Parents pulling kids out of school for vacations

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by i8myhomework, Feb 21, 2014.

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  1. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Feb 21, 2014

    Does this happen often at your school? It seems to be the time of the year where parents are taking their kids out for vacation. I had three out for a week or so last semester, and it was only two for this one. However I just got an email this morning from another mom saying her son will be out of school for six days due to a Disney trip and was wondering if I could get him a daily work packet ready.

    I do my best to work with the parents and student. I can sympathize as someone who got taken out of school for trips a lot. It's just so easy to fall behind.

    My other colleagues from other grade levels are experiencing this too. Does it happen often at your school? What is your normal procedure?
     
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  3. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    It happens a lot at our school. I've had 4 away so far and know of at least 1 more. I send some reading and a travel journal with them. In grade 1 there isn't a lot of classwork that can be duplicated on a trip.
     
  4. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    Same here. I had one student in Milan for two weeks and one of the activities was a daily travel journal.

    Another teacher in fifth has seven out right now. SEVEN. Most are at DW or DL. I guess everyone is enjoying the off season opportunities. That or everyone splits a Timeshare.
     
  5. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    Sounds just like my old school - it was very common to have a student gone for one (sometimes even two) weeks. especially in the winter months!

    My go-to assignments were always...

    1) try to read every day (pretty easy when on vacation... hanging out at the pool, road trips, planes, airports, before bed.... read with an older sibling when parents are doing something "boring".... )

    2) practice high-frequency words. I make high-frequency flashcards for all of my students, with a list of "fun" ways to practice them... impossible to get too far ahead with popcorn words!!

    in terms of other homework, like you said... I would always do my best to work with the parents, and if they gave me notice I would put together a little packet.

    *this was for kindergarten*
     
  6. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    Feb 21, 2014

    We often have student return to their or their parents county for a month.. Usually happens around the holidays or spring break
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It happens often enough in my district. We are not required to give kids hw ahead of time...so the work piles up if a kid is gone a week or more. I like this policy as I view hw as a reinforcement if what I have expertly taught in school and obviously the kid will miss that teaching. Also we've found kids tend to not do the hw if we give it to them to ake with.
    If a kid is out for ten or more days, they must dis-enroll and re- enroll when they return.
     
  8. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    We don't have kids that go on vacation per say. But we are kind of rural and so to go shopping in a big city is quite a drive, about 80-100 miles. ( we do have a Walmart with a grocery) Plus we live close to the Mexican border so we have a lot of kids with relatives that still live there. So we have have kids who take Fridays off, or leave early, or take Mondays off all the time. Friday's are usually assessment days and Mondays are generally the day we start something new. So with them being gone either day it is so much extra work.
     
  9. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Kids at my school get pulled out for hunting and fishing. For many, this happens multiple times per week during hunting season. What makes it more frustrating than it already is is the kids' attitudes about their absences. Several have told me that they "had better things to do" than their homework. How am I supposed to respond to that?!

    To the OP, it sounds like the mom is involved and cares about the kid's homework. My advice is to take advantage of that connection. Make sure the mom knows about all of the homework and when it is due. If you don't receive the homework, contact the parent again.
     
  10. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Yes.
    Our calendar runs straight from winter break to May with not breaks. So parents pull for vacation all the time.

    I have premade absent folders ready to go.
    journal pages
    non fiction read with worksheets
    math facts
    math review
    geography packet
    coordinate sheet

    I am looking into adding online work such as IXL math and RAZ kids.
     
  11. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Before reading ahead...

    Thankfully my district does not encourage this behavior. I definitely don't.

    I teach high school. I figure that if parents believe their child's vacation experience is more important/valuable than their public school education, THEY can be responsible for anything that is missed. Vacations are not considered excused and therefore I am not obligated to let a child make up anything he misses while gone.

    So my approach is that I will allow students to make up tests at my convenience. My lesson plans are posted in the classroom so when they return they can read them to see what was missed. They need to get missed notes from a classmate - I will not make copies for them or post powerpoints online. Other assignments will be marked exempt or they can get a few extra days to work on them and then submit. I'll tell students what chapters we'll be covering and advise them to check my website to see if I've uploaded any assignments.

    I will not work harder/extra in order to make life easier for a child that was busy playing with Mickey. I won't prepare packets ahead of time. I won't be inconvenienced so the student and his parents can travel in smaller crowds and get cheaper rates. It isn't fair to me or the other students that don't get my time/energy because of the extra work.
     
