Go Away on March Break? No Thanks!
It's the time of year when it is easy to get very jealous. Every time I talk to someone they are off buying sunscreen and bathing suits or scouring the stores for flip-flops. It's March Break and people are heading south.
But why? Travelling during March Break means line-ups, crowds and inflated prices, while going away in February or April means better selection and lower costs. And yet the majority of people choose to go away for this one week a year because it is a school break. Why are parents so afraid of pulling their kids out of school for one week?
I understand that for some families the logistics of not having kids in school means that parents have to take a week off of work anyways so they might as well go away. But others just seem to think that is wrong for kids to miss a week of school.
But that is not true. A family vacation is an incredible learning experience for kids. My kids have learned more about the natural habitats of animals, climate change, tides, and different cultures from our vacations than they have at school. We even found Disney to have some incredible teachable moments; the Spaceship Earth ride at Epcot compressed my fifth grader's social studies curriculum into a 10-minute ride. The Nemo ride made my daughter fall in love with fish - real fish. (They learned some other things like how G-Force rides make Daddy a little sick.)
When they return to school, the kids have sometimes done a presentation on our trip (though I never let a teacher schedule it the day we get back). Often they have some extra work to do to catch up, but they are usually more willing to do the catch-up work than their daily homework.
In order to do the kind of vacations we want, we always pull our kids out of school for at least a week. But what do their teachers say? We always find it interesting (in a funny way) which teachers get concerned about a missed week of school.
Each of my children have had the same Senior Kindergarten teacher and she has given us homework for every vacation; we have never done it (we rarely even do it during the year, but that is a different story). Last year, my son's first grade teacher suggested we do math equations on the chair lift - we decided to look for animal tracks instead. This year, my son's fifth grade teacher said: "Have a great time. I know that he will get a lot out of a week away."
I asked the Principal of my son's school what he thought about kids missing school for a family vacation. He said as an educator, he believes that a child comes home from a family vacation enriched and ready to learn. He added that if he had a choice he would take his kids away for a week during the school year - but he doesn't have the choice, he is stuck with the crowds.
Would you take your kids out of school for a family vacation? Are you going away for March Break?
Want more? Last year I wrote a post on the Nanny 411.