What to Do If Your Child Has to Miss School

Child outdoors writing in a notebook
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No matter how hard you may try, at some point during the school year, your child will no doubt have to miss a day or two of school, either due to illness, a vacation, or some other event. Missing school during the middle school years is a little more complicated than in elementary school. For starters, middle school teachers assume that preteens are capable of keeping up, and they may put the burden of catching up on homework assignments and projects on your child. In other words, they won't necessarily make it a priority to catch your child up on his studies when he gets back. That means that your tween will have to take the lead. Below are a few tips that will help should your child have to miss school, for whatever reason.

Plan Ahead

You can do a lot to minimize the number of days your child misses school if you're willing to plan ahead and consult the school calendar before your commit to vacations and trips. Also, try to schedule annual physicals, dental appointments, or eye exams during the summer while your child is on summer break. If possible, schedule hair appointments and orthodontic appointments in the afternoon, after school lets out for the day.

In addition, you can minimize days missed by practicing healthy living, making sure your child gets a flu shot, and reminding your tween to practice good hygiene at school, such as washing his or her hands frequently, etc.

If your tween will miss school due to a vacation or a family commitment, such as a wedding or a funeral, remind your tween to ask his or her teachers for class assignments ahead of time. You might even want to write a note verifying that your family will be away for a few days. That way, your child can bring some work with him or her, and stay up-to-date on school studies.

Many school systems only allow students to miss a certain number of days a year, or risk the possibility of being held back. Know your school system's policy regarding students and missed days.

Stay in Contact

At the beginning of the school year, be sure you collect the contact information for all of your child's teachers. Many teachers are very good about responding to parents' and students' email questions, and if your child has to miss school, he or she can stay in touch with his teachers electronically to keep up-to-date on assignments and reading homework.

Get a Note

Many schools require a doctor's note if a child misses more than three days of school due to illness. Be sure to ask for one if you take your child to his doctor during the course of his illness.

Stock Supplies

It's important that you maintain a supply cabinet with all necessary school supplies. They will come in handy should your child have to stay home for several days due to an illness. Stock up at the beginning of the school year, when supplies are marked down for the back to school rush.

Ask for Help

Sometimes children miss school for an extended period of time, due to illness or other family emergencies. It's also possible that children miss school for extended, once-in-a-lifetime trips. If your child will be out of school for more than a few days, it's important to call the school to let them know about your family situation and to ask for advice on keeping your child's studies as current as possible. It might be possible for a neighborhood child to bring assignments home to your child, and return his or her completed homework assignments or take home tests to his or her teachers.

Also, if necessary, when your child returns, he or she may require some after school help or tutoring to bring him or her up to speed. Work with the teachers and the school principal as a team, and your child will be back in step in no time.

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