Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Summertime and Homework Assignments

There's a thread over at the Editorial page at the Times about summertime homework following from a story (linked at the blog) in the Washington Post. The dilemma is the belief that kids lose a lot of learning power during the summer so some schools have reading list assignments or even homework assignments. The flip side is "it's summer, let'em relax".

I'd be somewhere in the middle. When my kids were younger, we always participated in the Seattle Library's summer reading program. They got charted for progress, got little prizes and a there was a party at the end. Pretty painless and it kept up their reading.

I'm not big on assignments because it feels punitive. However, if your child had a poor grade in math or was struggling with reading, giving them the whole summer off is not going to help.

It also brings up the point of whether year-round school makes sense. Is 6 weeks in the summer enough of a break? Would it keep the learning levels higher?


Babbie said...

"Is 6 weeks in the summer enough of a break? Would it keep the learning levels higher?" No. What happens when the summer is six weeks long is that the other vacation days are spaced out, usually amounting to a one week or so break after each of four periods. Studies show that most forgetting happens in the first week or so of vacation & then drops off dramatically after that. Spacing out vacations over the school year allows students to "forget" and be brought back up to speed four times a year instead of just once. My experience in a Texas school that followed that schedule was that less material was taught and appropriate student behaviors had to be retaught after every vacation.

anonymous said...

I LOVE my summers with my kids. I loved summer vacation when I was a kid. It's a right of passage, so to speak. Preparation for a new grade and a fresh start. And so much growth happens over the summer! I wouldn't trade summer vacation for anything in the world. If Seattle ever went to a mandatory year round school program, I would go private. If they tried year round, I would hope that it would be only a few "choice" schools, as I do think that it (might???) benefit at risk and lower achieving students, but I'd have to see some data to back that up.