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Summer’s End

School starts on Monday for Athena. Another summer gone, just like that.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

30 replies on “Summer’s End”

Wow. Summer ended for me in HS and college at the end of September. The Public school drones all started at the beginning of September (well, a week in).

You’re telling me Ohio starts in mid-August?

Weird.

Semester system?

Kidlet has another week and a day til school starts up again. She’s so revved up about going back she’s counting the days (5th grade here we come)! OTOH this is Central Illinois….she’ll get out at the end of May, barring snow day repayment.

Back in my day, mumbletysomething years ago (and I’m not that much younger than you, Scalzi), school let out 5/31 and you didn’t go back until after Labor Day. My mother taught elementary school for a number of years, and through her I witnessed the school year lengthen and the summer shrink. I understand it’s not all that unusual now for school not to let out until the early part of June, and for the new year to begin, as with Athena, sometime in early August. My summer vacations were always three months long (even longer, once I started college). Now it seems that two-month summers are the standard.

My schools all started the day after Labor Day, but that was over 30 years ago in MN. Some of my cousins are either teachers or principals in the south (NC/SC/GA), and they start next week also.

In my neck of the UK the kids go back at the beginning of Sep. I don’t have kids but it does mean the morning traffic gets a lot worse!

HS in Alabama always started around Labor Day and let out the end of May. I have no idea what goes o now.. Here in San Antonio with no kids the way I know summer ends is by the wayheavier traffic, too, and it’s getting dark at 8:30 not 10pm. We certainly don’t go by how the weather is, since we only have summer and 2 weeks of winter sometime in February.

It’s funny (meaning odd) how we define the seasons. Not by the solstice and equinox, as it should be, but by events. School starts and summer’s over, instead on September 20-whatever. Of course that means, for my kids and I, that summer isn’t over until the 1st week of September. Same thing happens after Thanksgiving, or first week in December, suddenly it’s winter instead of December 20-something. Spring seems to start around Easter-ish, then summer begins often some time in May: usually Memorial weekend, when the pool is opened, or when school closes / summer vacation starts (for some, like my kids, at the beginning of June). I could go on but you get the drift. As you can see it’s oddly different for everyone. It’s funny how we define the seasons.

When we lived in Florida the kids had “year around school” they ran 4 sets of students through 3 sets or rooms by giving 1 of the 4 3 months off at a time. Parents had some choice in which months the break took place and we got Jan-Mar. The weather is a lot better than it is in the summer months so that worked out well for us.

Int the civilized world it seems the pressure is on to start earlier and earlier but to add no days to the total number. This is leading to more and longer breaks during the year. I don’t think this serves kids or education well. Putting in the first week and then taking a week off seems like a lot of wasted energy. What the heck was the reason people wanted this?

IIRC the worst thing about starting school in August was trying to go outside and enjoy recessi n elementary school or going to football practice in JR high and high school when it was hotter than seven yards of hell outside. At least now that I’m supposedly an adult I have work as an excuse to stay indoors with the AC on.

Last year when I was in Hawaii, I discovered Hawaii starts school in the first week of August by overhearing the impressively bitter one-phrase replies of a teenager just returned to the family restaurant from the first day of school.

I salute this curtailing of holidays for young Americans as a necessary step to prepare them to work all their days in unrewarding service of their betters. In fact, why are there summer holidays at all? And why so few hours of school per day? I think American kids should be in school 18/7 from age five to ten and then packed off to the nearest mine or factory to pay SchoolCorps (a division of Industrial Prisons & Food Slurry LLC) back, a task that will take by the oddest of coincidences exactly their remaining lifespan (plus about ten percent, so they have something to leave their kids).

My kids go back Monday too – most of the counties around start the following one, though one of dd’s friends started last week (a high-academic/early college program). But, as someone else mentioned, without weather-day makeup (we’re as apt to get ice as snow), they’ll be out the Friday before Memorial Day. But the state is trying to expand the mandate from 180 instructional days to 185.

We in Hawai’i have newscasters reporting on two things related to school restarting (last week for some, apparently; even earlier for the U of Hawai’i). For the elementary schoolers it’s the call to donate school supplies for the poor among them (why can’t the seemingly top-heavy Dept. of Ed. get rid of a couple of administrators and use those salaries to buy those supplies instead?). For all of us it’s what’s hilariously called “Beat the School Jam,” which as far as I can tell means “go to work earlier in the day to beat the traffic generated by all those UH students and the parents of all the younger kids driving them to their schools.”

When I was young my Mother and I had a deal she wasn’t allowed to mention back to school until after my Birthday (8/14)…in your school district they start school before my birthday. This would have been seriously rough for me.

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