POV: It’s August 27th. Your friends are out enjoying their last day of summer, at the beach and getting ice cream, basking in the last few hours of summer daylight.
But you’re in your room. Alone. Writing an essay. And you’ll be stuck there for another few hours if you want to finish your three summer assignments that were assigned back in June. After working two jobs all summer, you now are faced with a hefty workload that will decide the beginning of your quarter one report card that will be sent to colleges. Maybe you should’ve started the work earlier. Maybe you shouldn’t have been assigned any at all.
I am angry. I hate summer homework. I believe that it is a waste of time that almost always gets crammed into the last week of summer and does not benefit the majority of students. As for the assignments that are due periodically throughout the summer? Seriously? Summer is supposed to be a two month break, and many high schoolers get stuck working long hours at their jobs all summer long. Piling more work onto already stressed out kids isn’t fair.
And yet, we still get assigned summer homework.
So why? Why is this a recurring theme for almost every AP and Honors class in our school? There are several reasons that I was able to find.
- Assigning summer homework in theory “weeds out” the kids who aren’t serious enough to take a higher level class.
This point is fairly sounds when you first read it. Oh, that makes sense, of course teachers would want to start out the school year with a legit roster rid of any stragglers who aren’t ready for the time commitment of an AP or Honors class. But what if there are no stragglers? Was the assignment that took hours upon hours of work really for nothing if it was simply to know whether you were “serious enough to take the class?”
2. Summer homework begins the introduction into class material, especially for classes with a set curriculum and not a lot of time to cover it all.
I can understand an introduction into basic vocabulary or review from classes past in order to prepare for the intake of information once the school year starts, but starting the curriculum during summer? At home? During our too-short two-month so-called “vacation?” I respectfully disagree.
3. Summer homework “keeps the gears turning.” It allows students to continue working their brain in order to stay sharp over the break.
This may be the only reason I can actually get behind. I can’t argue the statistics that show that students who do not read over their summer break do not perform as well in school as the ones who do. I agree that summer reading is valuable to students’ development as learners and creators, as well as prepares them for a long and vigorous school year. But summer reading is NOT the same as summer homework. Assigning essays, packets, textbook problems, along with this, that, and the other, actually does little more than stress students out. So teachers, spare us the stress, and we’ll spare you the grading. Give us a book to read, and we’ll be ready to see you in September.