Monday, August 08, 2005

Ah, School Days

It sure seems too early for school to start. Tonight our church school has its first open house for parents and children to "meet the teacher" and find their new classroom for the year. Our school follows the local public school calendar, so despite the fact that the Texas legislature passed a law this spring saying that public schools could not begin until AFTER Labor Day, they also allowed school districts to apply for "exemption" from this. You guessed it--most districts were granted the exemption. You've really got to watch those pesky loopholes!

One of the changes we will see is shorter Thanksgiving and spring breaks--that's so school will be over by the first of June and still meet the required number of days. A couple of years ago the local school district had a week long Thanksgiving break, a "winter" break of nearly a month, and about 10 days spring break.

When I was growing up in south Texas, no one would have dreamed of having school begin in August, because none of the schools were air conditioned. Much of September had some of the hottest days of the year. Each classroom had one or more very large floor fans that droned in the background, making for very sleepy afternoons.

Pushing school terms earlier and earlier into August and later and later into June seems to be part of the "hurried child" syndrome of our society. Yes, yes, I know the rejoinder: we no longer are an agricultural society that needs a summer break so the children can work the fields, blah blah blah. And I do remember when I was happy to see school start because I welcomed the return of the school routine for me and the girls.

But we pressure children constantly so that every spare moment is filled with study, practices, classes, arranged playdates etc. Something is wrong, people, when mothers keep day-planners for their three year olds. Somehow that seems tied in to the compressing of summer vacation to me.


St. Casserole said...

Our children began school August 4. This hampers long lazy 6 week summer camp sessions, boring weeks to just enjoy the school break and I wish school didn't begin so early!
Every year we miss days because of storms and hurricanes because of the early start. Kids drop from heat exhaustion on the playing fields, too.

jo(e) said...

School doesn't start here until after Labor Day. Most of the public schools do not have air conditioning.

August is such a big month for family vacations. I would hate to ever give that up.

Kathryn said...

Holidays START on 1st June??? That's my birthday, and if I'm lucky sometimes the children have a mid term break then...but summer didn't start this year till 22nd July (by which stage the good weather had been and mostly gone).
Their 6 weeks go on till 5th September...and it is nothing LIKE long enough. Do hope the new school year is good for you and yours, though...

Gord said...

Schools in most places I have livedd start either the Tuesday after Labour Day or the week before (nominally depending on how late Labour Day is). And most have gone until the 20th of June or later.

Mind you, the comment about 3 year olds with day planners is very apt. I know kids who have no idea how to entertain themselves because they never have the chance to learn. And then mom complains that "they're always bored"!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

Our school starts the 17th of this month. Be Bo is also in a Christian school but we stick close to the public school calender. Just makes it easier for everyone. I am all for starting after Labor Day. I too remember not starting until then and it being sssooooo hot!! (I am in the upper part of Texas). Then with them screwing with the day light savings time. ~sheeze~

SpookyRach said...

Gord is so right about the day planner thing. How do you stretch your imagination when all your experiences are being served up to you on a platter?