School all year long?

on Oct 06, 2010 @ 09:39 am

My local radio station is talking about this today and I was wondering what you're thoughts were on this subject.
This is all I've heard so far. Our school boards are talking about starting an all year school year. They did say that the kids would still be in school for the same amount of days, only it would be for twelve months a year, not the ten that it is now. They would have something like a week off in Feb, two weeks off in March and one week off in Oct, two week in Dec and only have one month off in the summer. Now I may have not have gotten all those days exactly right, but its close to what was said so far. They haven't said if this is for all school's, Public high schools, or just for public primary schools yet because its still being talked over. The Catholic school board said no for several reasons. I know a lot of kids in high school that wouldn't want this because they have summer jobs and some are using these jobs to help pay for they're on going education.
Myself I like things the way they are. We look forward to summer all year long. Summer is our time to come back together and do family things with out having to worry if one son has a test on Monday that he has to study for. Or the other has a project that he needs worked on. I know my kids would hate it and I'm sure a lot of others would to. And our summers are just to hot for the kids to be sitting in a hot class room.
What do you think?

12 Replies

Ali de Bold
Glad I'm not in school anymore on Oct 06, 2010 @ 10:38 am

Summers off is part of being a kid. It would be sad to see that taken away. However, I'm sure a lot of mothers would love this ;)

Tricky on Oct 06, 2010 @ 11:15 am

It's kind of a tricky thing, because depending on where the child is at academically, the parents' work arrangements, and the need for regular breaks, there are pros and cons on both sides:

Academics: kids lose a lot of their learning over the summer - this has been proven in studies. Teachers must spend a large portion of the first part of the year just getting everyone back up to speed, which cuts into the time they need to teach the next year's curriculum. Kids are frustrated that they've forgotten material and also bored with the repetition.

Parents & Work: it is impossible for parents to take 2 to 2.5 months off during the summer to take care of their kids, which means that most end up with a nanny or daycare. Kids hate this and it costs a boatload of money for the parents. Taking smaller chunks of time off throughout the year is much more doable by taking turns with mom, dad, grandma/grandpa, etc.

Regular breaks: It's hard on kids to work nearly nonstop for 9-10 months with only 1.5 weeks at Christmas, 1 week (or less) of Spring Break and the odd day off here and there. They get burned out just like adults do, especially when you add on extracurricular activities.

Summer is Summer: kids want to enjoy the beautiful weather, and the older ones depend on having summer jobs to earn up for car/college/life. Taking it away after decades of the traditional schedule is harsh.

Now, kids in Europe/Asia are used to this type of schedule. Could it be part of the reason they consistently outperform N.American kids in standardized tests? I would be interested to know if that has been statistically analyzed.

I have bright kids who perform consistently above grade level, so for our home it would not be as big an issue as for others whose children need the extra support. Many kids are sitting in summer school anyway, so if there were a way to reduce the need for that, you would help those students and remove the massive stigma that comes with being a "summer school kid".

As a parent, I would support a different schedule. But remembering my childhood, I know my kids would disagree!

Toughie, for sure!

Naww! on Oct 06, 2010 @ 11:32 am

It might be a little different for primary school children, but I know that during my high school years, summers were important for personal growth. It was a great time to gain experience working summer jobs, and it was also time for self-reflection and reinvention. I grew a lot during those summers, and I think it also gets students more excited for the beginning of school (for that motivation to do well that only lasts for about 2 weeks, haha).

... on Oct 06, 2010 @ 01:25 pm

Mamaluv makes some excellent point about how kids forget a huge amount of what they learned during the summers, but I still don't think that summer should be taken away totally.

On another note, I'd like to see the province of Ontario put more energy put into the actual curriculum. Another reason children in parts of Asia outperform North American children is because they have longer school days, significantly more homework, a more demanding curriculum and more emphasis is put on achieving higher grades. Of course it's completely unfair to say that all North American parents don't push their children to do well, but I would argue that many North American families aren't as involved in their children's academic life as they should be. I can think of plenty examples from people in my neighbourhood whose parents didn't check up on their homework, didn't test them at home, or offer assistance when needed.

I have a family friend in Singapore that sends their 2 year old daughter to different school programs 6 days a week. 2 YEARS OLD and she can read and write in both Chinese AND English - no joke. At first it sounded a little harsh to me, but this little girl loves it and takes pride in completing her homework. It makes me wonder if we are holding our children back in North America by waiting until the first grade (6 years old) to teach them to read and write. Thoughts??

that would be going too far... on Oct 06, 2010 @ 01:36 pm

I think a 2 yr old should be focusing on play. If I would have been able to do so, I would have sent my kids to a Montessori school early on instead of a more conventional preschool.

Every kid is different (of course!), and while some may excel in this environment, others would do poorly. My older son would not have been a good fit for a 6-day schedule at 2 yrs old. For him, the maturity level of 5 yrs was perfect to start reading, and in kindergarten he was whipping through Dr Seuss like nobody's business. He may not be on par with his international peers, but he's well above grade level for N.A. standards.

Anony Mouse
Poor 'lil bastards on Oct 06, 2010 @ 06:50 pm

That would suck

This has been debated in my area too, on Oct 06, 2010 @ 08:15 pm

Some other points brought up were - the cost of having to install A/C in a lot of older schools. They are usually closed during the hot summer months but with year round schooling the kids would be sweltering!

The cost of staffing. Many places can 'lay off' staff for summer and they collect benefits - you cant do that if the breaks are only a couple weeks at a time.

There was also talk of staggered hours - how the buildings could be better used by having extended hours/alternating shifts. Instead of building more schools, have the primary grade do 8 - 2pm and secondary 3 - 9pm. But that is a whole 'nother barrel of monkeys!

The radio said today on Oct 07, 2010 @ 08:47 am

That out of 647 responses 57% of those said no way to this new school schedule.
Myself the more I have thought about it the more it does sound better to me in some ways, but not in others. When I talked to my husband he said he thought it was a great idea. He pointed out that every summer all our kids do is sit around on the computer all day, sleep, or bug us that they're boarded, that they have nothing to do. He's is right about part of that, but now that they're old enough to get summer jobs, they want to do that this coming summer. So it's hard to say what is better and what isn't. I think it's just hard for us to change what we've known for years. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this in time.

true on Oct 07, 2010 @ 09:34 am

That's a great point Guppy.? The costs of running schools for 2 extra months a year would be a big hit for the schools, which may not feasible for many school boards.

Oh gosh, on Oct 07, 2010 @ 08:15 pm

No, I do not think it's a good idea. I'm in school now and it's already a torture, haha. And besides, the VANCOUVER school board is in deficit 'cause the government stopped our funding. My school's schedule is all messed up just to save some $$.

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