What Happened to Summer Vacation?

I think my favorite thing about summer is going on vacation. When I was a child my parents took our family camping for at least two weeks in August to the lake. Every other summer we also took a long trip. Sometimes we went to Michigan to visit family. Other times we went to Oregon to Diamond Lake or to Yellowstone National Park in Montana. My sophomore year in high school was our last big trip as a family–my older sister was going into her senior year of high school and was planning her wedding that next summer. My dad hooked up our new fifth wheel trailer to the old truck and we drove all the way to British Columbia that August. It was a great trip with lots of wonderful memories–my mom and I still joke with each other about her always saying how “lush” everything was in Washington State!

What I don’t get is that summer seems to be getting shorter. I first noticed this trend when my oldest daughter went into high school a few years back. School use to get out the first week of June and they went back the first week of September. I planned my summer vacations around my birthday, which happens to be near the end of August, and we would take off and go to Santa Cruz or Idaho or camping for that week. Then one year school started up that same week. I had no idea and had to scramble to change plans. Then the next year it was a week earlier. I drove by a school just yesterday and it says the kids will be starting back up on the 8th of August!! Seriously?! Who wants to be in school and ride on non-air conditioned school buses in the hottest month of the year?!

I spoke with a friend who still has school-aged children (mine are in college now and those schedules just make no sense at all!) and she said her kids got out of school in mid May so now they have to go back earlier in the summer.

How do you plan for a vacation with your family when they keep pushing the dates around? August was always the time most families in my town took off to go camping or to Disneyland or whatever. Here in my part of California it gets pretty hot in August so we tried to go to the mountains for a couple of weeks to escape the heat. I was trying to plan a trip to the water park with my friend and her kids but realized we can’t go because they are all back in school!

I guess I just don’t understand the thinking on the part of the school boards. The kids aren’t getting any more days of education by moving the dates school gets in and gets out. Instead I think it just messes everyone up! I noticed that the water parks are closing down earlier in the year because the kids are back in school. This is crazy!! The hottest time of the year and I can’t go to the water park during the week?! I would think this hurts everyone’s bottom line. The businesses that depend on tourists in the summer now have to adjust to the whims of the schools in their area. How did this happen? And who thinks its a good idea?

What do you think? Does it really matter when the kids get out for the summer? Maybe I should just rethink the whole “summertime is for vacations” sort of thing and consider other times of the year to go places. When does YOUR family plan for vacation? Maybe I am just weird!!