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It's vacation time for the kids again!

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Back the first week and just got my first of many letters about the winter vacations the kids are going to take..."My husband can only take his vacation in the winter and I know Johnny should be in school...blah blah....Could you send his work with him while he is in Disneyworld and I'll make sure he gets it done..." Give me a break... Then, they want Johnny to share his Mickey Mouse ears and sea shell collection upon his return.

First, I doubt that Mr. Lawyer, Doctor, Accountant, Denist daddy can only take a Feb. vacation. Next, don't tell me your kid will have time to do it while you are spending the whole day at Disneyworld. Do they think kids work only 10 mins. a day? Then, why should I prep special for Johnny? We will likely have 1-2 snow days and then the work I give him will be off. Also, why should the class give a care about Johnny's vacation? "Class, I know most of you have parents who only take you on vacation during the 100+ days we have off from school, but I want you to sit attentively and listen to Johnny share about all the fun he had at Disney World with his parents while you poor wretches had to sit here in school."

Experience has shown me only 1% of kids get all the work done during their vacation. Most take at least a week if they ever get it done at all.

Sitting here in the cold North...


Senior Member
I'm with you!


I wholeheartedly agree with you! For this reason, my partner teacher and I will no longer give out work ahead of time for planned absences. We make it clear to parents at the beginning of the year that there is no substitute for classroom instruction and that we will gladly keep a folder of missed work for their child to complete AFTER they return. If school isn't important enough to them to be there, then they're not important enough for me to take my valuable time to pull together assignments that probably won't be looked at during the course of the trip. Even though we've had parents ask multiple times for work in advance, we've stood firm (with the administration's blessing) and it has made life easier.



Senior Member
It's crazy.

I had a student one year who went away with her family on four vacations. It's crazy. I have trouble finding a way to go away for a small vacation every summer. The other kids get tired of it too. She had been doing this ever since she was in kindergarten. She is now in 9th grade and the high school won't let the parents get away with it at all. Why in the world would a parent want a child to miss out on their education. I know there are people who say that it is cheaper during the school year and the crowds are les, and so on and soon and so on. I don't care. It drives me crazy. Then when that child doesn't do well one semester or are reccommended to remedial math or reading , don't blame me. They are the reason their child needs the extra help.

I will step off my soap box now. This is just one subject that really sets me off.

Marie from PA


New Member
don't give in

I let the parents know that first day of school that I will not give work in advance. I learned first hand that the kids rarely do it while they are gone, then request extra time upon returning to finish it. If we are working on a project or have a book report coming up, I tell them to continue with what they are already doing, but as for work that we haven't yet started, nope, not going to get it. It's pretty gutsy that parents think we should take our time to get this ready so they can SKIP SCHOOL!! I know there are the once in a life time vacations, and for those rare ones, I give them my blessing and tell them they can make up work when they come back. But for the ones that want to take a regular/yearly vacation, or an extra long weekend I have them sign this paper that our administration has made up with the school heading that states that the school is against any vacation time taken during the mandated school year, and that any education lost during this time is the responsibility of the parents to make up! I love it!! It doesn't carry a whole lot of weight, but once signed by the parents it goes into the child's permanent file.

NJ Teacher

Senior Member
Vacation homework

I agree with everyone else. Our district has too long of a calendar now for a week off at February. What the loss of that time has done is give carte blanche to the parents to go on vacation the week before, the week after, and basically any time they want, because it's cheaper than using the President's Week we used to get. Our district handles it by having us tell the parents that homework is based upon in-class instruction, and since your child won't be here for the instruction, it will have to be made up upon return. I tell the parents they can have the child continue to read if they have "free" time (ha, ha) or keep a journal of their trip. Then, I can pick and choose which assignments are essential for the child to make up due to the fact that we have state testing in March, and this time of year is the absolute worst to miss instruction. Some projects never get made up because the child wasn't there to hear the story it was based on or do the experiment, and if I choose to put those up for our Exhibit Night in May, oh well! One year, I had a student return with his family to India for about 6 weeks. The mother wanted work, so I ripped the pages out of our consumable math book for the lessons he would miss. Many of them came back undone, and with the excuse, "I didn't understand what to do." Another year, I had a parent ask for a copy of the reading book so her daughter could keep up with the stories, and she lost the book! Never again. I teach third, and I think many of these parents have no concept about what is accomplished in school every day. I am definitely for quality family time, but so many of these trips seem to have no educational value, and there is also a cost in acclimating the child back to school once they've been on the beach for a week or two.


