Activities During Holiday Essay

The other day as I walked by my kids, who were, as usual, watching an episode of The Office with one eye and looking at something on another iDevice with the other one, it struck me that summer is almost over and this is pretty much what they’ve been doing for the past 60 days. 

Super impressive, right?

I imagined their new teachers asking them what they did over the summer and the only answer of real value that they’d be able to give would be, “flossed.”

When I taught fourth grade (way back when cell phones were the size of bread loaves before we really knew what Clinton did with his cigars) I’d have my students write a letter on the first day of school telling me how they spent their summer.

Real original, I’m aware, but it gave me a little bit of insight into what kinds of kids my new students were by letting me know what they liked to do and how they spent their non-school time. 

So the other day I got to wondering what my girls’ letters would look like if they’d been students in my class.

And what I came up with sure as hell would have given me insight.

What I Did on my Summer Vacation

by my kids

This summer was awesome. I did a ton of cool things and learned a lot.  

In June I got a new SIMS game where you can make mermaids and go scuba diving in the ocean! I spent lots of time every day making new characters and watching them get mauled by sharks. It was super educational. Who knew that sharks are just as likely to attack a mermaid as they are a human? And that mermaids bleed red blood? I also designed some cool houses. Like 183 of them. Since I’m thinking of one day designing giant houses with many rooms that do not connect and backyards that contain every recreational item there possibly is, it was time well spent. 

As you can imagine, social media took up a lot of my time. I made sure to keep up with #selfiesunday, #mancandymonday, #transformationtuesday and #throwbackthursday every week on Instagram, and also found time to post lots and lots of photo collages of cute baby animals. I had fun making absurdly short and meaningless videos on Vine and Instagram, and even more fun becoming proficient at the app “VideoStar”, where I made a bunch of funny videos of myself singing along to my favorite songs. I also Snapchatted myself doing all kinds of interesting things like drinking frappuccinos, staring at my phone screen, and holding my cat. #technology

It was exhausting keeping up with the boys from One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer as they made their way across the United States on their tour, but I managed to keep track of them 24/7 by following their constant Twitter updates. And even though I went to their concert and got to see them LIVE, I still found it necessary and an important use of my time to watch fuzzy YouTube videos and look at pictures that other people took at the concerts in different cities until my eyes bled.  

I also kept up with Desiree’s compelling and dramatic love life on The Bachelorette each week. I learned a lot about insincere and dishonest guys, tight abs, and that settling for second best is perfectly fine if the guy is offering you a four carat diamond ring. 

In mid-July our good family friends came to visit and my friend Abby introduced me to The Office. I was instantly obsessed! We watched most of the first season together and then I binge-watched the rest of the entire series in about three weeks. That’s 201 episodes! I was proud of my stamina and perseverance! 

I caught up on a lot of sleep this summer. Even though I stayed up until the wee hours practically every night, I slept in until 10 or 11 a.m. Don’t worry! And the best thing about sleeping until almost lunchtime is that you can eat half a box of Reese’s Puffs in one sitting and it counts as both breakfast and lunch (and if you tweet that out you get a lot of retweets!). 

So as you can see, my summer was very exciting and productive. Other than having a totally fun time, I really learned a lot about myself: 11 hours is the perfect amount of sleep for me, I want to marry a guy just like Jim, and I take a really good selfie with my cat. 

Sigh.

As you can see, they’re gonna make a super positive first impression in a couple of weeks. 

*Disclaimer*

While everything in the above “essay” is (sadly) true, my girls did spend time doing a few other things this summer: they read a ton of books, tubed on the lake with each other every weekend, wrote new stories as well as continued working on books they started writing last summer, hung out with friends, hung out with me and their dad, and, most importantly—as next summer my 17yo will be flying the coop and going to college—they spent quality time with each other. And if that QT involves laughing hysterically at The Office together for hours on end, then that’s just fine with me. 

Okay, fine, it doesn’t. But it will bring you welcome distraction from whatever it is you are currently avoiding doing by being on the computer.  

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Hey. Could you guys critique my writing? Be as nasty as you can, ok :p ?

I'd also like your opinion on something. To improve my writing, would working on editing this essay be better, or should I write something new, perhaps another essay, in order to work on writing well the first time around? I sort of feel working on another essay would be better, because I'm kind of bored of working on this one.

Should schools countinue to give students two months break every year or should school divide the two months throughout the year?

Every year many students look forward to the day when the two months holiday from school starts. For some students, the two months break from school is a period of happiness, and a well deserved reprieve from school. For some students, the two months break from school is a period of boredom, as they have an abundance of free time, and are perplexed at what to do with it. These situations prompt the question, is giving students two months break from school every year a good idea? The answer is no, because there is a better option, the option of having two months break interspaced throughout the year instead of consecutively. Giving two months break from school interspaced throughout the year in comparison with giving it consecutively would allow students to have more time to spend on homework and other activities, allow students to be more relaxed and recharged for school, and allow students to retain more of their learning.

Making school year round would give many benefits to students. Assuming there is no increase in workload from the ten months school schedule to the year round schedule, this would allow students in the year round schedule to have more free time by having four days of school per a week instead of the five days of school per week in the ten months schedule. Having more free time during the school year allows students to have more time to spend on homework, studying, and working on projects, which results in less stress. As well, having one day less of school per week than the ten month school schedule in the year round schedule allows students to spend more time on other activities without negatively affecting their school performance. However, giving more time to students is only beneficial if students are using that time on productive activities. It is then recommended that before students have their three day weekends, schools should encourage their students to use the extra time they will have per week on productive activities. Only until most students are engaging in productive activities, the benefits of giving extra time to students per week can be realized. All in all, these are some of the benefits that could be reaped if school was made year round.

There are additional benefits to the ones described previously for students having school year round rather than having school for ten months. In the ten month schedule, there is less utilization per break to be relaxed and recharged for school than in the year round schedule. This is because the two months break in the ten months schedule is given consecutively. When a break is given consecutively the value of each successive break decreases, because there is gradually a point when you're fully relaxed and ready to attend school again, and as a result, any further break gives little to none additional value in relaxation and reenergization for school. This is avoided in the year round schedule. The three days of consecutive break given in the year round schedule is used almost to its full potential, because the break given is about the optimal time needed one needs to be recharged and ready for school again. Another effect avoided in the year round schedule, but not the ten months schedule, is the side effect of students forgetting parts of what they have learned. In the two months consecutive break, most students' knowledge and learning weakens due to lack of use. When those students return to school, teachers have to review and refresh those students' knowledge on previous topics, which wastes time that could be used for other learning. All in all, students would be able to learn more and become more productive if school was year round.

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