Monday, August 17, 2015

My kids just got out of school 5 minutes ago and now they're going back tomorrow...

I have been guilty, on this blog, of being very "BACK IN MY DAY!" when it comes to complaining about the way school is for my kids now vs. the way it was for me back in the 70s and 80s.

Which is unfair, really. I like our local school district a lot. I think they do a good job educating my children.

So when I whine today about the fact that my youngest three children go back to school tomorrow (yes, on August 18th), please know that I do so with the understanding that Wickliffe isn't the only school district following this trend of ever-earlier start dates.

I just sort of wish we could go back to the way it used to be.

As I've mentioned before, when I was in elementary school (and maybe a bit beyond?), we never used to go back to school until after Labor Day. Of course, we also didn't get out for the summer until mid-June, but I liked that schedule. Once you get into early September, summer is much more "over" than it is in mid-August.

Because that's the problem, you see: IT'S STILL SUMMER RIGHT NOW. I'm writing this several weeks in advance and thus don't know what the weather will be like in mid-August as you read it, but I'm betting it feels a lot more like summer than it does fall. And "fall" is when you should be going back to school. Not summer, when 90-degree temperatures are far more likely in Northeast Ohio.

Now, having said that, I will also say that I'm a proponent of year-round school. If we're going to mess with the traditional academic calendar, let's go all the way and do it for the right reasons.

The fact that schools let out for so long every summer is a remnant of an age when kids were needed to tend the crops and bring in the harvest. That's not the case for 99% of American students anymore, so why can't we have the kids go to school 9 weeks at a time, then take a 4-week break and do that year-round? If you want the summer break to be a little longer, than make two of the breaks from other times of the year last only 3 weeks.

The point is, the kids don't need to be off for 11 or 12 weeks at a time, do they? I'm not an educational expert and am happy to be corrected on this, but I would venture to say shorter breaks would mean increased retention of learned knowledge and skills, no? I remember back in my school days that the first several weeks always seemed to be spent in review anyway, so why not shorten breaks and get right into new learning?

Am I wrong there, teachers? Let me know if I am.

In any case, if we're going to stick with the current set-up, my vote is to keep summer vacation going until early September and then let the kids out round about June 15th. If one of you could look into that for me and make it happen, I would appreciate it.

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