We share evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education.
Yes, they should. I have to read 5 books, and it is very useful and interesting.
It can't possibly be that hard for a teacher to take five minutes at the beginning of a chapter to review stuff from before, and since summer work is just a review, it could be done in class or even as a homework assignment once school's started. Kids have all sorts of hobbies and interests that they enjoy working on (heck, many of these hobbies use skills learned in class) but when their time is choked by work that could be done when class resumes, they have less time to work on the things they enjoy. For me it was writing, drawing, swimming, and even seeing a friend I see once a year when he's in town. Frankly, I don't see the benefit of shoving math packets and reading assignments down the throats of students who just need time to enjoy their lives outside of the glaring lights of the classrooms they spend roughly 96,000 hours in from kindergarten to high school graduation. (I did the math for my state:8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 185 days (my state's requirement, so give or take from that) times 13 years.)
Our school has stated that it is mandatory for students 7-12th grade to do a book report and log on to a math website for an hour a week. They say this is due the first day of school for a grade. I can tell you my boys are not doing this. They work through the summer at a family buisness. They do hay on our vacation farm on the weekends, and conditioning for football. The summer is time off from school. The schools assign enough homework while they are in school. I have 2 boys with a 4.0 gpa, the other two are honor roll. I feel we are teaching them life lessons during the summer and a work ethic that will be a valuable tool later in life.
The issue of summer homework is really no different from the issue of school year homework. Teachers should use their best judgment, so if assigning summer homework makes sense to the individual teacher, go ahead and do it. The question has nothing to do with assigning. It has everything to do with requiring, and that goes for the school year as well as the summer. Teachers make a huge mistake when they make decisions for the home that override the judgment of the parents. Most parents will lend support for homework getting done, and will be supportive whether it is the summer or the school year, as long as it is not interfering with family life. When it does, teachers need to always be ready to defer to the judgment of the parent in the individual child's home. www.thehomeworktrap.com.
As a math publisher we hear how much traction students loose over the summer if they do not continue with some light work. We developed a summer school review designed to retain their accomplishments from the previous year, while keeping it simple in a time designed for vacation.
Studies support the idea of continued review and learning as the best method to keep students progressing for the long term. Keep it light and make it fun with rewards.
Here's a link to a BLOG on the subject from ASCD Smartbrief - today:
Want to take the fun out of learning? Put a grade on it. Require it to be done. Compare results between students. Make them do an assignment that means NOTHING to them and does not apply in their life at that time. They get that most of the year. Let them learn something they enjoy over vacation. Sure, give them a list of suggested reading, websites or, for pity's sake, give them directions on how to build a box, paper or otherwise, showing them how Geometry is useful.
But PLEASE do not make what one or more teachers think(s) is important the center of a students summer. How will a student find the thing they do best if they are always doing what everyone else thinks is best?
I think Summer is a great time for students to engage in other formative activities, such as athletics, travelling or visiting with friends and family. Each summer break is a unique, limited time of the year when students do not have to worry about studying. Perhaps a very light assignment in the form of a challenge is okay. For example, offer a special prize upon returning to class for the student who read a classic or who wants to report on a book they read during the summer. Equally simple: when classes reconvene after the break, a first task can be "What did you read", or "How you spent your summer".
Any formal assignment over the summer may detract from the many other enriching opportunities our students face.
Summer Reading will help students retain some of the strategies they have learned during the school year. If parents use the summer to take kids outdoors, swimming, fishing, hiking, aquariums, zoos, etc. learning can be constructive not assigned.Sad thing is too many hours are spent inside watching a TV or playing video games.
I'm sorry to say Kevin, children and teens especially spend most of their summer inside watching tv or playing video games, they don't spend their time outside getting "fit". Kids have 180 days to finish it, and the homework will hardly require all of their time.
As to the fact that teachers will review everything; they might in elementary and middle schools, but once you get to high school, you are expected to retain most of the previous years' information.
Finally, someone with some common sense.
Getting fit is great in theory, but the reality is most of kids do stay in and spend too much time using electronics.
A small amount of summer work is preparing them for high school, college and the real world.
I am all for children enjoying their childhood but a small amount of homework will still allow for plenty of leisure time.
Ideally, a child should be outside all day in the summer and this will still leave time for a small amount of summer work.
As a parent, if my kids are given homework over the summer, I tell them not to do it, and let their schools know they will be returning with the assignments incomplete. As a parent, it's my right (and responsibility) to ensure my children get the best education possible in their situation, and excessive homework is not a good way to make that happen.
As a (non-teaching) public-school employee who works very closely with a lot of teachers, I have come to realise that the ones who assign extra homework (weekends, holidays, etc.) are invariably the worst teachers. They are the ones who lack the classroom management skills to keep a class on task long enough to complete the assignments, or they get distracted easily and run off on tangents all the time, requiring the students to make up the lost time after school hours.
When my kids come home with homework on the weekend, it's always from the same few teachers- and they are always the ones my kids complain about. "He spent a whole week talking about stupid stuff we already knew, and now he wants us to make it up over Christmas break!" There's not many better ways to kill the joy of learning in a child than to rob them of their free time with unnecessary busy-work. Teachers would better serve their students by instilling in them a commitment to lifelong learning.
Summer work does not have to be excessive, it could be 15 min. a day plus a few good books.
It may be your experience that teachers with poor management skills are the only ones that assign homework, however it has not been mine. What about private schools that have some of the best teachers, that assign summer work? I think it is narrow minded to say teachers with management problems assign summer work, maybe these teachers feel strongly about summer work?
I think excessive work is ridiculous but it is important for children to have some discipline, routine and structured work during the summer.
I have found that 15 min. a day is enough for them to be ahead of the other students in the fall, as well as feel good about themselves. We also do plenty of other learning, including museums, outdoors, etc..
I think summer work, if done properly, can boost self esteem, as well as reinforce necessary skills from the previous school year.
When I was teaching, I used to think summer work was excessive and never assigned it for my students. Now, with my own kids, I think it is important and necessary. If I went back to teaching, I would advocate for summer work.
I really feel that Americans focus too much on pleasure and leisure and not enough on education! I am not advocating for the extreme like in some Asian countries where kids are so weighed down, but more structure and discipline is necessary.