19 February 2010

Momversation: Should you pull your kid out of school for "life experience?"

Momversation

Is it ok to pull your kids out of school for "life experience?" That's the question I posed (in frightening close-up!) to the ladies of Momversation: in this episode, Jessica of JessicaGottlieb.com, Karen Walrond of Chookoloonks and Dana Loesch of Mamalogues. I got fascinating answers from them, from Momversation viewers in the comments at Momversation.com, and from YOU on Twitter. (Thank you for piping up @jsedrick, @KirstanGraham, @matt_mcc, @navanavanava, @MyGreatKid, @tidbitsoftandem, @dlowe93, @mstacer, and @talkendo.)

This is a topic that stirs the passions of many. Our family has just returned from a week in Disney World as part of my attendance at the Disney Social Media Moms event. The registration fee included a hotel stay and tickets for four to the parks. Needless to say, this was our chance to see Disney World in a way we couldn't afford to do otherwise. My feeling was that this was a chance for time together my kids will always remember, and that they would learn in the process. Others would say it was an irresponsible choice; one that's disrespectful to my childrens' teachers and to the notion of education in general.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. (In the comments at Momversation, I share what the experience of "reentry" has been so far. The discussion there is FASCINATING.)

Related: My past Momversations are just fine, but you really need to see them all! The diversity of our group keeps them interesting every time. Go to Momversation.com for the latest episode.

Your comments

Feed Follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I would absolutely pull my kids out of school for anything important and family related. My parents, who believe strongly in education (my mom's on the school board now), pulled us out of school all the time for family trips - even to disneyland. It was great. They were more important. It's a good life lesson - family is more important than work. Not that work isn't important, but family is more important and when the two conflict, work is what gives, and not family. Plus, sometimes we really did learn something (trip to Washington DC) and sometimes we just met Mickey Mouse - which was important to me. :)

Definately think it's ok once in a while. I was pulled out for two weeks in 5th grade to visit England. There is nothing in a textbook that can compare to actually seeing Big Ben and the rest of the historic sites. I went again when I was 20 and the feeling of awe I had when standing in Westminster Abbey and realizing it was over 1000 years old. That still amazes me to this day. A book, class, video, speech, could never replicate that feeling.

I was *just* having same convo w/my husband last night! I travel a lot and often bring one of my kids with me. They get to experience traveling the world, cultures, foods and even get to be at press interviews and cook on television w/me. BUT - I'm sure the other moms at the school don't like it. Part of it may be jealousy but I think they are gossipy ANYWAYS and if it wasn't me they were bitchy about I'm sure they'd find something else.

Look at the big picture. LIFE is more than sitting at a desk, 8 to 10 hours a day. There are so many different ways to learn and explore and kids need to experence how the world is outside the classroom. Wether it's a day trip to the zoo for two in the middle of the week in the middle of the day, or a month camping in some remote area. School work and book work can be made up. If you know when you are leaving, arrange to know the bookwork ahead of time to your "student" can at least keep up in the book with the rest of the class. A few minutes reading here and a few there, between outings may be retained much better than a marathon reading and with fun between, set better in the mind. I strongly advocate mental health days, A day you take off from work or school and just have fun. Everyone needs some time off and sometimes you can't wait until summer break to take off. When my son was in "K" we took a month at Myrtle Beach. We let the school know ahead that we were going and I was given a folder of work he had to keep up with. When we got back, he had an interview with the principal. He was very impressed with what we had done while away. What I didn't know at the time, was the school board was talking about how to implament a workable plan so students could take a longer break from desk work and still continue the learning process. (now called year round schooling. I also had to talk with some members of the school board about what we did while away. would I want to do it again, and how often. the advantages and dis-advantages. All in personal conversatons. There will always be people oppose to "bucking" the system of this is how we have always do it so it's got to be the only way to do things. Go for it. buck the system because the system is suppose to work for the people, not the people work for the system.

Absolutely! My parents are a jazz musician and a puppeteer, and some of the best times of my childhood were spent backstage at festivals. I've met some amazing people from all over the world... and still managed to graduate high school with pretty decent marks.

What is your child going to remember more - a week of school or a fantastic life experience?

Classes can always be made up. Life (and time spent with family) can't.

I am a teacher and I love it when children have the opportunity to explore the world outside my classroom. The children that have those experiences are the ones, more often than not, that have more to contribute to group discussions and are usually more creative when completing assignments. I am all for taking children out of the classroom, if they are able to stay abreast of what is being covered in class!

.........disrespectful to teachers!!??!......it's about the children...........

I ABSOLUTELY took my kids out for anything I considered "enriching" for them. In fact, that's one way I would encourage them to go to school on those days when they just weren't "in the mood" or just a little "under the weather". I'd say, "Go to school today and someday when you're feeling good we'll go to the museums, Chicago, a play etc.
My kids had wonderful experiences and continued to LOVE school and hardly ever missed. In fact by the time they were in high school I could hardly get them to go for college visits because they were so active in school activities.
My kids are now all in their 30s (well almost) and have kids of their own. They all went to college, one doing a double major, another has her master's and the last one is just a couple credits shy of a degree, but meanwhile has a band, a prosperous online business as well as doing computer graphics for another online firm. (And I don't think he ever took a computer class in college).
So I say TAKE 'EM OUT!

We close comments after a month to guard against spam. Want to talk about this hack? Join us on Twitter and Facebook!

 

Email updates

  • Never miss a hack -- the next one might change your life.

 

Asha's Book

  • At Amazon: Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less

    Find out why doing less is the key to resourceful, thriving kids, and a calmer, happier YOU.

    Minimalist Parenting is an encouraging roadmap for decluttering your schedule, your home, and your vision for family life. Reviewers call it "a much welcome alternative to the usual parenting advice."

    Learn More at Amazon

    Also available at Barnes & Noble or your favorite local bookstore.

Start Amazon shopping here