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I’m more confused than Rodney Dangerfield.

This afternoon I checked my voice mail and discovered a message from my daughter’s school. It was a kindly robo-call to remind me that my little girl starts school tomorrow morning. I knew that! It’s in my calendar … I checked to make sure… I forget a lot. I forget a lot.

The calendar reminded me of something. Yes, tomorrow is August the 10th. That seems so early for the school year to begin. Some schools have already started this week or even last week. A little sleuthing on the inter-webs taught me that a few systems even started in July! What’s going on? I remember the days when summer lasted until after Labor Day or at least until the end of August. It just seems to me the children are getting shafted out of big chunks of summer – a month or more in some places.


Photo by Piotr Lewandowski/FreeImages.

I checked on a historical hunch to confirm my own fading memory. I forget a lot. Ancient school calendars are somewhat rare so I couldn’t be picky with sources. I did find that, sure enough, in 1980 the Orange County (I didn’t bother with which Orange County) Public Schools started back the Tuesday after Labor Day – just like I remembered.

Further research revealed that there are still a number of systems that allow students to enjoy summer. These are mostly in the Northeast. I suppose there summers are shorter than most and so they let the kids enjoy it while they can. If I know anything about school calendar trends (and I don’t), then I suspect that more and more schools are starting earlier and earlier. At this rate, at some unspecified time in the future, American schools may only break for a summer weekend or maybe summer week.

Out of desperation I searched internationally. Scotland, England and Wales still start later in August (not sure about their calendar histories). Desperation turned to folly when I was forced to accept hemispherical adjustments. Due to the reverse of seasons down under, schools in Australia and New Zealand start back in January or February. Mind blown I returned to reality.

My little sweetie starts middle school (which used to be called JR. HIGH school!) tomorrow. I’m a little nervous for her or maybe for me. Maybe it’s a dad thing. Or a forgetful thing. I do know she’s looking forward to it all. Some of her old friends will be going to school with her, some won’t. She makes new friends easily; I know she’ll be happy. She’s also super-bright. We’ve never encountered any grade level changes that presented unexpected challenges (any challenges really); I suspect she could just as easily skip into high school (if it’s still called that).

She went to a terrific elementary school and this middle is top-ranked. It’s going to be a great experience.

I have been down on modern education on this site previously. However, there are decent schools out there. I just wished they started later than they do now. In my humble opinion school shouldn’t start until after Labor Day and should let out no later than just before Memorial Day. They should have a lot of breaks too. And shorter hours. Less homework. I’m a rebel.

Maybe a rebel without a cause. Maybe even a budding curmudgeon. Times have changed but I have not. Short summers. Four-cylinder engines. Remote controls. Mmmmmm. I hope my daughter has a blog some day so she can tell us why “daddy is wrong”. Unless, she turns rebel. One can only hope.

I realize I’m leaving off the entire subject of when schools are dismissed for summer break, now versus then. That will give me something to ramble about next year at the end of May … or is it the end of June?