  12. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I'm at a low-income school, so it doesn't happen a ton. When kids are out, it's usually to visit relatives in Mexico. I had two extend their Christmas vacation by a week to do that. I do have a kid who went to Hawaii in the fall and is going to the Bahamas next month. While I appreciate that his parents give me lots of notice, it really irritates me. Last year, I had a kid who was out for two weeks for a trip to Mexico. It really bothered me because our school was year round, and they could have EASILY taken an off season trip about two weeks after she returned, during our off track time.

    I really like this policy.

    I agree with this sentiment, actually, but I've found that it doesn't work that way in elementary. We are required to provide an independent study contract. Honestly, I just give the kids the homework they are missing. Our entire grade level gives identical homework and it's prepared weeks in advance. I've done journals before, too. I don't like having to put a lot of thought or energy into it. In lower primary grades, it's so difficult to even give them anything since what we do in class is NOT something that can be sent home and done independently.

    The Disney trips would really bug me. I *love* Disney World and am a pass holder at Disneyland. As a teacher, I'll never be able to take those wonderful cheap off-season WDW vacations others seem to have no problem pulling their kids out of school to enjoy. If school is important enough that I need to be there (and guess what, it is!) then it is important enough that they need to be there, too. Sorry....:blush: This is a subject that really irritates me.
     
  13. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Haha...my family took a trip to disney world for a week in October every year when I was in elementary. We went with my grandparents, who paid for everything. My family wouldn't have been able to afford it other wise. I was a straight A student and missing the school never had any impact on me. I can understand being upset if the kid is behind, but it wasn't a big deal for me. Most teachers didn't make me make anything up. A couple gave me packets of worksheets to complete. The only teacher who I remember being upset that I was going was my 5th grade teacher. My grandma was sick that year and my mom told her we were going anyway because it might be our last time with my grandparents. My grandma died later that winter, so I'm so glad that my parents didn't back down to the teacher. Those trips to Disney are probably my most cherished childhood memories. Sorry, but they certainly enriched my life more than a week of regular school...and my parents are both teachers!
     
  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Haha, hey, I am mostly irritated that I will never be able to do it. lol. I just couldn't justify it personally (taking a week off work I mean), but that's me. In cases involving a relative with declining health, I can definitely see it.

    I'm really surprised you didn't have to make anything up. We are required to give the kids an independent study contract with work, or the school loses ADA funding. It's a big deal at my school. I do resent having to do extra work so a kid can take a vacation.

    We still will go to Disney, just during vacations. ;) We'll just have to stay in cheaper resorts or save up longer.
     
  15. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    In the UK schools can fine parents who remove their children from school for holidays.
    http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Par...tory-20545679-detail/story.html#axzz2u3Y7qw3p

    Fines vary from £100 per week ($150) to probably double depending on the school or district. Failure to pay results in Court appearances. There was a couple over here in the news who ended up having to pay £1000 ($1500) after the case went to court.

    However I have no problem with kids going on holiday in term time. Prices are about one third of the price of going away in the school holidays and before I became a teacher I would take my son out of school for a holiday (no fines back then)!

    However if a child is away on holiday we refuse to set work even if it is asked for. We have lessons prepared for them, all they have to do is be there! When the child returns it is up to them to catch up, borrow a friend's notes etc. If it affects their grades then tough!
     
  16. mr_post22

    mr_post22 Companion

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    That doesn't happen to me too much anymore. For my math classes I would send home an outline for the quarter of what we would be doing (classwork and homework) and they would be responsible for what they missed while they were gone and it was due the day they came back. Tests and quizzes would have to made up before school, during lunch, or after school. For English, I would just email the parents the assignments if I got an email from them.
     
  17. RadiantBerg

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    The problem for me is that most of my kids aren't really able to teach themselves the material they miss when they take these absences for long vacations. I am readily available for extra help, and post all notes online, but some of them don't bother to come in...they just wing the test. In fact, I had 2 Disney Worlders score 40%s on yesterday's test since they didn't bother to seek me out for help and guidance with the material. I don't believe in chasing them down....if they want to just wing it, fine. They can deal with the grade. (And these are usually B students.)

    I do have a few diligent students who come for the extra help after a long vacation, but that can also be annoying because I give up my free time to re-teach something that they missed.
     
