Friday, July 26, 2013

Summer Homework?

Do you think teachers should assign summer homework? I'm talking about a list of tasks which, for OYT, going into 8th grade, are the following:

- 2 book reports
- a short story
- a 20 page math packet
- 2 current event reports
-a science packet of undetermined length since we can't find it
-posting opinions on various topics to several school sponsored forums

I do understand the teachers' perspective – I WAS a teacher. Keep the kids brains alive during the summer. Review skills. Keep them in shape. However, the way this is being done is not fair to all the students.

OYT's school is the only one in the district which does this, but not all students get assigned this list – only those on the Silver Team. This means half the students in one school, in an entire district, are the only ones doing these tasks.

Now let's think about the population trying to complete these tasks. Not all of them have mothers who used to be teachers who nag until it gets done. Some are motherless. Some have mothers who work, some have mothers who have no idea that there IS summer homework.

So the students show up to school, some with it done, some not. More time is given to complete the tasks, so the summer homework really could have been saved until school started since this is what a LOT of the students are doing, some on purpose, some by default, some because of the reasons we discussed above. Meanwhile, these onerous tasks have been hanging over the head of kids who just want to be kids.

They want to ride their bikes to the pool and chlorine burn themselves, come home so tired they almost fall asleep eating dinner, and then do it all over again the same day. They want to run around the yard and bash each other with foam and rubber weapons. They want to go crawdad fishing, drive their RC cars, play their video games when it's too hot outside, and JUST BE CAREFREE KIDS. Old-fashioned, seemingly endless, glorious summer vacation. What are we gonna do today, Ferb?

But no. They have work to do, and are reminded that more responsibilities soon await. High school is almost here, then college, then LIFE. Let them be kids for the summer. Their brains will catch up. 

What do you think?  Do your kids have summer homework?  Did you have it as a kid?  What should be done?  Talk to me.


Brian Miller said...

i am not sure what silver team is...

we do it for AP classes,
reading lists and reports

some districts do it for gifted prgramming...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Maybe they should also get a job? And volunteer every week. Yeah, that ought to ruin their summers.
I can see one book report, but that's a lot of work.

Pink and Green Mom said...

My daughter is in the Gifted program in our district and has to read one book (over 300 pgs - incoming 6th grader) and keep a journal about it. There is also a voluntary program done via a website called Compass which she signed up for and has to complete 16 hours throughout the summer. At the last school district we were in, she had to read 6 books every summer based on her Lexile reading scores. I personally think what your child has to do is excessive but it's one of those things...don't really have a choice! :/

Annalisa Crawford said...

I wish my kids had homework - I'm making my reluctant readers read books. One is reading Band of Brothers, half an hour a day, and the other is reading a page of George's Marvellous Medicine.

However, that does seem to be a lot of work, when it's not even all the students being set it!

D.G. Hudson said...

Summers for kids should be sacrosanct. Downtime lets us explore our creative side.

Let the kids have their fun time. . .sheesh.

Andrew Leon said...

In general, I think kids should be kids. Also, in general, I think there should not be homework. At all. ALL of the current studies show that homework, other than reading, has a drastically negative impact on kids.

However, I am not against summer assigned reading. I had summer assigned reading starting in middle school, but that's all it was. No book reports or anything. We were tested over the books at the start of the next school year. I certainly think kids in accelerated programs should be reading. Optimally, though, their parents (all parents) should be making their kids read anyway. If that was happening, there would not be a need for summer assigned reading.

S.P. Bowers said...

I never had homework over the summer. Not even in AP or advanced classes. Personally I could see having a book or two to read (For me sumner was all about going to the library) but that sounds like too much work.

JoJo said...

Wow...that's not right at all. We never had homework during the summer although my mom took me to the library a lot to get books out and that was fine w/ me b/c I loved to read. I asked if Russell's kids had summer homework in the late 90s/early 00s and he said no.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We never had summer homework. Except from our cross country coach. I usually ignored that, too.

Lucy said...

I was a teacher too. 7-12,social studies. Personally, I believe the United States fails miserably at Education. I don't believe in taking the summer off (I think the time should be spread out evenly throughout the year) but since we do then I guess a teacher shouldn't assign work, although I have no clue about the courses your State offers.
I will say our School district was crystal clear with the parents. If your child signed up for Honor courses or A/P courses your child would be required to do summer work and those courses are choices,not required.Therefore, if you did not want your child doing summer work they should not sign up for such courses. Our regular required courses just offered reading suggestions,no assignments. My children had to do schooling all through summer from the moment they began reading. I balanced playing and social time with learning activities and I thank my lucky stars they loved it but then again when you do something from the beginning, as a toddler, it is a lifestyle, not a chore and they chose their courses we never, ever forced an upper level course on our child but that didn't stop them from rushing to do the work at the last moment,kids will be kids :)

Lucy from Lucy's Reality

Jo said...

Encouraging reading is good, but I too feel they shouldn't be loaded up with homework for the summer break.
Give it a rest for goodness sake.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Tina,

I don't have children, but I never had homework during the summer holidays as a kid. Life is tough... Kids deserve some time off too. But I DO believe that it's a parents responsibility to keep their children educated. Museums, family outings to historic places. Keep the kids entertained as they learn... make it fun for them.

I know it's hard at times, but that's part of being a parent. If I had kids, that's what I'd do.

shelly said...

My daughter number 2 was in honors so she always had summer homework. But she waited two weeks before school started to do it.

Hugs and chocolate,

CA Heaven said...

No good. I would have hated this when I was a kid, and I know my boys would too. Summer is the time for learning the things you don't learn in school; fishing in the mountains, rowing a barge in the archipelago, catching frogs in a jar, and stuff like that >:)

Cold As Heaven

Tara Tyler said...

wow! thats a lot, but then again, not really, when many times they whine, i'm bored!
the only summer hw my future 9th (ah) grader has is a book report.

also a teacher and agree with you. some is good, but more is too much. my boys play too much screen, so i make them all have reading time...

great post!

Lisa said...

Our school offers math & science packets to do over the summer, but it's optional and it counts as extra credit in the fall.

My daughter is in her 3rd year of summer school, but this is because (again) she failed a class that is required for graduation. So this is her own damn fault. Grr.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. I'd have hated to have had homework ... so can't really pass comment - I suppose one way of getting it done would be to start straight away and finish most of it a.s.a.p and then get on with the playing .. boy I wish I could just get out and play on my bike!

Cheers Hilary