Last Sunday, Washington Post staff writer Brigid Schulte made the argument for year-round school in America ("Kids Love Year-Round School," Oct. 25 Forum). Her stance was based largely on the assumption that more time in our schools and with our teachers will guarantee higher performance by our children. As the parent of three children, all under the age of 8, I disagree.
The education of a child is bigger than simple math facts and the memorization of science theories. It should be a holistic journey from childhood to adulthood - from a carefree life where Mom and Dad are responsible for everything to maturity where they are responsible for themselves and others.
Summers provide the opportunity for kids to experience important lessons that cannot be taught in the classroom. Activities such as scouting, Bible school, athletic camps, summer jobs and programs provided by our museums and colleges provide kids the opportunity to learn life lessons.
As a teenager, I worked in a grocery store during the summer. The lessons I learned in that environment are still with me. The things my oldest son learned at Cub Scout summer camp this year, and in future years, will help form his character.
Other countries may lead on math and science, but America continues to lead on innovation and leadership. Perhaps it is because our children have a more well-rounded education including the time to develop the creativity, initiative and independence not typically found other places in the world.
Perhaps the most damaging reality of a year-round schedule would be a reduction in family interaction. While many in Washington may believe that education begins in a state-run school, it should begin and end at home. Parents should always be a child's primary teacher.