No Kidding Around Part 2

This is a continuation of the discussion regarding the issue of taking children out of school for a Walt Disney World vacation.

I’ve asked fellow AllEars Staffer Michelle Scribner-MacLean to join me in discussion.

Let’s move on to another angle in the discussion.

The Question of Educational Priorities

I (it’s Mike again) am the first one to recognize that life is one big educational journey and that we get life lessons from outside the classroom as well as inside those four walls.

Walt Disney World, especially EPCOT, has coined the phrase “Edutainment” which is defined as a process by which guests are simultaneously entertained and educated.

Of course I’m not sure how much education one receives while riding Soarin’ but for sure there is some merit to Ellen’s Energy and the American Adventure”¦no denying that.

What must also be said is that there is some education taking place regarding the fine art of traveling”¦security checks, safety, preparedness, yadda yadda ya.

However, let me present the argument can be made that there may not be enough “education” waiting for the children as to offset what they would be missing in the classroom.

Also, the argument can also be made to say, “This education they are receiving in March could also be realized during school vacation times.”

So this is another debate that takes place; “Are we sending a mixed message to children when we take them out of school to have fun?”

Something to ponder.

Michelle makes the following great points:

“ No one is arguing the value of having students stay in school, but travel has a lot of educational value, as well. Students can learn about what is involved in travel planning, mapping routes, and seeing what different climates are like. In addition, parents can enhance the educational experience by having the students take digital photos and do scrap booking or journaling or by having them turn digital movies into a narrated trip report – each of which could be shared back at school as a class presentation. Also, while parents don’t tend think of WDW as a substitute for school, there are a lot of places at WDW that make learning come alive. Perhaps the student is studying predators and prey in science – Animal Kingdom can provide a chance for students to do some animal observations in the park. Maybe they are studying European culture in social studies – at EPCOT they can interview natives of many countries.”

General Considerations

If you do decide to take your child out of school to visit WDW, here are some general questions and thoughts to consider:

Will it be difficult for your child to make up the work?

Consider how well your child is doing in school. Is every week a struggle for your child to keep up with the work?

In this case, parents should think about whether their child can make up the work upon their return from vacation. If your child keeps up with schoolwork with no problems, then leaving for a vacation and doing subsequent make-up work will probably not be a problem.

Length of time students will be away from school:

Parents should consider the amount of schoolwork the student is able to make up. Depending upon the student and the workload, missing a few days to a week’s worth of work might be “do-able.” There are definitely “busy” weeks in school, just as there are “slower” weeks. Parents should check with the teachers to find out if there are any large projects being introduced, if the school will be doing standardized testing that week, or if there are any scheduled school events that would be difficult for their child to make up.

What do you expect from the teacher?

Teachers have a lot to do and, for many, pulling together a week’s worth of work ahead of time for your student can be tricky. In fact, it is more and more prevalent in school districts that teachers are not required to provide work for students who are going on vacation while school is in session. Many teachers, however, encourage students keep a travel journal and share their experiences upon a student’s return.

See”¦now you know why I bribed Michelle (besides the Dole Whip I had to toss in a picture of Bill Nye the Science Guy) to help me with this issue. “¦I knew she had put a lot of thought into this issue.

Age of the Child

I need to once again credit Michelle with a very important point when she says, “When this issue does come up, regardless of what side of the debate people fall on, there is almost total agreement that any impact from missing class time is felt more in the upper grade levels than the lower levels.

School work at all grades is important. Preschool and elementary work is equally as important as middle and high school – but at the upper grades, where students have multiple teachers, extended lab periods, and where block scheduling is prevalent, it can be more difficult to make up work for a student. For this reason, careful consideration of how feasible it is to make up work at the upper grades needs to be considered.

At the upper grades, parents might consider including their son or daughter in the decision-making process. Perhaps they are involved in a sport and don’t want to miss a week or maybe added work upon their return will stress them out. It might be, however, that they feel that they can take on the added responsibility of making up work.”

I echo Michelle’s points.

It’s not just age of the student that must be considered when making this decision but also the type of student your child has become. Some children can rebound and catch up better than others. Parents hopefully know what type of students their children are.

The Answer

Well there is no easy answer, at least not from me.

There is however, what I had said at the outset of this discussion and that is that no one can make this decision for the parent or the child EXCEPT the parent and the child”¦not just the parent.

Obviously no one knows children better than their parents and for the most part parents make the right choices for their families.

I think the parents need to discuss this issue with the children and make sure their children understand what may be expected of them upon their return from Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World is an amazing place to bring children and no doubt that all guests young and old find their trips to be both entertaining and educational”¦.consciously or subconsciously.
It’s important that we don’t allow others to influence what we feel is best for our own children.
For some of us we prefer not to interrupt the traditional educational process and take our children out of school but for others the decision is quite the opposite.

My advice is to do what’s best for you and your family“¦but I would also go as far as to say if some time other than the rational school vacation time is the only time you can bring your family to Walt Disney World then my gut feeling is to go for it…after all”¦remember”¦life lessons occur both outside as well as inside the classroom.

Remember, do what’s best for you and yours.

Now if you excuse me I have to catch a plane to WDW and somehow get a Dole Whip and get it to Michelle before it melts”¦there are such things as refrigerated planes right?

I know one person who would know”¦Bill Nye the Science Guy.

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One Reply to “No Kidding Around Part 2”

  1. In many districts, teachers are not required to prepare a week or two of work for students who go on vacation. And with good reason; few ever do it!