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Should I Take My First Grader on a Cross-Country Trip?

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My husband and I might take a cross-country trip for about three months. My eldest child is in first grade. Will it be harmful to pull her out of school? How can we continue her education while we're on the road?

A: This trip will afford your daughter unique learning experiences that will contribute to her overall development in ways that cannot be achieved in the classroom.

That said, you have to judge whether or not removing her from the academic and social world of first grade would be detrimental to her. First grade is a pivotal year in a child's academic life.

After discussing her present levels of learning and achievement with her teacher(s), you will surely gain a sense of the plausibility of her keeping up with her schoolwork while on this adventure. Most teachers are very helpful in assisting parents with this assignment, providing them with the academic materials they need, and offering to be of occasional assistance over the phone should the need arise.

This will be a positive experience, one that your daughter will remember and treasure all her life. Unless there are compelling academic, emotional or social reasons that prevent her from joining you, I would begin making plans for your family's big adventure. Drop me an email from the road.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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