Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Schools Out for Summer

Summer officially started here a week or so ago which means for families with school-aged kids, it’s the start of the countdown to a very long summer break. 

If feels like MissM joined P3Pn only a few months ago! In reality, she's completing 3rd class/grade in two sleeps!  Since we joined on the first day of the 2013/14 school year, her grade has welcomed 8 new kids from local schools and overseas. Wonder how many newbies will arrive over summer?

MissM and her friends have a grand total of 9 weeks of summer holidays. That’s 63 consecutive days; 1,512 hours of potential anything-can-happen time so you’d best be organized.

I thought it might be fun to compare summer holidays/vacations (even the terminology is different, depending on where you live) around the world and found this quick reference. You can understand the countries where summer means 40+ degrees every day having long breaks but there are others where you think QT?

Here's a few countries, chosen randomly .........

·     Australia, 6 weeks.
·      Canada, depending on the province, 2–3 months People's Republic of China, 2 months
·      Egypt, (3 Months - 14 Weeks)
·      Finland, 212 to 3 months
·      France, (2 months)
·      Germany, 6 weeks.
·      Hungary, 11 or 12 weeks
·     Hong Kong, (6–7 weeks)
·     Italy, 3 months.
·      Japan, 3 months.
·      New Zealand, 6 weeks.
·      Singapore, 6-12 weeks depending on type of school.
·      Sweden, 9-10 weeks.
·      UK, 6-10 weeks depending on school/area.
·      USA, depends on area, school type, but around 8-12 weeks.

With such long holidays, do you worry about how much the kids will retain from one year to the next? There's debate started that argues shorter, more frequent holidays is better for retention; that time is wasted at the beginning of each school year getting kids back in the swing of things, alongside thoughts that if school continues to be so structured and test based, that kids deserve/need a break! Either way, the debate is happening and that's good. There's oodles on the internet and in books on this subject ..... personally, I think 9 weeks is too long.

I read on another blog recently about kids being bored over long holidays, and asking for ideas to entertain them.  Could not help myself! I postd a comment, saying it's our fault as parents that our kids don't know how to kick back and relax. We wind them up all term, with before and after school stuff, weekend sports, music practice, extra math tutoring, and more then expect them to just stop, like we do the second we are on ‘holidays’. They aren’t bored, but rather, don’t know HOW to keep themselves entertained in the park, or backyard, on indoors unless they are on some electronic devise.

Kids don’t play like we did for all sorts of reasons, and while it’s great to hear them playing on the street, or trusting them to walk to the local park to hang out for a few hours without adult supervision, depending on their age and where you live, this just ain’t going to happen.

It does get easier, each summer as MissM grows older, and in a few short years I won't have to worry about entertaining her as she'll be off doing her own thing with friends, but for now, her summer holidays and also mine. 
We’ve lived in the northern hemisphere long enough to know that ‘most people’ and I know that’s an incredibly general phrase, but most people go away over summer. Many of our expat friends go ‘home’ for summer, or on ‘holidays’ (love how the two are different), or have guests. Most of MissM’s school friends have working parent’s so we are aware that potentially there won’t be that many people to hang out with. 

Plus, it's ridiculous to even contemplate being busy every day for 9 weeks!

With school being out for summer holidays in 2 sleeps time, I have to admit, we are so much more organised, that I am really looking forward to them. There will no doubt be glitches, and too much TV will be watched, and the word 'I'm bored' will annoy me no end, but generally speaking, we're ready.

What do you do with the kids?
How do you juggle school holidays with work?
Do you have family/friend support network you can swap days-at-home with?
Do you enjoy the holidays, and why?
We'd love to hear your tips for survival.

As the summer holidays quickly approach, what ever you do, where ever you are, GOOD LUCK and HAVE FUN,

With friendship


  1. Personally I dread the holidays. if you are working and can afford summer camps that's great, even though they aren't usually all-day (9-5) but if, like me, you can't, then 6 weeks is a looooooong time to organise playdates, entertain the kids, do day trips etc. There are only so many picnics in the park you can have. and god forbid it rains. Yes, it's an opportunity to get creative and enjoy the kids but when they are asking why you aren't going anywhere over the summer when all their friends are, well, you end up feeling mean. Or I do, anyway.

    As for keeping their brains ticking over the holiday weeks, I admit I rely on electronic maths/english games. It is enough of a challenge to get mine to do homework during term, let alone during holiday, so I cheat.

    I don't know how working parents cope, espeically if they don't have handy rellies to foist the kids off to. I don't know how *I* cope, with no handy rellies to foist the kids off to. Friend networks only go so far and they don't stretch over the whole summer.

    I totally support shorter, more frequent breaks, with maybe 2-3 weeks in the summer. I know that penalises people whose families are very far away, but it is better for everyone - and then maybe travel companies and airlines won't jack up their prices quite so much over holidays!

    1. Oh Margarita - cheating with electronic games to help the kids with various subjects is very OK. What's wrong with having fun while learning?????? More schools should be doing this.
      MrsT told me that the Dept of Education are fining families who take their kids out of school before the end of term ..... something like 30 quid per child/per parent/per day - bet the travel industry loved that one!
      Let's stay in touch and keep each other motivated with holiday ideas :)