“School’s out for summer.”
That concept seems to be about as dated as the aging Alice Cooper who screeched that line so many years ago.
The recollections of my youth, when the annual break from school actually lasted all summer, are apparently now just a quaint memory of a bygone era.
One of my daughters started school this year on Aug. 12.
She and I were standing at the bus stop at 6:15 a.m. on Aug. 12 for goodness sake. Oh, and it was raining and the bus was 30 minutes late before I gave up and drove her to class.
Anyway, I can’t ever remember school starting at such an early date.
Most years, I’m one of those parents who can’t wait for the new school year to begin. But even for me, starting school so early is a bit much.
And unlike when I was in school, kids are now assigned work to do during their summer break.
Another daughter came home on the last day of school this spring with a hefty packet of worksheets that she was supposed to complete.
I understand the concept behind summer homework. Teachers want kids to practice what they’ve just learned so they won’t forget it all during their time off.
However, this has not been a popular policy at my house.
Our daughter, never one to enthusiastically attack any homework, has been particularly vocal in her distaste for summer work.
“You’re ruining my summer,” she has frequently yelled whenever we’ve attempted to beg, cajole, encourage, bribe or order her to get cracking.
And frankly, I sympathize with her. I haven’t said this to her, but I seriously doubt that the teachers who assigned her (and by extension, us) what she deems summer-ruining “torture” are responsible for completing about 100 pages of worksheets to keep their teaching skills from getting rusty.
Maybe I’m wrong and teachers work as hard in the summer as they do during the academic term. But I kind of doubt it. Especially if they have a strong union.
Now, between the mid-summer start date and homework during the few short weeks of break, it seems to me we are easing suspiciously close to year-round school. And while that idea has its charms from my parental perspective, I think kids deserve and need a break from the grind of the classroom.
Even if you’re as old as me, I’m sure you remember the bliss that you felt when you heard that final bell ringing at the end of May and you emerged into the joyous promise of three solid months of FREEDOM.
September was a long way off and your only assignment was fun, fun and more fun.
I think Alice Cooper captured the feeling best when he croaked: “Out for summer, out till fall, we might not go back at all.”