No, No, No--Not in August!

"No, no, no--not in August!" This phrase is a French joke between my husband and me. It stems from a conversation we had with a French friend when we were visiting France to attend a wedding several years ago. Our friend stated that French teachers would never return to work in August. They'd choose to go on strike rather than work in August, which is essentially national vacation month in France. (The French receive a minimum of four weeks of paid leave annually, and the majority of the French take a month for vacation in either July or August--usually the latter.)

  Tournesols by  Michel Coiffard

Tournesols by Michel Coiffard

Here in America, teachers nearly always return to work in August. July is the only guaranteed vacation month for teachers (and even that's not true if the school is in session year-round, like the schools in San Diego School District in California). The district where my husband teaches is beginning a week earlier than usual this year--in mid-August--to "better prepare students for state testing," so he'll return to coaching next week and to the required teaching preparation the following week. We'd like to jokingly respond, "No, no, no--not in August," but this is America, where a strong work ethic is more expected and more valued than a life of balanced work and play. (For more about French/American work and vacation differences, this French perspective is entertainingly accurate.)

  Le refuge by  Guillaume Brialon  (French Alps)

Le refuge by Guillaume Brialon (French Alps)

Unlike my husband, I have the freedom to take the French approach this month, so I'm going to take a break from blogging for the rest of August. Most likely, I'll be sleeping a bit more (as I'm in my fourth month of pregnancy), completing small household projects, collecting resources to plan my daughter's French homeschooling (to be shared on future blog posts), and generally trying to simultaneously recharge and prepare as we head towards la rentrée--back to school. Isn't it so American to think that I can rest and complete tasks at the same time?! In any case, I miss writing and connecting with you already, but I hope you get to take a break of your own in the next few weeks.

Which approach do you prefer--vacation in August, or the structured return to work and school? What are your plans this month?