Note for Excused Absence - Vacation Week

Updated on May 02, 2012
M.D. asks from Washington, DC
20 answers

We are taking a vacation with my whole family the week after Mother's Day...which means all 3 of my kiddo's will miss that week of school. They are in 3rd, 1st, and pre-k, so it's not like they are doing their PHD's and missing a week would really hurt. My mom is working on hers though and will bring her work with her, as will I with my MBA work.

If you have taken your kids out of school for a vacation, what kind of note did you provide to make it an excused absence?


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So What Happened?

Great!! We will be going to OBX and we will certainly check out Kitty Hawk and the Wright Brothers while we are there...but most of the week will be spent by the pool or on the beach. Thanks for that information!

Thanks Laurie A for your input. While I RARELY take my children out of school for anything, this week was planned and paid for by other people than myself and we will go. We are also taking them out of school in January for a week long cruise - it costs about $2k LESS to go the week we are which made it affordable for us.

Education is a priority, but so is fun. They are only kids once and we don't feel bad for a second for taking them out of school for this week :).

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answers from Phoenix on

I take my kids out all the time for vacation. I hate going on vacation when it is crowded and we can go for less $$ too!

I don't think it is setting a bad example at all! I think it sets the example that family comes first and it would just be like taking PTO when you have a job.

I DO give the teachers heads up....weeks ahead of time. Then remind them. I also call the school attendance line and let them know that we will be 'out of town' for the week. I have never had anyone question it at all.

Have tons of fun!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have never brought a note in for my kids to miss school. When we do vacation I just let their teachers know and thats fine with them. They rarely miss school due to being sick or anything else so we never come close to the amount of absences to get them in trouble.
I would just ask the teacher if you even need one.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Austin on

Never , never took our daughter out of school for a week at a time. That is a chunk of classroom instruction, I did not want her to miss.

Yes, you can have the work sent with your child, but there are some things they will miss out. on.

Make their education your priority in THEIR eyes.

Also if it is a public school, they are granted money for the schools based on attendance.

There is spring break and a whole summer and winter break for these trips. The school schedule for the following year is available now. This is the time we used to take a look at the schedule and plan out time off from work and school.

Of course family emergencies are different, but to plan it during school, never was something we ever did.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

My daughter is in 6th grade and has only missed 2 days for being out sick. She had perfect attendance from K-4th grade. My son is in 3rd and he's only missed 2 also. Both kids have missed once a month a couple hours this year because both are being tested for ADHD and Aspergers and I have to take the first available appt no matter what time it is, which I hate. In fact, the first few times they were late because of an appointment, I forgot to call the school, they had to call me, because I just wasn't used to them missing and it skipped my mind that I had to call and let them know! LOL! I'm always shocked at parents who just keep their kids out because they got a deal on the waterpark or Disneyland or something. I think it sets a horrible example of priorities for the kids. As far as your question goes, I have no idea what consititutes "excused or not excused". I don't think vacation is "excused" so I would have no idea what to say. I'm glad you are able to have such a fun trip and hope you have a great time! =)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

My daughter's schools were not that excited about taking vacations during school (classes are just 182 days per year in reality!) but I remember her first grade teacher and principal telling her it was completely fine to miss the Friday before winter break because we were leaving for Paris. Her teacher told her she would learn much more on our trip than the half day, Friday class (she didn't even miss their party).

The only other time we didn't schedule vacations during breaks was when she was 15 and I allowed her to go to Rhode Island (from CA) alone to visit her great friend for her sweet 16 birthday party and she missed two days. With her classes at the time it was more difficult to make up.

The notes I provided were honest. *For us* it was best to be honest and show my daughter the potential consequences of missing although I'm sure I could have said she was ill. Have fun!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Our schools frown upon it and most are unexcused. The schools want the attendance to remain high for school funding, etc.

That said, I believe some travel can be very educational and can help children.

My notes in the past have been honest, short and sweet and I included that my daughter would write an essay about her trip for her teachers along with any homework missed.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

You can't actually guarantee that anything you write will make it an excused absence. Schools sometimes categorize vacations as unexcused absences. I know that our school does.

I wouldn't worry about it too much - ask the teachers TODAY for work to take with you. Hopefully the week won't impact their grades too much.

Have a good time.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Our school ALWAYS makes it unexcused:( I've done it twice (once this year, and once last year), and went to OBX both times, too! LOL.

In the note I said it was to spend time with family... and they also brought the work they'd miss from school with them. Both of their teachers were happy for us and encouraged us to go, and it wasn't as if the principal frowned upon the trip, but it was unexcused.

I won't do it again (we did it before to save over $1000.00 for the beach house). Next year I will have kids in 4th, 2nd and K grades... (and one in pre-k)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

In our school system, you can take vacation weeks but you have to notify the principal in advance and he/she has to approve it.
If the approval does not come through, no note is going to make it an excused absence.
For the most part, most family s who do this maybe do it once a year and it's not a problem, and the principal is fine with it but some family s treat school like it's a revolving door and having students coming and going all the time is a distraction to the class and teacher.
PS: Jockey Ridge's sand dunes are a lot of fun and educational (glass formed by lightning strikes). Check it out and have fun!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I have not taken my kids out for a vacation but I do know around here, for a vacation to be excused the parent must submit it for approval ahead of time (and typically tie it into a learning opportunity of some sort).

I am of the school of thought that you plan your vacations when school is out or over a school break. Maybe extend it by a day or two but I would never take my kids out of school for a week for unnecessary things. Not trying to give you a hard time...just saying.

The problem is, you never know when there will be a an illness or emergency. If they've already missed time and then they have to miss more, it may be too much they've missed (time or assignments). While they are young, this early education is the foundation for all they will do later and sets a precedent. Also, around here, 3rd grade testing is important for advancing. When they are teens and says "I can just miss school" for something fun you will not have quite the argument to convince them otherwise.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i have no practical advice to offer, sorry, so just want to make that clear. i'm not *really* answering the question.
it just makes me scratch my head.
as a homeschooler, obviously my perspective is different. but both my kids did elementary school, and one did some middle school. and when i had something i wanted to do with them, i took them out. they're MY kids. who the hell is the school to say what i can and can't do? so long as they're notified and any make-up work is done, they can like it or dislike it or make it 'excused' or 'legal' or 'fully ordained' or anything else they like.
in your place, i'd write a note stating why i was taking them out and for how long. period. i would not lie and i would not make excuses and i would not turn myself inside out trying to make them like it.
they're your kids.
have a wonderful mother's day vacation!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

In our school system, there is NO WAY that this can be an excused absence. An excused absence would require a doctor's letter or a death certificate.

You need to check with your school system and see what the rules are. In most cases you just need to notify them in advance of how long your child will be out and make arrangements for the work to be completed.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

unless you lie it will not be made excussed. and to say they are sick for more than 3 days in a row you will need a dr's note upon returning. also if you have 5 unexcussed absenses you are given a note home about truency. i think 7 times you get turned in to the courts and may have to go before a judge. check with your local schools on how they deal with truency. i personally believe that it's none of their business and as long as my kids are keeping their grades up they have no right to medle but alas it's not my world with rules i think are fair.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

At our school, even in K, it has to be an approved "educational" trip to be an excused absence....and that would mean some history, a museum here or there, cultural activities, etc......

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answers from Washington DC on

In our district it is just an unexcused absence. Will they stop you? No. I accidentally scheduled a vacation on a Veterans Day when I thought they were off and they weren't and he wasn't able to use it as an excused absence. Just gotta do what you think is right.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Yeah, we had to go to a family wedding in Hawaii the week before Winter Holidays, so my kids missed 5 days of school. I had to fill out an "Permission for Educational Travel" form and practically write an essay about all the educational things my kids would be doing on this trip. Things like "Go to a traditional Hawaiian luau", "Learn about Hawaiian culture", "Spend time with family from all over the world, learning about life in Australia/Japan/etc". All of it was perfectly true, but since we go to Hawaii a lot to visit family, it clearly wasn't a true "educational" trip. But the Principal signed off on it anyway. And my kids didn't really miss anything educational at school (the week before Winter Holidays is pretty low key).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Like the previous poster said just let the school know you will be gone. That you would like to have the homework ahead of time if possible and that you will be doing some educational things. If your going to disney do the hall of presidents and maybe some of the epcot stuff lol. You may not be able to make it excused however at the ages your kids are it won't really matter they don't take off grades for missed days at that age in most schools.

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answers from Washington DC on

Since VA gets 18 days I never worry about it.
I did call the school and get homework a couple times. Make sure they are not testing that week though because then they may freak out on you.

Have a great time, we've done the OBX a few times. I love the kite stores.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

We had to give advance notice to the school when we went to Disney in December 2010. The school had no problem with it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We sent a note in but the nurse still told me she was marking it unexcused. I really didn't care. It didn't change anything for a first grader. She made up her work and life went on. The teacher didn't care, just the nurse. I think it depends on the school district. We are moving to PA next year and that school system requires you to write to the board of education before vacation or else you get a monetary fine.

1 mom found this helpful
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