We recently went on holiday to Mallorca, and to save ourselves a heck of a lot of money, we went three days before the girls broke up for half-term.
The delightful Michael Gove says that by taking your kids out of school for a few days during term-time for a family holiday will harm their education. And so he has imposed a ridiculous new rule on us. Bollocks!
For the sake of missing a few days from school, my children were exposed to a whole wealth of new experiences - which they would never be able to get at school.
It was the first time we've been abroad as a family, and everything was new. My girls experienced an airport for the very first time. They learnt about aviation, and had the thrill of taking off into the sky and being above the clouds. They saw a bizarre circular rainbow. They got to go into the cockpit, and meet a real life (extremely handsome) pilot. They got to see almost the entire length of England and France from above - the millions of green fields and 'toy houses', and the Pyrenees, and the boats on the English Channel. And then they had the thrill of sucking lots of sweets, popping their ears, and landing in a different country. They marvelled at the hot weather, seeing real palm trees and giant cacti, swimming in a warm sea, and having massive grasshoppers crawl up their arms. They learnt how to expertly peel a prawn, and they got to speak proper Spanish, and drink Fanta (and watch mummy drinking Piña Coladas). They saw magnificent cathedrals, quaint Spanish villages, donkeys, beautiful pink flowers, incredible street entertainment, and Dolly got to meet Mickey Mouse. They got to splash around in an outdoor pool without getting frostbite, play on lilos, and greatly improve their swimming and ball skills. They got excited about the hotel lift and took it in turns to press the buttons. They experienced a crazy electric storm and flooding on the streets, and a terrifying drive along a windy and steep mountain road. They learnt about a different culture, the people, the food, the language, the plant and animal life, the time difference, and driving on the wrong side of the road.
And as a family we had a very important and happy and relaxed time together.
So, Mr Gove, if you think there's a more educational and wholesome way to spend a few days, I'd like to hear it...