Do breaks break students?

Students are let out of school for 10 weeks every summer. Summer vacation impacts the education of students by losing the equivalent of three months of material.

Students are let out of school for 10 weeks every summer. Summer vacation impacts the education of students by losing the equivalent of three months of material.

With summer vacation coming up, it’s only natural that students should question what effect breaks really have on our education.

Students argue that breaks give us the chance to relax, catch up on sleep and not do a lot of school- or homework.  Experts, on the other hand, say breaks harm children’s ability to retain information.

During the school year, many students have so much work they cannot sleep well.  According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 70 percent of students do not receive adequate sleep, defined as eight or more hours a night.  While students may also watch television and do other activities that impact their sleep schedule, kids who do their homework have to choose between doing it the night before and the morning of.

Breaks, however, allow students to have as much sleep as they want and potentially “recharge their batteries.”  While weekends have the same restful results, students typically stay up late and have fun on weekends– again impacting their sleep.

Lack of sleep is a big problem for students. The effects of breaks, however, hurt student’s education even more.  The main aspects include school year length and a concept known as summer learning loss.

The average school year in the United States is 180 days long, much shorter than other countries.  Australia, for example, has a school year that is 200 days long.  Having a shorter school year also means that the United States has a longer summer vacation.  During the three months that children have off for summer vacation, students forget much of what they learned throughout the previous year. This concept is know as summer learning loss, something that many students have to fight throughout vacations.

Summer break isn’t the only time that students lose their learning, however.  Learning loss also occurs during other vacations like spring break.  However, spring break lasts only 11 days, an insignificant amount of time compared to summer vacation.

However, Spring Break offers many benefits for students, including a large break between Winter Break and summer vacation, which helps students recuperate throughout the year.

Without breaks, students would slowly deteriorate throughout the year from sleep deprivation and stress.  Therefore, the pros outweigh the cons and breaks do not actually break students, but fix them.

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