused and will be marked against them(meaning work cannot be made up). I tried explaining to them that family values are important in a world where 1/2 the marriages end in divorce and we want to ensure our children of our family values. Which is why they are going. I could not even dream of leaving them home. But fell on deaf ears. So teachers and I will do what we can. Also let me mention both DD's are exceptional students( might have something to do with family values???). So I applaud the other family's here that put there values in the proper order and enjoy as much time WITH their children. After all that is why we have them. Right?:confused: :)

mamabear5
March 18th, 2005, 01:09 PM
I just told my fourth graders principal and teacher that he would be missing 6 days in April. He is an excellent student and has only missed one day this year. They were both very supportive and made me feel that this was an opportunity not to be missed. His teacher even said "I haven't even been on a cruise,yet! You'll have to tell me all about it." He will of course have lots of work to make up and he plans on doing a powerpoint presentation for extra credit, but it will be a great learning experience for him.:D