The View From Here

The Top Five Reasons School Should Not Start in August

By Amy Sue Nathan

School starts in August in many school districts across the country (ours on August 20th), and that’s just plain wrong.

First of all, it’s a Wednesday.

If administrators are going to start school in what is ostensibly only the third-quarter of summer, then the least they can do is do it on a Monday.  That way working moms will save on a whole week of child care.  Stay-home moms can get a full-week’s jump start on the projects or coffee klatches that have been buried under the sand since June.  It’s a teaser.  Sure, we’ll take your kids and keep ‘em safe and educate them and all… but we’re only going to do it for three days.  We know how much you miss them after having been with them every single day all summer.

Second, an annual rite of passage is obsolete.

Nope, no leisurely shopping for school clothes on a Tuesday when we could whiz in and out of stores and maybe even squeeze in a food court lunch.  No siree.  Since the change of season will happen eventually, everyone will need new clothes.  But not when it’s 90 degrees and humid. No one wants to try on leggings and hoodies when all they’ll have to do for the first day of school is smooth out a T shirt and make sure the rubber isn’t too worn down on the flip flops.

Third, school supplies become a summer obsession.

In contrast to Fall clothing, school supplies can be purchased in the summer. Plus, right after Easter, stores start stocking the shelves and the Type A moms can smell the scented erasers from a mile away.  They’re scouring the stores for spiral notebooks, and counting out pocket-folders to last through the year.  They’re sifting through the Crayolas to make sure their kids don’t end up with two Periwinkles. If school started just a little later, maybe some of us laid-back moms (i.e. procrastinators, as I’d hate to say slackers) would have a chance of picking up something besides a cute kitten folder and white #2 pencils.

Fourth, end of summer vacations are out-of-the-question.

My kids start school and hotel prices plummet.  It’s now low-season almost everywhere you’d want to go on a family trip.  Every amusement, adventure, beach and sightseeing getaway offers deals now.  And we can’t go.  We can go, however, over Winter or Spring Break, or in June or July, when luckily prices are higher and we can more generously contribute to the economy.  Just doin’ my job.

Last but not least, Labor Day is null and void.

Remember when Labor Day marked the end of summer and not just another sale at Mattresses-R-Us?  The pools closed, the ice cream truck made its last round and school started the next day.  We loaded up the backpacks while our moms packed away the summer whites.  Now, Labor Day is a three-day-weekend complete with homework.  End of summer as an event is gone – the last hurrah – the final friendly barbeque with friends and family all just fade away like a summer romance… even when it’s still light out at 8pm.

Amy Sue Nathanís debut novel, The Glass Wives, will be published by St. Martinís Press in Spring 2013. In addition to The Imperfect Parent, Amyís stories and essays have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times online, The Washington Post online, The Huffington Post, Chicago Parent, Grey Sparrow Journal, Rose and Thorn Journal, Scribblers On The Roof, The Verb, Hospital Drive Journal and The Stone Hobo. She is also a freelance fiction editor, a reader for literary agents, and Secretary of the RWA-WF Chapter. In 2011 Amy launched Womenís Fiction Writers, a blog focusing on the authors, business and craft of traditionally published womenís fiction.

Amy lives near Chicago and is the mom of a son in college, a daughter in high school, and two rambunctious rescued dogs. You can follow her on Twitter @AmySueNathan where she tweets about writing, books, parenting, and chocolate.


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