Back to Homeschool!
In the spirit of going back to school, or “back to homeschool” as homeschoolers, today’s post comes from our regular contributor, my son Josh. This was based on a speech he gave as the Toastmaster of our Speech Club a few years ago. He uses many more exclamation points in a speech because he is such a dynamic speaker.
With that Introduction, here’s Josh:
Toastmaster’s speech: Back to school
The history of summer vacation
You may have noticed that the “back to school” season is upon us. Makes you wonder if it was just coincidence that we didn’t see the sun for most of the beginning of August.
Of course, most of the people here are homeschooled, so you don’t really know what back to school or back to homeschool means. You’re probably thinking, “Who takes the summer off from school?”
So, today I’ll be talking about how and why summer vacation came about, why school starts when it does, and some specifics about local, national and foreign back to school dates.
Most people think schools have summer vacations because “way back when”, kids were needed on the farm in the summer. So they couldn’t school. And school terms were designed give the kids time off to help their families.
This is actually a myth!
In the early 1800’s, school in rural America was made up of two fairly short semesters, one in the winter and one in the summer.
That’s right! Kids went to school in the summer, because summer is actually one of the least busiest times in farming.
It was during spring and fall that kids stayed home to help out on the farm, because that’s when there was the most work to do.
The origin of summer vacation actually lays in the city schools.
In urban areas during the 18th century, school was open basically year round with on average more than 200 days of school per year.
Some schools in Detroit had 260 days of school per year!
However attendance was not compulsory.
Due to the urban heat island effect, cities naturally amplified the summer heat. Remember, this was before air conditioning, so the sweltering heat turned buildings in to ovens.
Affluent city dwellers fled the city for the cooler countryside taking their kids with them. This left city school rooms during the summer at least half empty.
When state and federal governments started creating a universal school system, they arranged the school year around the urban schools and cut summer out of the school year entirely.
The rural schools wanting to conform with the urban schools eventually adopted a similar school year.
Local and National comparisons today
In general, school lets out around June and starts around September.
In Colorado, public school starts a little earlier – in most districts mid to late August. Here in Fort Collins the school year starts this week on August 18, with some charter schools starting as early as August 11th.
In Denver, school starts next Monday. You have to pity the kids in public school in Douglas County, which is south of Denver, because for them school started last week, on August 8.
East Coast always started around Labor Day, as far I remember. There’s about a month variation, but usually most schools are started around the end of summer.
End of Speech
That was a short little speech because a “Toastmaster” is like the Master of Ceremonies and so only gets a few minutes to set the theme and then introduce the speaker.
And have fun on your first day back. If you’re a homeschool mom, be sure to set up your first parent-teacher conference.
Here’s a list of 50 Ways to make the first day of homeschooling fun from Heidi at the Unexpected Homeschooler to help you have some fun that first day.
For more posts on learning public speaking in high school: