Every parent has had this thought at one point: "Can I take my child out of school for a holiday?” This is a hotly debated topic. On one hand, many parents consider traveling an important part of a child's education. It opens them up to new experiences and makes them wholesome individuals. Besides, not all parents can manage to take days off during summer or spring break and holiday destinations are usually cheaper during the off-season.
Most teachers and many parents frown up taking kids out of school for a holiday. Moreover, there are many laws, school rules, and government policies that state that taking kids out of school is a punishable offense. In fact, there is even a fine for taking the child on holiday in many countries and parents can also get prosecuted for unexplained and unauthorized absences.
What to Consider Before Taking Child out of School for a Holiday?
Can you take your child out of school and on a holiday for purely recreational reasons? If you're planning a holiday during term time, here are some things you need to consider.
1. State and school policies
Apart from the moral considerations, there are of course state policies and school rules to consider. Most state schools require your kids to attend school regularly and may report both kids and parents to local educational authorities in case of unexplained absences.
For example, in England, parents can get a fine for taking kids on holiday during term time amounting to £60. Jon Platt, an Isle of Wight resident, had to pay £2000 in fines as ruled by the Supreme Court of England when he initially fought the fine levied against him for taking his daughter to Disneyland during term time. In fact, cases, where fines were issued for unauthorized absences, increased by 93% in 2018!
Most public schools in the US have strict attendance benchmarks as well, and unauthorized absences are even considered illegal! However, some schools may be understanding of your situation in view of past school grades and attendance records.
Also, while private schools are exempt from most of these government policies, they still have to report prolonged unauthorized absences to local educational authorities.
2. A child's age
Apart from the hefty fine for taking kids on holiday during term time, your child's age is another important consideration. Essentially, it's easier for a child in elementary school to miss a few days of school because their curriculum is less complicated. But as they progress to higher standards, it becomes much more difficult to catch up with missed school work after a holiday. Moreover, as kids grow older, it's their responsibility to find out about missed lessons and assignments. While a mature student will fall in line immediately after a vacation, it may take a less diligent child more time to figure things out and keep their grades up.
3. Will they miss important exams and assessments?
It's important to pay attention to your kid's academic calendar if you must take them out of school for a holiday. Generally, standardized tests are scheduled during the middle and end of a school term. Missing these is not a good idea as this can affect how your child moves onto the next grade.
4. Is their teacher agreeable to the situation?
Your child's teacher will be more agreeable to a student missing school for a few days if their past academic record and attendance are favorable. However, they may oppose a child missing school during term time if they're on the average spectrum of grades. Besides, they also need to create a special schedule for your child to turn in tests and projects after the holiday. Informing them well in advance can swing the decision in your favor sometimes and make things go smoother.
Some Amazing Benefits of Taking Kids on Holiday
If you got the green light to take your kids out of school for a few days or plan to go during the school break, just fully enjoy yourselves as there are amazing benefits of taking your kids on holiday.
- They can spend quality time with family
Let's be honest, between your busy job, chores, and your child's school assignments, you rarely get to spend quality time with them. Traveling is a great way to spend time with them and create memories they'll cherish throughout their life.
- They'll be more open to new cultures and develop empathy
Traveling is a great way to expose your kids to new cultures, customs, and experiences. It's always a bonus if the holiday includes a hike through the woods so they can develop empathy about nature and learn the importance of being active.
- Traveling will give their confidence a major boost
Since they'll interact with a lot of people from diverse backgrounds, they'll be more confident while socializing. A healthy sense of self-confidence is a great asset while growing up.
So is it okay for your child to miss a few days of school for a family holiday? It does depend on a number of factors, and most importantly your kid's attitude towards education as a whole. Other than that, going on a holiday with your child has a host of benefits and goes a long way to make them well-informed, confident, and empathetic individuals.