View Full Version : Family vacation as educational trip

01-08-2007, 08:30 PM
Anyone have experience turning a trip to Disney World into an educational trip so the school district will allow it as an excused absence? We have never been to DW and want to go while the kids are still short enough to enjoy some of the kiddie rides. :) We've been planning to go this year, but now I can't get off during Spring Break, the kids are away this summer so we're left at looking to go in the fall around Columbus Day (I can't get T'day or Christmas either - this year is not going to fun at work :(). I didn't want them to miss school for a trip, but it seems to be the only way for it to happen this year and I hate to put it off yet another year.

Any one have experience with this or a suggestion on how we can make this educational as well as fun? The kids will be in 1st and 4th grades. I want to have some possible options so the teachers will be inclined to work with us.

01-11-2007, 03:36 AM
I think you can put an educational "twist" on this trip that would enable a school to allow the trip to be an excused absence. But, that would really depend on the district's attendance policy. Our district allows family trips to be excused if approved prior by the principal. I don't think it is that hard to get "excused". Basically, they are not excusing tardies and kids "sleeping in". Our attendance clerk does note the reason for absence though... illness, doctor appointment, funeral, etc.

Because it is a family vacation rather than a school-sponsored field trip, you may have to just accept the unexcused absences. In all honesty though... as much as I hate having my students gone (especially for vacations during the year), sometimes there is no other option. I realize that. And the reality... your kiddos' attendance in elementary is going to have little bearing on their future learning.

I would talk to the principal and outline some plans that you might have in mind... such as,
~Social Studies... a mapping activity... estimate distances, draw to scale, etc
~Mathematics... planning a budget and then an actual register of expenses
~Writing... keeping a daily journal of what you are planning and/or were able to do. Have your child write a "friendly letter" back to their classroom and mail it.

The vacation, in and of itself, is an educational experience. Just look for things that you can do with your children to showcase all of the activities that you are able to experience. :)

Good luck... give us an update!

01-17-2007, 05:23 PM
Ask for an Independent Study Contract from your school office and teachers. The school wants ADA so they do not care if it is to Disney World or Timbuktu. It is about money, not education. We will also be making that trip again during Spring. Epcot is very educational. They have science and geography throughout the park. My kids loved collecting stamps in their passports. Travelling is the best eduaction in the world! have a blast!

03-10-2007, 02:50 PM
Animal Kingdom and Epcot are very educational. The Animal Kingdom even provides a little booklet for the kids (a "passport"?) to find answers to questions around the park. There are guides who help the children answer the questions and give little science/zoology/ecology talks. The guides stamp the kids' books. This would clearly count as educational.

03-11-2007, 07:27 PM
I've never had a parent ask to have their vacation excused. As long as the student is doing well academically I dont' worry too much about it. I do send along the work that they will miss though. I think a lot of it would depend on when during the year they will miss. Missing a week of standardized testing would not be ideal.