Traveling During the School Year
Can I take my Child out of School to Travel?
For families that are considering spending all or part of their child’s academic year learning by exploring the world --- here’s information about states that currently have public education policies or regulations or a style of teaching that tends to support student exploring and learning off campus.
Because these policies support the belief that learning can take place outside the classroom, we think schools in these states would be interested in and open to supporting a family’s travels and incorporating discoveries made on these travels with a child’s school curricula.
WORKING WITH SCHOOLS
Children’s Concierge can help extend a school’s curriculum into the real world. We love helping a learner turn her/his specific learning-goals and passions into live, immersive experiences!
Our services include:
- Pre Departure preparation with a family, their learner and school staff to spell out goals, learning outcomes for the exploring and a method of demonstrating the learner’s related progress at trips’ end.
- Assisting with selection of destinations to be explored by a family.
- Curating all exploring and inter-cultural experiences at the selected destinations.
- Arranging and booking all needed experiences, classes, transportation, guides, experts, lodging, etc needed to make the exploring come alive.
- Creation of materials needed for the experience.
- Daily contact and follow-up with the learner and parents while exploring.
- Post exploring integration back into the school setting.
TYPES OF EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Across States That Support Learning Outside the Classroom
States vary in the options they offer to support student learning outside the classroom. Here are the most frequently presented options we found:
- Independent Study, Extended Learning or Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELO), etc. - These programs encourage and allow students to explore off-campus before, during or after the school day and incorporate what they learn within their school curricula. Teachers should be aware of these programs even if there is not a separate program of this kind in their school. We’re guessing that teachers in states that offer these programs will be interested in making something like this work for traveling students.
- Informal Programs - Some states say they recognize and acknowledge that learning can also take place off campus. But they don’t have a separate, formal program that arranges for this type of experience for their students. We’ve included these states on our list because we think schools and teachers in these states would be interested in helping families link a student’s travels with what he/she is studying in the classroom.
- Homeschooling - Almost all of the states have policies and procedures that allow for and support homeschooling or schooling for students that must be away from their assigned schools for a period of time. Teachers don’t always love this option but it is definitely a well-tested option and many parents and students take advantage of it.
- Career Experience - Several states have programs that allow students to have career related experiences outside the classroom during the school day. While this isn’t helpful for families with elementary age children, it could be very helpful for families with children in middle school and high school.
STATE REGULATIONS AND POLICIES
for Their Public Schools That Support Learning Outside the Classroom
Alabama Department of Education offers distance learning in grades 8-12 with credits toward graduation granted. When, where, and how many courses a student takes must be determined with the local school.
Alabama public schools also support Homeschooling.
The Alaska Department of Education and Early Learning supports Homeschooling.
The state of Arizona has a robust Homeschooling law.
The Arkansas Department of Education has a Department of Educational Options. Some of the types of innovative learning this office indicates as being desirable are --- creating schools of innovation, blended learning, Global Learning, Project Based Learning.
The California Department of Education supports Home Schooling.
The California Department of Education provides different options for students to complete the objectives of regular education and meet their educational needs.
The California Department of Education allows students to engage in Independent Study. Students who participate in Independent Study take the same courses as students in regular classes but they do not have to be on-site at their assigned home school. (More information here and here.)
For Independent Study:
- Programmatic matters
- Yvonne Evans, Education Programs Consultant - 916-323-2562 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attendance accounting matters PASE@cde.ca.gov
The Colorado Department of Education has a program that supports Innovative Learning. They define innovative learning opportunities as including --- work-based learning such as apprenticeships or residency programs, enrollment in postsecondary courses taught on college campuses, competency-based learning or capstone projects, and other learning experiences that are designed to help students develop and demonstrate personal, entrepreneurial, civic and interpersonal, and professional skills as described in CDE’s Essential Skills Required in the Colorado Academic Standards.
They also have a program that helps students and their parents explore and create a student’s career, academic and postsecondary opportunities with an eye toward the student’s workforce readiness.
The Connecticut Department of Education provides students with Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO) which allow learning to be unconstrained by time and place and allows it to move beyond the traditional four walls of the schoolhouse. ELOs may include: Independent Study, Dual-concurrent Experiences, Senior Demonstration Projects, Internships, Community Service, Apprenticeships and Online courses.
Delaware Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
District of Columbia
The District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education focuses on competency-based learning which de-emphasizes in-seat hours of class time in favor of allowing students to demonstrate mastery of a subject to earn class credit.
The District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education also supports Homeschooling.
