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The Nothing Break

Can't figure out why the kids were out of school last week? They can't, either.

"Dad? I'm bored. There's nothing to dooooo"

The whine heard around the world last week. Well, maybe it was just heard around Walton County, where schools were out for nearly two weeks. There is nothing particularly unusual about this time-tested line of complaint. School-age children the world over have found themselves feeling a little shiftless towards the end of the prolonged breaks of summer or Christmas. I'm pretty sure this dates back to "Little House on the Prairie" days.

What makes it odd this go round is that it is the middle of February. Mid-year school breaks used to revolve around a holiday, with the odd teacher workday thrown in every now and again. Spring break was the exception, the only seasonal break during the year - and it usually coincided with Easter. In between grades, there was always the long summer break.

These breaks all made sense...there was a reason to not be in school. Keeping young minds focused on studies through the excitement of Christmas time or while daydreaming about being at the beach or screaming down a Slip n' Slide can be difficult. Giving kids time to just be kids is a good idea. Honoring important benchmarks in history with a day off makes sense, too. During the Indian summers that pass for autumn in the south, a week in October isn't so bad, either. At least they can go outside and play.

But...February? What are they going to do in February? Not much. Valentine's Day is best observed in class. Handing out ackwardly worded cut-outs is a time-honered tradition. How else is a third grader going to let that pretty girl across the room know he thinks she's "valen-terrific!"

That's a big deal when you're 8. This year, it just didn't happen. They spent Valentine's Day on the couch, watching "Adventure time." Neither did any lead-up learning about the only actual holiday, President's Day, happen. Half of Black History Month passes with no instructional time. When I asked my kids if they knew why they were out of school, they didn't cite any of this. The answer I got was, well, nothing.

Nothing. Nada. No reason. Only reason I can figure is a back-doored year-round schedule. Why else whould they be plopped in front of the playstation during the bleakest month of the year, and shuffling to algebra in July?

The nothing break. I guess it's here to stay - and I wonder if I'm the only one who thinks this way.

Sherry Lambert February 21, 2012 at 12:57 PM
If you have a child who needs remediation you would appreciate this break for catch up during the year instead of waiting for summer school. It is also a wonderful time to take your children on a less expensive, less crowded vacation. Try somewhere you have never been, even locally there are places and things to see and learn. Many of these are free or minimal cost, check out GA tourism.
Gail Lane February 21, 2012 at 03:04 PM
We're in Gwinnett, so we don't have a dog in this fight, but I do have appreciation for its intent. When a child gets so far behind in school that they just can't catch up with the rest of their class, this is a time of more personalized instruction to help them finish up the semester/quarter/year. I think it is a pretty creative way of keeping those students up to task so they can learn the curriculum and not just be socially promoted to the next grade. My kids were all grumpy that they went to school in Gwinnett during this "holiday" time in Walton!
Grant February 21, 2012 at 03:12 PM
For the record it wasnt actually all that "bleak" outside around here during the break .
Sharon Swanepoel February 21, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Ah Grant, but that was the luck of the draw in this non-winter of winters.
Laurel Perry February 21, 2012 at 05:36 PM
It's my understanding that the county cancelled the true "intercession" schooling for middle & high schools due to the budget....I'm with Jeff, this 9 day "break" sucked, for parents and kids. My middle schooler has benefited in the past from instruction at inter session, but this year was just a long, dreary, seemingly unnecessary, break.

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