The Benefits of Balanced Calendar Schools Around Grand Rapids
I’ve had visions of walking my kids to school or the bus stop since before I had kids. The dream is so idyllic and beautiful. I hear tales from moms all over Grand Rapids about how they greet their kids at the bus stop or the door with treats, or becoming bosom buddies with the bus driver.
I will never have those experiences.
In fact, we have an at least 20 minute drive to school each morning. My choice to drive this far for school is not typical, as most people who chose my school live quite a bit closer. However, I have heard a number of stories of other moms making the same sacrifices.
Why would we sacrifice this time and gas? – Because we value the incredible quality of education that can be found at a Balanced Calendar school and opportunities for off-season vacations that other schools don’t offer.
Sometimes called a “year-round” school, a balanced calendar school does not, in fact, run year round. However, the opportunities for learning and information retention, in many cases, is greatly increased over those of “traditional” schools.
4 Reasons Why I Chose a Balanced Calendar School for my Son
1. Shorter Summer Breaks (and other school break perks).
Kids seem to get very antsy in the middle of summer break, and many of my friends struggle to keep things running smoothly at home during the last weeks of summer. We avoid the summer mania with the balanced calendar school, which typically offers break from mid-June to mid-August.
Shorter summer breaks allows for more breaks peppered througout the year, meaning my family can take vacations that work for us.
A balanced calendar school has the same number of days as a traditional school, however, since the days and breaks are spread out differently, the opportunities for off-season vacations are abundant. Last year we spent a week in October in Chicago, and let my son spend an entire week in February at Grandma’s house. This year we took the entire week of Thanksgiving off to spend at my parent’s house and had just over two weeks at Christmas.
2. Chances to For Kids to Catch Up
Many balanced calendar schools will also offer a week long make-up session (sometimes called supplemental week) twice a year during break for students who need a little extra help. They can use this time to get a handle on material they don’t understand or catch up if they’re behind, or work ahead if that’s what they need to do. During the make-up sessions teachers and staff will be on hand and the school will start and stop at the same time as usual each day.
3. Better Information Retention
Have you ever noticed that during the 10 week long summer break, children often forget how to do tasks that they were previously the masters of? With a shorter summer break kids more likely to retain the information they learned during the school year, but with the extra breaks peppered in throughout the year kids have a chance to regain their sanity and fully enjoy their childhood during each season.
4. Breathing Room
As I said earlier, there are multiple small breaks throughout the year in a Balanced Calendar School. These breaks give kids, parents, and teachers much needed breathing room from the rigmarole that is the constant battle to get kids to school on time, get through the day, and pick them up again. This schedule helps keep all of us from feeling “burned out.”
When I’m tired of constantly fighting to get homework done, always have lunchbox ready food on hand, and get my son to and from school, I know that very soon there will be another small break. The same concept holds true for the kids and the teachers.
Choosing a school for your children is a major decision, one that some of us lose nights of sleep over. West Michigan offers an incredible multitude of choices for school. Is a balanced calendar School right for you? Contacting one of West Michigan’s balanced calendar schools for more information would be a great place to start in deciding what is right for you.
Balanced Calendar Schools in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids has two balanced calendar schools, Caledonia has one, and Zeeland also has one.
Ridge Park Charter Academy | 4120 Camelot Ridge Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 | 616-222-0093
Ridge Park is a Y5 – 8 school run by National Heritage Academies. The school is free, but admission is based first on those already in attendance and their siblings, then an application process, followed by a lottery system if there is an overflow of those interested in attending.
Evergreen Program| 1630 Griggs St. SE, 49506 | 616-574-5900
Evergreen Program is a Pre-k – 5 school run by Grand Rapids Christian Schools. Admission does require tuition, although financial aid is available and will be explained following the application and acceptance process.
Emmons Lake Elementary | 8950 Kraft Ave, SE, 49316 | 616-528-8100
Emmons Lake Elementary is a K – 5 school run by Caledonia school district. Admission for those not within district will require using school of choice.
Zeeland Quest | 175 West Roosevelt Road, Zeeland, 49464 | 616-748-3050
Zeeland Quest is a K – 8 school run by Zeeland Public Schools. Admission is based first on those already in attendance and their siblings then an application process. Priority will be given to those within Zeeland Public School districts and then all others will be placed into a lottery system.