We asked the following question to readers on social media and the Public Insight Network recently: Was your student assigned a lot of summer homework? How do you ensure it gets done? Thanks for all of your responses. Below is a sampling of your comments, some of which were edited for length and clarity. Learn more about the Public Insight Network and comment on previous discussions at MiamiHerald.com/community and select Community Conversations.
Summer homework is a good idea for students. First of all, there is so much to learn during the regular school year that supplemental learning in the summer time fills in some gaps in content areas. Another factor is that students will continue to practice good study habits and not have to relearn them when school reopens in August. I’m not in favor of loading students up with work, though. Summer is still a vacation and fun time for students. I would suggest an hour or two per week per subject for no more than six weeks. It must not conflict with family vacation time. A final consideration would be to let students study something that their school curriculum does not include — something that I would call free enrichment.
Robert Preziosi, Davie
Yes they definitely did! I tried to guarantee that they got it done at the beginning of the summer vacations when they have everything fresh from classes and they were still in the routine. I had a friend come over to make it fun and they could help each other. Honestly I think it’s unnecessary — too much homework during classes and it doesn’t really do much for them. Whatever they learned in class is not reinforced with homework on vacation and ultimately children need to rest and play, not only on vacation but on a day-to-day basis.
Carla Cotte, Bay Harbour Islands
My 15-year-old was assigned summer work in one class, so it is not “ a lot,” certainly enough to complete in three months. She knows that it is her responsibility to complete it and that she expected to do so. It is up to her to determine when she will do the work. I look at her work, but don’t give direction. I believe that part of the value of assigning work over the summer is teaching kids to practice managing their time effectively (balance work and play). I think summer homework is great and that all kids should have some mandatory summer work, beginning at around fourth grade. Not a lot, but anything to encourage a strong work and study ethic, spark creative and independent thinking outside the classroom and to help prevent summer learning loss. Mandatory summer reading lists are great as well.
Doris Laurence, Weston
Yes, my kids have always been assigned summer homework and a lot of summer reading. I do not make any special effort to ensure it gets done. The kids have always gotten it done. In addition, I do not agree with summer homework. They have too much homework during the whole year and during Christmas vacation and Spring Break. They have no time to be kids and it is unfortunate.
Chris Christodoulou, Miami
We selectively picked the Lauderdale Lakes Summer Camp because if their educational component to their sessions. We also have a tutor that comes weekly both during the school year and during the summer. I don’t think basic schools should assign homework during the summer. However, I believe an exception could be carved out for gifted and AP/honor students (my children do not fall under any of those categories). Either year-round school or nothing at all. I personally would not mind year-round school.
Michael Gagne, Fort Lauderdale
We ensured that it got done by assigning deadlines. This helped him to pace the summer reading and not have to scramble at the end. Unfortunately, I feel that summer reading turns kids off to reading. If anything schools should assign this summer work for extra credit solely. It is summer and the kids need a break. I was never assigned home learning in the summer and have proved to be successful. Furthermore, the kids that will complete the assignments sadly are usually not the ones that need reinforcement.
Carolina Garcia, Miami
No, I don’t think so. It’s summer for Pete’s sake. An assignment of reading a couple a books is fine, but homework, no. They do more than enough during the school year.
Sergio Penton, Miami Lakes
I believe that letting a mind go fallow for three consecutive months is excessive. Summer homework should be selective. It should only be given in subjects that require retention of recently acquired skills. My second opinion is that the love of reading should be a lifelong joy. I think that summer reading lists should be attuned to a student’s interests and not to a quiz to be given in September. Even though this will put additional strains on teachers I think that each book list should either be selected with a specific student in mind or should be broad enough to appeal to every student in the class. The test of what was actually read should therefore be either an essay, book review or class presentation. My final opinion is that teachers should be required to coordinate their assignments so that students are not overloaded. Summer, after all, is a time to allow a child to be a child.
Arnold Slotkin, Hollywood