I Miss the Days When Summer Break Was an Actual Break

A boy slumps down at the kitchen table, working on a project during his summer break.
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My 9-year-old daughter just got a list of “summer projects” she needs to complete before she begins the 4th grade in the fall — and I am not happy about it. These days, it seems like it’s no longer enough to have kids spending hours doing their homework or making projects during the school year. Now it seeps into summer vacation too, making our time “off” almost as stressful as the school year.

To be clear, it’s not the reading lists I take issue with. It’s great to have kids pick a few books to read over their summer vacation, and even to read them together as a family. It’s the thought of having to do not one, not two, but THREE more school projects that pushed me over the edge recently.

First of all, young kids tend to need help making their school projects. Or at the very least, help buying the supplies. Guess who will have to be funding that venture? Yep; the parents who couldn’t wait for school to be over, so they could enjoy a few days without school obligations.

Now our precious summer — the time when we would normally recover and relax from the never-ending go-go-go of the school year — has been taken hostage.

I appreciate the school’s concern about so-called “brain drain” when school is out (really, it’s a battle I take very seriously), but I would rather find other ways to keep my kids learning. When summertime comes, the last thing I want for my little ones is to continue feeling constrained by endless lists of things they need to do for school.

I want them to enjoy a true vacation, and that means allowing them to simply be children, with no serious obligations. I want them to play, not to worry. They grow up so fast that I just want them to be able to enjoy their childhoods while they’re still happening.

I mean, when was it decided that a summer vacation requires school assignments at all, anyway? When did it become a requirement to always be doing something productive with your time? What happened to just having a fun summer and writing an essay about it once you go back to school?

And here’s the most annoying part: I can’t even complain at this point to my daughter’s school, because guess what? EVERYBODY’S ON VACATION.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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