"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.