Thursday, October 6, 2011


Well, school is back in session.  Track out has ended and here I find myself again, trying to regroup.  It's one thing I'm not sure I like about year round - the back and forth between lives - nine weeks in one mindset, three weeks in another.

In traditional calendar schools, one knows there will be one long summer break, and that is one life.  That is long, lazy summer days, endless time at the pool, kids home, lunches whenever, mornings in slow motion.  Then September comes and back to school and lunches and busy-ness that way and one can settle into it for a good nine months.

But in year-round it's constant motion and change.  Nine weeks in, time to get projects at home started and complete, lunches, papers, homework, field trips, volunteering, conferences, end of quarter celebrations, done.  Then kids home all the time and projects are put on hold.  A week easing into track out time, planning play dates around an ever-decreasing number of time slots in friends' busy lives, fitting in activities, packing and shopping for vacation, late nights for a short time, then easing quickly back to earlier bedtimes for track out ends in just a week, four days, tomorrow.

My head spins and it seems like as the kids get older, the time is quicker, crazier, busier.  I don't know that we ever really get to relax, not the way one does during summer vacation.

But then, isn't that the way the world goes now?  Few of us are fortunate enough to even be able to stay home.  This economy isn't very forgiving in matters of family time - it is nearly impossible to get by on one income and has been for a long time.  And for those of us who are able to (sort of) make it work, we still struggle to slow things down, if not for us, then for our kids, so that they might still, somehow, enjoy being a kid when the world is pushing them to be little adults.

That is my struggle with year-round in a nutshell.  Sure it's nice to have flexibility in vacation time, and it's nice for the kids to theoretically get a routine break, and sure, I'd probably get tired of the long summer days after a while.  But summer breaks force us all to slow down, remind us all to take a long deep breath, make us all learn to enjoy each other's company again.

Even in today's world where every kid is in a sport and parents enroll their children in travel leagues that become a whole family activity, and many families see both parents working, I can't help but feel that the year-round calendar complicates things, makes schedules crazier, imposes an unnecessary burden on our lives.  I wonder, in twenty years when society looks back and evaluates its success, what they will determine.

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