For Parents Missing school for gym?

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Hello everyone,

I have a question for the parents of gymnasts who miss school for training. Bean’s team is going to be training the same number of hours this year as last. (16) They have however, changed the schedule, and now one 4 hour stretch will occur during the day.

The reasoning behind the change of schedule has to do with providing a time slot where the girls have the whole gym to themselves, instead of having to rush off the equipment to accommodate the rec programs.

I’m comfortable with the schedule as Bean’s only going into 6th grade, and an exceptional student. She’ll only have to leave school 2.5 hours early, once a week. So, my question is, how is the best way to approach the school? Is it better to phrase it as a request, or just straight out tell them that this is what will be happening?

Any suggestion or thoughts welcomed!



Gold Membership
Feb 26, 2007
I think I would contact your school board first and find out what the policy is on elite level sport and school. Our board has no policy but the school has many elite atheletes (big skiing town you know) and therefore they can miss school as long as the grades stay at a predetermined level.

Once you know the board policy then I would send letter to the principal, the class teacher and cc the board to let them know of Beans upcoming schedule. As you say it is 2.5 hours a week, not 4. I would be very surprised if they had an issue as Canadian schools are supposed to be great at supporting our atheletes.

I imagine Bean doesn great in school, it's a gymnasts thing, and she will continue to strive. Plus it will afford your family some more time together!
Mar 5, 2008
North America
I agree with Bog. Some school districts (like my kids) have a required amount of hours that the kids have to attend school or they just don't pass to the next grade (or they have to take summer school). If your bean is an exceptional student, then the school may not have a problem with it as long as she continues to make up all the missed class assignments and homework that is assigned to her. I would definitely research this with the school board first and then go from there. Good luck!
Jul 12, 2007
Along with finding out about school policies (Our school district counts a full day by 12:30), it helps if the gym can write a letter specific to your dd's needs. Present it to the principal, many are willing to work with students/parents :)


Proud Parent
Mar 1, 2007
Wow, that open time slot is enticing isn't it? My DD would love the whole gym to herself for a couple hours. Anyway, while school/practice is not a problem for us, DD had one girls on team at old gym (wow, this still feels weird to have to write old gym or new gym) that went to a morning (before school) program. I think it was for HOPES and she lived about 35 minutes away so while she could squeeze the program in before classes started, the travel back was making her late. Mom had a hard time dealing with the school (public) because they do require a certain amount of hours & while they allowed her to come in a little late, she could not do both the morning gym and school. Mom was checking into a private school because apparently there was more flexibility offered there, but then she ended up following the rest of the L5's to new gym and problem was solved. I would start with your principal or school board first to find out if there is anything they could suggest to work with you & DD, maybe another gymnast has paved the way and guidelines are in place. Good Luck!
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OUr gym has the "open time" for the teams too but its on Sat afternoon. Our parents wouldn't show if they had to miss 2.5 hours every week. Our gym also is a big advocate for school comes first. I also don't think any of our schools would allow the missing classes.

If your DD is a good student and can maintain her grades and the school allows it then go for it.

What level is your DD at?
Jan 17, 2008
Hey! I can help!! For the past 2 school years Beetle has done part days at school and part days at gym. She left school early 2 days a week to have that 'alone time' at the gym.

We started with the school's principal. We explained the situation but were very very clea - School comes first. Beetle is a very bright kid, she is an A student. If her grades drop; This deal is over. She is in school full time! No questions! Gymnastics comes second. They looked at her test scores and previous grades and agreed to the compromise.

You said Bean was in 6th grade? Does she change classes every hour? or have 1 teacher for the full day?

Last year when Beetle had different classes every hour and the school really worked with her schedule. She had all of her core classes in the morning. She missed Band and Geography 2 days a week. The school gave her phy-ed credit for gymnastics and she did independent study for health last hour.

We also kept in constent communication with the teachers where she missed class. Her Geography teacher was against the idea at first. But after he saw that she was a dedicated student and wasnt falling behind on her assignments he was more open to the idea. He wanted her to take part in more inclass assignments, so she started staying late on her non gym day to make up for the missed class.

It worked for us. It was nice because we had evenings at home to eat family dinners! Unfortunetly, this isn't an option this year. Our coaches were running 2 full practices and coaching 9 - 10 hours a day. So we are only doing a later practice (3 - 7:30).

Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions.


