Epcot becomes a learning opportunity... and every adventure is an essay waiting to happen.
BTW, our latest out-of-school experience was back in early May. You can read all about it here.
Our particular school system is really down on stuff like this, to the point of being nasty and making legal threats to parents if kids miss a few days. I chalk their behavior up to dealing with too many bum parents, but the last time I checked, I had the final say in decisions about my child's education, and my wife and I aren't bum parents.
Home schooling has always been in the back of my mind too James, given the state of the public school system. On the other hand, the lack of socializing with people their age and the lack of authority figures and a social structure outside of the home makes me hesitate. Some day they'll have to deal with other people, college professors, and other bosses.
As a parent I have taken my own kids out of school for the same trip to Disney World from Tennessee and recently took them to Disneyland for spring break.
A few days of school can always be made up and being able to experience Disney as a kid is really something special. Many people I've talked to who's first visit to Disney was as an adult just don't "get" Disney.
So take your kids out of school and have some fun.
Personally, I think the effort of homeschooling is Herculean and beyond anything I personally could do - but my wife loves it, and honestly, she is very good at it. However, she researched and debated for several years before we finally pulled our kids out of school - and we have never looked back. Do your homework, make all preparation, weigh the pros and cons, but do not let socialization be much of a factor. The days of the "sheltered child" are all but over.
And another thing, while the option to take vacations whenever you want and not miss school may be a nice perk of homeschooling, do not let it be your driving factor! You still have to get your schooling in, and when homeschoolers take off for two weeks to go to Orlando in early May, guess what they end up doing in June when all their public school friends are playing in the summer sun... yep, that's right, more schooling. You've gotta get your lessons done sometime!
As a former teacher (now a stay-at-home mom), I have no problem allowing students the opportunity to spend some good quality time with their parents. Many parents have to work long hours and are lucky to see their kids for a few minutes in the morning before school and before they go to bed. I have found that children who do get to spend special time with their parents are usually the ones that behave well and make good grades. Children need that time.
At the same time, the school year after state STAR testing in mid-May tends to become a blur of time-wasting activities as we play out the clock until the end of term in mid-June. That's the time of year we target for a short, get-away vacation every few years.
Unfortunately, as Florida schools are out by then, it's not a good time to hit up Disney World. So we tend to end up someplace like New York City instead.
When I was a kid, going to school in Indiana, my parents took us out for Florida trips a few times. But then, I could leave school there for a couple of weeks and not miss much: We didn't learn nearly as much as my kids are learning in the California public schools now. (We've got kids here taking geometry in 8th grade. Kids did that in 10th or 11th grade in Indiana.)
If she has good grades – we go….. The school also has to sign off on her leaving for a week… Every teacher has to agree. Plus we have to make up the work….. And she happily makes up any missed work after a beautiful week Orlando…
You are only a child once and these memories we create are forever…
I'm on the same boat with those who favor taking their kids out of school for their summer vacations. I bet my bottom dollar that it would be a benefit for especially autistic children, who cannot tolerate heavy crowds and long lines. Also, their special-education centers are very flexible with schedules, so it's easier for the parents to request any make-up work made after the trip.
OK, not really, we just took mid-week, low season breaks to take advantage of the low crowds, lower prices, and great weather. But being homeschoolers, it was easy to time shift the teaching schedule by working thru the traditional public school break periods, and packing subjects into daily or weekly instructional periods. So our kids got the best of both worlds, and we had less hassle in the parks.
Ordinarily, I would never miss school to go to an amusement park, but ironically my school's robotics team has plans to go to Disney's robotics competition (and the parks too).(and I miss 2 days of school)
* - Wife - "I like British Invasion [at WDW]. They know how to queue!"
I no longer live in NJ, but I would absolutely consider doing something like that when (if?) I have kids.