Most families contemplate it, but as a responsible parent, is it wise to pull your children out of school to go on holidays? My answer is yes! As a mother of two primary-school-aged children, here are the reasons why I do it, and my tips for how to do it responsibly.
Why you should do it:
- It’s so much better for the family budget – and all you parents out there know it. In fact, nearly two thirds (63%) of parents would rather take their kids out of school than travel during the expensive school holidays*
- Travel is rich learning experience – sometimes even richer than school. Your kids get to explore a new culture and see, hear, taste, and touch things they would never find in a classroom. They will come back with some amazing stories to tell their teachers and friends
- Avoiding the crowds. If you are going to popular destinations that Australians and New Zealanders love to visit, the queues will be shorter, the restaurants will be more accommodating, and you may find better discounts on activities
- Hotels and airlines tend to be more flexible during quieter periods. Upgrades, here we come!
How to do it right:
- Talk to your kids’ teacher/s about what they would otherwise have been learning while you’re away, then assign some time for homework during the trip
- Have your kids keep a journal and write down their adventures every day. Let them take photos for it too. When they get back to school, they can share their stories in class – perhaps as a presentation!
- Bring out the word and math games that you can play as a family. My favourite is Bananagrams
- Check your proposed holiday dates with your kids’ school before you book anything. Make sure it’s not an important time – like an exam period – so they don’t miss out on any critical learning activities
- If your child has learning difficulties, talk to their teacher or specialist about activities they can do while on holidays
- Depending on the age of your child (or children), I recommend going away for no more than two weeks
- And, of course, make sure to write to your child’s school in advance to let them know of their future absence
Quality family time to disconnect from our busy lives and reconnect with each other is so important to a child’s development. Don’t ever take that learning experience for granted!
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*Wotif’s Wot’s Your Journey Report: The Leading Edge were engaged by Wotif to conduct research into understanding Australian travellers. The study was conducted across August to September 2017 and consisted of two components: 1. Online Community of 40 Australian travellers 2. Online Survey completed by a nationally representative sample of
1,036 Australians travellers (who had all travelled and stayed in paid accommodation in the last 2 years on leisure holidays). The survey was conducted online amongst members of a permission- based panel, between 23rd and 29th August 2017. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Data was weighted to National Representative proportions to reflect the age, gender and residential location of Australian travellers.