Have you ever taken your children out of school to go out for the day or on holiday?

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BookFHR have written a great article on their blog questioning if travel is just a good an education as being in school.

It is difficult to argue that travel isn’t an education. There is nothing like seeing a place in the flesh to fully comprehend something and bring it to life.

Most of our holidays and days out have some sort of educational slant to them. Before either of the boys were at school we went to Barcelona and seeing this city and its sights, including so much art and culture in the museums, sampling the authentic food and the animals in the zoo, definitely enriches their minds and improves their skills. We love visiting Italy and next time we will hopefully go to  Rome – to see the gladiators at the Colosseum, appreciate the art and sculptures in the  beautiful piazzas, learn a new language and practice their maths skills with a new currency.

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Seeing thing from a different point of view, as a trainee teacher, I can see the amount of work (planning, preparation of resources, assessment etc) that goes into the average lesson. Lessons are planned in sequences with the end goal in mind so when a child misses one or more of these lessons there really isn’t the opportunity for them to catch up. Bright children with support at home might be able to get the gaps filled but even with the most conscientious of parents it can be difficult.

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The low cost of holidays in term time however does attract many parents who simply wouldn’t be able to afford to go abroad in the main school holidays. I completely understand that supply and demand rules dictate profits etc but home schooled children can go on holiday whenever they want so what is the difference?

It also seems unfair to penalise parents for taking children out of school towards the end of a term, particularly in July when effectively they are watching DVDs and enjoying “toy day” and certainly no new learning is taking place. Schools can close when they chose to; for strikes, when used as a polling station; or even a light sprinkling of snow so it is reasonable to think that parents can remove children for a certain amount of time without financial penalty.

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However, you also have to think about the message you are giving children – that you think it is acceptable to take children out of school so they can go on holiday. This can leave children thinking that school isn’t that important and can be easily missed.

There are plenty of places in the UK which provide education and the history, museums and culture in London is a fantastic place to visit. Schools do try to bring education to life with visits to museums, for exampe we visited a  Victorian school and the boys have also done visits to the Superworm trail and Eyam (a Derbyshire village with links to the Great Plague).

What do you think about this? Have you taken your children on holiday in term time or do you think their schooling is more important?

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2 Responses to Travel is Education – what do you think?

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