This picture is one of my favourite photo's of my children on our holiday in Cornwall last year. We had a fabulous time and we have so many fantastic memories. In fact we loved it so much that we are returning in a few weeks and I can't wait. There's just one tiny thing that is playing on my mind and that is the fact that this year my daughter is in school so we have had to take her out of school for a week and I hope that this is the right thing to do.
I'll be honest. Before having children I would always have dissapproved of taking a child out of school for a holiday. I would have said that education was vital and that by taking them out of school you are teaching them that they don't have to abide by the rules. Of course once I had children and realised the ridiculous price inflation that a holiday in official school holiday time entails I had a change of heart.
I think holidays are really important for children. In our busy technology filled lives it's hard to spend much quality time together. There's work, school, clubs, hobbies and when you are not doing any of them there's housework, housework and more housework. Going away for a week means you can all focus on just spending time together, turning off the computer and tearing yourself away from the iPhone!
I also think that holidays are educational in themselves. You don't have to be touring museums and learning French - just being somewhere different can be a learning experience in itself. Spending time on the beach or farm or the excitement of your first flight on an aeroplane are things that a child never forgets. I also personally feel that my daughter is really tired at the moment and having a break and chance of scenery will probably re-charge her batteries for the final push towards the end of term. Sometimes little brains just need a rest.
The truth is that if we went away in the school holidays we just wouldn't be able to afford the types of experiences for the children that we can pay for in term time. We are talking a significant difference sometimes of nearly £1000! I want to give my children these chances and I couldn't do it in holiday time.
So why do I feel guilty? Well I feel bad for her teachers - that they might have to go through work with my daughter on her return that they have already covered with the rest of the class. I also don't want my daughter to feel that she doesn't have to abide by the rules set by the school (although we are lucky that our school is quite relaxed about taking holidays). I worry too that she might miss something vital that will affect her education although rationally I am sure that a week won't make that much difference.
I'm sure I will enjoy my holiday though and as I eat my Cornish ice cream on a blissful white sandy beach I will push the little bit of guilt to the back of my mind...and hope that it stays there.