Summer classes foster independence and initiative in students June 4, 2008 — by Elizabeth Lee Permalink Another school year has come and gone, and students continue to fill up their schedules with various activities for the summer. Items vary from trips abroad to local jobs and, less and less surprisingly, academic summer classes. Inevitably, summer classes are becoming a larger and more permanent part of high school life. For some, the purpose of taking summer courses is to reduce their workload during the school year. Others hope to gain more time for sports or other extracurricular activities. A couple of popular classes to take over the summer, more especially among the junior class, are American government and economics. This is one way for students to lessen the burdens of their senior year and allow them to enjoy their final year of high school. Unfortunately, this decision sometimes receives objections, surprisingly, from parents. The reason: It’s summer, which means time to relax, have fun, and spend time with family. But some students see their parents’ objections as a restriction of freedom. They are approaching adulthood and will soon separate from the comforts and protection of home and parents. Naturally, as students will become independent individuals, it would be better to let them decide for themselves at this age. Although summer school is a time-consuming activity, students are able to learn without the distraction of numerous extracurricular activities and can have a more productive summer than those who did not choose to enroll in any types of activities. Even if it does take up a lot of time, students can also learn to plan accordingly so that they are able to organize a schedule that best suits their needs. Summer school also offers students different ways to learn. For those who do not prefer a traditional classroom environment, online courses are offered in nearly every subject. These courses are more convenient for students and do not require any adaptation to a new campus or classroom. The length of summer courses is also easy for busier students to fit into their schedules. Classes are three to six weeks long and do not run for more than four hours every day. This relatively short period of time still leaves students with the opportunity to find a job, attend an educational program or go on vacation during their summer. In addition, summer classes are also a way for teenagers to gain independence. The initiative involved in making the decision to take a complete class over the course of six weeks is a lesson for many in time management and scheduling. This experience will help incoming seniors with the organization of their college applications and will teach entering juniors the importance of managing a full workload. That is why it is imperative that students practice time management as work becomes heavier each year in high school and beyond. Although they may not be the most exciting way to spend months free from traditional school, summer courses allow students to gain independence otherwise rarely found in high school.