View Full Version : Opinions: To go or not to go?

07-08-2009, 05:58 PM
I'd like your opinion, please (and please be kind!).

Cast of characters:
Me - 39 turning 40 this year on Nov 4 (a Wednesday). I really desperately want to spend this big birthday at "home" in MK. :party:

DS - 13. School :teach: - 'nuf said.

My dilemma:
DS is smart as a whip. So smart, in fact, that he has it down to a science just exactly what he has to do in order to just barely pass his classes. :shake: This doesn't sit well with me or his teachers and we're still trying to find his magic motivation button - none found so far have lasted long. Anyway, because he's "not working to his full potential" in school, I sincerely doubt that the powers-that-be would excuse a week-long plus (10/30-11/7 or so) absence for him to go to WDW. :nono:

Sssoooo, if I were able to afford it and if I could get friends and family to take care of him - would I/should I go without him?

One part of me is of the opinion that:
1. I only turn 40 once - why not so something amazingly wonderful for myself? :cloud9:
2. This would be such a good lesson for DS - if he'd tow the line and do his utmost best, he'd be allowed some extra leeway at school. But, since he chooses to slack off, he gets to hear stories of how much fun I had while he was back at home. BTW - I'd be going to MNSSHP which we have never done before. :thedolls:

And the other part of me is of the opinion that:
1. In just 10 short years, I'll be turning 50 :drama: and DS will be out of school - I should just wait.
2. How horribly mean of me to think of going without my DS! :cry:

So what do you think? Any other angles to look at this from?

07-08-2009, 06:11 PM
First of all, :birthday: I'll be turning the big 4-0 next year. My opinion is not to leave your son home. I get the whole "send a message" thing but I think you should be spending your birthday with your family be it at home or at "home" (MK). So , why do you have to go for so long? Make this a briefer trip so that he doesn't miss as much school. No one says you have to go for so long. I also don't think he would ever forget that you left him home and would probably haunt you about it until you are old and grey. I think if you truly want to make it a memorable 40th in your favorite place, your son has to be there. 20 years from now, will you and he remember what he learned for those three days in school or will you remember a memorable, special time with his family? I also think you have to make it clear to him that this is not a reward for him. I would speak to his teachers and have some work prepared for him to bring away that needs to be completed on the trip. I don't think that is too much to ask of him. Just my opnion.

07-08-2009, 06:12 PM
Generally I stay out of the whole "should I take my child out of school" debate since my kids are homeschooled so it's not an issue for us. However, in this case if your son is not doing well in school (even if it by his own choice) I would say it wouldn't be a good idea to reward him by taking him out to WDW. I think what you said about using this to teach to work harder might just be a great idea--the "magic motivation" button you mentioned. That said, the issue might be a moot point if the school is not willing to excuse the absences. That could put him WAAYY behind, whether you decided to take him or not.

As you said, you only turn 40 once. So, treat yourself as long as you won't be miserable the entire time thinking about your son at home. That could play a key point. This won't be your last trip ever, so there will be other times to go with him. My :twocents: at any rate. I know it'll be a tough decision, but hopefully you can make the right one for you.

07-08-2009, 07:22 PM
If you would enjoy the trip without him, go for it. I'm not sure I would enjoy it as much and I would probably hold off on celebrating until he could make it with me. Check the school calendar and maybe you can find a shorter school week that works for both of you near your birthday?

But here's my gut feeling-- life is short, and he will be all grown up and leaving you soon enough. At that point, you'll probably regret not taking him with you. My son was the same way, and I'm not sure you'll be able to motivate him to perform any better than he is now, though we were successful at raising the bar for my son on occasion. But he is who he is. When he wants something, he'll go for it. Until then, performing for a grade might not be what gets him going. It's up to you to decide if that's an issue you want to press and if you want to try to work it out with the school or wait until a break to go together. And if you really need the vacation on your own, I wouldn't hesitate to do that, either. Sometimes adults need the break. I hope you have a happy birthday no matter what you decide.

07-08-2009, 07:57 PM
2. How horribly mean of me to think of going without my DS! :cry:

Reading between the lines - I don't think you would enjoy the trip without your DS.

And, to be perfectly honest, I work in a high school which probably makes my decision a little biased. (That being said, we are taking our children out of school for 1, 1 1/2 or 2 days this January so that they can see me finish the half marathon. Both my children work to their ability (I have a very good and excellent student) so that is not a big consideration.)

In your shoes, I would decide to celebrate my big birthday both at home and at "home" at a time you can take him without the school issue.

