There’s nothing like the feeling of the last day of school but kids didn’t have that feeling over this past summer.
For kids, knowing that they won’t have to wake up early, drag themselves to school, and do homework when they finally get home is a relief. But for some students, especially those in high school, summer isn’t completely work-free. Honors and AP classes, which thousands of kids sign up for each year, often come with summer work, which takes up time students would rather be spending at the mall, the pool, or on vacation. Granted, these courses are choices the students make, but should they have to give up some of their free time during the summer just to take a more challenging class during the school year?
However, the summer assignments can prepare the students for what’s to come in the next few months and allow them to have many academic advantages, but they also take up time high school students use to build up their college transcripts, play sports, and work. And of course, summer is a chance for kids to have less stress, time for them to just be kids. Many parents, students, and teachers have voiced their concerns and opinions over whether or not kids should have summer homework, and there are disadvantages and benefits for both sides of the issue.
Yes: Helps Prevent the “Summer Slump”
In elementary school, the main reason teachers give assignments or recommend reading and math practice is to prevent the “summer slump”. The idea is that if kids are away from school for too long and get out of the routine of learning new things and practicing academic skills, they will forget the things they learned the previous year. If students continue to practice the skills they learned in the school year during the summer months, it is less likely they will forget things, and will be ready for the beginning of the next year.
Stopping the summer slump is very important in the younger years, but it is in high school, too. A lot of high school classes build on each other for example, a lot of concepts that are taught in Algebra I are referenced again in Algebra II-and it is imperative that students remember these lessons so they can be successful. Summer work that covers the most important topics can academically benefit students for the next school year.
Yes: Allows for More Content to be Covered
Many challenging high school courses have a lot of content to cover in just one year, so doing some work over the summer allows for more content to be covered more slowly. For example, history classes often have thousands of years to cover, and a lot of events to talk about, so learning about some of those over the summer allows others to be taught in-depth during the school year. Textbook readings and comprehension questions, along with other basic assignments, allow students to get a foundation on the subject and apply it to the lessons they learn later.
Summer work makes it so that students can get a head start on the classes they’re going to take. When the school year begins, there will be less stress and pressure to rush through content, and, if the class is at the AP level, more focus can be put on the AP exam at the end of the year that has the potential to be used for college credit. Doing some work over the summer allows students to get ahead and cover more content without rushing.
No: Let Kids be Kids
One of the most common arguments against summer homework for kids is that summer is the time for students to relax and have fun. They spend all school year doing homework, studying for tests, and facing the stressors and pressures of normal life. Summer allows for more freedom and relaxation, whether students go on vacations or stay home and just enjoy the free time. Summer work takes up that time and prevents students from taking a break.
Today, kids are faced with many new worries, a lot of which are related to the Internet and social media. A lot of educators, parents, and students argue that summer work should not encroach on a much-needed summer break. This is especially true for high school students, who are beginning to worry about college and their futures. Summer work stops kids from just being kids and takes away some of the tranquility summers so often brings.
No: Students Have Other Things to Do
As kids get older, their worlds start to expand. Suddenly, school, sports, and friends aren’t the only things they’re spending time on. Most high school students work a part-time job to earn money for college, and many want their driver’s license, which takes a lot of time and practice. Additionally, colleges are becoming more interested in extracurricular activities, so high schoolers who are preparing to apply to universities begin to build up their transcripts with clubs, volunteer service, sports, musical involvements, and more.
Summer homework prevents kids from participating in all of the above activities, but, furthermore, juniors, seniors, and even sophomores usually begin preparing for standardized tests like the ACT, SAT, and the PSAT in the summer. Homework for the upcoming school year can distract them from these tests that colleges are interested in. Summer provides a lot of extra time for students to focus on other things besides homework.
High school students around the country have the option to sign up for challenging honors and AP courses each year, and those classes often come with summer homework, whether it is reading a novel, reading a textbook, watching a video, writing an essay, or answering questions. Each summer, it seems that concerns about whether or not summer assignments should be given arise, but there are pros and cons to both sides, including the fact that summer work prevents the “summer slump” and allows more content to be covered during the school year, but also that it can sometimes prevent kids from engaging in other activities, and takes away summer free time.