Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Lucy's school, along with every other elementary school in our county, gives the children workbooks at the end of the school year to work on over the summer. The goal of this program is to minimize the "skill loss" that inevitably occurs over the months of vacation, and because I am apparently still deeply conflicted about school in general I have mixed feelings about it.

On the one hand, I actually believe that children should go to school year-round and have four or five shorter breaks throughout the year rather than one extremely long break over the summer. This is the subject of a different post, so I'll save you the lengthy explanation. Suffice it to say that I do not see schoolwork in the summer as the blasphemy that some do.

On the other hand, I hate to be compelled to do anything. (I hear my family laughing uproariously as they read that.) My gut reaction to the school telling me that Lucy has to work on something over summer vacation is, "you can't make me!"

So when the workbook came home, I told Lucy she could work on it if she wanted to, but she didn't have to. Naturally, because she was not being compelled and because she is at least as much an academic personality as her parents are, she worked diligently and seemed to enjoy it. I don't know how much she got out of it academically, but it kept her in touch with the idea of school and with the kind of activities one does there. Far from being a burden, it gave her something to do when she was at loose ends. Furthermore, the school hosted three evening events over the summer where kids could bring their workbooks and have them checked by teachers. They did some crafts and handed out root beer floats. It was, dare I say, fun.

And once again I am reminded that school/home and learning/vacationing are false dichotomies.

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