You could easily celebrate your 40 year and 7 month birthday at WDW next June :mickey: for example.

And you could see if the magic button is something related...if you meet the following criteria, you can plan the whole trip...from ADRs to what we do on which day. Otherwise, the trip is mine to plan...how do you feel about a pedicure at the GF Spa? :thedolls:

Happy Birthday! Good luck in your decision

Loves the Mouse
07-08-2009, 09:04 PM
I know what you are feeling we were in the same situation last year with my niece. The only time we could go is for New Years. We wanted to take her but she was not doing well in school. My kids are great students and there was no problem missing school for a week. Any way we worked out that if see would show improvment in her grades that she could go with us. And boy did she work hard . From Sept. till xmas she went from a D and C student. Yes you read that right. To a B-C student. She went with us and caught up on work down there. And your not going to believe this but the third and forth she was pulling 3 A's and the rest B's. My brother asked what we did to the kid because she is doing so well !

07-09-2009, 01:19 AM
To each his own, but since you asked, I'm guessing you aren't feeling too comfortable with the idea of going without your son. I know that I couldn't do it no matter what. WDW is "our" special place & I know I'd be miserable there if I left my 2 ds's (12 & 13) at home.

There are many ways around taking that week long trip, and feeling like you are rewarding him with this trip. Make it a shorter trip & see if you can work with the teachers for extra work for your son so that he's not getting a pass on school work to go to WDW. Or delay the trip or even go earlier, whenever there's a break for your DS. I know mine always get a couple of days for a fall break.

We've taken our ds's out of school for 4 trips! :ack: And we've never had a problem. I've always notified the teachers well in advance what our plans were so they could give extra work if need be, but then again we've always taken them out during the last month of school after all big projects & testing were done.

I know your birthday is special, but I'm betting that celebrating it at WDW without your son wouldn't be very special. But it doesn't sound like this is a new behavior with school, so this sounds like a punishment for an ongoing situation. Maybe you two could look at his school performance & talk about your concerns, maybe he's just in teenager mode, and just needs to be reminded of the bigger picture! Of course, we can only do so much & they'll do the rest when they are ready!

Good luck to you and I hope it works out for the best for the both of you!

Disney Doll
07-09-2009, 11:29 AM
A tough call. We're dealing with a similar situation with my nephew right now. He's doing summer school after a pretty poor school year and SIL is planning to take him out of school for a week in Sept so they can come with us on a WDW trip. I don't think that's a good decision, but he's not my son so I keep my mouth shut.

Would I go to WDW without my child? Sure. Would I make him stay at home as a consequence to poor school performance? Sure. Maybe I'm just more hardhearted, but school is a big priority and in my view if you don't do the work you don't play. The old motivation thing is a tough one for me. Sure motivation is a factor, but you do the work even if you don't feel like it. There are lots of days when I don't want to work, but I do because that's life's reality.

The real catch is would you be able to enjoy yourself without DS? Only you know the answer to that question. What about planning it when school's out and using the trip as motivation? You may still have to go without him if he doesn't tow the line, but at least he'd have plenty of time to make that decision and the ball would be completely in his court.

07-09-2009, 11:36 AM
In my opinion don't go without him, take him with you.

I feel your kids will only want to do things with you so long and you should take advantage of it while you can. Vacations (even to Disney) have some kind of learning experience that they can not get in a class room.

Please don't blast me but I really feel there is more to life than grades in school. I don't sweat the grades that my son gets. I feel as long as he is learning the material I don't get angry if he gets a B instead of an A.

I think we are putting too much pressure and stress of these kids today between grades and sports. I didn't have these pressures when I was growing up (I did always get A's) and I won't put them on my son. Society has a cookie cutter mentality and this is hurting the kids more than a C on their report card.

Just my feelings.....take him with you and enjoy each other while you still can.

07-09-2009, 03:09 PM
walt Disney dropped out of school in the 9th grade because of bad grades. :mickey:

My vote is to take your son. There is so much to learn in the parks. He will realize learning can be fun. :mickey:

07-09-2009, 03:34 PM
Take your son if that's what you want to do. A few missed days are not going to kill him. Ask well in advance for assignments and make him do them during the trip. Yeah the school won't be happy but too bad. My younger son was struggling a little last year and we were on him and took him to a tutor, but we still took him when our scheduled vacation came around. He went back to school and everything was fine. He made up missed work and continued on his plan. Your kids are only with you for so long before they grow up.

