Summer Vacation History and More

When does summer officially start for you? It starts today for me and Mrs. Buckler. Why? Because it’s the last day of school for our two youngest sons. As you read this, I’m at my youngest son’s fourth-grade graduation ceremony. (Poor Stuart Sweet is stuck my blog duties as well as his own!) With my boys out of school, summer 2019 can officially begin! Now Mrs. Buckler and I can plan all the fun things we want to do while our kids our free. Speaking of summer vacation, have you ever wondered how this American tradition started? If you think it has to do with America’s agrarian history, you’d be mistaken. Read on for the history of summer break and other summer activities.

The Real History Behind Summer Vacation

A lot of people believe that summer break was created in America’s early days so kids could help their parents on the farm. (Keep in mind that many early American families earned their living through farming.) The idea of letting the kids out of school each summer to help Mom and Dad on the farm sounds romantic. Unfortunately, it’s just not true. Planting crops actually takes place in the spring, while harvesting typically happens in the fall. This is why rural schools used to break in the spring and fall but continued school throughout the summer. (What a bummer!)

Summer vacation’s place in the modern school calendar is the result of 19th century school reform movements. The goal was to standardize the break times of urban and rural schools across the country. Back then, some people believed that children didn’t have enough time to play and enjoy themselves. (A thought that my younger self would agree with wholeheartedly.) Summer vacation was born and has become an American tradition ever since.

My Summer Vacation Ideas

Many Americans don’t know the history of summer break because they’re too busy having fun at that time. I know that it’s a great time to be a kid. Growing up in the 1970s, summer vacation meant riding bikes, hanging out, and playing until the streetlights came on. It also meant spending weeks at a time at my grandparents’ cottage on the lake. That was a refreshing escape from the sweltering heat of my small, mid-Michigan hometown.

As an adult, the summer goes by so quickly because there is no “vacation.” (I still have to “make the donuts,” which in this case, means writing blog posts.) That doesn’t mean my summers are boring, though. The Buckler family spends a lot of time at the pool, and Mrs. Buckler cooks up some great food on the grill. Stranger Things season three airs on July 4th, and I’m pretty sure we’ll binge-watch the entire season in a couple of days. I know. Big shock, right?

I’ll need something to do after we burn through an entire season of Stranger Things in two days. For me, that means walking down to the lake near the pool and dropping some bait into the water. I know there’s a giant catfish lurking down there just waiting to be caught. Since this means fishing at night, I’ll bring my portable insect trap lantern to help keep the “skeeters” off of me. (Most of the time, those are the only bites I get on these little fishing trips!)

What are You Doing This Summer?

Even though summer isn’t “officially” here yet, you’re probably already making plans for your summer activities. For a lot of people, their day plans are complemented by nights on the patio sitting around the fire. If that’s what you have planned, then you have the right idea. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than kicking back and spending time with family and friends. Whatever your summer vacation ideas, everyone here at Solid Signal hopes you and your family have a wonderful time this summer!

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.