Senior Member
It drives me NUTS!

The amount of parents who take their children out of school for vacations, select team travel, long weekends drives me NUTS! If it is a child in kindergarten ok but once they are in school full time, I do NOT think that it should be allowed. Guess what? We couldn't take a week off in the middle of the year. Can you imagine if we did the parents would be in an uproar. How can she a teacher leave her students for a week for a vacation? But they do not turn that logic around on themselves. A day Monday or Friday could be understood for flight plans but other thatn that I have kids who go to Europe, Mexico, cruises and last year a ski trip for at least a week. Of course it is always around report card or progress report time. OF course, they are the parents who usually complain the most. I also take offense to parents who let their children stay home for no reason, their stomach hurt, their head hurt. I tell them let them come in and when they throw up on me, I'll send them home.

When I was a student, we were allowed 7 absenses a year. If you were hospitalized or had a contageous disease and couldn't be there documentation was required. I know of a few kids who were held back because of absenses.

I also have a problem with the kids that have regualr dr, dentist or orthodonic appointments during the day. When they do not understand something, the parents think that I should go back and reteach it. I explain that if your child is not in school, I am sorry but I do not have the opportunity to go back and teach 6 hours to your child. If you are unable to help them then you can make an appointment with me after school and we can discuss a tutoring session.

I also take offense to those parents who let their kids come in tardy or leave at 1:30 or 2:00 regularily. It disrupts the entire class and then of course their child does not understand what is going on in the class.

Frim August to June parents should realize that school is their child's job and priority. Late June, July and Early August along with school breaks are vacations times. 3:30 is a good dr. appointment time and Saturdays. How about the days off of school. Oh yea, that is when the teachers have time to go to their dr, dentist and orthodontists.:D


Senior Member
missing school

I work in a very low income area so most of my students will never have the opportunity to take vacations. However, we have a huge problem with families taking students out to go visit family and/or work in Mexico over the holidays. The students usually end up missing a whole month or two. These are always the students who struggle academically. I have one who should return any day now and she will now be even further behind than when she left.

The first year I had students leave for this type of trip I did send a journal but I have even stopped doing that. It is amazing how school work just seems to disappear when they are traveling.

Ms. K

Full Member
First I want to say that I agree with all of you. There is no way a child can learn what they need to on vacation with packet of homework.

I am wondering how all of you get funding for your schools. I'm in CA and our funding is based on average daily attendance, so if a kid isn't in school we don't get money for him or her for that day. However, if we do give them a packet of stuff to do and they turn it in we do get money. So, I don't have the option of saying "No, you can't have it". I know that some states have a day that official attendance is taken for funding purposes.

So do your schools follow that method or are you just out the money no matter what? Funding is a HUGE big deal at our school!
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NJ Teacher

Senior Member

I don't know if anyone else read this travel article in the Sunday edition of their newspaper. It was written by Eileen Ognitz, who does a weekly syndicated column on traveling with families. In the article, she implied that it was OK to take younger students out of school in February or March, when the rates for many places and/or airfares are cheaper. Although she said this might be a problem for high schoolers, she said that she took her own daughter out from 8th grade with some advanced planning to take her to Australia. Then, she went on to mention skiing vacations, Disney and others which I would find of questionable "educational" value, all the while extolling the monetary benefits of traveling in between scheduled school vacations. I thought, "Just what we need. A travel writer who is obviously ignorant of what is going on in the schools giving parents carte blanche to pull their children out whenever and for whatever." Also, another peeve of mine is the lower ability students who take off. It's bad enough when one of your best kids who has good academic ability misses school, but the ones who are more needy really lose out. Maybe her daughter is an excellent student (she mentioned her grades didn't suffer), but this isn't always the case.


unavoidable sometimes

When my son was in middle school and had braces the orthodontist (the only one in the area) only performed certain procedures during certain hours. Of course these times were during school hours. Luckily my husband worked nearby and could leave work, pick up son, go to orthodontist, return son to school, and then return to work. Somethimes these appointments are impossible to schedule outside of school hours.

My biggest gripe is the parents who pick their child up early almost every day because they do not want to wait in the traffic when the regular school day is done. School ends at 2:40. Is it really necessary to pick up at 2:25 each day?
Actually, my biggest gripe should be with the office who does not say anything to them when they see them day after day.

