Summer Break Pros and Cons

Students and teachers all anxiously await summer. Whether you love school or not, most people would never sacrifice their summer break. 

Some education experts argue that summer break shouldn’t be something we do, though. Instead, people often think we should switch to year-round school. That means you go to school no matter what season it is, with small breaks that would add up to a summer break. 

Why rest is important:

A-List, an educational website, wrote that summer break is important because it gives students and teachers time to rest and recharge. After a long block of students worrying about assignments, tests, and projects, it’s refreshing to wake up and not do. . .anything. Teachers need that as well; most teachers have to sacrifice time at home to finish grading things or finishing slide shows. They need time to have fun with their friends, families, and significant others just as much as the students. 

Julia Blasey, the school psychologist, mentioned that summer is a great time for students and teachers to regain healthy sleeping habits, so long as they don’t spend the night playing video games. 

Learning loss: wasted time in the beginning of the school year

Matthew Yglesias, a writer for Slate, begs to differ. In his article, “Summer Vacation is Evil,” he pointed out a few flaws in the school schedule. 

A 2011 RAND literature review concluded that the average student “loses” about one month’s worth of schooling during a typical summer vacation,” Yglesias noted. 

For example, you may have walked out of school having recently learned how to do an algebra question and come back not knowing what a variable is. Dr. Blasey referred to it as the “summer slump” or “summer slide,” saying it can impact some students more than others.

Low-income parents are often too preoccupied with providing food and shelter, and they don’t have the time or the money to attend to their child’s educational needs outside of the academic year. It’s believed that as many as 66 percent of teens do not have access to summer educational opportunities,” The Resilient Educator wrote in an article titled “Why the Summer Learning Gap is Bad for Students.” 

This learning loss can cause problems coming back in the fall, as teachers have to waste a few weeks reviewing things in the beginning of the school year. If there are students who need extra help, it can be hard for them to keep up with the material being taught. That can make school even more stressful. 

Health benefits and pros of summer break

Depending on your priorities, however, summer break isn’t all bad.  According to Janet Mizrahih, who wrote “Enjoy Your Summer Break-Science Says It’s Ok,” skipping summer break can also cause problems. 

 “Science backs this up, and it all has to do with stress,” pointed out Mizrahih. “Stress builds up over the course of the year and can be so toxic that it leads to burnout. It can even lead to poor digestion, anxiety, depression, and irritability.” She also mentioned that, “Taking time off even appears to be good for your heart. Better sleep is yet another result of vacations—because vacations change up our habits, they reset our sleeping patterns, so we sleep better.”

Dr. Blasey also focused on the lack of stressors during the summer. 

“You don’t have all the pressure of school and all of the after-school activities and things that you try to fit into your week a lot of the time during the school year. So that can lower the stress levels.” Blasey explained.  “You also have more time to do fun activities. That can be really good for both physical and mental health.”

Summer also gives kids a chance to explore other things that are just as important as what we learn in school. Yes, I’m sure algebra may come in handy, and there is a reason we need to know the history of our country and the world, but what about painting, archery, or even gaming? What about learning to connect with people through Summer camp? Not all schools will have electives that entirely fit your interest, and even if they do, you may not get the one you want. Having a break to relax, meet new people, and explore hobbies and interests can make you happier. It also can make you easier to talk to and give you a better social life, possibly even helping you realize what you want to do when you’re older. 

Rest of cons

Emotionally speaking, there might be a few drawbacks to summer, though.  

“I think one of the biggest things is there’s a lot less structure to your days,” Blasey pointed out. “Sometimes it can be hard if you just wake up and it feels like there’s nothing that you need to do, nowhere you need to go. It can be easy to kind of fall into a little bit of a slump, mental health-wise.”

 To resolve this, Dr.Blasey suggested that you build activities into your day and your week that you have to look forward to so that you do not feel like every day is just the same.” 

Another problem might include a lack of access to affordable breakfasts and lunches provided by the school system. The Resilient Educator article also pointed out that kids who mainly get food through the free lunch programs may become malnourished and lose an unhealthy amount of weight during the summer.      

Wrap up

Though Summer is seen as a controversial topic, no one can argue with the fact students and teachers—and just anyone who has a job—needs a few breaks here and there to reset themselves. Summer can have many health benefits, and the cons, in most instances, don’t outweigh the pros. The best thing we can do is appreciate our break while also studying every now and then.