Today is a beautiful day in Seattle. We’re looking at having a full week of glorious sunny days and warm temps. Anyone familiar with Seattle (even the Pacific Northwest) knows that this is a rare event. Late spring, summer, and early fall bring beautiful weather to this part of the country. However, the other six months of the year can be gloomy and downright depressing.
One of the results of this weather pattern is that we don’t want to travel in the summer. We’ve got beaches, mountains, lakes, ferries, islands, and parks aplenty to visit in the wonderful summer weather. Which leads us to save our travel escapades for the gloomy times. The unfortunate reality is these gloomy dates happen to coincide with the public school calendar. So, the question then becomes,
“Is it okay to take my kids out of school for vacation?”
Early on, this wasn’t a problem for us because the girls weren’t in school at the time (or just in preschool). But next fall they’ll both be in school full time. So far with Grace, we’ve had excellent communication with her teachers and she’s been academically strong in her lessons. This has made it smooth and simple to have her miss school for a week to take a family vacation. Having a few homework activities and a book to read during travels also helps keep her practicing whatever skills she’s been working on in class. Of course, if one of our girls starts to struggle academically or if the work load is too much to miss as they get older, we’ll have to rethink things.
Another huge benefit of taking kids out of school for vacation is that we can typically score better pricing for our vacations. Prices are generally higher in the summer months because many people travel then, but in the off seasons you can find lots of airfare and hotel deals. Crowds at popular tourist spots are typically lighter during the off-season as well. However, there is another side to that with the possibility of some attractions closing in the off-season or offering limited hours/schedules.
If you’re considering traveling during the school year, the biggest tip I can give is to talk with your child’s teacher right away. Let them know what you’re considering and if they think your child would be okay. The other tip is to be willing to help your child practice some school lessons during your trip. If you’re creative, you could even create activities tailored to your vacation spot. A few ideas:
- keep a travel journal (practice writing skills)
- keep track of receipts for the day and tally how much was spent (math)
- print off a map and draw out the route; could add distance/time math (geography)
- read a book – look for a fiction or non-fiction book based around your destination (reading/history)
Do you have any opinions or tips on how you balance school and teacher expectations with the desire to travel with your family during the school year?
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