Updated for 2016!
Want to get an interesting discussion started among Disney lovin’ Moms and Dads? Pose the question, “Should we pull the kids out of school for a Disney vacation?” The main objection you will most often hear is that missing school will damage a child’s education. Hmmmmm. I’ve read where people actually describe it as “ruining their education.” And I thought, for a Disney trip vacation, the poor kid will be ruined educationally, like for life?
For those children who can miss school without a required doctor’s excuse, I bet missing some class days would sound like a great idea to them. The general thought has been the younger the child, the less information they would miss being out of school. Many parents steer away from taking older high school age kids out of school, but Familyvacationcritic.com pointed out a study in 2013 that revealed a link between educational travel with kids and success later in life. How’s that for a reason to skip school and take a trip?!
In the survey referenced by Familyvacationcritic.com, children who took educational-focused trips between the ages of 12 and 18 had greater success in school, higher grades, and typically had earned a college degree. The Travel Improves Educational Attainment & Future Success Survey also showed those who visited educational attractions and destinations as kids earned more as adults.
We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans if they would take their kids out of school for a Disney vacation, and the answer was a resounding yes and for several different reasons.
Leasa, “We are going for the first time in October. My kids will have two days off from school for educator meetings, and we will take them out for 2 days. I’ve heard fall is a great time to go.”
Jessica, “I love the fall at Disney; I don’t care about taking them out of school. A week is not going to hurt them. I am a teacher.”
Theresa, “I grew up in Orange County, CA, very close to Disneyland. My mom would take us out of school all the time to go, and my brother and I both did very well in school. Creating special family memories is just as important as getting a formal education.”
Stormy, “I choose the fall because it really allows for a quality vacation both in time and money. Family comes first, and the time spent together is so precious. School work is temporary, memories are forever!”
Barbara, “Sometimes it’s the only time the parents can take off. It is usually a busy time in retail on spring break, or Thanksgiving through Christmas. We just give the teachers a heads up that we are going to go. Then we tell the kids they need to really work hard playing catch up. It’s worth it.”
Christina, “I did it a few times over the years, and it never hurt my now-adult kids. In fact, I’m pretty sure they benefited from the travel and being able to hang out with some extended family.”
How much school is missed for vacations? Before teachers start panicking, according to About.com, in most cases…
- 43% missed just one day
- 29% missed two days
- Only 11% missed more than one week
Katie, “I love the weather and shorter lines. I do take the kids out of school (it’s elementary school right now). I am for homework, and they do some on the drive there. School is important, but so are family memories and my kids are great students. Plus me, my husband and one daughter all have fall birthdays!
Mendi and Nick lay out all the reasons, with numbers, for those of you that appreciate a nice focused outline.
1. low crowds
2. great weather
3. free dining is sometimes available
4. quality family time always trumps perfect attendance
Do the majority of parents agree or disagree with taking kids out of school?
A TripAdvisor.com poll conducted exclusively for ABCNews.com in 2012 showed 78 percent of 1,709 respondents with kids had let them miss school for a family vacation.
ABC News says the main attraction for many parents is simple, “It’s cheaper to travel during the academic year than during scheduled breaks, especially if you’re flying. If you ever want to know when a particular major city’s public schools are on spring break, look no further than airfare prices.”
Kara, “Family time is more important than school when the kids are young. It makes much more sense to take them to WDW in the fall when it’s cooler and less crowded!”
Jessica, “Yes, we do take our son out. There are less crowds, it’s cheaper, and there’s Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival.“
Erica, “Of course I would take my children out of school, and I have. Kids have the rest of their lives to sit at a desk for hours every day. Very few children will carry those memories on to adulthood happily, but family vacations will love on forever. Disney is too expensive to pay for line after line of waiting.”
Kylee, “Travel is good for children, and Disney is good for everyone. Plus it’s a little less crowded at the times you have to pull the kids out of school.”
Best Deals & Free Food
Tanya, “My kids are only little once; they grow way too quick. You bet I pull them out of school! That is when the best deals are.”
Elizabeth, “September is our favorite time, and we pull the kids out of school for a week (we get their assignments). Crowd levels are great, temperatures are not too bad, prices are the best, and most importantly, there is the free meal plan!”
Social Media Warning
Jeff says do not take the kids out of school, “Absolutely not, if the school’s administration members are Facebook friends.” This reminded me of the honesty is the best policy life lesson.
Make Your Own Assignment
Darlene explained, “We did and it was fine. They kept a journal of each day, and when they went back to school, they did a show and tell with photos. Plus they got writing credit for it.” Imagine the fun of reading this when your kids are in their mid-20s!
Many of Us Missed School as Kids
Erica, “My parents did pull us out of school. In elementary school my parents would take us (my brother and I) out for a week-long Disney trip a few times a year. We let our teachers know ahead a time, so they could get us the material we would miss. We would then do our homework at Disney. We were A & B students, and week-long Disney trips never effected that.” I totally get Erica’s point, because I personally missed school for vacations as a kid, and I turned out mostly fine!
This is another article that deals with a time of year most kids would probably miss some school.
Questions to Ask Yourself…
There are questions to ask yourself before you head off on vacation when all the other kids are in school.
1. Can your child handle missing school without falling too far behind? Will the work get made up?
If the answers are no, you better keep the kids in school.
2. Will your school system excuse the absences?
If the answer is no, you better keep the kids in school.
3. Can you meet with your child’s teacher (teachers) to get make up work ahead of time?
If the answers are no, and it will be straight up craziness doing double work when you get back from Fantasyland, you better keep the kids in school.
4. How long will you be gone?
If you will miss more than 4-5 days, your child could really struggle to make up the work, especially if they are in upper middle and high school grades.
5. Will you be traveling during standardized tests and exam weeks?
If the answer is yes, you definitely better keep the kids in school.
Teachers Weigh In…
And what do teachers think? Clearly we can’t represent all teachers, but we found a couple with opinions…
Sally stopped by a different article to leave a comment, which I had to add here. “As an elementary teacher, I would definitely say: TAKE YOUR KIDS OUT OF SCHOOL! Is one week of third grade REALLY going to make or break their entire school career. My principal took her kids out of school for a few days last year because her husband had won a cruise and could only use it during a certain time period. If the principal takes her young kids out of school, ANY parent can! Truancy officers will not hunt you down on vacation.”
Amy says, “ I’m a teacher. I don’t mind when my students miss because of a family vacation. I think it’s important for kids to travel and experience things they wouldn’t get to experience at home. The family time is good for them, too. Some things just can’t be taught in the classroom. I’ve taken my own kids out (and taken days off) for family vacations!”
Amanda, high school teacher and Cheapskate Queen shares, “We have taken our children out of school nearly every year I can remember for some sort of travel. The key is to try to get the make-up work ahead of time so you don’t add stress to teacher’s already stressful lives. Then make sure the work actually gets completed. My head is full of useless knowledge (= trivia), so I am always throwing out tidbits of information I think my kids could learn from. We talk a lot about money. We talk about how good grades translate into career opportunities which lead to vacations. There is a relationship between success in school and travel opportunities; there is a lot you can learn on a Disney vacation.”
So the results are in. Our fans say that you should take the kids out of school for a Disney World or Disneyland vacation. Remember, you know what works best for your family, so stick with that.
For some fun, go ask your kids – hypothetically speaking of course – what they think about the idea. There’s some great dinner time conversation right there.
So will you take the kids out of school, or have you taken them out of school for a trip to Disney? Let us know what you think…
Thanks for stopping by, thanks for stopping by, and maybe well see you and the kids in the Hall of Presidents, learning…
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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess