As I write this, all four of my children are enjoying their last day of summer camp.
Sending four kids to a week-long summer camp is financially taxing on us currently. We budget this once a year experience because we perceive such high value in it. The return on investment is priceless! Sure, the kids could obtain the lessons and life skills learned at camp by other means, but to us, we just can’t get a bigger bang for our buck.
Just the sense of independence the kids gain alone makes the financial sacrifice worth it. While at summer camp the kids also learn about diversity, tolerance, friendships, relationship building, teamwork, and responsibility to name just a few skills. The children live in nature without any exposure to technology. A break so vitally crucial in our fast paced world!
More and more self-help and time management experts are promoting the benefits of planning vacation time into the schedules of busy and overly stressed professionals. At the same time professionals are waking up to the benefits of putting themselves first, there are people in power pushing to end summer break for our children entirely.
I know I’m not the only parent who’s noticed that ever so slyly, the length of summer break is getting shorter and shorter!
Many different versions of year-round schooling have been proposed lately. I think this motion is dangerous and fundamentally flawed. It’s quite alarming to read comments from people advocating for a change to full-time schooling. Some are even pushing for seven days per week schooling with even longer school days.
Comments about training kids for the “real world” abound. The school is likened to a militant institution or penal facility instead of what it should be; a place where children acquire a love for learning, delve into their passions, and blossom into the next generation of game changers with the loving and nurturing guidance of ardent adults.
Advocates of such grueling school schedules cite countries such as Japan, Korea, and China as models to aspire to. Just check out pictures and videos of the children learning in the countries put on educational pedestals to see the hollow, expressionless faces of children in uniforms who are forced to stand in perfect little lines and never speak up or question anything.
There is a fundamental weakness of creativity in countries such as China. The schools are great at what they do; raising drones that perform well on standardized tests. Little (if any) attention is given to encourage freethinking. Just look at their economies; Asian countries sure are great at stealing good ideas and making them cheaper! It’s easy to treat people poorly and give them meager compensation when they were raised to sit down, shut up, and not rock the boat.
I know many in power would love a similar workforce here in the United States. I personally think that is scary as FRICK and hope any freedom loving American would echo that sentiment and vehemently voice out against it.
Well, yearlong schooling doesn’t sound so bad. The kids would still get periodic short breaks you might think.
People who accept this method of rationale, I feel, are being conditioned to get used to the idea of year-round schooling and being duped into slowly fazing out school breaks entirely. They are also ideologically missing the immense value extended breaks offer for the growing mind and unknowingly buying into the summer slide fallacy.
Let’s have a look at my first point about the stealthy way year-round schooling is being pushed on us. Can you imagine the outcry that would erupt if the government immediately implemented year-round schooling? Parents would be in an uproar. The amount of bureaucracy and diplomacy needed to shift literally overnight would be overwhelming and a financial nightmare!
So, what better way to get everyone onboard with year-round schooling than to insidiously sneak it on us?
Every summer I hear parents griping about how much shorter the summer break is getting, but nobody seems to be too up in arms about it. The summer break rug is being yanked right out from underneath us people! I have no doubt that at this current rate of attrition, summer break will be non-existent within a decade.
That will leave us with year-round schooling, which, on the surface sounds pretty benign. However, if you dig a little deeper, you will find it isn’t so innocent. What will start as five day per week blocks on with decent time off, will surely recede to longer and longer chunks of time on with less and less time off. Before you know it, kids will be in a classroom six, possibly even seven days a week and the days themselves could become even longer than they currently are.
Parents will be akin to crabs placed in cooler water and brought up to a slow boil. The changes will happen so gradually, under their noses, that most parents won’t protest (like the crab who doesn’t jump out of the pot) over the small changes.
It won’t be until it’s too late that we look around and realize we’ve been bamboozled.
Why should you care about the inevitability of year-round schooling? Why not jump on the bandwagon bashing summer break as an agrarian remnant from a bygone era?
Currently, lifestyle leaders like Tony Robbins, Brendon Bruchard, Michael Hyatt, Gary Keller, and Jay Papasan are preaching to plan your time off as a priority and put yourself first. Adult professionals are coming to see the sanity saving value in that message. If we aren’t putting our own oxygen masks on first we can’t be a lick of good to anyone else.
Children are so far removed from little adults!
As detrimental as we know overworking is for grown adults, imagine the ramifications of forcing more time in a stodgy classroom on a developing child’s mind and body. The repercussions could be damning to the entire upcoming generation. An enormous uptick of disease, attention deficit, stress, and neoteny induced by a lack of necessary childhood development experiences would prevail. It would decimate our potential for creativity and even possibly our ability to procreate. Not to mention the blatant revocation of our children’s autonomous right to freedom.
Bringing up kids penitentiary style scares the bejesus out of me. Think that’s an exaggeration? The evidence is already presenting itself at an alarming rate.
I feel strongly that the education of the future will be one of less time in a classroom setting and not more. It will foster free thinking, innovation, problem-solving, and passion centered living. It is a scientific fact that our brains grow during rest. One only needs to observe the maturity level of an ending year student as compared to the maturity level of a student starting the following school year to see how incredibly changed that child is. I believe huge leaps occur and new connections form in the brain during these much-needed breaks from formal schooling.
Kids on summer break aren’t learning nothing! They have space and time to explore all new areas of interest. They have an opportunity to apply knowledge obtained during school to the world around them.
This is the point where someone is going to interject the argument for summer slide…
Summer slide is the presumption that during the long period off from formal schooling, a huge amount of information is lost and needs to be reviewed the following year, wasting time that could be used to teach new material.
This is an erroneous notion that needs to finally die. I feel there is a tremendous amount of retention by children of necessary information. The fact that the brain dumps a ton of useless garbage is actually a testament to the fact that entirely too much of school involves force-feeding children useless facts to pass mandated tests. If schools incorporated better techniques to improve retention, the loss would also be greatly reduced. I think summer slide isn’t proof that summer break should be eradicated; it is an indicator that schools are failing to present lessons in a meaningful and integrated fashion.
Of course, less time in school presents its own challenges. Many students would be left without supervision options. Tackling difficulties such as these creatively could possibly offer children with expanded opportunity to explore, grow, and gain independence. The potential downside of less time in school, if solved by thinking outside the box, could be a boon to future generations and society as a whole. Whereas, the inevitable fallout of year-round schooling could leave future generations reeling for decades and pigeonhole us as a country populated by mindless minions, burnt-out and strung-out.
If we open our eyes now and voice our opinion to save summer, if we get our creative juices flowing and rethink the current model of education and its unnecessarily long days, we could potentially kick-start this upcoming generation to be the first ripe with amazing new ideas and ways of living.
Heck, they’d be far less stressed out than you and me! Oh, and infinitely cooler!
Summer is worth saving!