Pulling your kids out of school to travel is a contentious issue. There are many who would argue it’s a terrible idea and detrimental to their education. That they will fall behind and ultimately never catch up. And while there is no right or wrong answer here all I can give you is my opinion and perspective having pulled my boys out of school for three years running.
Coming from an educator’s point of view I think you need to assess carefully how your child is going at school as this will affect your decision in taking them out. My boys were okay with all their subjects and any gaps I felt they had I tried to cover them the best I could at home. Yes, being an educator helps – but trust me- when you’re a teacher yourself trying to teach your own kids is the hardest thing you’ll ever do!
Our boys were in Prep when we first went away for a month in September and I felt that really was a great time as they had already established their friendship groups at the start of the year and had a good grasp on the concepts taught in their foundation year at school. We made sure they took a book to read and a diary to write in daily.
During Years 4, 5 and 6 we pulled the boys out of school for 2 and 3 months at a time during the middle of the year- between May and August. This time frame is trickier as it’s when the bulk of learning occurs. Term 1 is really a time to lay the foundations while Term 4 is a wrap up where learning is consolidated. The two terms in between are usually when most of the assessment and project work is done.
Luckily a lot of kid’s education these days happens online so no matter where you find yourself in the world they can jump on a computer and complete any tasks that need to be done. Our boys log into their virtual classrooms and complete set tasks by the teacher so that they don’t fall too far behind. The tricky thing when you’re away on holidays is setting aside time to actually do school work. While the trip itself is the greatest education they will ever receive I believe it’s also crucial to continue a sense of routine as much as you can. I find that daily diary writing can really help with this. Plus it leaves them with a great memento to look back upon when they’re older.
Our trip this time round sees us based in Athens where we try and set up our day in such a way where the kids are given time to complete work as well as enjoy the sights and sounds of their new city. We get up each morning, go for a walk, have breakfast then start our ‘school day’ for a few hours while hubby starts his work day. The afternoons are spent visiting a museum or a local park immersing ourselves in the local culture and to experience as much as we can. And while the kids may not be doing maths in a class room they are learning to convert the Euro to Australian Dollar each time they go to spend their pocket money. They’re improving their Greek by interacting with locals and increasing their knowledge of daily life in Athens which in the past they would only read about.
So three weeks in and I think we’re doing great! We’re slowly working with Athens time which for us means a little afternoon siesta (not hubby unfortunately) and a much later dinner than we’re used to. No 5:30pm dinners here- it’s more like 8:00-8:30pm!
Being based in Europe also means we have access to so many amazing cities that are just a few hours away. Just this weekend we were lucky enough to visit Denmark where the kids were able to fulfil their LEGO dreams by visiting Legoland and Lego House. Both were truly inspiring places to see and it was without a doubt a family experience we will never forget. You can catch up with all thing Danish over on my Instagram and please feel free to ask any questions should you have any. A huge thank you to all of you who have slipped into my comments section on Instagram to let me know how much you’re enjoying our journey. I’m so glad, because I love sharing everything with you. And as a friend of mine recently wrote to me – we need to celebrate our blessings more often and not feel guilty for it. Amen.