In Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine, 12-year-old Douglas Spalding treasures
a whole summer ahead to cross off the calendar, day by day. …[H]e saw his hands jump everywhere, pluck sour apples, peaches, and midnight plums. He would be clothed in trees and bushes and rivers…. He would bake, happily, with ten thousand chickens, in Grandma’s kitchen.
After 4 years of running Stop Homework and talking to thousands of parents and children across the country, I know that summers no longer promise those complete and absolute carefree joys. Instead, most students across the United States will have homework hanging over their heads the entire summer.
It won’t surprise anyone here to know that I am adamantly opposed to summer homework. While I am a big fan of reading, those assigned summer homework books don’t usually appeal to most students, and they end up discouraging reading rather than promoting it.
Here are just a few of the other reasons I hate summer homework:
- * students should have a chance to choose what they read
* if students were allowed to read books of their own choosing, they would read more
* students report that those summer assignments are collected but never looked at or discussed
* if students actually learned the material during the school year in a meaningful way, then there wouldn’t be “summer backslide,” one of the ostensible reasons for summer homework
Check back tomorrow and the rest of the week for some ideas on ways to advocate for an end to summer homework. And in the meantime, post your opinion on summer homework in the Comments.