Monday, March 1, 2010

The Great School Debate

Another great Disney debate is whether or not you should remove your kids from school for a Walt Disney World vacation. Let’s look at both sides of this issue, as well:

Crowds are heaviest during school breaks. Period. The week between Christmas and New Years is sheer hell. And prices; oy vey, the prices. A night at the Polynesian during September will cost you about $365. That same room goes for about $610 during the Holidays. Yes, that’s per night. I’ve had monthly rent payments lower than that. Spring Break is nearly as terrifying in both crowds and prices.

Of course you could go during the summer. Crowd levels and room rates are still bad, but not quite at that Holiday Horror level. But Florida in summer equals soaring temperatures, daily thunderstorms, and humidity levels that can make breathing difficult. Oh yeah, and it’s hurricane season.

I guess you can kind of tell that I’m in the “take your kids out of school” camp. Teachers everywhere are probably making voodoo dolls of me as I write this, so let me clarify. First of all, if your child is only a marginal student or typically misses a lot of school due to illness, then I say to suck it up and deal with the issues I just mentioned. But I missed a week of school every year as a child with no issues. My daughter has missed school for a Disney trip so far in first, fourth, seventh, and ninth grades and consistently brings home straight A’s. It can be done. Further, it teaches the child responsibility for the missed work. Instead of the relative ease of their normal day-to-day routine, the child needs to go above and beyond to make sure the work gets completed. Let’s look at a few other things a trip to WDW can teach you child:

Travel Protocol – As someone who has to travel frequently for work, I wish to heaven that schools taught people how to successfully navigate an airport, get through security, handle baggage claim, rental cars, etc. I seem to always be stuck in line behind a first time traveler who has no clue what’s going on.

Geography – There’s nothing like a 1061-mile trip to teach you about the places you’re traveling through. Or how to read a map, for that matter.

Math – Giving the kids a set budget to spend provides them with far more useful life skills than story problems like “If Mary is traveling north at 63 MPH and John is traveling south at 57 MPH and neither of them started at WDW…”

World Cultures – There are eleven countries represented in the World Showcase at Epcot, and each is staffed by natives from that land. This is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about these cultures first-hand.

Restaurant Etiquette – It absolutely astounds me the number of children who have never eaten at a restaurant that doesn’t involve ordering at a counter. WDW gives them a child-friendly environment in which to learn not only how to act in a restaurant, but also introduces them to foods beyond French fries and chicken strips.

Travel does broaden the mind, and Walt Disney World provides a multitude of educational experiences that you and your child can discover for yourselves. Not all learning needs to take place in a classroom. Go explore; have an adventure!

1 comment:

  1. A few points to ponder:
    1-I agree a straight A student can miss and make up, but "A" is not average were most (the average) students fall. You did cover that but, oh my, you are, obviously, a responsible parent to begin with.
    2- The Governor of the great state of Ohio feels that students need an extra 20 days of school instead of fewer days!?!?
    3- Travel protocol, if they get that class into the school system I want to teach it!
    4- Who enforces restaurant etiquette? Obviously if the child has been McMannered they think every restaurant is a playground. Parents should skip the fast food anf take their precious children to a real sit-down restaurant in their home town and teach them how to behave. Ooops, I'm ranting.
    5- Epcot is a great way to give children and even adults enough if a culture feel to make the thoughtful ones keep up the search for how people do things different than we do.
    Keep 'em coming!