YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYV) – Why do students in America go on a summer break?
It’s not because of an old 19th century practice of letting them take summer off to help on the farm. School was really year-round.
Students did take some time off in the spring to help plant and in the fall to help harvest, but not all summer.
As more people moved to the cities and cities grew bigger, all that concrete and brick got hotter and this was years before air conditioning.
School was not mandatory and city classroom were turning up half empty anyway in the summer as families began looking for cool spots. Mahoning Valley families left the mills to spend time at Geneva on the Lake. This was the birth of the summer vacation and the businesses catering to it.
Leisure time was simply becoming more important.
One more point: Doctors at the time argued that the brain was a kind of muscle you could overuse, so students shouldn’t go to school all year as it would strain their brains.