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Homeschool only while traveling

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anyone has pulled their kids out of regular school because the went traveling. My kids just started school, but we know will be traveling every other year for a couple of weeks and are planning to do a big year trip in a couple of years. As We are planning a 6 week trip to Italy next fall I'm just getting my head around this idea and what it would be like.

I'm just planning to keep up the basic things or if there is something key that they would be learning that time. Anyone have any experience if this is realistic and what the school's opinion was. I can't imagine our school being super trilled with us keep saying oh sorry we are homeschooling next month again especially as the traveling would be leisure/ familie visits, not for work.

Any other thoughts, tips or suggestions?
post #2 of 13
I suppose it depends on the state but here (NC) I doubt you could get away with it because of attendence policies. My neighbor is always planning her trips with the kids based on how many days they can miss before being left back a grade (!), and I know they give her all sorts of grief about it. Despite the fact that they probably learn more on their travels than at school, IMO.

Some states allow homeschoolers to attend school part time though...if you're comfortable posting your state someone here could point you to the right websites. I hope you can work something out; your travel plans sound great!
post #3 of 13
This is part of why we homeschool. Paying tuition for a month of preschool we didn't use was kind of painful. But what an educational month it was. Travel on!
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm in Ontario, Canada. I haven't found much info yet as what the policies are with attendance. And didn't really want to talk to the school yet as I'm sure they already think I'm a high need paren smile.gif

So far my DS is in kindergarthen only half days as I think full day is to long. I would love to homeschool, but don't have my husbands blessing. And have to admit my DS is really enjoying school and with a new baby we would both just be frustrated as he or me would not be able to accomplish what we want. Not to mention we stay home a lot more and my DS would really miss being around peers.

We know for sure we are going to be a traveling familly,they year we are planning to be away we'll homeschool for sure and hope to get some input from school maybe on key things they cover that year. I don't think the school would be to happy with us going away a month or so during the school year on a regular base.

Could see myself homeschool, but not till my baby is a bit older as I feel she would just be in the car all the time to go to homeschooling gatherings.
post #5 of 13

From what I see (and I admit I'm not familiar with all the laws), homeschooling is kind of an all or nothing thing: either you do it, or you don't. You don't switch back and forth between the two. Aside from all the complications with paperwork to withdraw/enroll, there's also placement testing to determine what grade a child should be in when returning to public school from homeschool. Even if you didn't withdraw and do "official" homeschooling, you'd still face problems with truancy laws. Taking the kids out for weeks at a stretch would be certain to trigger their attention.

 

Of course, things may be different where you are, and you could talk with someone in the department of education where you live who is familiar with homeschooling  to find out what your options are.

 

The thing with trying to keep up with the basics or teach key things they might be learning while they're out is that it might not be reasonable. Keeping up will be difficult because you're not there to know what they're doing - maybe the whole class didn't get a skill, and it's taking them way longer to get through it than it should have, or maybe they whipped right through it and got farther ahead than the teacher thought they would - so your kid could still end up ahead or behind, depending on how it goes. And key things - again, depending on what happens in the classroom, the teacher may or may not be able to tell you with any real certainty what will be covered during the time your kids are out.

 

I think you'd probably do better to either decide to homeschool entirely, or to plan your trips around the public school schedule. I think either of those would prove to be much easier and more beneficial to your kids than to try to weave your own unique mix of public and homeschooling.

post #6 of 13
I have a homeschool friend in MI that put her son in public school, first grade, 4 days a week, not full days. She drops him off at 10oclock. I can't imagine how it works but it seems to be. He's doing well. Mom likes the teacher. I guess she's still responsible for his education as a homeschooler.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Could see myself homeschool, but not till my baby is a bit older as I feel she would just be in the car all the time to go to homeschooling gatherings.

Totally not necessary if you don't want to. We don't at all. I don't really even know of any gatherings around here. There is a co-op school and they do get togethers occasionally but not on a weekly basis or anything like that.

 

I agree with the others that truancy laws are going to be your biggest issue, but I have no clue what Canadian laws are. Here in America you would have a truency officer on your doorstep and face going to court.

 

I don't want to discourage you from doing what is right for your child, but the going back and forth thing I think would be hard just because homeschooling is so different from the public school system.

 

I wonder if they have any democratic schools in your area, they are private and quite pricey imo, but they may be more willing to work with your situation.


Edited by fruitfulmomma - 1/18/14 at 3:11pm
post #8 of 13

I grew up in Ontario, though as a parent I have always lived in BC. However, unless things are very different in Ontario than they used to be, and very different from what they're like here in BC, truancy laws are really not an issue. Funding doesn't depend on warm butts in seats for certain numbers of days, so the schools care about truancy only inasmuch as it indicates a failure of the system to engage the student, and could put the student at risk for school failure. All of which is to say that generally if you are anticipating a short-to-medium-term absence from school for an elementary or middle school aged child and are willing to take an active role in continuing education while travelling, usually the school will give their blessing. They'll ask you to work with the teacher or teachers to continue (loosely) with schoolwork during your absence and it's all good. I've seen this work where I live for absences of as long as half a school year. Longer than that and it probably makes sense to jump through the administrative hoops of declaring yourself to be homeschooling, but for a few weeks up to a school term you can usually just have an extended absence from school but remain enrolled. 

