I was thinking about school summer vacation the other day and why it exists.

I assumed it was for either industrial or agrarian reasons, from way back when. If it were a recent thing my first guess would have been heat related. I don’t think any of my schools growing up could have handled a late July day comfortably.

Industrial didn’t make sense. Training for a factory job would mean no vacation. Allowing time for a factory job would mean shorter days (I guess?), not a season.

So, agrarian it was. More help maintaining fields and helping with animals? Sure, why not.

What school on the agrarian calendar actually looked like was a short winter term and a short summer term. And if you think about farming needs, that’s actually what makes sense.

Nope.

Kids in rural, agricultural areas were most needed in the spring, when most crops had to be planted, and in the fall, when crops were harvested and sold. 

Turns out, people have been trying to beat the heat for a long time now.

In the days before air conditioning, schools and entire cities could be sweltering places during the hot summer months. Wealthy and eventually middle-class urbanites also usually made plans to flee the city’s heat, making those months the logical time in cities to suspend school.

Summer vacation exists because the people with enough means to make a difference want to GTFO when it gets hot.