As schools continue to adapt and modify their curricula to meet the students’ needs in these unprecedented times, there has been an increase in discussions considering an extension of the academic school year, reducing the number of holiday breaks, or having longer school days. However, the overall consensus has been in favor of keeping school breaks and holidays as is.
School holidays make up a significant portion of the academic school year. On average, students attend 180 days of school, while the rest of the time is spent on weekends or holiday breaks. Although students and families alike look forward to holidays as a break from the usual routine and studies, there is growing criticism that American students do not spend enough time in the classroom. Nonetheless, holiday breaks have been proven to be more beneficial than detrimental overall.
Holiday breaks are a common time for families to get together and enjoy each other’s company.
Students have the opportunity to enjoy some time with their family members, learn about their history, and take part in cultural heritage and rituals, which are most often practiced during holiday celebrations. Winter holidays and longer breaks allow families an opportunity to reconnect and students to shift their focus from schoolwork and homework in order to catch up with family and friends.
Holiday breaks have proven to be highly beneficial for student’s mental health and wellness since they allow for spare time for relaxing or doing various activities of personal choice. Students juggle various responsibilities from managing six or seven classes, extracurricular activities, part-time after-school jobs, and their own social lives. Normally, students are not recognized enough or given enough credit for keeping up with their responsibilities and the sacrifices they make to meet high academic goals. However, all students, regardless of their level, deserve and should set aside time for their own mental health and well-being. When properly managed, school breaks give students time to decompress from chaotic school schedules, encourage rest, and give students the boost they need to refocus and do their best when they are back in class.
Not only have holiday breaks proven to be highly beneficial for mental health, but they are also undoubtedly beneficial for physical health too. When an individual’s mental health is in balance, the body also gets an advantage. Since stress and anxiety are usually reduced during breaks, bodily disposition and energy are consequently boosted. Besides, not having to meet a timeline or schedule allows added time for walks, exercise, or other physical activities.
Traveling and vacations
There is always a boost in travel during the holiday season. While a lot of traveling has been restricted in the past year, there are still ways to travel and experience new places or old familiar settings in a safe manner. For individuals living abroad, being able to return home to celebrate with their family, friends, and community reaffirms their identity and link to the community’s traditions. Traveling is wholesome for the mind, body, and soul since it allows individuals to have new and exciting experiences as well as a break from the day-to-day routine. Students are more likely to come back to finish the school year strong after they have had the opportunity to spend time in different environments creating lifelong memories.
Time to catch up
Holiday breaks allow students to shift their focus and complete other important tasks that they are not normally able to address during the school year. Having the time and space to catch up with the things that have been pushed aside or that might require more focus and time is equally beneficial and rewarding.
Although some schools across the country have contemplated longer academic school days or schedules, holiday breaks are still favored as they allow time for families to spend together. In addition, they have proven necessary for students’ mental well-being and physical health, they’re a time to travel and experience new places, and lastly, they provide students with the time to catch up with other important tasks. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy the holiday break!