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The Tantrum: Should you pull your kid out of school for vacation?

December 13th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in The Tantrum

(This is the Tantrum, in which Dadwagon’s writers debate one question over the course of a week. For previous Tantrums, click here.)


Damn right! ‘Cause it’s not about their education, or mental or personal development—it’s about me, getting out of town, beating the airport snafus, and saving a few bucks on tickets. Who cares if junior ends up in JuCo?

Seriously, though. Having read Nathan’s post on his nihilistic travel-babies, I started wondering about the issue. His children and my oldest, JP, are approaching ages where the school doesn’t approve of them missing class so I can have a good time, and this will only increase as the years go on. Basically, all of us DadWagoners are on the clock in this regard: if we’re going to take off-peak vacations, now is the time to do it.

Only I can’t. Ever. Another fun part of my divorce is that it rigidly defines when and under what circumstances a vacation can be taken. There is, in fact, a specific clause stating that holidays cannot be planned if they interfere with the educational schedule of the child. Nicely enough, this prohibition essentially holds true for my newest addition, Ellie, as in all likelihood we’ll be taking vacation together. My ex, I should point out, hates vacation in all its forms and guises. She hates leaving the city, hates traveling, hates spending money, hates the woods, the beach, the mountains, the prairie, hates the expense, the unpredictability, and the weak slothfulness implied by even the shortest stretches spent away from one’s labors.

I disagree. Not only do I enjoy not working, but my main goal in life is to avoid work as much as possible, much like a Buddhist avoiding pain, only with festive cocktails and a sunburn. I also think that giving children an opportunity to see other parts of the world—and visit out-of-town family—is a social and developmental plus, one that, particularly with young children, is at least as valuable as what is being learned in school.

So I’m all for Nathan ditching work to hit the slopes. So what if his kids have to sleep on the floor of the airport and subsist on Cinnabon and handouts from strangers? So what if his wife gets canned and they have to move in with her parents? It’ll never impact me, because I’ll be stuck here in this urban cesspool, sweating out the days until I die, or retire, whichever comes later.

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