Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.
My daughter and I snuck away to join some members of my extended family on a short trip to the Northeast, and we ended up experiencing two firsts on one flight. We fly quite a bit, so to have two brand new experiences on one otherwise ordinary flight was a bit unusual for us, and especially interesting given the late departure time and subsequent further delay (aka tired kid and mommy).
Homework. My four-year-old Pre-K student officially has regular homework these days, and add in two missed “school days” during the trip and there was a folder full of assignments for us to do on the flight. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about homework starting so young, but my feelings are besides the point since I’m not about to get us in the bad habit of ignoring school work. If there is work to do, then there is work to be done.
As soon as we boarded, we pulled out the school folder and ziploc baggie of crayons, markers, etc. and got to work. Luckily, her homework is still on the level that I comprehend, so we were golden. It won’t take long I’m sure until her subjects are ones I have likely long since forgotten and would rather not re-live. That’s where Daddy will come in…he wants to put his smarty pants Mensa certificate on the wall, then he darn sure better step up for homework time come junior high!
For now, homework is still really fun and consists mostly of matching, letters, counting, and coloring. It actually made for a good activity to keep her occupied, especially during our delay before take-off. Doing her “homework” wasn’t a big deal, but it was a new travel experience that was a concrete reminder that she has responsibilities of her own more and more these days, and our travel has to take that into account. We are not and will not be rigid with the school calendar (especially through elementary school), but we will respect it, and keep absences to a minimum. While we are gone we will be sure to get her assignments in advance and make good use of our time on the plane to get them done.
No movies. Our first new experience happened to mesh relatively well with our second. Our trip away from home is a short one this time, and I wanted to keep packing to a minimum. I saw that our flight was scheduled to have DIRECTV, and against my better judgement and common sense I decided I wasn’t going to bring her external DVD player as a result. As departure neared I somehow noticed the plane was scheduled to have WiFi, but I missed the part where it then didn’t have DIRECTV.
I had flown on a WiFi United plane before, and it had streaming kid’s movies to watch, so I really thought we were golden either way. Of course I knew there was the risk it wouldn’t all work as intedend, but for whatever reason I just didn’t want to go through the process of charging and bringing DVDs and the DVD player this time.
Well, you know what happened. The plane ended up not having DIRECTV but did have functioning WiFi. However, it did not have the streaming video library that we had previously utilized. You also cannot use other streaming video services like Netflix or Disney Jr on the plane’s WiFi, so we had a tired kid, a 3+ hour flight, and no movies to keep her occupied. As far as I can remember, this is the first time we didn’t at least have a movie available to use on a flight if we wanted/needed it.
You may be thinking “poor you, you didn’t get to have a movie babysit your kid”, and you would be partially right, though that wasn’t the real issue. She will stay happily engaged with drawing, games, etc. but she won’t zone out and fall asleep doing those engaging activities the way she will just watching a movie on the plane. This meant she was up way past her bedtime, when I had hoped she would sleep on most of the flight the way she normally does on night flights.
My movie packing failure will cost us way more than a more hands-off flight. It will cost us a more rested kiddo on our short trip. I should have not been a lazy packer and avoided that problem the way we usually do, by always bringing our own entertainment.
I’m glad airlines are making it easier to be entertained and productive on-board, but it is a risky proposition to rely on airline entertainment any more than to rely solely on airline food.
Two travel firsts for us, but still one overall good flight. Now onto fall in the Northeast!
How does your family handle homework and travel?