5 “To-Dos” When Taking Your Child Out of School for a Disney Vacation
Deciding whether or not to take your children out of school for a Disney vacation can be tricky. Some families prefer to keep their children in school and plan vacations during summer, or school holidays. For other families, work schedules and budgets require them to plan Disney getaways when school is in session. If you fall into that second category, then I’ve compiled a few steps to help you navigate working with your school to plan your time away.
Things to Do:
1. Pick a time during the school year with minimal conflicts.
Familiarize yourself with the academic calendar and plan your vacation at times where the lack of attendance won’t hinder your child. Try and avoid the end of report card periods, times of the year where testing may occur, science fairs, etc. Not only will it make it easier to get permission, but you can also have peace of mind that the disruptions to your children’s time at school will be minimal.
2. Get familiar with the Student Handbook and your school’s policy on absences.
There’s nothing worse than planning your magical Disney getaway only to find out that it goes against the policies of your local school district. Most schools will allow time to be taken away from school for family trips, but there may be length limitations. You might not be able to plan that 10-day getaway if the school only allows kids to miss 5 consecutive days of school.
3. Notify the school and your child’s teacher(s) well in advance.
Call the school office to arrange absences with the school secretary as soon as you know you’ll need some time away. Email or write a note to your child’s teacher(s). Have your child notify each teacher as well. Elementary teachers have 20-30 students to teach daily, and Middle and High School teachers can see 100+ kids in a day. Give the teachers time to gather the work that will be missed or plan ahead for any upcoming assignments. I recommend 2-3 weeks in advance.
4. Be willing to do the work on vacation.
With Standardized Tests and strict curriculum requirements, teachers cover a lot of information every day. Missing school for several days to go on vacation will mean that there is some catching up to do. It’s important to incorporate this into your plans. Schedule time while on vacation to make sure that your child completes the work that is provided. Airport waits and layovers are a great time to squeeze in a bit of school work! Since your children are not in school, it’s up to you as a parent to take on the role of teacher, and help your child learn new information.
5. Make the trip a learning experience.
When I was in 2nd grade my family took a Disney vacation while we were learning how to Tell Time in school. So my parents made me the Time Keeper for our trip. You could also teach your children how to follow a schedule, read a map, use money, or politely communicate with strangers.
I hope that these tips help you the next time you plan a Disney vacation. Missing school is never ideal, but teachers understand that traveling during the school year happens. If you need any help planning your next Disney vacation I’m happy to assist in any way I can.