Stepping outside of our comfort zone is difficult. When it comes to school, one facet of this comfort zone is the traditional school year calendar. In the U.S., we’re accustomed to an academic year that consists of approximately nine months, made up of two semesters or four quarters. We generally have long holiday breaks and a two- to three-month summer, with various days off for teacher planning sprinkled throughout the year.
At 24/7 Learning Academy, we subscribe to a different philosophy about the ideal academic year. Radical though it may be in comparison to what we’re all used to, a year-round approach to schooling is beneficial for both students and parents. Here are five reasons we love learning all year long.
There’s no such thing as summer loss. If there’s no summer, there’s no way you can forget everything you learned all year! Parents and teachers alike notice the annual dip in retention and academic enthusiasm. None of our shorter breaks are long enough to result in a negative effect on a learner’s growth.
We operate in realistic (working world) time. One big letdown when you enter the working world is the fact that work continues year-round. Summer? Spring break? These things don’t exist out in the “real world.” Why not prepare students for the routine they will encounter as adults?
More hours in class translate into more instructional time. This may not be a plus in the eyes of students, but the more balanced year-round approach to scheduling allows for a greater quantity of teaching time. More time means faster academic progress, with less of a focus on meeting deadlines and checking off learning standards. We are fans of flex time, and this open schedule gives students and teachers alike the creative space they need.
It’s better for working parents. Summer is a working parent’s logistical nightmare. If you’re not scraping up coins to pay for summer camp, you’re shuffling the kids around to different caregivers every day. Imagine if the school year routine lasted all year! Even if your kids are homeschooled, this can be a lifesaver. We still believe in building in time for family vacations and rest, but the year-round school calendar is much easier on busy families than the old model.
You can create periods of focused work. Because the rhythm of work and rest is steady, learners can get more done. Knowing you have three or four weeks to get a project done, versus three or four months until summer break, can have a magical effect on motivation. Regular break periods create consistent positive anticipation, always having something to look forward to. It’s the same feeling you get when you know the weekend is coming; it’s a little easier to get things done!
Year-round school may sound like a bummer at first, but the benefits are far-reaching for the whole family, and for busy educators. Check out an example of how this looks for our onsite and virtual middle and high school students.