Ken, you have provided a well stated response to the "blowing off work" comment. My kids will be working on whatever assignments they will be missing during the drivetime between Dallas and the convention and back. This will be well coordinated in advance. I would like to think that I am sending not one, but three messages.
1) That the work does not go away just because you are not there. It has to be done anyway, and done in a timely manner.
2) Thinking outside of the box. Work can be done anywhere in the modern era. My children will experience a world technologically beyond even cell phones, pagers, and laptop computers. No need to chain yourself to the old program.
3) I have been blessed with two nearly straight A students, so I would like to take the opportunity to send the message that if you work hard sometimes you get perks for your hard work (same as in the business world).
As I have said in earlier postings, taking children out of school is an intensely personal decision, and an important one. The message you send is the one you live every day, not one day in September 2002.