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Wow! It’s already past the middle of January! Amazing how time flies! Like many of you, I took the holiday period “off.” But somewhere the two week holiday period became four weeks, then five! I have no idea how that happened.

Down time is important for everyone’s well-being, but too much down time can be detrimental to our overall health – and education.

Parents like to give their children a break over the winter holiday (and summer), but is that “break” really helpful?

Studies have shown that children lose 20-25% of their reading and math skills over the summer. Although the winter break is only two weeks, any break is detrimental.

One of my students was not able to continue his regular tutoring during the holiday period. The amount of knowledge that he lost was stunning! His mother shared that his teacher was not pleased with his classroom performance. I would say we lost about two months. Hopefully he will catch up quickly.

Another parent shared with me that his fourth grade son was one of only a few in his class who showed no knowledge loss over the summer. Unlike his classmates, he scored on grade level when the back-to-school evaluations were given.

My point is that we, as parents, must keep the long range goal in mind where our children’s education is concerned. Vacations are nice, but at what cost?

On the other hand . . . too much education or too much intensity regarding education can also be detrimental.

Are you confused yet?

I regularly share my tutoring students’ progress with their parents. Frequently, this conversation becomes a discussion about “how it was when we were in school.” Generally, content taught in kindergarten today is what used to be taught in the first grade. Parents regularly complain about the difficulty level of their children’s homework.

I am alarmed at the number of standardized tests each student is subjected to annually. Nearly 25% of the school year is spent either preparing for or taking standardized tests. Is this really the best use of time?

I was in elementary school when standardized tests became a regular part of education. However, then the test was only used to evaluate the student. What a concept!

Now the tests are used to evaluate the teacher, the school, the curriculum, the school system; to generate revenue; to become eligible for special programming (read “more money”). Do you see anything here that concerns the children?

As parents the majority of us put our confidence in the public schools to educate our children. Unfortunately, the politicians have gotten control of the public schools. Their concern is not for the individual child, but for the “appearance” of the school system.

Politicians from the high performing districts brag about them. Those from the poor districts use their performances to raise taxes. Again where are the children in this scenario?

Vacations and education are both important elements of life. What we seem to have lost sight of is how much of each our children need. And more importantly, who should determine this?

Anyone have a suggestion on what we can do to correct the problem?