OR- of you want to go by yourself then go. We have gone a few times to WDW without the kids. In fact once they asked NOT to go. We usually take one trip a year somewhere, even if it's a long weekend, without our kids. My kids have been to WDW numerous times, Disneyland, cruises, Hawaii, Atlantis, etc- I feel no guilt taking a trip here or there without them. They have seen more in their short lives than most adults have.

My advice- either way do what YOU want.

07-09-2009, 04:59 PM
Go with friends and have a blast!! He might shape up. Good for You for not rewarding mediocrity!:mickey:

07-09-2009, 06:58 PM
Why aren't you using this as an impetus to make him work harder? It seems to me that if you told him that you were going - with him if he got his grades up (and maintained them) or without him otherwise - he might just start applying himself.

But to answer your initial question -- If you can enjoy yourself while leaving him home, do it.

07-10-2009, 11:50 AM
Why aren't you using this as an impetus to make him work harder? It seems to me that if you told him that you were going - with him if he got his grades up (and maintained them) or without him otherwise - he might just start applying himself.

I agree in part with this, but I wouldn't put it to him that if he gets his grades up then you'll take him. You might see a temporary uptick in his grades before the trip, but then they'll drop like a stone when he gets back.

You might want to pose it to him as you being sad/unhappy that you might not be able to take him to WDW in November (or during any other trips that you plan to take during the school year) because his school won't allow the excused absences due to his poor grades. Maybe, just maybe, this method may help him see (with a direct example) how he hurts himself by his loafing off in school. I don't know if you regularly go to WDW during the cooler months, but missing out on future trips may be an incentive for him to do better once you get back from your November trip.

Good luck.

07-10-2009, 02:27 PM
I just want to say a very heart-felt THANK YOU to you all for such thoughtful responses.

For a little more background - DS and I usually go in lat August for 7-10 days. The economy put this year's trip in the tank but I just can't shake the thought of spending my 40th B-day in MK. I'd love to wear my button and have everyone wish me a great day and, dare I dream, maybe even get to dance with a prince? :blush: Add in my wonderful/horrible find (I called and asked the other week) that I have a PIN for Free Dining good through 12/17. :thedolls: Bad Disney!

So the thought spreads to: well, if we went just a few days before my bday, we could go to MNSSHP (which I've also been dying to do) too and still get free dining! and then to: Oh, school will never let him go and, considering he really did just squeak through to pass this year (English teacher boosted his final quarter's grade by a few points), I would consider it a slap in my and his teachers' faces to even request it anyway.

I would honestly be happy if he did his absolute best and came home with C's - I know that he can have a wonderful, successful life without A's and B's on his report cards. Problem is, DS should be in gifted classes but he sabotages it because he "doesn't want even more work to do in school." So he'll pretend (in school - he hasn't figured out how to fool me at home, though he does try) that he doesn't know how to multiply/divide multi-digit numbers or that he can't understand a book that's 2 years under his reading capability. BTW - he was diagnosed years ago with ADHD and, yes, he is in counseling.

So, no, I just can't bring myself to pull him out of school to go to WDW, even though there is much "edutainment" value there. I'm hoping that he'll soon get that magic subject and/or teacher to get his curiosity/morale/motivation juices flowing in school. Until then it's very nearly a daily struggle.

Would I miss him if I went without him? You betcha! Some absolutely wonderful, happy memories are from our trips. Plus, time is ever-so fleeting and way too soon he'll be off on his own.

Do I want to go even though he can't? Again, you betcha! :D

Would he learn something from my going without him? I think he might. I don't know if it would be enough to boost him out of his "I hate school" mantra but he might feel a pang of regret.

I do like the ideas of dangling the carrots of getting out of school for another trip (his Bday is in early May ;)) and/or letting him plan the details of our next trip - thank you for those wonderful suggestions.

Maybe I'll take those a smidge further with, should he continue to do poorly in school, on our next trip he'd have to sit through IASW 20 times in a row for each D while showing off his lovely pedicure from the GF? :thedolls:

Again, thank you everybody. I appreciate your thoughts!

07-10-2009, 08:29 PM
I too am not one to take my kids out of school. However it does sound like you would feel a little guilty going without him. My guess would be that you enjoy Disney as a family and as such may not enjoy your birthday there as much without your son. Maybe there is a time he has several days off from school that you could go?? Maybe you will find another equally powerful way to teach him a lesson...before you all head off to WDW.

07-10-2009, 09:10 PM
In my opinion i think you should have a great
4-0 and take your DS with you it would be a fun expierience for both of you. and hopefully a amazing 4-0 celebration for you BTW :congrats: :birthday: