The best time to buy clothes and supplies are when they are on
clearance, even if not needed now. We buy the next size bigger for
next year and extra supplies are always helpful for the classroom
just in case a child is missing anything like crayons or
Cindy, submitted through ChicagoParent.com
Stock up on the back-to-school specials and clearances throughout
Jessica Wright, Evanston
Buy school clothes and supplies throughout the year so you don't
get hit with a huge bill!
Cherise Przyby Kachelmuss, Carol Stream
Watch for the summer back-to-school sales and stock up on
known-to-need school items. Use coupons and rebates if
LaDonna Reyes, Winthrop Harbor
With summer coming to an end, vacation planning transforms into
back-to-school planning. We can start to dream about our getaways
But do we really have to wait an entire year?
Taking children out of school to travel is a highly debated
topic among educators and parents. On one hand, it can be more
affordable to travel during the school year, and it can offer a
unique educational experience that school cannot. But on the other,
it can be disruptive to your child's education and daily life.
That disruption is exactly why Alexandria Shanklin, board
certified psychotherapist and DCFS child welfare specialist,
believes education should be the priority, not vacations.
"It is vitally important that children not receive mixed messages
from their parents about the importance of their education,"
In addition to setting a bad example for work ethic by skipping
school and activities, taking the kids out of school can impact
kids mentally and emotionally, the mom of two feels.
"Interrupting their daily routine can knock them off kilter as far
as the learning process goes," she says. She points out that
children also can become very stressed with make-up work and
Woodridge School District social worker Gina Pogue-Reeder says
she has seen children develop anxiety when they miss standardized
tests and need to be tested separately.
"I believe that kids need to be in school as much as possible,"
According to Pogue-Reeder, not only are they losing classroom
time they can't get back, but they are also missing social
interactions with their peers, which can cause anxiety.
Plus, since the classroom is a collaborative environment, it's
also affecting the other students as the teacher needs to slow down
lessons to help students just back from vacation catch up.
Despite having to make adjustments, Barrington teacher Lori
Anderson is not against parents taking children out of school for a
"As educators, we must remember that not all families get
vacation time according to school schedules," Anderson says. "As a
parent, I cherish those moments with my kids."
Anderson believes that wherever you travel, you can turn it into
an education. From geography, plant and animal life to the climate,
history of the location, and even calculating the tip at a
restaurant for a quick math lesson, there always is something to
Learning to read a map, getting along with others during long
lines and gaining responsibility by helping plan the trip are just
a few of the things travel writer and editor Cindy Richards, a
blogger at ChicagoParent.com, says her two children have learned
She says she strongly believes that travel is education, whether
it's learning to budget a souvenir allowance or history in Colonial
After taking her children to Mexico, they began studying the
Mayan culture in school where they had a more real, in-depth
understanding since they had already seen the temples and ruins
with their own eyes.
"That's how kids really learn," Richards says. "To actually see
it, and touch it, in a way they can't sitting at a desk, in a
textbook, or watching a movie on it."
Richards says her children have gained a worldly perspective
that is only possible by seeing the way other people live.
Her family got an upclose look into a different culture and
poverty during a visit to Jamaica. "You can talk about it, you can
see it on the news, but to actually be walking down the street and
see it, it becomes real for them," she says.
Parents who travel during the school year often enjoy getting
more for their money. Besides the trip costing less, crowds are
smaller so there's more time to experience fun, learning
experiences and family bonding time.
Travelers and child educators agree, much of the decision about
a school year vacation depends on the specific child. If a child is
struggling in school, they should not be taken out and get set back
even more. Parents need to consider if their child can handle
make-up work and missing out on lessons, social interactions and
If the answer is yes, the next step, both parents and educators
says, is planning ahead and talking to the teacher. Find out what
will be missed and be willing to help before, during, and after the
trip to help your child catch up.
Educators and travelers both recommend letting the child do
research before the trip on the area, and read and keep a journal
during the trip.
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