My dd has left school early since she was in Grade Two - Grades 2 and 3 she left early one day a week (at lunchtime) and Grades 4 and 5 she left early 2 days a week (at lunchtime) - that is what she will do this year, too, in Grade 6. Some teachers have been more supportive than others :rolleyes:, but ultimately I have always felt that it was my decision as her parent, not the schools.

For the record, I NEVER EVER asked - I just told the teacher what was happening :D - however, I also made it very clear that I didn't expect any special treatment, i.e. having a homework packet done up for her, etc. I always made sure to see the teacher after the school day was done (when I picked up my ds) and get the work she missed.

The interesting thing is - a lot of the time the teacher would give me the "missed" work ahead of time (when I picked her up) and then when she would arrive at school the next day with the work done, she would find out that the teacher hadn't got to that worksheet yet and none of the other kids would have done it yet!

Of course, the deal is she must maintain her grades, and she does.

When she hits Grade 8 she will go to a high school that offers a gymnastics academy - which essentially means her schedule will be such that she will do classes til 1pm, then train. That should make things a bit easier - the other gymnasts who are in the program now love it, they say it makes life a whole lot easier!

Hope that helps
Thank you all for the wonderful support and suggestions!

I don’t really anticipate a problem, but thought it better to get some advice before one could crop up.

I searched the school board web page for any info about attendance etc.. but came up dry. She won’t be the first to have had to adjust her schedule for a different persuit though, there was a girl at her school a few years back who had alternate arrangements in place to accommodate her dance schedule. She ended up leaving the school eventually, after being offered a spot at a dance academy in Toronto. If the school is really opposed, we could have Bean drop her enrichment (3 days per month @ a different school) and she could maybe pass up some of last years commitments (bus patrol, pizza monitor, student council rep, cross country)

I promised to support her through her gymnastics, so we’ll find a way!

I think the suggestion to have her coach put together a letter is great, I’ll talk to her as soon as they’re back from camp.

Sparky...I’m SO jealous of your gymnastics school!!!! Maybe I should relocate?!?!



I forgot to say - our coaches do have a letter that we give to the school to explain the training schedule - dd also gets some credit for PE (she usually ends up with a "B" even though she misses it at least once a week).

Also, we definitely have found that dd doesn't have extra time for the "fun" stuff, like lunch monitor, council rep, etc. For the most part she doesn't complain, she is used to it by now as she has been doing it for years.



If Bean keeps progressing with the same upward track she is on now, full time training during the day may become a distinct possibility. I know in the States it would. Then you would need to consider tutoring or home schooling. Now I know everyone's situation does not lend itself to those options but it may be something you need to address sooner than later.

My wife and I are blessed to be able to home school our children. We have been home schooling for 7 years so we didn't home school for DD's gymnastics or older DD's acting career but it sure does not work out nice for us. Our oldest DD was able to spend 2-3 weeks on tour with a local orchestra in town and loved it. This was something that a traditionally schooled kid would have had a hard time pulling off. The experience for our DD was tremendous and invaluable...

Just something to consider...



Proud Parent
Proud Parent
Sep 25, 2007
Have no advice because we homeschool, but, I think as long as she keeps her grade up and the school has no issue with it, go for it!!! :D


Once again, I back what Sean said; homeschooling is an awesome option that allows incredible freedom and flexibility, even if one's children are not super involved in activities! It does work well for us. (I know, Iggy, that you meant to say it works well for us, not that "it sure does not work for us." Maybe that was a Freudian slip! :) hee hee, jk; I know it wasn't.)
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Feb 28, 2009
This is the first year my DD 8year old (turing 9 Sept 30) grade 4 will be missing school once per week. She trains 18 hours a week and once a week will miss 2 hours and 40 minutes of school. She will be participating in her first Provincial Qualifiers this year, big year ahead for her. I spoke with her teacher who was very supportive and she will keep DD in from recess to catch her up on what was missed during those lessons. DD is fine with this, I am very thankful that the teacher is on board and that she won't fall behind. I was worried before school began how to handle this. Our gym did tell me that if there was any issues with the school they would write a letter explaining.

Of course school comes first and if it poses a problem to her grades we will stop it. I will give her the benefit of the doubt and give it a try. Any signs of struggling in school she will just miss the first hours of training on that day. I am hoping for the best!:)
Our board has no policy but the school has many elite atheletes (big skiing town you know)
bog, I think the situation in your area for ski racing is very different. Because night training isn't common in big ski country (unlike in our area where there's night skiing), kids do not have a choice but to train during the day and use that as credit for PE.
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