Last day of school.  The kids were excited about that, especially since it is so much later than what they were used to.  Six weeks of vacation is nothing like 12.  Already, they’re wishing it was six years.  They have not realised that they may be involved in lifetime learning and now’s not the time to bring that up.[ad#ad-1]

Because summer vacation (or holiday) is so much shorter than in the US, I hope they learn to appreciate the time and make it worthwhile.  Though we had a TV in the US, it was one of those old analog models that cannot pick up signals very well without the use of cable or satellite.  So, it was only used to watch videos or DVDs.  Now, we no longer have a TV, but we do have laptops.  And they are hooked on YouTube.  I would hope they do not waste their time with that for the duration of this break.  But, they did mention they wanted to go to Nanny’s tomorrow because there was a movie on TV they wanted to see.  Sigh.

The school year is divided very differently from the US, and despite the half-term and end-of-term breaks, the number of days off for holidays is still far fewer than in the US.  It is so hard to gauge whether the increased school days translate into more or better education. 

Things have changed so much according to my husband and critics have complained that education has been dumbed down.  The method of teaching using various historical themes is very different.  This year, it has been WWII, the Tudors, the Romans and Anglo-Saxons.  For each period, they made “topic books” and they brought them home at the end of each term.  However, the last one is to be returned at the beginning of next year so that their new teacher can see it.  The topic books contain everything they did related to the period and it looks almost like a complete scrapbook.  It makes it so easy to save and store for future reference.[ad#ad-1]

The themed study made it fun and interesting for the girls and I’m glad they had that.  I have to say that I have been impressed with their writing.  I cannot comment much on their reading skills as assessed by the school.  I know they both have great reading skills but I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the lack of teacher-assigned reading as well as requisite reading for their level.  Let’s hope that the summer reading program will make up for that.

Having two bank holidays in May makes this month go by really fast.  I can’t believe it’s half-term already, and the kids had only been in school for 5 weeks this time.  Unfortunately, it will mean that the other half is much longer.  I’m unsure when school actually lets out this year.  If it’s as my husband suspects (July 24th), that will mean 8 weeks after the half-term.  I suspect it may be 1-2 weeks earlier, because they will be doing their Stagecoach performances on July 11th, and the school’s drama club will be presenting theirs the week of July 6th.  Anyhow, having two bank holidays also means that sometimes you can’t get things done in as timely a manner as you’d like, because businesses are closed (i.e., banks, post offices).[ad#ad-1]

On the other hand, it does mean lots of family fun events.  There will be two nearby fetes this Monday and I’d love to see them both, just to get a feel for them.  But, unfortunately, you might not get a very good feel for either if you don’t experience everything – and that takes time.  Ah, decisions, decisions.  It’s too bad that they’re both at the same time and they only last 3-4 hours.   Then, of course, we don’t even know if our daughter has gymnastics practice that day or if they’ll close for the day like last time.  Just as long as they don’t change the time because it is half-term – I wouldn’t want her to miss out on the fun.