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Are summer holidays outdated?

(92 Posts)
emkana Mon 03-Sep-07 23:07:55

So Caitlin Moran says in the Times today. She says they would never be invented now and are a relic (sp?) of the time when children had to help bring in crops etc. Totally impractical nowadays with work etc.

But I would hate for my children not to have that experience of six weeks stretching ahead of them...

I think summer holidays should stay.

LaCod Mon 03-Sep-07 23:08:14

ah we had no paper today
soudns a pile of shit htough

handlemecarefully Mon 03-Sep-07 23:09:11

She sounds totally deranged.

portonovo Tue 04-Sep-07 09:37:31

No, keep them I say. Although I can see the advantages of the year structure some schools have adopted, where you only have 4 weeks in the summer but a full fortnight in the October half-term and again in Feb. That would still give you a good long summer break, but a bit more of a break at other times too.

Our LEA has tinkered a bit with the calendar, but with no huge changes. So we now have 5 1/2 weeks off in the summer, and about a week and a half in October. So neither one thing nor the other really.

mummytojess Tue 04-Sep-07 09:39:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tiredemma Tue 04-Sep-07 09:44:16

Do you remember as a child how excited you would be knowing that you had SIX weeks off school?

I quite like the idea though of having two weeks in oct and two weeks in feb, but its bad enough trying to find childcare as it is with the current holidays.

MrsSpoon Tue 04-Sep-07 09:45:56

No the holidays should stay, however in the area of Scotland we are in I have noticed that we have a week less in summer than neighbouring local authorities and two weeks in October which we like because we usually go on holiday in october.

paolosgirl Tue 04-Sep-07 09:49:35

To buck the trend here, I'd vote for them to change to shorter, more frequent holidays throughout the year. I know the thought of 6 weeks was fabulous when I was little, but I also know that after about 4 weeks I was bored. 6 weeks in this day and age with the vast majority of parents working is impractical and expensive. C Moran has the right idea.

tarantula Tue 04-Sep-07 09:52:18

But 6 weeks isnt even taht long at all. We got two months in primary and 3 MONTHS (June july and aug) in secondary (unless you were doing exams which you had to go back into school in June). Now thats a long holiday Sheer bliss it was

I couldnt believe when I came over here and found kids only got 6 weeks. Mind you we did a longer school day

miljee Tue 04-Sep-07 12:20:25

I haven't read Caitlin but this issue comes up quite regularly.

I'd vote 100% for shorter, more frequent holidays. Both my DSs regressed at least one term during the summer hols between reception and year 1 (or DS2 would have done unless, mindful of DS1's experience, I hadn't kept up the daily reading etc during the holiday!). We've now had 4 summer holidays and it's been my experience that 4 weeks would have been ample. By week 5, frankly, they're getting bored and snappy with each other. The novelty has well and truly worn off and it'd be easy to spend, spend, spend your way out of their ennui. THEN, of course, you have to tackle the exhausted 5 year old on a 7 week long half term that is the consequence of long, 'infrequent' holidays.

Below the age of say, 9, a child, (in my opinion!), really has no concept of what 'six weeks' feels like.

How about 2 weeks off at the beginning of June, then August off? Wouldn't that increase the chances of catching some good weather SOMEWHERE along the line?

As a parent, of course I liked having 6 weeks off the routine and the chaos of a school day morning on the days I wasn't working but I sure got tired of those days we had to be out of the house a good hour earlier than a school day to drive the boys half way across counties to childcare arrangements before I got anywhere near MY work! AND the boys frankly got a tad bored with the 28 quid a day each holiday club they were attending. I appreciate I'd have to do the racing around anyway in that I'm not proposing fewer holiday, BUT they'd be broken up throughout the school year and not be the one long 'grind' that they can be now.

A friend of mine has 2x DSs at private prep. She ruefully concludes that the incredible pressure her boys are under during the school term of 8.30-4pm days, an hour's homework, half an hour's music practise etc etc at least prepares them to be just like daddy in the ridiculous hours he works to fund the whole shooting match! How she wishes they had less full-on pressure in their wildly condensed terms and she had less of the 8 weeks she has to 'entertain' them over the summer. But I'm really talking about the state sector as she accepts she's made her choice.

Finally, are we not in the 21st century? The school holidays were built around the seasons of the agricultural and observant Christian year. Could it not now be renegotiated?

