Have you been caught in the middle of the debate regarding taking children out of school to travel? It has been a popular topic in the United States and Europe and is certainly not without controversy.
Schools make the case that absences will put the child behind, can disturb the classroom flow and make extra work for teachers. Furthermore, there is no doubt that schools are concerned about standardized testing scores and overall school ranking. Some schools in London have implemented fees for unexcused absences. There has also been dialogue in the US, surrounding the idea of making it illegal for parents to take kids out of school for family vacations. Yes, you read that correctly…illegal to take your children on vacation without school approval.
In a recent post, we discussed some of the reasons why family travel is so important. Besides the significance of relaxation and quality time together, most parents strongly believe (as we do) in the value of education outside of the classroom. Therefore, it is no wonder that many parents have been fighting back regarding such stringent policy.
However, the debate runs deeper than ethics – many families cannot afford the cost of travel during peak (school break) times. In fact, off-peak travel could average a cost savings of $2,000 or more, per family. In addition, not all businesses can have the majority of their staff out of the office simultaneously.
From a tourism perspective, if schools dictate when families can and cannot travel, this becomes problematic for communities that rely on year-round visitors. Likewise, it is not enjoyable for the thousands who are fighting for space on the beach, waiting in long lines at attractions, or crashing into each other on the ski slopes.
In the past, schools treated each family as an individual case, which is what many parents are hoping they will revert to. We believe strongly in the benefits of traveling with kids – yet also in the value of classroom education.
Before taking children out of school, don’t forget to consider the grade your child is in and how are they doing in school; informing the school and collecting homework assignments in advance; the length, timing and frequency of your travel.
Don’t forget to make it memorable, fun and educational!
We’d love to hear your opinion.
Suggested family itinerary: Costa Rica Family Vacation