Monday, 17 September 2012

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Who You Can't Take Out of School to Travel

Recently, I've been talking with a bunch of people about taking their kids out of school to travel. We don't do it often, but it has happened on occasion. Most recently, I pulled my 14 year old son out of school to come celebrate Leap Day at Disneyland with me. We're fortunate in that my children's school is fairly accommodating when it comes to missing classes. Tests can be taken ahead of time while all classwork will be posted online so you can keep up with daily assignments. This does lead to some surreal moments, like my son sitting in front of the Haunted Mansion, frantically trying to figure out what the volume of a cylinder would be if you installed a right angle, while I badger him to do his homework later and come on rides with me instead.

Hey Tal, the answer is 3. Now let's go ride Splash Mountain!
As should be expected however, there are limits to how much the school is willing to let go when it comes to absences for travel. I'm sure we've tested the limits, but nobody has ever said anything about my kids missing class. It's been suggested that there are certain times of year when testing is in progress that it might be important for my kids to be there, but we've never been told that they can't go. In fact, I'd almost go as far as to say that our school has been supportive about my kids opportunities to travel.

They're a little less supportive when you want to pull the teacher out.

Yes, this is the standard teacher uniform for preschool
Just so there's no misunderstanding, being married to a teacher is wonderful. Twelve weeks of vacation a year, almost all your weekends free, and a ridiculous haul of teacher gifts at the end of each year make it a fantastic career choice. Having to stop whenever you bump into one of your students at the mall and explain why you're not in the preschool and that you don't actually live there, is a small price to pay.

I don't live at the preschool....I live at the mall!
What I think the school may not fully understand though, is just what a bad idea it is to send me off traveling with my kids without my wife there to supervise. Outfits are not going to match, directions are not going to be followed, and nutritionally speaking...well eventually we'll probably fluke our way into something that falls into one of the food groups, but I wouldn't count on much more than that.

Looks like Dad's in charge of dinner again...
To be honest though, I get it. Preschool is when you learn the important stuff. You learn listening, sharing, and getting to the bathroom on time. These are all very important skills when you do get the chance to go traveling (especially that bathroom one), so I suppose I can console myself with the fact that Lori is raising up the next generation of travelers. It's a nice thought, but sometimes I can't help but wish the school year was just a little bit shorter so I could travel with my wife a little more often.

Three months a year? That sounds about perfect!
Written by Steve Pratt