How do kids in your land spend their summer break?
Next week I am going to give two lectures for an association of children’s English teachers. They want me to talk about foreign child-rearing and educating customs. One of their questions is about how foreign children spend their summer holidays (a timely question, because most Japanese schoolkids start their six-week summer break right about now). Do they go camping, swimming, fishing? Do they visit far-flung relatives? Do they take on temporary jobs? Do they have difficult homework assignments, like most Japanese kids? Do they cram?
A Japanese friend has a son in the sixth grade. He is clever and ambitious, and wants to enter a prestigious junior high school. At his request, his parents have enrolled him in a very expensive cram school in Kobe. He is going to spend his whole summer studying six days a week, from 9AM to 9PM. Each morning his mother will prepare two bento-boxes for him, one for lunch and one for dinner, and she will be expected to show up at regular assemblies, where she will be lectured about the best way to care for her son while he is cramming for exams (including advice about what to feed him and what extra-curricular activities to allow him to indulge in. Needless to say, a family camping trip is out of the question). Although he is not typical of Japanese schoolkids – most of whom spend their summers swimming, playing, and visiting grandparents – he is not at all unusual either, especially here in Kobe. I predict that he will do very well in his studies. A Japanese proverb about study states “Sleep four hours: pass. Sleep five hours: fail”
Anyway, I remember my summer hols in NZ as very idyllic times, that barely involved study. We kids all looked forward to them. How about you?