 

I have a friend who was travelling with her two girls (11 and 8) for two months this fall. She arranged with the teachers the spring before to take the math and science books along and do a certain amount of work in those books. For socials and language arts and the rest, they came up with a learning plan which included the travel: blogging about their activities and experiences, to communicate with their class back home, for example. When they returned in November the kids just dropped right into their empty seats that were waiting for them. There are advantages to both the school and the kids with this approach. The school was able to work out teacher assignments and class sizes *with her kids on the roster* and didn't have to just tuck them in wherever they fit, and there was continuity with the curriculum. The kids had a sense of belonging maintained while they were gone, and didn't feel like complications when they returned. (I should be honest and tell you that within a month her 11-year-old decided she much preferred learning outside of school and hated the middle school she was now supposed to attend, and at that point they withdrew her from school and commenced homeschooling. I suppose that's always a risk when you give a kid a taste of something other than school.)

 

But anyway, I'd talk to the school. Chances are they'll just want to work out an 'alternative learning program' for when you're in Italy and will be happy to excuse the absence, will hold spots for your kids and welcome them back when they arrive home.

 

I'm a long-time homeschooling mom whose kids have entered the school system as teens. I love homeschooling and think it's a great choice for many people. However, if you are a family that prefers public schooling, I tend to disagree that it's preferable to either work travel around the school calendar or commit fully to homeschooling. Travel -- even during school terms -- can be incredibly enriching and positive for children. I've seen plenty of our local village school kids travel out of school over the years and what they gain is immense. My eldest dd entered school in September the year she turned 14, and in December she took off for SE Asia for 2 and a half months. It was a brilliant experience for her and even at the high school level any academic wrinkles were easily ironed out by our school. 

 

Miranda

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

I'm a long-time homeschooling mom whose kids have entered the school system as teens. I love homeschooling and think it's a great choice for many people. However, if you are a family that prefers public schooling, I tend to disagree that it's preferable to either work travel around the school calendar or commit fully to homeschooling. Travel -- even during school terms -- can be incredibly enriching and positive for children.

 

Miranda

 

I just wanted to mention that I posted my original answer before I knew you were in Canada.

 

Also, my statement about scheduling or committing was also based on my experience with the school system here in the US. Our schools simply aren't designed to be able to work out a compromise between being educated there and being homeschooled at the same time. They're more like a factory than a school in the sense that there's no wiggle room. Teachers have classrooms with 20-30 kids, and a syllabus of things they *must* cover, and they won't work with you to try to find creative ways to educate. It's not that they want to be difficult, but the way they've set up our school system, there's just no room for it. They have tests that are used to determine progress and that the child is educated, and travel simply doesn't compute on those tests. It's stupid and pointless, and part of why I pulled my kids from public school so I could homeschool.

 

Obviously, being in Canada, your situation is different.You may be able to work something out,and if you can, I think that's great!

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smartmama View Post
 

Teachers have classrooms with 20-30 kids, and a syllabus of things they *must* cover, ....... They have tests that are used to determine progress and that the child is educated... 

 

Well, we have our share of that stuff too in Canada, and I don't want to suggest that schools here are always endlessly flexible and accommodating, but at least here the school's funding doesn't depend on test scores and attendance stats. So in general there seems to be a lot more wiggle room north of the border.

 

Miranda

post #11 of 13
We used to take vacations during the school year and received several truancy notices, despite the fact that we took all of their work with us and it was completely done upon return. One year, we went to Disney world for two weeks. I gave them 6 months notice. My son was in 2nd grade at the time. He did 52 worksheets, plus 30 min a day of silent reading. Can you believe that a 7 yr old had that much work for a two week period??? I still got a truancy letter. I told the school I would pay for whatever money they lost with my kids gone, but they still sent a letter. I couldn't believe it.
post #12 of 13

Depends on where you live. In my area, the Homeschool Access law that was passed, means that as homeschoolers, we can still enroll our child for even as little as one class per week, or half days, or only a specific class a day, at the public school. Of course we'd have to make out the paperwork declaring the homeschooling and what percentage of the time was intended to be using the schools, and what percentage not, and in the end we decided it was all a bunch of hassle for not much return, plus a whole lot of giving up of privacy (schools now harvest info for the p-20 pipeline, national longitudinal databases that contain everything, including medical history, and all kinds of things that frankly should be none of their business, like political persuasions of the parents, but that's another whole topic).

 

So we didn't. But whether homeschooling is an all-or-nothing deal, depends very much on the laws in your state, so it's worth checking out.

post #13 of 13

We are in a high-travel period of our life, and for now, we're in our second year using an online school. We are probably atypical online schoolers, because we really use it for the curriculum, materials and structure, and far less for the community, teachers or online classes. We have really great, understanding teachers, and the kids are definitely excelling over their previous B&M experiences. That said, the plan is for them both to enroll back in B&M soon, so it was important for us to stay at least somewhat in alignment with grade-level expectations for curriculum, so for us, an online school has been a good fit.

 

I also really do believe that the experiential learning of all this travel has had positive effects on both kids. Don't discount the value of the travel itself.

 

I think it is possible, if you work proactively (and get lucky with teachers and administrators) that you can work out a hybrid plan between B&M and something else--whether online or offline.

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