Summer Homework?

Swimming. Snow cones. Sleeping late.

The last thing you or your kids want to think about is summer homework.

Summer homework is worse than regular vacation homework. One would think that because most students have two plus months off from school, not two days or a couple of weeks, summer homework would be manageable. Unfortunately, teachers- under pressure from principals and school districts to improve test scores- give students huge assignments, long reading lists and ridiculous projects. Despite the fact that parents nag every day ("Have you read that book? Have you started that project yet?") most students wait until the last minute to complete the enormous amount of summer homework. It hangs over their heads for months, then there is a frantic, two-week dash in August to complete it all.

Thanks for ruining summer vacation.

The main reason I dislike summer homework is that, as a teacher and a parent, I know our kids need a break from school and busy work. I do, however, think that it is a fabulous idea for children to read during summer vacation. Every day. Not only does it give Mom and Dad a break, reading during the summer keeps students in "learning mode."

I've said it before; I'll say it again: Reading is always the best homework.

This time, the experts agree with me. Studies show that students that regularly read during the summer are more likely to maintain- and even increase -their reading level. This is especially important for at-risk students and very nice for all students, don't you think?

What Parents Can Do to Encourage Summer Reading

  • Encourage them to read what they like. Summer is the perfect time for your child to pursue her interests and read those books that she was too busy to read during the school year.

  • Don't rush them. Your child might not remember how to savor a book and read at their leisure; remind them. Often, schools or libraries encourage speed reading through summer reading challenges (read a million pages, get a free toy!), Encourage your child read a book at their own pace.

  • Go to the library. Silly challenges notwithstanding, most libraries do a lot to promote summer reading: new books, guest speakers, read-alouds, etc. Take your child to the library and find out what's happening.

  • Establish a regular reading time. Are you waiting for your kids to come inside and pick up a book? Get real! You have to schedule a regular time during the day for reading. Try to make it the same time each day, maybe after lunch or dinner. The TV and the computer are off, and the books come out.
In my ideal world, students would read for an hour or two each day during summer. Neither they- nor their parents- would have to deal with packets, workbooks or silly assignments. Parents, please remember that there are plenty of fun, relaxing things to do with your children over the summer. Your family can make some memories and learn at the same time!

The Olden Days

My kids love hearing me talk about my life as a child: no iPods, no video games, no cable TV. (My nine year-old son simply cannot imagine life without cable.) They crack up when I tell them that their grandmother and I made a special trip to a friend's house to look at their brand new microwave. It blows their little minds that car windows weren't electric, the only remote control was getting up and changing the channel, and all cameras had film. My children really feel sorry for their poor old mom when I explain that nobody had a home computer, the internet did not exist, and googling meant staring weirdly at someone.

"Don't feel sorry for me," I say. "I might not have had all of those things, but I also didn't have summer homework."

Wow! Maybe it wasn't so bad in the Olden Days:

No homework packets?

No summer workbooks?

No reading lists?

No book reports?

No posters?

No essays?

You just got to play all summer?

Go on trips?

Sleep late?

Do whatever you wanted all day?

Sounds good, doesn't it?

Want More Homework Help?

Summer School Homework Help

Homework Organization E-Course

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