Chickhick Tue 04-Sep-07 12:22:24

No they should stay! I think I would home educate if they were scrapped.

miljee Tue 04-Sep-07 12:23:22

AND I have to say to Tarantula- 6 weeks isn't long? Our kids get 13 weeks leave all up, so their summer holidays alone are a week longer than my entire annual leave entitlement here in the UK and are 4 weeks longer than the average American's!!

miljee Tue 04-Sep-07 12:26:19

And Mrs Spoon, sorry to be possibly a bit rude, but haven't you contradicted yourself a bit? "No they should stay! Oh, except for the improvement of a week less in summer, a week more in October" ... Isn't that what we're talking about? Renegotiating the timing of the holidays to allow things like 2 week October breaks or 2 week Whitsun breaks?!

nutcracker Tue 04-Sep-07 12:26:59

I would love them to change it to 2 weeks in Feb and Oct and 4 in the summer. Four I can cope with, 6 I can not.

Dinosaur Tue 04-Sep-07 12:27:21

I think they should be longer. By the time our children get their "summer" holidays, summer's half over! All the children in Ireland have been on holiday for over a month by the time English schools break up.

expatinscotland Tue 04-Sep-07 12:29:14

I agree with Nutty, 4 weeks is enough.

francagoestohollywood Tue 04-Sep-07 12:35:01

Growing up in Italy I've always had nearly 3 months of holidays over the summer. As a child, it was bliss. As a working parent less so...

tigerschick Tue 04-Sep-07 12:38:33

There was an idea being considered by several LEAs a few years ago whereby you have 2 weeks in October, 2 at Christmas, 1 in February, 2 April and June and then 4 weeks in August. They were also talking about fixing the April one instead of having a 'floating' fortnight to tie in with Easter. Then, when Easter fell outside the 2 weeks, it would just be a long weekend.
This makes alot more sense to me, especially the fixing of the Soring holiday as with Easter always moving you can end up with anywhere from 4 weeks to 7 weeks between February and Easter or Easter and Whitsun.

tigerschick Tue 04-Sep-07 12:39:21

Spring holiday

Peachy Tue 04-Sep-07 12:43:52

from my perspective it would be a nigtmare, as I struggle with care over half term etc (when i dont get time off Uni), whereas I get a long summer- there ahs to be some level of tie in between Universities and schools, there are a LOT of student aprents out there!

miljee Tue 04-Sep-07 12:53:23

This is a part of it:

"With the children going back to school this week, most parents will be standing in the middle of a trashed house, knocking back a small gin with a practised air, and whispering: “It’s for my nerves.” Delightful though some aspects of having the children around for nearly two months are, it is ultimately pointless while parents don’t get nearly two months off. It simply means children spend a great wedge of summer being shuttled between relatives, childminders and play schemes of varying popularity. (One poignant cry I heard in Woolworth’s was: “But I hate Junior Stomp!”) With the 21st century free of summer crops for children to gather in, and both parents, more often than not, working, the holidays are one of those things you can file under “they’d never invent them now”. Their continuing presence is almost surreal – like getting an e-mail asking you if you’d like to attend a witch-ducking."

juuule Tue 04-Sep-07 13:00:55

I love the summer holiday, always have. I agree with Tarantula, 6 weeks isn't long enough.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 04-Sep-07 13:23:36

I also love it, we have all loved the freedom of the holiday and I love that DS loved it so much! However I realise that is because when DH and I had run out of leave, we could rely on my mum to have ds, so I'm very spoilt I know; I may feel differently if ds had had to spend six weeks at a playscheme.

I can totally, totally relate to standing in a trashed house though grin With someone having been home every day for the whole holiday, it's had a hammering and is just so shabby. I love it when we're all out of the house and it stays TIDY!

portonovo Tue 04-Sep-07 13:24:40

tigerschick, this is basically what our county and neighbouring ones are doing, but as yet they haven't been quite as radical - probably a bit scared to!

So, October is a week and a half-ish, rather than the full fortnight. The 'Easter' holiday is now a 'spring' holiday, so 2008 we get a long weekend for Easter, then back to school, then a fortnight off in April. Apparently though, approx 8 out of 10 years Easter will actually fall within the spring holiday.

Summer is still 5 weeks or 5 1/2, so really not enough change to make it worthwhile. For example, I have friends who would want to take a fortnight's holiday in October, or one week away and still have a week at home, but the new break is not quite long enough for that.

On balance, I would prefer the 4 weeks in summer and the other 2 weeks redistributed. Simply so the holidays are spread out more throughout the year. However, I don't actually dislike the 6 weeks or find them a hassle, we manage to amuse ourselves fairly well. The piece from the article quoted by Miljee bears no resemblance to my experience, thankfully. Funnily enough, when my youngest went back to primary school yesterday, most of the parents in the group I was chatting to were bemoaning the fact that the holidays were over, had gone too quickly etc etc.

Mercy Tue 04-Sep-07 13:27:06

I think 6 weeks is too long as well. Tigerschick's post makes sense imo (I thought I used to have 3 weeks holiday at Easter when I was primary school?)

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