Each year we are approached by an increasing number of parents who wish to take their child out of school for extended periods of time. Usually, this is associated with family plans or family business. We do not have a procedure for granting students a “leave of absence.” Rather, it is assumed that parents will make decisions in the best interests of their child. We are respectful of the fact that many of our families have family members who live far away, and spending time with them is important. Difficulties arise, however, when parents wish to have some sort of reassurance that their child will not be “behind” in their work when they return.
Children who are absent from school for extended periods of time will miss valuable learning time at school. While they will enjoy other cultural and travel experiences that contribute to their overall development, the varied daily classroom learning activities missed cannot be duplicated through worksheets or workbooks. To this end, we are not in the position to provide assignments for children who have extended absences due to family plans. Rather, we are providing below some suggested activities that are designed to assist parents to plan for their child’s educational needs while traveling.
•Set aside a time each day for reading books. As school textbooks and library books cannot be taken on extended absences, you may wish to acquire several novels, ebooks, or children’s magazines suitable for your child’s age and reading
•Talk to your child about their reading, and have them keep a reading response journal as a means to record thoughts about what has been read that day.
•Keep a scrapbook of special experiences, encounters and places. This can include postcards, pamphlets, drawings, etc., with some student writing or labeling. Maps with routes marked on them and short paragraphs about the historical significance of certain landmarks are suggested additions.
•Have your child keep a “math journal” or ledger, dealing with changes in time and currency, distances travelled, cost of fuel and meals; lots of real life practice with numbers. You may wish to provide your child a math workbook to facilitate daily practice with basic math skills.
We will be happy to see what your child has accomplished upon return to the school, but will not be evaluating or marking these activities. It is your right to take your child out of school due to family circumstances and choices. Once you have exercised that decision, thank you for accepting the responsibility for your child’s education during that absence.