The Florida Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Georgia Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
Beginning in middle school, the Georgia Department of Education offers Work-Based Learning which allows for structured, age appropriate experiences which prepare students to be college and career ready.
The Hawaii Department of Education offers Learning-Center Programs within many schools with each Learning Center organized around a single theme or focus area. These centers provide students and their parents with greater academic choice.
The Hawaii Department of Education also supports Homeschooling.
The Idaho Department of Education has an Advance Opportunities Program which allows students to individualize their high school learning plan to get a jump start on their future. The options in this program include dual credit, technical competency, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.
The Idaho Department of Education also supports Homeschooling.
Illinois is moving towards a competency-based model of education. The competency-based model removes the constraints of "seat time" and allows for student-driven learning inside and outside of the classroom.
The Illinois Department of Education also supports Homeschooling.
The Indiana Board of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Iowa Department of Education supports several options for private instruction --- full-time home school instruction with the support of a certified teacher; full-time home school instruction without the support of a certified teacher; part-time homeschool instruction with part-time enrollment in an Iowa school district.
Iowa also allows students to receive instruction completely or partially online. The Iowa Department of Education provides a list of approved or accredited non-public schools that provide on-line educational services and courses.
The Iowa Department of Education supports Competency Based Education (CBE). A CBE system validates learning and proficiency of standards and competencies that occur both in and outside the traditional school structure and that go beyond the constraints of seat time and siloed content areas. CBE enables districts and schools to provide student-centered, personalized learning systems through which students of all ages develop ownership of their learning and connect content to their interests and goals.
The Kansas Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Kansas Department of Education also supports Individual Plans of Study for all students in grades 8-12. These plans allow students to participate in selecting coursework that matches their educational and career goals and gives them the opportunity to participate in developmentally appropriate, work-based learning experiences.
The Kentucky Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
Kentucky schools allow students to create their own Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) from the 6th grade through 12th grade. This allows for more varied forms of learning and gives students more agency over how they prepare themselves for their future.
In addition, Kentucky schools embrace Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Project-Based Learning.
The Louisiana Department of Education offers families the opportunity to participate in an approved Home Study program. It also supports participation in a Registered Nonpublic School (Not Seeking State Approval).
The Maine Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Maine Department of Education also supports innovation pathways and student-centered approaches in providing all students with the opportunity to learn and demonstrate their achievement of the Maine Learning Results Standards.
The Maine Department of Education embraces experiential learning. Here is how one high school in Maine provides authentic opportunities for students to follow their interests, expand the curriculum into the real world and work individually with a teacher and an expert.
The Maryland Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education created Student Time Learning Waivers to allow for the creation of innovative programs and schedules within the system that will benefit students educationally and improve student learning.
The Michigan Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Michigan Department of Education requires that an Education Development Plan (EDP) be developed for each student beginning in the 7th grade. The plan allows for personal flexibility in curriculum and programing.
The Minnesota Depart of Education recognizes the importance of Out-of-School Time Learning. But it is unclear from their website the form this program takes or how families access the program. Here is the contact information available on the website: email@example.com, 651-582-8526
The Minnesota Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Minnesota Department of Education also provides comprehensive inventory of department-approved, K-12 online courses and programs.
The Mississippi Department of Education supports Homeschooling as an alternative to public school education.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education offers The Missouri Course Access and Virtual School Program (MOCAP) which has developed a catalog of virtual online courses for Missouri students.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education supports Project Lead The Way. This program provides students with real-world learning and hands-on experience.
Here is information about Homeschooling in Missouri.
The Montana Office of Public Instruction endorses Transformational Learning. Transformational Learning is defined as a flexible system of pupil-centered learning that is designed to meet the Montana Constitutional mandate of fully developing the educational potential of each person. However, their website is unclear about in which schools this has been implemented.
Homeschooling is permitted in Montana.
The Nebraska Department of Education supports Workplace Experiences. Workplace Experiences are not extracurricular but rather expanded learning opportunities central to the student’s personal and professional development. These experiences must be integrated into the curricular offerings and assessed accordingly.
The Nebraska Department of Education supports Homeschooling via their Exempt School Program.
Nebraska schools use the concept of the Constuctivist Classroom. Constructivist classrooms are structured so that learners are immersed in experiences within which they may engage in meaning-making inquiry, action, imagination, invention, interaction, hypothesizing and personal reflection.
The Nevada Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Nevada Department of Education provides for Distance Education. The term “Distance Education”, often used interchangeably with “Virtual education”,is defined as instruction during which students and teachers are separated by time and/or location and interact via computers and/or telecommunications technologies.
