Taking kids out of school the week before Thanksgiving

Rory607

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
It must be a difference in state education laws. I’m in CA and we were told by our school that they are being very strict about unexcused absences and if they have more than a few (I believe 4?), they will lose their spot at the school, and there is a wait list so it’s not guaranteed they could get back in. If you don’t have that kind of policy, I don’t think it’s a huge deal to take kids out of school for a few days… in our case, we’re just planning trips during school breaks only.
Is it a private school? Our kids are in public school, so there is no wait list and no way to lose your spot. Technically, there is a certain number of days allowed and you can get a truancy letter after the allotted number. But if it’s a family vacation and the kids don’t miss much otherwise, it seems to not be a big deal in our district. But a private school can make whatever policy they want.
 

pineapplepalms

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Is it a private school? Our kids are in public school, so there is no wait list and no way to lose your spot. Technically, there is a certain number of days allowed and you can get a truancy letter after the allotted number. But if it’s a family vacation and the kids don’t miss much otherwise, it seems to not be a big deal in our district. But a private school can make whatever policy they want.
It’s a public school, but it always has a waitlist since it’s one of the better schools in our district. We actually got in via a transfer this year, and it seems they had more spots open up this year due to COVID and people either moving away or doing home or online schooling. I’m not sure how strict they would be if it happened, but we were specifically told that they are being very strict about attendance this year. I talked to a few other parents who have been trying to get their kids transferred in for several years and finally got a spot this year. We feel lucky that our kindergartener got in, so we don’t want to jeopardize his spot and his siblings’ spots in the future.
 

Rory607

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 10, 2016
It’s a public school, but it always has a waitlist since it’s one of the better schools in our district. We actually got in via a transfer this year, and it seems they had more spots open up this year due to COVID and people either moving away or doing home or online schooling. I’m not sure how strict they would be if it happened, but we were specifically told that they are being very strict about attendance this year. I talked to a few other parents who have been trying to get their kids transferred in for several years and finally got a spot this year. We feel lucky that our kindergartener got in, so we don’t want to jeopardize his spot and his siblings’ spots in the future.
I get it. I wouldn’t be taking them out in that situation, either. Definitely not worth it. We’ve done many trips during school breaks and had just as much fun!
 

Lilsia

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
We took our kids out of school when they were elementary age. In our district, parents do that all the time. The teachers are fine with it and they give them the work ahead of time. The policy is that you get a day for every day that you are gone to turn in the work. So if they were gone a week, they had a week after they came back to turn in the work. There is more to life then school and work and you will have a very hard time finding kids who's lives where ruined by being taken out of school for a week for vacation.
 

Lilsia

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
It must be a difference in state education laws. I’m in CA and we were told by our school that they are being very strict about unexcused absences and if they have more than a few (I believe 4?), they will lose their spot at the school, and there is a wait list so it’s not guaranteed they could get back in. If you don’t have that kind of policy, I don’t think it’s a huge deal to take kids out of school for a few days… in our case, we’re just planning trips during school breaks only.
I would argue that "unexcused" absences is akin to skipping school. If a parent knows that the child will not be in school, whether it's from being sick or a vacation, that is an excused absence in my book. The school does not own your child. I would also look into State law because that does not sound legal.
 

bookgirl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 22, 2006
Hello, everyone. Wife is a teacher but has taken a couple of years off to spend time with the 1 year old. She believes it is okay to take the kids out of school for 4 days before Thanksgiving week so we would not be in the parks during the holidays (avoid crowds, etc). She says nothing much happens the last few days of school before a holiday week. I believe they should not miss. They have all As this year but that should not matter because they will feel lost when they return. Am I wrong for thinking that? The kids are 9, 7, and 1.

Any tips or advice? Thank you.
1. What is your schools unexcused absence policy?
2. Are your kids capable of self motivation to do any work assigned for the absence and to make up any work when they return?
3. Do their current grades and behavior in school support a extended absences?

If they won't be penalized by the school, they have the fortitude to do the work, and don't have any current issues with grades and behavior I say let them miss a few days. As long as you don't make a habit of it, it won't hurt them.

If they will be punished for missing school, if you think it will set up an issue where 'they missed once it won't hurt if we do it again next semester and so on and so on', if they fight you on homework or doing assignments, or they have issues that mean a vacation will give them license to act up or feel rewared for acting up, then no, they shouldn't miss school.

