As a parent, you do need to consider if it’s a good thing for your child to be out of school for an extended period of time. Not all kids are resilient and capable of stepping from home-school-holiday-home-school. You may need to keep in touch with class teachers as to their progress and mental health if not around a routine or their friends. But ultimately, the decision is yours as a parent. Do take into account those years that are important such as approaching the final years of secondary or transitioning from primary to secondary school.
Spending a few weeks or even a few months away from school will do very little in term of effecting their overall academic results or social skills. Time away with family, particularly these days is gold. The rewards of spending ‘quality time’ with your kids exploring your country or overseas is magical and the learning opportunities and experiences are perfect.
Unfortunately though, there are a number of children at risk that do fall further and further behind the more days they are away from school. I’ve seen children become quite disconnected and unsettled after missing school and it is generally for these reasons that schools have to put some sort of procedure in place so those children don’t fall through the cracks.
Planning your trip works better if you include your kids. Mine were always keen to travel when they were younger but as the teenagers years approached and heading into middle to upper secondary school, the opportunity to take them away outside of term time is limited due to their educational commitments which are important at this time. Anyway, they want to be with their friends. I have been known to take away one of my kid’s friends or two on a trip to mix it up a bit and see how things go. So far, so good. Occasionally, I’ll take them on a trip whenever I can – whether it’s climbing at the local crag or overseas for an adventure. A recent trip to Magnetic Island on the Great Barrier Reef was only agreed by the kids when they knew the accommodation had Wi-Fi.
Whenever possible, my kids were given opportunities to lead and make decisions during our travels. For example, I would ask my kids how far we would travel in a day, how much money we spent, how many languages we heard spoken, what words we learnt in another language that day, tally up the food bill in local currency and then convert to Australian dollars and so on.
That is the magic of travelling with kids and creating those lateral thinking moments holds them in good stead as they grow into young adults.
Now it’s your turn. How do you feel about taking kids out of school for a trip? What does it mean to you? What have been the goods, the bads and the uglies of doing it? Leave a comment below.