September, in my mind, is synonymous with the end of summer and the beginning of school. Consequently, I grew up almost hating September. It was the month-that-must-not-be-named. My attitude changed somewhat after I got into college, as I started looking forward to September as the time by which I’d be back at school. My love affair with September came along soon after college when I was married. I discovered that September is a great time to go to Disney World! Low crowd levels and still summer (to my NJ mind) weather, lower resort rates, and decent park hours translates to a great value for my money.
My love affair with September continued through kids one, two, and three. In fact, my love for September grew even stronger as Disney offered better deals to get people to the parks during that slow time. Free Dining Plan? Heck yeah!
“We can’t go,” she said. Never did elation turn to bitter disappointment so quickly. “What?!?”“Mommy! No!” “Why not! Mommy?” After multiple (unsuccessful) attempts to calm the girls down, I finally procured their cooperation with a promise that I’d take care of everything and that they could go play on the Wii while I talked with Mommy.
“How could you book a vacation in September? Amy will have just started school, maybe even that same week!” The frustration! The circle was now complete, and I was speechless. I finally gathered my wits enough to respond to this. “So? What’s the big deal?”
What began as a night of joy became a night of debate as my wife and I went back and forth over why it wasn’t (or was) a good idea to take the kids to Disney World at that time. We finally decided to settle the matter with an appeal to some of our friends who are teachers.
Here’s what we learned:
1. If you have to take the kids out of school for vacation, September is one of the worst times, as they are adjusting to a new school year with a new teacher and new classes. Even at other times during the year, it isn’t a good idea. While some kids can miss school and not miss a beat, many feel very anxious because they’re behind the eight ball as they make up missed work. However, long term progress is not usually affected, it is more short -run issues that develop.
2. Different schools have different policies regarding schoolwork for kids on vacation. Some schools do not even allow teachers to give assignments to students going on vacation. Other schools may allow the teachers to give out assignments in advance. Regardless, it is up to the kids to manage when they return to school and suffer the consequences accordingly. Things get even more complicated when you take sports and extracurricular activities into the picture.
Contributed by: James D. (NDD#152). James is our resident relationship expert and creator of Mouse Planning.