anyone else STILL not back to school?

The kids and I are famous this week! We had our picture in the New York Times as part of Pamela Paul’s story about how the back-to-school process is creeping back ever earlier, like Christmas nipping at the heels of Halloween. I was quoted extensively about my current expertise: an extreme dislike of this commercial, a thirty-second Target back-t0-school spot which started airing twice a minute before the Fourth of July sparklers even went on sale. (Perhaps I’m mostly just envious of the residual checks that actress must be getting.)

To me, what is even more perplexing than the expanding back-to-school shopping season is how school itself is back in session earlier and earlier. According to the Times article,

In Baton Rouge, La., children traipsed back to campus on Aug. 8 in 90-degree-plus heat, the same day school opened in sunny Palm Bay, Fla. Parents in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles are still lamenting the lopping off of summer vacation after their school district decided to reel children in three weeks early, on Aug. 14.

In New York City, my children will start school September 10th, a full week after Labor Day. (I’m not counting the “orientation” the Friday before, which will involve as much travel time to and fro as it will time in the classroom.) That means my kids are starting a MONTH later than their  friends in Vero Beach, FL; three weeks later than their cousins in Omaha, NE; two weeks later than their cousins in Scranton, PA.

Based on my vast Facebook feed research, my kids are definitely the outliers. And I’m thrilled. Okay, yes, I’m ready to get my productive weekdays back. But it’s sunny and glorious and HOT outside, and I don’t think kids are supposed to go back to school until they’re so bored they’re cross-eyed. That’s the proper way of the world.

The other part of this that baffles me: my kids will be out of school around June 8th, 2013– and some of these same friends whose school years start earlier will still have schools in session for two or three weeks more. I’m not sure how my kids are getting away with such a relatively short school year on both ends.

Whatever happened to starting school after Labor Day? Whatever happened to August being part of the summer rather than part of the school year? When did your kids start school this year (or haven’t they)- and if your school district’s start dates are earlier than ever, how do you feel about that?


(Photo by Yana Paskova for the New York Times)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy at kissing the frog September 4, 2012 at 1:17 am

First of all, yay Omaha! That’s where I am. One district here starts super early, like the second week of August. My kids are in private school and they just started last Monday. I think the school year should be September to May with three solid months off. Super cute picture of your family, Btw.


amywlsn September 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Thanks Kathy! I’m with you, three months.


Mary Pat September 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Our kids aren’t back yet either! My 1st grader goes back tomorrow and my preschooler starts on Monday (both in the same NYC Archdiocesan Catholic school). The NYC public schools start tomorrow also and I think all Westchester schools start tomorrow or Thursday. I would HATE going back to school before Labor Day (I never did)….it’s seems inhumane!


amywlsn September 4, 2012 at 7:39 pm

I think so too, before Labor Day seems foreshortened. Wondering if the parents in those school districts like it just fine, though. anyone?


Maria Dileno Thompson September 4, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Mine started July 23rd– Love our schedule— We get 2 1/2 weeks of fall break coming up the first of October


amywlsn September 4, 2012 at 7:38 pm

now THAT is cool. Assuming parents don’t have to scramble for childcare those 2 weeks, it’s a great time to go on a family vacation- without the crowds


Stephanie Sprenger September 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Many schools that start early in August are out beginning of May…what is up with that? Why would anyone want their kids done with school weeks before Memorial Day? Summer is summer…June, July, August. That being said, I was dying for my first grader to return August 20.


kathykate September 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm

bitch as i may, i miss my kids when school starts. even tho’ older teens with their own jobs and lives during the summer months, i want to squeeze every bit of summer out of them, before calculus and sports and college prep takes over their lives.


Courtney September 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Publc schools are required to have a certain amount of days that kids are in school. Not sure if private schools do, but I’m sure they must? When I was a kid, we started the last week of August! But we were done mid-May!


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