Monday, July 25, 2011

School Starts...When?!

I got my homeschool packet from our local Board of Education yesterday.  Amongst the paperwork there was a regular county school schedule.  Apparently they are starting school on August 2nd this year.  Yep, August 2nd.  And there's a holiday almost immediately.  Can I just ask, what's up with that?

I'm a little lost here.  I don't understand why schools - who are having trouble with funding anyway - must open so darn early.  That's a full month and a few days before most homeschoolers I know start.  To be frank, we use what I suppose most would call an "old schedule"; which means we start the day after Labor Day, only take the main holidays off, and not two weeks at a time when we do have a break.  We also don't have Teachers' Days, so I suppose that helps, but ultimately we end up having more days that necessary by the time the end of the school year comes around.  And, yes, our school year ends when the brick and mortar schools' do.

August seems much too soon.  I know the argument that parents have to work, and this helps them with "babysitting".  However, I've also talked to plenty of working parents who are frustrated because they have to figure out what to do with their kids when the schools are out on holidays, which appears to be at least once a month.  I'm not even certain about the whole "quantity over quality" argument, either; we go the same amount of days and the children learn what the school system dictates they should know.  I'm confused as to why school must start so early.  Is there a benefit I'm not seeing?  Is it because of unions?  Do the children learn better, work faster, absorb more on this schedule?  I'm not being sarcastic here, because I honestly want to know.  It's been nearly three years since my children have been in the public school system, so I guess I'm a bit out of the loop.

I also want to make one important point: I'm not trying to be snooty or superior.  This is something I truly would like to have illuminated.  I homeschool, and we're happy with that; others prefer private schools (which usually follow the county schedule) and still others prefer the public school system.  I've got no problem with personal choice when it comes the education of children.  After all, we're still free enough to choose what's best for our kids.  However, I'd like to know the logic behind starting school before summer ends, then having a vacation day not even a week into the school year.  The repeating pattern of vacation days, a monthly occurrence, as well as three weeks for the Christmas Holidays, has me flummoxed.  If anyone can clear this up for me, I'd be appreciative.

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