Monday morning after half term and we’ve had to drag ourselves out of bed and try to restart the usual weekly routine. They will come home from school tonight and tell me about all the wonderful things their friends have been doing over half term.
My instagram has been full of photos of all the fun and educational things our friends have been up to over the past week. My newsfeed has been providing me with endless suggestions of ways I could entertain my daughters. Clearly I should have organised at least a few daily activities. However what we have mainly been doing is absolutely nothing! We made it to the cinema one afternoon and managed to meet up with some friends on another day. The rest of the time the kids didn’t get out of their pyjamas all day. The only housework that got done was the bare minimum possible to keep us fed and healthy. I refuse to feel guilty about our sloth though.
The youngest one has just finished her SATS and needed to recover from the insane amount of pressure the school has put her under. The oldest one has also been busy with a hundred and one things these last few weeks. I seem to have been chasing around non-stop trying to get everyone and everything where it needed to be. So what we all needed was a bit of downtime – ‘flopping’ as it is known in our house.
I refuse to feel guilty about our inactivity. Surely the whole point of school holidays is to unwind and de-stress the children? When we have a fortnight holiday at the end of term I do plan activities but even then I schedule in several days of doing nothing. Relaxing around the house with nothing demanding to be done is the ultimate luxury as far as we are concerned. In my opinion, sending my kids back to school relaxed and full of energy is of far more benefit to them than any activity I could have organised. In many ways, I think a week off every month would be of much more benefit than the current structure of school holidays. It would seem that I am not alone in that opinion.
From September 2015, headteachers will be able to set holiday schedules as they choose. According to a study by The Boston Consulting Group almost 70 per cent of head teachers intend to make immediate changes to holiday schedules. At a recent NAHT union conference there was a lot of discussion on this subject. The union leader Russell Hobby questioned whether the current 13-week term structure was healthy for staff and pupils, arguing changing it could reduce stress and cut holiday prices for families. But head teachers wanted more evidence of the benefits of such changes. Heads who are planning changes are most likely to be considering introducing shorter, more-frequent holidays, but the survey found no consistent proposals, suggesting that holiday schedules will vary across the country.
Part of me obviously thinks this is a great idea. However, the other half of me thinks it’s a recipe for disaster. It’s been annoying enough having one kid in primary school and one in senior school with different days off for teacher training. If they had whole weeks off at different times it would be a nightmare! Imagine if one school decides to have an eight week summer break while the other has one week a month off? Both kids would think they were missing out and working parents would find it impossible. Nor is there any talk of abolishing the fines for taking your kids on holiday during term time. So how are you supposed to go on holiday as a family if you have kids at different schools with different holiday times?
Luckily for me both my girls are now at the same school. I guess we will just have to wait and see if the head decides to do anything radical with the holiday schedule. In the meantime we are have the six week summer holiday to look forward to. We have lots of fun things planned – and plenty of flop days as well!