  18. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The nice part about third grade is that if I send work home, I can be fairly sure that parents can teach it reasonably competently. I write all my lesson plans and pull all materials for the week over the weekend, so if a kid is missing a week, I offer to either send in generic stuff based on what I expect to cover, or offer to email work. I have a boy this week whose parents actually pushed their vacation back a day so that he could come in Monday morning to get the actual work in person. Generally, kids in my room come back from vacation roughly on par with where their peers are.
     
  19. RadiantBerg

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    I've always thought that could be both a blessing and a curse. A blessing since they can take over some of that responsibility given the extended absences, but a curse since some will likely think they know better than the teacher and perhaps teach it differently.
     
  20. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    Wow. I could see this being a major "rights" issue in the US.
     
  21. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    It happens all the time in my school, but flexibility is part of the reason many students came to online classes. I accommodate as best I can, making printable copies of anything I teach asynchronously and recording any live lessons. That way, a student who misses a week is still responsible for making up the work, and he or she has all the resources to do so.
     
  22. teachart

    teachart Comrade

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    Yes, this is a huge problem at my school.

    As the art teacher, they don't get to make up missed projects. The kids are usually disappointed by that. If they come back and their class has been working on painting, they get crayons.
     
  23. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

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    Thankfully, we don't get this often. I am sorry, but this would drive me. I am not too sure that I would cooperate well with this. I am sympathetic to a child who is sick & misses a week. Not so for the one on vacation, priorities must be set. With that being said, when my oldest children were in Pre-K & K, my terminally ill father called because he wanted me & the kids to come see him. I took my children out of school for four days which I would never regret. Three weeks later my dad died. A situation like this I would understand.
     
  24. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I don't understand... if they miss the first day of a multi-day project, why wouldn't they just start the project when they come back?

    The child can't choose whether they are out or not, regardless of the reason.
     
  25. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    This is how I see it. I was taken out of school all the time as a kid, even throughout middle school. I would just come home after school and my mom would say, "Pack your stuff! We're going to (blank) for x amount of days!". Some teachers weren't so sympathetic with me being out for vacations but I had no control over it.

    I don't want to see any students of mine fall behind and I don't mind accommodating, but combining a packet last minute is not my strong suit, haha. As many kids as I have had out I should be an expert!
     
  26. i8myhomework

    i8myhomework Comrade

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    I think that sounds extremely fair for high school. Luckily by the time hs rolled around I was able to choose to stay home and attend school. Missing class as you get older is way tougher, IMO.
     
  27. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd agree with that being fair outside of the power points. It takes me approximately thirty seconds to put a document on my blackboard site.
     
  28. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I didn't like trying to prepare stuff the miss whether it be 4-H or trips. It was tough because sometimes things would get bumped or maybe something needed more reviewing so extra time or worksheets or hands on was done. That's the part I didn't like otherwise... I feel family time is just as important, so I would try to accommodate.
    Now if it was a family taking trip like every couple months I wouldn't be happy... but once or twice and usually only a day or 2 before like spring break or Christmas break....I helped as much as I could!

    All that said I remember being sick for like 2 wks & I remember going on trips with family. I wouldn't miss any of them for anything.
     
  29. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Yep! A ton of parents go to California during this time to go skiing. I have had 3 kids out due to that very reason!!!
     
  30. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    I had an experience where parents requested work and a contract was written with the front office. The child was to spend X amount of time on assignments during their absence. I still remember confiscating the work when the child returned and attempted to finish it during class time. Nothing was done during the trip. Nothing. In that case the child had missed over three weeks of school and had already been doing poorly prior to being out. No commitment by the parents or child to schoolwork before or after the trip. As I recall the administration was lenient and there was an extension given to complete the assignments. I remember it all because I'd put a great deal of effort into creating assignments that could be done on the road - writing about what they saw, etc.
     
  31. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    :yeahthat:

    wow, I'm definitely in the minority here! It doesn't bother me at all when a child missing school for a family vacation. Family is SO important. I don't think having a terminally ill family member should be viewed differently than wanting to spend time with your healthy mom or grandfather (you never know what tragic accident might happen).

    Also - some employees do NOT get to pick their vacation time. What about the parents who are part of a seniority bidding system and can't get time off in the summer or winter vacations? Those families are just not allowed to spend time together?

    Is it annoying when students are absent? Yes. But I look at it as just another aspect of my profession that I need to take into consideration. I would never dream of not trying to help my students catch up with the work.

    All of this said, if a student is "meh" about trying to make up the work or not pro-active.... then that is a different story.
     
  32. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I can see where there would be obstacles to students starting their project upon returning. In some instances they just couldn't get caught up. I'm thinking of various multi-day art projects that require instruction/guidance and the teacher can't reteach that first lesson for the absent student. There would have to be adjustments...

    It's not common for students to miss a week or so in my experience. I have not, do not, and will not create unique lessons for them if they do.
     
  33. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Many of my students take mid-year vacations ranging in length from one week to one month. About half of them make arrangements ahead of time for their work. It can be difficult to get them their work ahead of time because a lot of what I teach is modeled at the board, so I obviously don't have a way to get that to students. I can give them their assignments, but I can't give them the lesson, so it's next to impossible for many of them to actually do the assignments. The textbook is worthless as far as teaching lessons.

    Only the top tier students return with their work done; most return with nothing done. It is frustrating to see a big drop in the grades of students who are otherwise good--but if they miss a month's worth of assignments and tests, their grade is most certainly going to drop. It's so hard to make up work in my class because everything builds on everything else, so it's not even like they can just jump in when they return. They have to go back and pick up the stuff they missed, which means that they miss all the current/new stuff until they do that. Many of my students who take long mid-year vacations end up with a D or F by the end of the quarter because of all these issues, even if they were A/B students prior to the vacation. They just can't/won't/don't recover.
     
  34. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I have a student who was out because his brothers got a trip through the make a wish foundation. I don't begrudge him that at all. I've done my best to help him make it up.

    I struggle more with the ones who are out 1-2 days each week.
     
  35. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Very rare. And even rarer that we would get notice or be asked for homework. Usually we have to be the ones pressuring the kid to do some work over their vacation. Really no procedure.
     
  36. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I currently have a student who is out on her third trip of the year. I send home any paperwork I can, but it is no replacement for being in class (think reading and math groups, not to mention she is in intensive intervention), and she has yet to turn in one assignment from the earlier trips.

    Our district policy is a maximum of 5 days excused for vacation per year, and for that time the teacher may choose to send work but is not required to do so.
     
  37. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I said the same thing that family is important. After I posted I was thinking not all parents can get "spring break" off so they have to work with it as well!

    I guess what is the difference if someone is sick (unplanned) or someone takes a vacation (planned)?
     
  38. TruthHurts

    TruthHurts New Member

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    We have a lot of international students, so it does occur frequently. Fortunately for us our school provides each student with a laptop so I am able to email out homework and classwork assignments and the children cannot use the excuse that they didn't get it.
     
  39. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    In our district, in high school, more than 3 unexcused absences could result in failing the class on attendance. We are A-B block, so in whichever classes they missed MWF, they could not be absent in that class the rest of the semester at all except for approved excuses: doctor's note, funeral, military, school trip. They would leave themselves no wiggle room and risk having to repeat courses. We occasionally have kids do it anyway, and a few who know doctors who will give them excuses. I love when I have students come back from an extended illness with a tan! Still, it's really rare that this happens here.
     
  40. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I had a student that applied for and was granted a page position for when our state legislators were in session. He was gone a full week.

    This is an opportunity for students to see government in action but typically requires the students to dress nicely and stand/sit around for five days. They do not actively participate and the students only do it because it looks good on college applications. No one I know sees any educational value in it, including my personal friends who have had their own children participate once.

    I was told the Friday before, during the last period of the day, that he would be going and I was expected to have everything he would miss given to him right then and there. I did not but I told him what chapters we would be covering and to check my website to see if anything was uploaded over the week that he could do.

    I did end up doing a webquest that week, which he could have done in his absence. He did not. When he returned, from this purely voluntary absence, I gave him his missed assignments and told him his due dates. The first day he was away was a Monday, which was a test day for us. He had been given all of the material before he left and should have been prepared to take the test the day of his return. He had the whole weekend to study. But I told him he could take it the day after his return instead - a Tuesday. He did not stay for tutoring that Monday, nor did he come to tutoring the next morning. He bombed it. After he turned in his test he literally threw a note at me. It read "This is not my only class you know."

    I guess he thought I was supposed to be sympathetic. I wasn't.
     
  41. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Feb 23, 2014

    Wow 2nd time... that is awful!
     
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