Clarksville, TN – For millions of students, summer vacation is quickly coming to a close. But the summer vacation hasn’t always been the birthright of American schoolchildren. In the early 1800s, rural schools operated from December to March and from mid-May to August.
The idea was that in early America, children and adults alike helped with planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall. Urban schools, meanwhile, operated nearly year-round.
Eventually, the two calendars were combined to provide for more continuous instruction, and the summer emerged as the best time for a break for professional (the teachers needed the break), economical (the school year blended well with the agrarian calendar) and health reasons (physicians had concerns about disease and the summer heat).
Around the world, school years differ country to country. Australia, being in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoys its summer vacations in December and January. In France, school runs from August to June and is divided into four seven-week terms with two-week vacations in between. Mexico’s school year is similar to the U.S.’s, but some schools offer a morning session from 7:00am to 1:00pm and an evening session from 2:00pm to 8:00pm.
Students in Brazil have the most envious schedule, however. Despite an 11-month schedule, a school day there runs from 7:00am to noon, at which time the kids go home to enjoy lunch with their families and, presumably, prepare for the next full morning of school.
Best keep that last one to yourself, unless you want your young student begging to move to Rio.
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