Summer or Not

Do you think children should do school work/homework during their summer break?   That was the survey question Parents Magazine, www.parents.com , recently asked. The results were reported in their June 2016 issue.  The answer was 59% to 41%.  Which side do you think was the majority?

The majority is not necessarily the best answer for your family.  Furthermore the answer may vary from year to year and even from child to child.

We were a homeschooling family.  Our five children were born over a span of 17 years.   Counting from when the eldest entered home school pre- kindergarten until the youngest finished high school was thirty years.work

We generally followed a traditional school year calendar.  Year after year I noticed that my children were squirrely by May 1st.  The entire month of May was a challenge for me and for them.  Focus and concentration were elusive. We were weary of the hard work and eager for a break.  We usually ended the school year  June 1st, which was almost always 5- 10 days earlier than our community public schools.  We did comply with our state standard of required number of school days.

During June I would wrap up the record keeping for the year.  I also would research curricula, make decisions, and purchases for the next school year.  In July I refused to think about or do anything regarding school. My brain was fried and my endurance exhausted.  July was my one month free from school.   As soon as August rolled around it was time to preview curricula, begin lesson plans and prepare for the new school year.   This is not meant to be a rant or a complaint.  It is just a reality.   I loved homeschooling and was committed to it (for 30 years), but I needed a break just as much as the children did. Summer was also the time when I tried to get caught up with big household cleaning and projects that I had neglected through the previous school year.

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But, there were a few exceptions.  Two of our sons required additional and specialized assistance with reading.  Both of them had a couple of summers where the daily reading work continued.  If a child is struggling in a particular subject, I would encourage the use of great creativity in addressing that area during the summer.

 

In general, I believe children need to play freely.  A less structured summer schedule is a refreshing change.  Our children also enjoyed participating in numerous park district classes, sports and programs.  A few of those classes could be classified as both fun and educational.

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We continued to frequently visit the library during the summer.  Keeping a supply of reading materials available will encourage reading.  Children who love to read will find time and material to read.  Non-readers can be read to and may expend great effort to avoid reading themselves.

Back to the survey.  The survey said: 59% NO and 41% YES to homework in the summer.  Which side are you on?

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