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, 21⁄2 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,