Monday, March 5, 2012


When four years ago we decided to send Bean to a year round magnet school, the year round aspect was just frosting. The school has an arts focus which melds with her very well, and it backs up to our daycare, which is beyond convenient. The idea that it was year round was a plus at the time for the two reasons, we get to go on vacation when everyone is in school and it spread out the daycare bill. Paying summer daycare can be hard when you spend the whole year paying so much less, for us the bill gets spread out to break times so the seven to eight week summer isn’t quite so bad.

Unbeknownst to us there was another great advantage to year round school, the March track break. As winter starts to fad and the crazy Idaho spring starts to emerge little bodies get restless and being able to not focus on school for three weeks is a huge advantage. Track break tends to coincide with a number of larger projects coming due and kid and parent requirements for these projects are time consuming. Being able to just let all the learning of the last three months sort of sink in and have a lot of physical activity for those restless bodies, thanks daycare, makes the last push until summer break much more tolerable. The other thing I enjoy about track break is that it seems to logically separate out the studies for the year, something tells me the teachers are just great and doing this. Right now first grade is wrapping up their solids, liquids, or gas module and will start on living structures when they return from break, and I think third grade is wrapping up simple machines with the big invention convention this Friday.

For us break starts next week and we cannot wait. The idea of no regular homework that has to get done, no spelling words that need checking is just too exciting. Break doesn’t mean a full stop to any academics though; 20 minutes of reading is still required on what is usually school nights and I think we will be having a few lego build offs to keep our minds sharp. I have to say Bean is really good at always needing to start some new tutoring or therapy this time of year and getting a few weeks to transition into that while school isn’t going is always helpful.

The one drawback or issue with March break is that spring in Idaho is crazy; today the weather is expected to be 65 and tomorrow 32 with snow. Plans get canceled quick when it goes from 65 to 32, and the ground can go from dry to swamp land in minutes. March track break means lots more laundry since the kids are out playing in whatever the weather happens to be. Eventually when Bean is in junior high and Chicken is still in elementary I assume track break won’t be so great since the kids will be on different schedules, but I think we can hold on for two years while they are off schedule with one another.

What is your school schedule? Do you love it, hate it? Is your district trying anything new with schedules?

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