Friday, August 03, 2012

School "holidays"

I think I have mentioned before that I try not to write too many negative things on this blog, but.... sometimes I just have to marvel at the insanity of some of the ways things work here.  Today's topic is school "holidays".  The summer holidays here started on July 20th and the children will go back to school on September 3rd.  Wow - that's over 40 days holiday - yippee!  Time to play, time to relax and of course time to help around the house!  Only here in Japan it is not so yippee...  For the first week of the holidays my children had to go to school each morning for a couple of hours of classes designed to improve the level of academic achievement in maths.  This was compulsory for all 4th to 6th graders at our school - regardless of what level they were already achieving at.  I asked my children if they learnt anything new.... the answer, not one thing!  But, they did complete over 20 pages of handouts each day.  Unfortunately I seem to be in the minority in believing that holidays should be for having a holiday as most of the other parents seemed to be really happy that the school would be "babysitting" their children for the first week of the holidays.  
The kids don't have to go to school again during the holidays until the 6th of August - the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.  I think this day is an important part of their education and have no problem with them going to school this day.  Unfortunately the teachers use this day as a way to collect in half of the zillion pages of homework that need to be completed during the holidays and hand out yet more homework to be done before the end of the holidays.  Both my children are expected to do at least 2 hours of homework every day.  I think because the summer holidays fall in the middle of the academic year, rather than the end, means there is more pressure to keep the kids studying... I personally would prefer that they learnt how to clean the windows or wax the floors, but as I said I am in the minority here!

On a completely different note... I found this photo the other day which proves that, despite my daughter's insistence, I am still taller than my children... but I fear that very soon I will be the shortest - perhaps I'll have to start wearing high heels!


  1. Hi Jo,
    You are not in the minority, we can be a minority of 2!! I HATE the amount of homework the kids get. My 3rd son is in the 3rd year of junior high school and has a load of homework, plus 4 days at school to do study and 2days for tests. I feelthe kids need this summer holiday to relax and get ready for a very long 2nd term.
    If you get chance have a look at my life here

  2. I don't even have kids, but I know I wouldn't be too happy if my children went to school during the 'holidays'. I've been helping out once a week or so at a JHS for their upcoming speech competitions. Today I was chatting with one really sweet girl who told me she spends nine hours everyday at juku. I can't imagine how worn out the kids must be. It wasn't that long ago I was in High School. We didn't study half as hard as kids here do, but I still think we needed the break!