This weekend public schools in Asheville had Saturday classes. I laughed softly to myself as I heard friends complain – the outrage, the suffering, the indignity of it all. Memories surfaced of faculty meetings when the virtues and discomforts of Saturday classes were discussed. Here is my top five list of the benefits of weekend classes:
- Academic momentum. Students spend some time on each subject every day of the week with Saturday class, when you include Sunday night study hall. This “freshness of material” creates continuity within the subject. Both faculty and students more easily recall “where we left off.” This is a major benefit for class work.
- The right amount of fatigue = better retention. Well rested and fed children with a surplus of free time will fill the unstructured time with an occasional “bad idea.” At boarding schools, this “bad idea” can have regrettable outcomes. Saturday classes and extracurricular activities help our students stay on task. Idle hands are indeed a workshop!
- Longer vacations and breaks. This benefit is in the boarding school wheelhouse. The logistics of starting and stopping school are more complex in a boarding environment, so families, students, and schools benefit from fewer and longer breaks.
- Shared suffering breeds unity. Saturday classes are a fact of life for many boarding schools. This suffering creates a shared identity element across the entire community. There is power in the feeling that we are all in it together.
- A link with the past – Saturday classes are a memory for many alumni that is rekindled when they return to school and witness the current student trudging to Saturday classes. Today’s hardship can be tomorrow’s good old days.
What Saturday class benefit would you like to add?