Taking children out of school for cruise

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Burlington, MA
79 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
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

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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.
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1,408 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
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!
420 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
Originally posted by karen2cruz
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.
Mechanicsville, MD
240 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
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.
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Mount Joy, PA
693 Posts
Joined Nov 2004

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!
Newport Coast, CA
196 Posts
Joined May 2000
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!
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Memphis, TN
21 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
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!
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Originally posted by alb38

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.

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Cincinnati, OH
8,463 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
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.
143 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
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!
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Joined Nov 2004
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!
Lumberton, NJ
271 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
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!
In the Valley, CA
23,027 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
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 ).

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.
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San Antonio
186 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
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?
1,932 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
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.
Staten Island, NY
62 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by busybusybusy
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.
Lumberton, NJ
271 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
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!

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.
51 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
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.
811 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
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 . 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 .....Happy sailing everybody!
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