As a kid, I loved summer vacation. Who wouldn’t? No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks, don’t let the school doors hit you on the way out. Summer vacation was great.
Then I became a parent. Suddenly as a working parent I’m juggling summer day care, extra costs of all-day care versus after-school care, kids with nothing to do all day, me trying to come up with new! fun! activities! and I’m hating summer vacation. Hate. Hate. Hate. Even later as a stay-at-home mom I hated it. The days stretched on forever to a chorus of “What are we doing today, Mama?” as if someone had suddenly appointed me Entertainment Director and I’d be expected to wander the Lido Deck with my perky Julie McCoy clipboard and hat. No thanks. I’ll go back to hating summer vacation.
Let’s get rid of it.
Summer vacation is bad for kids anyway.
Did you know that U.S. kids have fewer school days than kids in other Western countries and even kids in the home of the multitudes of desperate Nigerian millionaires who write us pleading for help in disbursing their fortunes if we would only share with them our identifying information and banking details? When even the kids of email scam artists are getting a better education than ours are, you have to wonder what’s wrong here.
And you remember what the first few weeks of school are like in September, right? Two weeks of reviewing whatever you did last year, that’s what. What a monumental waste of time. Kids forget things over a long summer break. All that book-larnin’ just goes right out them thar purty little heads when they spend 10 weeks doing nothing but sucking on Popsicles and dangling their feet in an inflatable pool. (In fact, you can pretty much tie the rate of loss of brain cells to the number of Popsicles consumed, but understand this is a less than scientific correlation. If you provide a grant, however, I’ll be happy to create a double-blind study about it, but only if we stick to cherry and grape and orange; I can’t stand the lime ones.)
Back to summer vacation. Abolishing it is only one step of my nine-step Program for Complete School Reform (we are also asking for a return to ditto machines — after all, who didn’t get just a little buzz from the smell of warm mimeograph fluid? — and other things like more arts, less lining up and standing around, less busywork homework, and more recess, but I’ll get to those things later, after all, it IS summer…), but it’s an excellent first step that would also save us from the pain of back-to-school sales that crop up as early as the day after the Fourth of July these days. (Do you have all the colored pencils, Trapper Keepers, binder paper, and Hello Kitty erasers that you need this year yet? No? I thought not. So go! Go and consume! Make this land great!)
Sure, I know what you’re going to say to this idea of getting rid of summer vacation. It’s in two words: air conditioning. It’s a sad fact that a lot of schools, even the ones east of that weird vertical line of demarcation that starts in the middle of Kansas and separates the Land of Humidity from the Land of Blessed Dryness, don’t have air conditioning. But have you noticed that kids don’t seem to either notice or mind? It’s a (non-scientific) fact that kids’ heat-sensors are immature until they hit at least 12, maybe 13 depending (which oddly seems to coincide with the need and/or usage of commercial deodorant preparations), saving taxpayers zillions on the need to air-condition elementary schools. Alternatively, hold classes outside. The point being, of course, to simply get kids back. in. school where they belong.