Friday, June 10, 2016

And Just Like That - School's Out, Again

Well, here we are again. I swear this year went past in the blink of an eye. Yes folks in the UK, you might have just finished half term, but most of us here are already knee deep in the interminable long, three month summer. Actually, for me this is day one, but it's already proving a long one -  "How long have you been playing your PS4?" type long.

Every year I hear talk of trying to make the summer break shorter. Teachers complain that because kids have spent so much time out of school it takes weeks to get them back to where they were at the end of the previous year. According to Wiki, year round schooling (or YRS) has been around since the 1900s and first appeared in urban areas like Chicago, that were not tied to the agricultural cycle. (Kids used to be taken out of school during the summer to help on the farms.) I must say though, I'm not aware of any YRS's in Chicago today. A bit of research however, tells me that Chicago introduced year round school in 2009 - but in true Chicago fashion, only about a quarter of its schools were put on this schedule. Sigh. Not surprisingly, it dropped the experiment in 2014 because many families with kids in different schools found it too difficult to juggle. I'll say. 

Three months off also gets to be rather expensive. For working parents there's obviously the "What to do with the kids" question, hence the reason for so many American kids attending day and sleepover camps. Even if you're home with your kids, it's not much fun when all their friends aren't around. I remember one summer when the big kids were little, I decided I'd be a fun mom, and do fun things with them instead of sticking them in expensive camps they didn't much enjoy. That plan lasted about a week when it became clear that there is such a thing as too much mom-fun. Back to camp with their little friends they went. 

This year the newly minted teenager (no longer the Little Guy) has an eclectic range of camps lined up - Metal-working, Archery, Tennis, School of Rock - Beatles show, and something that involves going all over the city and having adventures. For the rest of today however, I am making him empty his backpack and throw 99% of its contents away. This kid hoards more than I do given the chance! 


10 comments:

  1. Oh goodness, 3 months! I can imagine that must be difficult to juggle on so many levels for everyone. They need their friends and so do we and by the time they're that age, they're not necessarily in the same families any longer. And the work thing - how can anyone afford not to when it's probably the most expensive time of the year?! Good luck with that.

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    1. It gets expensive. We have Park District camps which are marginally cheaper which is a good alternative. Son is just about to start a tennis one tomorrow although it's going to be 90F so we'll see how he does as it's outdoors. Yikes.

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  2. Have a wonderful summer. I have fond memories of these days. Around here, with both kids now out of college, it really is an interminable summer!

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    1. I can imagine. My daughter is missing not coming home this summer (her first as a working girl) but she doesn't have enough time off to do it all. Sigh.

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  3. I remember how shocked I was when I moved to Scotland from the US and learned just how short the summer break here is - 6 weeks! It was not until I had kids of my own that I realised 6 weeks is just right. They don't have time to get really bored and they don't forget everything and have to review so much when they go back.

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    1. LOL. There probably needs to be a happy medium. Perhaps 8 weeks?

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  4. The summer holidays is like a fourth semester, really in the US - and yes, you pay a fortune for the camps! We have 8 weeks now (private school so has longer than state) which is about right I think - although with me working at home it's still challenging to find stuff for them to do for the weeks we're not on holiday....

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    1. Fourth semester is a good analogy because my youngest gets to do things he doesn't do during the year. So far metal-working camp, archery and tennis (which he is just probably too lazy to do!).

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