Former Teacher, and Former kid who actually had a number of extended absences, but it's just my opinion.
 

hpsalb

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 12, 2012
We’ve taken ours out a day or two at a time to travel. We have the week of Thanksgiving off and for several years took them out a day early so we could take a cruise. However, we stopped doing that when the kids got upset about missing the parties and programs that go on right before a holiday. They seem to care less about missing an additional day next to a non-holiday break (like Fall Break). In terms of catching up with work they’ve been fine, but we’ve never taken more than a day or two.
 
  • DisneyElite4

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 19, 2008
    Parent of three here - one almost 9, two almost 7. Two are straight A students, one is special needs.

    Normally I would say yes, pull the kids out of school, it’s not a big deal when they are this young. However, if your kids are like mine, they missed SO much education the last year and a half due to Covid. Two school years ago they didn’t even finish their respective grades properly, and last year they were on a hybrid schedule and only went to school two days a week. The at-home learning model in our district was abysmal and they got very little out of it. They are FINALLY back in school five days a week and making so many gains that I’m very hesitant to pull them out for more than a day, at least this school year. Perhaps you had a different experience then us, but I’ve come to highly value every day of in-person school that they have after the last 1.5 years.
     

    Skywalker3

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2018
    Depends on your school system. We now only get 8 days total for excused, and not all the schools here will excuse trips. Up to the principal. One trip, we took kids out a few days for Fall break/Columbus day, and elem kid was excused, and middle schooler was not. She was allowed to get work done early. but one teacher made it rather unpleasant, and she nearly flunked her exam. Also did another fall break trip, and the youngest who never gets sick...got sick later in the fall/winter, and with those 4 days in Oct, had used all the other 6 by Jan. (at that time the district allowed 10, now it's 8.) So spent the rest of the school year worried about him going over his allowed days. We actually decided to not ever take them out again for travel/miss days in the fall, since you never know how many days they'll need for other stuff later. And then once in middle/high school, no. not missing days for trips, especially high school. But if your school district/school admin is more amenable to it, then we probably would at the elem level, if travel days can be excused. we would LOVE to not have to follow the school calendars for trips....all those less crowded times, and week before Thanksgiving, is a good time for lower crowds/cooler weather.
     

    pineapplepalms

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 5, 2017
    I would argue that "unexcused" absences is akin to skipping school. If a parent knows that the child will not be in school, whether it's from being sick or a vacation, that is an excused absence in my book. The school does not own your child. I would also look into State law because that does not sound legal.
    Pretty sure it’s legal, and for us vacations are not considered excused absences. Regardless, for us it’s not a big deal to go on vacation during school breaks instead of during the school year. Also, like a PP mentioned, after the last 1.5 years, I’m so glad for him to be in school in person and consider it to be valuable for him, so I’d rather not have him miss it. With holiday breaks and summer, there are plenty of other times for us to go on vacation and we already have several planned.
     

    Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    Pretty sure it’s legal, and for us vacations are not considered excused absences. Regardless, for us it’s not a big deal to go on vacation during school breaks instead of during the school year. Also, like a PP mentioned, after the last 1.5 years, I’m so glad for him to be in school in person and consider it to be valuable for him, so I’d rather not have him miss it. With holiday breaks and summer, there are plenty of other times for us to go on vacation and we already have several planned.
    I really don't know why parents put up with these ridiculous rules. They are our children. I also don't like punishing the kid for the decisions the parents make. No teacher should fail a child for missing a few days of school because they have no choice in it. If the education system is so concerned with educating kids, they would provide the work for the child to make up, like most other districts do. This is a power play.
     
  • pineapplepalms

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 5, 2017
    I really don't know why parents put up with these ridiculous rules. They are our children. I also don't like punishing the kid for the decisions the parents make. No teacher should fail a child for missing a few days of school because they have no choice in it. If the education system is so concerned with educating kids, they would provide the work for the child to make up, like most other districts do. This is a power play.
    We like our school. Our kid is happy there. He doesn’t want to miss school. After being at home for a long time he enjoys socializing with other kids and he enjoys learning. We have ample opportunity to go on vacation during breaks and have no issues with it. He is our child and we are happy with our vacation decisions. I am not concerned with other people’s vacation decisions. YMMV.
     

