school's in

I Love My Kids’ Year-Round School, Especially In the Summer

Trust me, I was as shocked as can be.

Kids that go to school year around. Parents are happy with the year around schedule of year round sc...
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My daughters do not have a traditional school schedule. Instead, they’re on a year-round calendar. And I was very skeptical at first. Much to my surprise, I’ve grown to love this schedule — especially in the summer months.

When we bought our home, one of its major selling points for my husband and me was that it was two blocks away from what would eventually be our two daughters’ elementary school, meaning we could walk our kids to and from school each day. For me, the caveat to this little piece of suburban bliss was the school’s year-round schedule. Growing up in Indiana, where the weather is absolutely perfect from June through August, I cherished my summer breaks from school, so I worried that I would be robbing my kids of this joy by sending them to sit in a classroom six hours a day when they could otherwise be playing outside.

Still, no matter how much I loved my summers as a kid, I knew the logical choice for our family was to stick with our assigned school and get comfortable with the year-round calendar. If I’m being honest, half the battle of getting used to a year-round school schedule is figuring out how the heck it works. The school year runs from mid-July through the end of June (there’s a two-week break for the teachers to wrap up the previous year and get set for a new class), and students are in session for around nine weeks, then off for around three, with those 12-ish weeks marking each quarter.

For my kids, they get a break in September, a longer break in December (since it includes winter break), another break in March, and around five weeks off from June to the start of the new school year in July.

Once I got the hang of how everything works, I realized just how nice a year-round calendar is. In this school year, we were able to take our kids to Disney World in September when it wasn’t outrageously hot and the crowds were smaller. We also visited my husband’s out-of-state family in March. And, in the 2024-2025 school year, we’re taking our girls to the Caribbean the second week in December, allowing us to beat the holiday travelers (and save a lot of money as a result).

What has really surprised me is that it’s the summer when I love this calendar the most. Since our school year ends in the first week in June, my kids still get around five weeks off, allowing them a mini summer break. And honestly, that’s plenty of time for them to enjoy the sunshine and freedom before they start declaring, “I’m bored!” on an endless loop. Also, we live in North Carolina, where the summer months are hot, so sitting inside an air-conditioned school during the humid 90 to 100-degree days isn’t the worst thing. Honestly, the weather’s nicer almost any other time of the year besides summer. When school is in session, we still have the weekends to enjoy the outdoors at our neighborhood pool or take a day trip to the beach.

Not to mention that both my husband and I work full-time, so even if we were on a traditional school calendar, it’s not like we’d get to spend the summer with our kids. They’d be going to camp most of the time.

And then there’s camp. Selfishly, I love that signing up for camp is not nearly as chaotic for us as it is for families with traditional schedules. We have “track out camps” that operate year-round, and not once have I had to get online at 6 a.m. to try to get a spot as soon as registration opens. Track out camps also tend to be less expensive. This year, there’s a two-week overlap in summer track out and traditional summer vacation, and while I was (thankfully) able to find camp spots for these weeks, it’s pricier than I’m used to. Honestly, it’s unfair to the traditional calendar families, but it makes me appreciate our year-round schedule all the more.

I know this schedule isn’t for everyone — a fellow class mom I know hates the short summer break because her family used to spend a lot of the season at her parents’ beach house, and “playing in the ocean” isn’t considered an excused absence from school (though, personally, I’m open to arguments on why it should be).

For some working parents, the strange, frequent vacation times may be tough to navigate with employers who understand parents need more flexibility in the summer, but don’t grasp the same needs for a year-round schedule. It’s not a fit for everyone, but for my family, it works.

Ashley Ziegler is a freelance writer living just outside of Raleigh, NC, with her two young daughters and husband. She’s written across a range of topics throughout her career but especially loves covering all things pregnancy, parenting, lifestyle, advocacy, and maternal health.