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Is Homework During Summer Vacation Too Cruel for Kids?

Posted by on Aug. 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM
  • 13 Replies

Is Homework During Summer Vacation Too Cruel for Kids?

by Sarah Bernard

One of the things I remember about facing the last third of the summer as a kid is the sheer panic I'd feel from not having made a dent in my summer reading list.

We were supposed to come back to school prepared to discuss all the books we'd loved or not loved and why. While I theoretically looked forward to that in June, by August it seemed like a cruel joke.

Fast forward to now, and here I am dragging my kids to the library and bribing them with stickers to finish the reading lists that I have thrust upon them.

The debate about whether kids -- even grade school-aged kids -- should have summer homework has only gotten more intense in recent years.

Making it through a few age-appropriate titles is one thing. But some parents are taking it upon themselves to assign their kids math, spelling and comprehension worksheets, even getting out the flash cards, signing up for online homeschooling courses, and taking them to Kumon.

The theory is that the lag time between June and September turns the clock back and kids end up playing catch-up when they start up again, reviewing old material instead of building on the previous year.

That could be true. They get out of practice, essentially. But if you don't give kids a break from the relentlessness of "work," will they start to resent the process? Especially when you know they've got years and years ahead of them to dive into their books and precious few years left to be carefree and soak up the lazy summer nights.

Frankly, I have mixed feelings. One of my daugthers is a more enthusiastic reader than the other. Instead of counting the number of books I'd hoped to "get through," my goal has become to get her to enjoy reading on her own. It hasn't been easy. At times it has felt forced and I worried that the reading sessions would backfire come September.

But thanks to an admittedly irritating series of Barbie books she's chosen to tackle -- plus an embarrassing amount of stickers and Rainbow Loom bands for "motivation" -- I think I may have gotten the job done.

Do you think homework during summer vacation is a good idea?

by on Aug. 15, 2013 at 10:11 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by on Aug. 15, 2013 at 10:19 AM
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I don't think it's cruel at all.  I don't think summer homework should be excessive, but keeping up with math & reading skills over the summer is a good thing.  My kids' schools require summer reading and math packets to stay on top of their skills through the summer.  It's so easy to forget and get behind.  I think it's fine, and I have no problem with summer homework.  I just don't think it should be an hour a day or anything like that. 

by Anonymous 1 on Aug. 15, 2013 at 10:20 AM
Good idea. Young kids forget so much if parents would supplement all summer teachers would not have to spend a month doing review. A couple hours a week of homework is not gonna kill a kid and is worth it.
by on Aug. 20, 2013 at 12:46 AM

So what if they "resent" it? There are things that people just have to do whether they like it or not, like maintaining the home, eating healthily, etc, and it is a child's repsonsibility to do what it is his or her responsibility to do, whether it is "summer" or not, just like anyone else.  Kinda ridiculous to think that a child needs three full months of doing absolutely nothing 24/7 to "survive" the school year, as they slip back two to three months of skill level that they need to make up in the new  year. Good parents require their kids to keep their skills up throughout the summer, whether the kids "resent" it or not. There is still lots of time for fun. I think people shouldn't treat kids like delicate wilting flowers.

by Member on Aug. 21, 2013 at 12:12 PM
2 moms liked this

I laugh at the word "CRUEL". Cruel means chaining a child to a wall and starving them. Age appropropriate homework, instead of endless tv and video games is HARDLY "cruel"......

by Anonymous 1 on Aug. 21, 2013 at 12:32 PM
This is why year around school is ideal. A month off in the summer is plenty with other breaks 2 weeks instead of 1.
by on Aug. 21, 2013 at 11:23 PM
No not at all, it helps the child to remember the lessons previously taught. I actually spent this entire summer making sure my now third grader and now second grader were up to par on math, and the participated in our local library's summer reading program. I think homework/school work during the summer is a great thing to practice with ur kids.
by Bronze Member on Aug. 22, 2013 at 12:39 AM

 Our schools do not give homework over the Summer, but I do.  It keeps them fresh and on the ball for the coming year!

by on Aug. 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM
1 mom liked this
No I do not. Academics are not the most important thing for children to learn, they need social skills and to relax. People want to act like letting your daughter wear jean shorts is what's making kids grow up to fast, but in reality, it's not letting them be KIDS. Quit trying to make them little adults that work all the time.
by Member on Aug. 22, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Reading a book a week is one thing I support, but having assigned work?  It just would not be done.  Summer is for families. friends and creative discovery. 

by Anonymous 2 on Aug. 22, 2013 at 12:10 PM

I don't think it's cruel... it helps keep their mind working and it's never bad to have kids improve on their math, reading skills during the summer. My mom did this for us as kids, she would give us spelling words and have us do book reports for her to keep us busy and not bored. I have no complaints I was reading at a college level in the 7th grade.

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