    Lilsia

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2018
    We like our school. Our kid is happy there. He doesn’t want to miss school. After being at home for a long time he enjoys socializing with other kids and he enjoys learning. We have ample opportunity to go on vacation during breaks and have no issues with it. He is our child and we are happy with our vacation decisions. I am not concerned with other people’s vacation decisions. YMMV.
    I get that, but my point is that why would parents put up with the school district dictating to them what to do you with your children? We live in one of the best school districts in our State with high test scores and high graduation rates. But we don't have that kind of mentality here. Teachers are kind and are happy for the kids that get to go on vacations. Heck, a big chunk of teachers go to WDW too. You give them notice and they put together the assignments. Here, an "unexcused absence" is one where the parent and school have not communicated, basically skipping school. We took them out of school because my husband could not take summers or other holidays off. We would never go anywhere as a family if went by the school calendar. And I don't believe that schools should have that kind of authority over our kids.
     

    teawar

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2019
    Different states/districts have different rules for attendance and truancy. As a teacher of 20 years, in the past I have spent so much time prepping work for kids going on vacation, only for them to not complete it. Totally wasting my time and frustrating me.
    Our district now says that students make up the work when they return.

    Since covid, we are directed to post all of our graded assignments on Google classroom so we don’t have to double work, especially with kids going out on quarantine/close contacts. I just direct all of the kids to check the Google classroom when they are out, and let the office worry about the attendance side. It took the emotion and frustration out for me. I offer 2 Google meets a day for kids to pop in and ask questions if they are home.

    I would be at Disney every weekend if I could, but the job gets in the way. I try to work our travel around my school calendar.
    Last Thanksgiving, my district got out before my daughter’s, so we pulled her out 2 days early and one of those days was virtual. We were in Animal Kingdom at lunch one day and my 8 year old was adamant about attending her Google meet. So I pulled out my phone, plugged in her headphones, and she logged in from a quiet place and didn’t miss a beat.

    School policies are usually designed because someone abused the system. I know of families that “work” the attendance system by just unenrolling and reenrolling their children into schools, when their absences/tardies get so high. They try to avoid going to court. It’s crazy to me!
     
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2015
    I would clear it with the school, and as long as the school is ok with it I'd definitely take them. My first grader is missing a week in March to go to Vail, CO for a family and friends ski vacation. I thought the school would say no, but the principal said they encourage kids to take family vacations and that she gives us her blessing. I agree with your wife that young kids will not fall behind. I would hesitate to pull out kids in grades 6-8 and definitely would not do grades 9-12. I actually missed two days of school for a Disney trip in 9th grade, and it suckdd having to miss park time at night to do math homework.
     

    BrotherCraig

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2021
    1. What is your schools unexcused absence policy?
    2. Are your kids capable of self motivation to do any work assigned for the absence and to make up any work when they return?
    3. Do their current grades and behavior in school support a extended absences?

    If they won't be penalized by the school, they have the fortitude to do the work, and don't have any current issues with grades and behavior I say let them miss a few days. As long as you don't make a habit of it, it won't hurt them.

    If they will be punished for missing school, if you think it will set up an issue where 'they missed once it won't hurt if we do it again next semester and so on and so on', if they fight you on homework or doing assignments, or they have issues that mean a vacation will give them license to act up or feel rewared for acting up, then no, they shouldn't miss school.

    Former Teacher, and Former kid who actually had a number of extended absences, but it's just my opinion.
    1. 4 unexcused occurrences of absences where 4 days of absence together would be one occurrence. They have never missed a day of school since 2016.
    2. Yes, they are very good in school and have shown personal responsibility.
    3. They both have all As right now. No behavior issues.

    They will be doing work on the airplane and on resort days at the hotel - which we will have 4 resort days. We fly back on Thanksgiving day so they will have 4 days at home to work on stuff. I can honestly say that the kids are great and we get letters from teachers and the principle saying how great the kids are in school and how they help everyone around them there.
     

    BrotherCraig

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2021
    Parent of three here - one almost 9, two almost 7. Two are straight A students, one is special needs.

    Normally I would say yes, pull the kids out of school, it’s not a big deal when they are this young. However, if your kids are like mine, they missed SO much education the last year and a half due to Covid. Two school years ago they didn’t even finish their respective grades properly, and last year they were on a hybrid schedule and only went to school two days a week. The at-home learning model in our district was abysmal and they got very little out of it. They are FINALLY back in school five days a week and making so many gains that I’m very hesitant to pull them out for more than a day, at least this school year. Perhaps you had a different experience then us, but I’ve come to highly value every day of in-person school that they have after the last 1.5 years.
    I hear ya there. Last year was rough. We kept our kids doing virtual last year since it was an option. Huge mistake. It was a complete mess. A positive was that my wife didn't teach last year or this year so she helped with their education throughout the year and even during the summer. So glad they are back in-person this year. They didn't play with any kids from March 2020 until Summer 2021... not one. Didn't go anywhere and all we had were each other. Now, they are playing with kids again and getting life back to normal.
     

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