MICHAELA GIBSON MORRIS: Is summer half over or half begun?

Halfway through June, summer seems to stretch far to the horizon. School seems far away. Or so I thought.
“Is it still summer?” my 5-year-old asked.
“Technically, it’s not summer until June 21, but you wouldn’t know it by the weather,” I told him.
He just looked at me quizzically because I wasn’t answering his question.
My kids were fresh from two weeks of vacation at Nana’s house. There, they could sleep as late as they wanted, play with cousins and watch cartoons in bed. A new adventure was planned almost every day.
Our little man and his sister were happy to be home, but he was not too sure what Monday would bring.
“Do I have to go back to school?” he asked.
Not back to school yet, but definitely back to a routine.
For the kids, the rest of their vacation will involve a summer day camp. They won’t get to sleep as late as they want to, because mom and dad have to get to work.
While there will be an adventure every day, it won’t be on the same scale. Instead of cousins, there will be lots of friends – old and new – to make the days go faster.
It’s not the same free-range summer from my childhood, where I rode my bike to swim team practice or explored the fields surrounding our subdivision.
But I also spent too much time in front of the TV and drove my mother insane picking fights with my sisters and complaining about boredom. She was happy to find some housework for me to do to remedy the situation.
Both then and now, I know that while the end of summer seems way down the road, the start of the school year will quickly arrive. Within a few weeks, I’ll be watching for deals on school supplies and drilling kids on the alphabet and multiplication tables.
Some folks feel school begins too early, and it’s hard to argue that starting the first week of August isn’t cutting into summer.
They worry that kids and families are overscheduled and that the shrinking summer means less time to breathe. They argue schools could save money on utilities by not starting so early.
As part of a family with two parents who work outside the home, it’s attractive to us to have shorter breaks during the rest of the year even if it means giving up a week or two of summer vacation.
As someone who cares about student achievement, I know the shorter the break, the less learning children lose when they head back to school.
I’m not sure there’s a point where you can find perfect balance between summer and school for everyone.
But I do know, as we’ve experienced so far this summer, August weather can show up in June.
Michaela Gibson Morris is a Daily Journal staff writer. Contact her at (662) 678-1599 or michaela.morris@djournal.com.

Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

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