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Which Start of Term is The Worst?

start-of-termWhich start of term is the most difficult one of the year? ‘Back to school’ is a phrase that always strikes dread in my heart at any time of the year; I’ve obviously been programmed to feel this way since childhood. It never changes, even though there are now some things I like about the start of term. When my children were little it was the relief to get back some precious time to myself, and these days I quite like that return to a structured day. Really. Eventually.

But which start of term feels the hardest? There are clearly only two contenders: the term after the summer holidays and the term after Christmas. The start of the summer term doesn’t count, that’s just the beginning of the countdown to the summer hols.

September or January though. Which is worse?

The start of the Spring term means dragging myself out of the sloth and indulgence of Christmas, carrying an extra half-stone, to start a New Year. Not only am I in the worst state to do so, but I also (apparently) have to make sure that I am better in some way than I was the previous year. Improved. I’m supposed to be motivated to become slimmer, fitter, healthier, after I have just spent a week devouring whole tins of Roses chocolates washed down with the kind of spirits I don’t usually drink, while not moving at all. On the other hand, by that stage I’ve had my fill of inertia and I’m inwardly screaming Make it Stop!

The start of the Autumn term means the end of the summer days of freedom and holidays, being outside a lot, living in a tent, swimming in the sea, and the start of shorter days, colder weather, the beginning of the school New Year: serious getting down to work after all that frivolity. On the plus side there’s autumn leaves, the thrill of putting on jumpers again, and the dawning prospect of hibernation, which I like. But I’m just not ready for it.

So which is worse? My definitive answer to that question right now is the Autumn term, obviously. No matter how much I’ve actually been working over the summer, the start of term and the whole school year still signifies the huge loss of that feeling of summer freedom. Ask me again in January though.

Meanwhile my kids have always just coasted through it all. Which is funny really because they’re the ones who actually have to go to school.

  1. Ross Mountney
    | Reply

    Very thoughtful post – I did anjoy it! I definitely think after the summer is worst – when I was at school, that is. When you’re a parent it’s a different perspective but I always thought it was awful for the kids to be shut inside on glorious September days! However, once we started Home Educating we didn’t have to stick to term timing, it was just glorious all the time!

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