Nevada’s Department of Education has an office for Parental Involvement & Family Engagement.
The New Hampshire Department of Education has a vigorous Education Beyond the Classroom program which allows students to have the opportunity to expand their education through hands-on, real-world experiences.
The New Hampshire Department of Education also supports Homeschooling.
New Mexico’s Public Education Department supports Homeschooling.
The New York (State) Department of Education currently offers various options for ways New York students may earn credits towards high school graduation. In addition, The Department promises to continue to examine new topics related to earning credit, such as online courses.
The New York Department of Education also supports Homeschooling.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction allows students to participate in Alternative Programs. Alternative Programs are defined as a school or program that serves students at any level. It serves suspended or expelled students, students whose learning styles are better served in an alternative program... or ot provides individualized programs outside of a standard classroom setting in a caring atmosphere in which students learn the skills necessary to redirect their lives.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction supports Homeschooling.
North Carolina Public Schools also offer a virtual public school program.
The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction supports Home Education.
The Ohio Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Ohio Department of Education also supports Work-Based Learning experiences for students that take place off campus, during or after the school day. These learning experiences help young students explore careers and choose an appropriate career path.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education also supports different types of Distance Learning that may or may not include technology.
The Oklahoma Department of Education has a new, energetic focus on strengthening their efforts to ensure all public school children in the state are college- and career-ready. They hope to bring greater value in earning a high school diploma where students have more clearly identified options aligned with their passion, interest and strengths.
The Oregon Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Oregon Department of Education supports on-line learning.
The Oregon Department of Education also supports/offers applied academic credit earned through Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. Integrated academic courses, project based learning, and other examples of applied academics are alternative delivery models for CTE.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education supports Homeschooling and Private Tutoring.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education allows for accredited and nonaccredited private schools.
The Rhode Island Department of Education recognizes Homeschooling.
The Rhode Island Department of Education has a special focus on early learning curriculum that might be of interest.
The South Carolina Department of Education has put into place some supports for person-centered learning.
The South Dakota Department of Education supports Virtual Learning. Any middle or high school student in South Dakota is eligible to take courses via the South Dakota Virtual School. But students must register through their home school district.
The South Dakota Department of Education also supports Homeschooling.
The Tennessee Department of Education offers several options to support Person-Centered Learning.
The Tennessee Department of Education also supports Homeschooling.
Tennessee is also home to over 600 non-public schools.
The Texas Education Agency provides students with options for virtual/distance learning.
The Texas Education Agency will allow for innovative courses to enable students to master knowledge, skills, and competencies not included in the required curriculum.
The Utah State Department of Education uses competency-based measures to demonstrate student mastery. The competency-based system allows individual students to advance to higher levels of learning when he/she demonstrates competency of concepts and skills regardless of time, place, or pace.
The Utah State Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Vermont Agency of Education also supports Home Study/Homeschooling.
The Vermont Agency of Education supports Work-Based Learning Experiences. These experiences involve student interactions with industry or community professionals in real, virtual, online, or simulated work environments that deepen school-based learning.
The Virginia Department of Education supports Homeschooling.
The Washington Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction offers several options for Alternative Education including Home/Hospital Instruction, International Education, Programs for the Highly Capable, Home-Based Instruction, On-Line Learning, etc.
The West Virginia Department of Education supports Virtual Schools for all of its students, including students who are home schooled.
The West Virginia Department of Education also supports Homeschooling.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Education supports Homeschooling.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Education supports some out-of-school-time learning.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Education promotes Service Learning, a method whereby students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of communities.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Education supports Virtual Learning.
The Wyoming Department of Education supports Home Schools.
The Wyoming Department of Education provides Adapted Learning. These learning experiences include temporary virtual education and eLearning that occur outside of the traditional classroom.
Snippets from several different state policies & initiatives:
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE THIS INFORMATION IS AS OF 2018.
What About Private Schools?
Private schools must follow many, but not all, of the same regulations that public schools do. Here’s a link to a very general summary of the state regulations over private schools:
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE THIS INFORMATION IS AS OF 2009.
However, many private schools have created their own additional rules and regulations that their state’s Department of Education has allowed. If your child attends a private school, we suggest first checking the specific regulations and policies for her/his private school. If the school has no regulations that support learning outside the classroom or incorporating a student’s travels into her/his curriculum, check the regulations for your state’s public schools (Many are listed above). You just might find support here.