It is December, which means that winter break is quickly approaching. While short breaks of less than four weeks provide great opportunities to celebrate holidays with family and rest after semesters, spending too much time away from school can be detrimental to students’ academic growth. The traditional school year in the United States involves a 10-12 week-long summer break from approximately June-August, long believed to be rooted in a pre-Civil War agrarian tradition of working on farms in the summer to prepare for the autumn harvest. Over time, however, this myth has been debunked since there is little evidence that children from farming communities left school for the summer. Instead, evidence suggests that the origin of the summer vacation lies in the rise of urban living in the 19th century, with middle- and upper-class families fleeing densely-populated cities in the summer to spend time in the cool countryside or by the beach. Regardless of the historical beginnings of this tradition, it is essential to assess the overall impact of the traditional American school year on a child’s academic growth.
The majority of school districts in the United States (and many education systems around the world) follow a traditional school calendar that gives students a roughly 3-month summer vacation. But is this the best model for students? Year-round schooling, which gives students the same amount of time off as the traditional model, just broken up into shorter time periods throughout the year, has been shown to provide numerous benefits to students. Some of these benefits include stronger retention of skills from year to year, closer relationships between teachers and students, and more consistent support for low-income families.
Year-round schooling eliminates this potential for 20%+ learning loss over an extensive break. Most year-round school schedules have a break of no more than 30 days every season, allowing students to have healthy breaks from learning without compromising their academic development. This more balanced approach gives students more frequent “brain breaks,” which is more beneficial than extended time off with an inconsistent schedule. Students also have more of a chance to accelerate their learning because teachers have to embed less review between the spring and the fall. The academic benefits of year-round schooling are numerous, but they are not the only benefits to students, families, and teachers.
Fostering Relationships Between Students and Schools
Year-round schooling requires less distance between students and teachers so that teachers can foster closer relationships with students and their families throughout the school year. Parent-teacher conferences fall at more regular intervals, which gives parents and teachers more opportunities to work together to reach academic goals. Students can also develop closer relationships with each other, preventing back-to-school anxiety of a brand new school year with the daunting task of making new friends. Finally, year-round schooling also gives students more opportunities to invest in school-based extracurricular activities on a consistent basis, so they can continue to hone their skills inside and outside of the classroom. Some of the extracurricular activities that can benefit from consistent support and practice are athletics, musical pursuits, and artistic endeavors like theatre and fine arts. This way, year-round schooling can benefit the “whole child.”
Support for Students from Low-Income Families
Finally, year-round schooling benefits students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. For students that qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunch, consistent schooling year-round allows parents to spend roughly the same amount on food throughout the year instead of spending more on meals during the summer months. For parents who need after-school childcare options, school-based programs are more consistent year-round, so they don’t need to spend as much time and money finding extended extracurricular activities over the summer, such as camps and trips. Finally, students that need individualized tutoring support can benefit more regularly throughout the school year, particularly with after-school homework help. Thus, we can see that students and families can benefit from year-round schooling academically, personally, and financially.
Year-Round Schooling with Afficient Academy
Even if your child’s school district follows a traditional schedule (which it likely does), your family can still benefit from year-round schooling with Afficient Academy. Afficient Academy’s math and English programs provide your children with personalized, rigorous, and engaging curriculum throughout the year. Our free diagnostic test pinpoints your child’s instructional levels in math, vocabulary, and English language arts and allows them to fill skill gaps and accelerate their learning at their own pace, all with the help of an in-person or online instructor. If your child would benefit from a more structured approach to learning, we also offer grade-level and test-prep classes throughout the year, based on need and demand. Interested in exploring year-round schooling with Afficient Academy? Give us a call at 408-726-2245 or send us an email at email@example.com.