Recently, I’ve been looking back fondly at the freedom of baby and early-childhood days.
From a vacation planning perspective, that is.
Those were the best of times when planning a holiday and travelling with kids. No school schedules to worry about, organized competitive sports obligations, or critical peer network commitments to maintain. We could (and did) travel in cheaper off-season times, and at the leisure of our (somewhat) flexible adult work obligations.
As our children advance through school, and became more active in their social and recreational lives, it has become more of a challenge to time holidays and family trips. Apparently, teachers don’t seem to like kids missing 2 or 3 weeks of school. Kids and parents don’t necessarily enjoy catching up those weeks upon returning from holiday either.
That leaves planning for travel and trips during the most busy, most expensive times of year; summer holidays, Christmas and Spring Break.
While we’ve fudged around a bit with missing a week or ten days here or there, I’ll admit that I don’t like the kids to miss much more of school than that. Even when we convince teachers of the educational value of our holidays, it takes a while to get back in the groove.
That said, some of my own most memorable educational moments took place while on holiday, and I certainly wouldn’t trade those memories for the ten pages of cursive writing I might have missed in grade 6.
This year, our holiday plans may include missing the first week of school. I’m still struggling with this decision, as I’ve never liked going anywhere even for the Labour Day weekend, just to ensure we’re prepared & relaxed for the school year to begin.
School > Vacation or Vacation > School? How do you balance the school versus vacation question?
[travellingmom tip: If your vacation plans will see your child missing many days or weeks of school, it’s a good idea to speak to his/her teacher ahead of time. The teacher will appreciate the notice, and it will you give you a chance to suggest some of the learning opportunities on your journey that can replace the school-work your kids will miss while on holiday.]