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The Value of Vacation This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   We have beenhearing vicious rumors about year-round school since we werechildren - the thought makes us cringe. Many politicians areall for the idea, arguing that we are no longer a farmingcountry and there is no need for kids to be home all summer.Although it's true we are no longer an agricultural society,politicians fail to see the newer meaning summer vacation hasfor many students. It provides a time to travel and learn innew ways, other than in the classroom.

Who sayslearning stops when we leave school? School can only teach somuch. We have to experience things to become well-roundedpeople. When I went with my family to the Southwest, I visitedHopi and Navajo reservations and learned about their culturesfirsthand. I sampled their foods and learned about theirbeliefs, rituals and customs. I saw how they lived, and thenremembered what I had learned in school. The combination ofthe two learning environments made the experience enjoyableand educational at the same time.

I also visited MesaVerde, the ancient ruins of a once-flourishing Native Americancity, chiseled into the face of a cliff. The sight wasmagnificent. On the tour, I listened intently to the guide andimagined what the city was like hundreds of years ago. I couldsee people bustling back and forth and children playing; Icould almost smell food on the wind as the village womencooked.

The following year I learned about thismajestic city in social studies class. Having been there, itwas very interesting to learn even more but a textbook couldnever capture my feelings or the sights I saw. I know I gotmore from that unit than other students because I hadexperienced it for myself. If you were to ask a fellowclassmate what Mesa Verde is, they probably wouldn't remember.

Traveling balances classroom learning. In school youlearn facts and other valuable skills, but you can't reallyexperience something unless you go there. No matter howdetailed the description or how good the teacher, you don'tfeel the 116 degree heat. While school is a very importantpart of our lives, so is summer vacation. It's a time toexplore and grow - it changes you forever.



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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