Summer homework defeats the purpose of summer

September 11, 2009 — by Robin Liu

Summer is a time for students to take a break from school. However, with the No Child Left Behind Act and, more specifically to Saratoga, intense AP curriculums, more schools are taking precautions to keep their students from falling out of line. More and more teachers are assigning homework over the summer to help students retain their knowledge over the long months, but it may not be the best way to benefit kids.

A year-round homework load defeats the purpose of breaks. During the summer, kids should be pursuing interests they couldn’t fit into their schedule during the school year, spending more time with their families and traveling. By assigning homework over the break, teachers are going out of their bounds by dictating how students spend their vacation time. What students do over summer is none of their school’s business.

Although some knowledge may inevitably wither over the summer, this cannot be prevented with book reports and math homework. Students are bound to forget some of what they learn every year, but they will review the information once school recommences.

If teachers assign excessive homework over the summer, then by the time students head back to school, they will be nearly as worn out as they were before summer had even begun. Also, when students are forced to spend too much time studying, the homework becomes a burden rather than an opportunity to actually learn something, which contradicts the original reason for the summer assignments.

One example of summer homework at Saratoga High is the assignment for incoming students of the AP US History (APUSH) class. The students are required to read the first five chapters of the textbook and answer the corresponding essay questions. Rather than completing the “busy work” over the course of summer, most juniors procrastinate, leaving the assignment hanging over them all summer. The homework is an unnecessary burden, and students usually end up spending the last days of their summer rushing through it.

However, just because students aren’t attending school, it doesn’t mean they are twiddling their thumbs the whole summer, either. When given the freedom to explore their own interests and read what they want, kids have much more motivation to read than when they’re handed summer reading lists.

Besides, with all the activities that kids preoccupy themselves with over the summer, their minds are constantly working. If teachers feel that students need to keep moving forward, this needs to be accomplished during the school year. Summer vacation should be reserved for kids, and how students spend their free time should not be part of regular school.

8 views this week