I Hate Summer Homework

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.

60 thoughts on “I Hate Summer Homework

  1. Holidays homework scared children because teacher make several type of essay,projects or some other things.I no holidays homework is important but games and other activities are also important .So,School should also focus on other activities it makes the child mind fresh. So,I thing summer holidays is the best time to concentrate on these activities. Summer vocation is not the time of holidays homework it is the time of journey enjoyment.

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  2. Holidays homework scared children because teacher make several type of essay,projects or some other things.I no holidays homework is important but games and other activities are also important .So,School should also focus on other activities it makes the child mind fresh. So,I thing summer holidays is the best time to concentrate on these activities. Summer vocation is not the time of holidays homework it is the time of journey enjoyment.

    Like

  3. I am going into ninth grade this year and because i got into the more advanced classes, they gave me and others 1000 pages to read (from books of our choice) and we have to write down two significant quotes from each book and explain what they mean and how it connects to us. (btw, English is my least favorite subject). In science we have to take notes on five chapters and write down the vocab too. It took so long, the chapters were long and boring, and there was never-ending vocab. I thought summer was made so we could have a BREAK from school (summer-break!) not to be stuck inside doing some stupid homework.

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  4. Summer homework? Only heard of it a couple of days ago. I’ve never had it before and I’m a freshman in high school. I’m somewhat glad I don’t have it because 1. I get really upset when I can’t figure something out, and 2. I already have to clean almost everyday during summer except for while we are traveling. But I do wish I had it because I get bored very easily and it would make me occupied since I’m a loner and find joy in homework. Also, it would prepare me for my future classes, so yes, I think that I would like summer homework.

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  5. I transferred schools between my sophomore and junior years. Before the switch, I had never received summer homework. In my new school, I have received homework for two summers running. Last year, it was English. We had to read three books (we were told which books to read; none of them were in any way interesting), complete a three page assignment for each book, and write a full essay on each book. The teacher gave everyone who turned in the assignments perfect scores and never mentioned the books or papers again, except as occasional test questions FOUR months later. This year, I have assignments for my biology and my English classes. I am hoping for better results, but do not fully expect them.
    While doing this homework, I miss out on precious time to go outside, complete my chores, and spend time with my family. I already miss out on enough of this time during the school year, when I am locked in my room for hours completing homework and studying. Why should I miss out on it now, during the so-called “summer break,” as well?

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  6. “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.”

    I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with you on this! I mean, lumping novels, textbooks, and 500 word essays and loading them onto students’ backs aren’t necessarily going to mitigate the summer slide! There are plenty other books at grade level students could read other than the ones on the short lists!

    I also agree that if they “were allowed to read books of their own choosing, they would read more!” Fostering interest in reading, the key to mitigating the token summer slide, takes giving students a wider array of novels and nonfiction books that INTEREST them.

    And it doesn’t stop at books either. If you’re making ice pops and comparing the ingredients to the frozen confections sold at the ice cream truck, it teaches them math and economics. And because music education isn’t taught much at schools (aside from band camps), exploring and learning about local churches’ pipe organs is also a creative way to encourage summer learning.

    And let’s not forget about travel! From visiting museums to even hiking in state parks, kids would know geography, history, and science in meaningful ways possible.

    Though I agree that summer vacation doesn’t have to mean mindless TV marathons and VG tourneys, I think that travel, unrestricted (yet grade level and age appropriate) reading of interesting books, crafts, and even cooking at home as a family are among the most effective ways to beat summer learning loss than a load of homework and uninteresting novels.

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  7. I would rather take a bath in sulfuric acid than have to try to make my kids do their summer reading. My husband and I are voracious readers. My kids have never been, despite our best efforts. When they do read, it is non fiction, technical stuff, history, humor. It is pretty much never novels with a ‘message’ or ‘inspiring’ works of literature. Yet every summer I’m supposed to force some meaningful inspirational novel down their throats, because someone decreed it so.

    Son #1 is in the middle of building a go-kart and tuning/modifying the engine. Son #2 is working on his hockey skills. They both want to sleep late, chill out, go on vacation, and go to camp. They will remember their trip to Boy Scout camp for years. This novel will be forgotten exactly 38 seconds after being read. It will not cause them to think deeply about the world, or connect to anyone.

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  8. I go to tuotoring/summer school for 4 hours a day Mon-Thur with so much HW and WKND HW. WTF I GOT 4.0’s THIS SCHOOL YEAR!!!!!

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  9. I am entering the 9th grade and dislike summer homework very much. I had to read 2 books that were not our choices, answer 4 pages per book based on questions, do a book review per book which included a chapter summary and ended up being 7 pages. Then, because I am in honor classes, have to do a presentation of the European Renaissance due before school even starts. It is extremely irritating that I have to spend my summer worrying about finishing work that should not be assigned.

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