Should Our Children Be Spending More Time in School?

BY: - 14 Jan '13 | Parenting

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Ah yes, the beloved winter, spring, and summer school vacations. Our children love them while oftentimes us working parents have mixed feelings about them. It’s not that we don’t want our children to get to have a vacation; it’s just that many of us don’t have the available time to take off from work and care for or be with our children. Instead, we are forced to find childcare, convince relatives to help out, or have our children become latch key kids instead of playing and hanging out with their friends like they do during recess.

With some possible changes underway, long summer vacations just might be a thing of academic school years past. As reported by The Huffington Post, due to the fact that American students “have fallen behind the world academically,” it is believed that a longer academic year will be in their best interest. By adding more days to the school calendar teachers will have the ability to invest more in their students because they will have more time to “enrich instruction.”

What is now being referred to as a pilot project will result in approximately 300 additional hours being added to the school days of thousands of children in five states including New York. Another benefit to the additional school days is the access that lower income students will have to the nutrition they receive in the form of school meals.

While the idea of a longer school year seems beneficial for various reasons there are opponents to this concept, some of them being parents. To find out why not everyone is in favor of a longer academic year as well as more on the subject visit The Huffington Post.

BMWK, what are your thoughts, should the length of the school year be longer?


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  • Ronnie Tyler

    I have mixed feelings on this one. They need to get the curriculum together first…because more days to go over a poor curriculum is not the answer. When I graduated from college, I realized…no more summer breaks…what I wouldn’t give to have the entire summer off. But, by the end of the summer break..I am ready for my kids to go back to school.

    • KrishannB

      I also have mixed feelings particularly when it comes to schools that are already lacking resources and support from parents and the rest of the community. School is most beneficial when parents and teachers are working together…that said, I too long for the summer breaks I had as a student :)

  • Jackie Bledsoe, Jr.

    I don’t think longer school years is a bad idea. It may cost more money though. We homeschool our children, and find it better when they are schooled pretty much year-round. When our kids get significant time off bad habits creep in, and they sometimes have to relearn or at least resharpen skills they have developed. I am sure the same happens to traditional schooled kids. In addition, once they enter the real world, most work is not seasonal so that can help prep them for life after school. An education is lacking if it doesn’t prep students for what happens after school.

    • KrishannB

      It would be interesting to hear more about your experience homeschooling your children. You do raise a point, sometimes information is lost over the summer break which is why some schools do a little bit of review during the beginning of the school year. As for work, most of us don’t get to have seasonal jobs (although that would be nice right?) except for teachers (!!) and other school personnel. Although, this isn’t the case for all.

  • Cheryl

    I think that although well meaning, the argument for extending the school year for better performance is flawed. The studies cited do not conclusively support that more hours equals greater success. In fact, they cite 2 countries where that is not the case. I think our children would be better served if we observed the methodology the teachers in better performing countries use, and see if those methods could be adapted for use here.

    The chid care issue definitely needs to be addressed. If that is the driving force behind extending the school year, then say that. I get it – I have to deal with half day kindergarten. But teachers are not babysitters, and I fear that that is what the extra time will become without fundamental changes to the how children are taught. i am interested in what educators have to say about it. I would like to see a study concentrating on teachers – not administrative teachers, teachers in the classroom daily – have to say about what they think would help them to push our kids to excellence.

    • Krishann Briscoe

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Cheryl! Making the most of the hours our children are in school now would definitely be a great start.