I no longer give out advance assignments. I tell parents that the homework is the same as usual - read for twenty minutes each day, practice your math facts, and review spelling words (found on monthy spelling sheet). Any work missed will have to be made up upon return. Practice work can be taken home then, but work that is graded will have to be done at school as I do not take grades on work completed at home.


me too

I agree with the many posters who do not give prepared packages of work when a child goes on a vacation. In my (many) years of experience, the work is either forgotten, lost, or completed sloppily. I tell them there is no substitute for the in class instruction, hands on activities, discussions and experiments that will be missed, but I will keep a folder of missed paperwork for the child. There is a one week time limit to return it, and I mark it as late work. I have admin support for this decision, and over the last two years all the teachers in my wing have agreed to the same policy. We have no control over the vacation time but only over our reaction to it. The extra committment of time and organization asked of us by parents is unappreciated. They only ask for work to take along out of guilt anyway, they don't really want to do it! So relax, give yourself permission to say "No, thanks" and don't sweat the marks you have to give.

PS I have been permitted several times over the years to travel mid-year with my husband when his meetings take him out of town. (In these cases my expenses are prepaid as well) I reward my school district with tremendous loyalty and committment the rest of the year, few sick days, and wonderful sub plans.

Bonnie gr. 2

Full Member
Our policy

Our principal has a policy about vacations. We do not have to give out work before hand. He has a letter that can be sent home with suggestions of things to do, such as a journal. I will give out the work when they return.

I once had a parent keep a third grade girl out for the morning to get a perm.


Senior Member

It really doesn't bother me that parents take their children out of shcool for a vacation as long as attendance isn't an issue. However, I do not give out work ahead of time. When I am asked for it I just say go enjoy your vacation. The work will be sent home when you return. They will not be "behind" as long as it is completed. You'll have a week to complete it. When I am asked about sharing stuff I tell my kiddos to bring ever they want to share and tell them they can share it with their buddies at snack or freeplay.

Teach 5

Senior Member
let 'em go

Bamateacher we seem to be in the minority here. I say let 'em go, you only live once and you are in school for a lot of years. I collect the work while they are gone & they have as many days as they were gone to finish it when they return. Also, the parents know that we are not responsible for reteaching anything during an absence, they must make up the work on their own. It has never been a problem except once, I had a student that was always absent or tardy, he didn't complete his vacation work, but then again he didn't complete a lot of his school work either. His mother is a former teacher who tutors kids in the evenings. Go figure.


Senior Member
I don't have a choice....

Our district says no Dr. note no make - up work. I can give the children the work they missed to do at home but I can not take it for a grade. If they have missed a unit test grade it goes down as a 0 for the test. Our attendance keeper is also required to call and check on Dr. notes if it is for more than a 2 day excuse. The parents can take the child out for vacation but they need to realize it will affect their child's grades. Oh, the parish also has a policy...no extra credit....which is usually the first thing these parents ask for when they see the grades dropping.


Senior Member
top this one

In my class is the son of one of our state legistlators. I just received a note that he'll be taking off for vacation time. Now I have to tell the mother vacation time is an illegeal absence. I happen to like the mom a lot and she has done a lot for my class and has not be intrusive at all. So I guess I could explain that if it is educational and is approved by the principal then it's ok.


Senior Member
my experience

I learned after experiences like that to say simply: "He(she) can catch up upon the family's return from vacation." I would probably do no good to try to ease any feelings of guilt (or pretend-conscience) they might have.



I had a mother hand me a note the morning of the last day of classes before Christmas vacation. Her son would be missing the first week back because of a family vacation to the Bahamas. This after a two week break that included a week AFTER New Years. In her note she asked me to send home work for him. I chose to ignore the request. Do parents think we have all the time in the world? I teach half time in the mornings so had no time to breathe or sit down on that very hectic day let alone gather materials for her. I wished them a good holiday as they left and told her that I was unable to gather any work for her son and that in the future I would need at least two or three days advance notice. She was actually apologetic about it.


Full Member
no big deal

I have been in situations with my husband's job where he was the low man on the totum pole and had to take the vacation time he could get. It wasn't always in the summer. We never took vacations then but I would have if I needed to. I think we as teachers need to look at the whole picture. A family's time in my opinion is something to be commended. I usually give half of the work to them before. This is after advanced planning and they have gone through the office. As long as the child is keeping up with their lessons-- what's the big deal. I have children come back and share with the class very educational things they have experienced on their travels. What a great education!!
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