Monday, March 23, 2015

Do You Need a (Spring) Break?

Spring Break - while for many it means that coveted week to celebrate the end of finals and even their first real trip without parents, Girls Gone Wild style pool parties and even partying until the sun comes up!  But for many more it signifies the few weeks between Fat Tuesday and Easter Monday: Prime Travel Time.  The rates are high and the occupancy levels are even higher.  But for some families, they simply can't fathom the idea of pulling their kids out of school or perhaps they themselves work for the school and they have no other option.  Either way, the question is, "Do you go on Spring Break or not?"

If you cannot imagine a week without relief from Mother Nature and her dirty little tricks called wind-chill factors, blizzard conditions and Sahara desert like humidity levels, then this answer is an unequivocal, YES.  But more specifically, do you go when your kids are out?  I polled a variety of parents, teachers and even principals on this via email and facebook.  Not surprisingly, all involved with the school asked to remain anonymous, but what I was most surprised by was the different viewpoints.  Let me share:
While the parents believe in a good education and the importance of attendance, they also realize in elementary years, the flexibility is there vs later during High School years.  However, with many schools using iPads, as long as there is a wifi connection, kids can still stay connected and keep up with homework from afar.  This allows families to exit virtually any time of the year without much concern aside from the big testing days like MAP & SAT.   When I polled the elementary teachers, they all said that family vacations were more important than whatever lesson may be on the books that week.  On the other hand, High School teachers tended to be a little stricter, stating the importance of being present since many of the lessons weren't found in a book rather, taught in class.  In fact, the toughest I found were the coaches!  If the kids were gone and missed try outs or even practice, they were eliminated from games or even the team.  Wowsers!  

The consensus was this: The time spent bonding with family traveling and learning another language, skill or simply being together sans daily commitments like appointments, deadlines and electronics is more important and something that could never be taught in class.  In addition, it's therapeutic.  Most kids today are overscheduled, don't eat dinner as a family regularly and really don't even know how to "play".  Having time to pick seashells, meet new friends from a different culture, try new foods, wear a new hairstyle (thanks to Lady Pink Hat) or simply cuddle in the room after sleeping in is not only necessary in today's American culture but priceless.

Tell us, where was your last Spring Break vacation?  Did you pull the kids out of school to avoid the crowds or stick with the traditional week off? In our next blog, we'll share with you one family's nontraditional Spring Break experience. 

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