Summer Homework: Yay or Nay?

My son is about to enter 2nd grade, (when did that happen?), which means he had the pleasure of receiving summer homework.  YUCK! (Did I say that out loud?)  Shouldn’t summer be about relaxing, taking a break from the daily grind and strict schedule, swimming, ice-pops and most importantly, having fun?

Our kids work so hard during the year.  Are summer assignments really necessary?  As a parent, I definitely think it’s important to keep up with reading and learning during the summer, but I believe it should be a different type of education than children get during the year.  What better way for kids to learn and soak in new information than to actually experience it for themselves.

This summer my boys experienced new places we traveled to, allowing them to learn about history and culture, as well as meet interesting people. They were educated about new sports and techniques while in camp, gained a ton of knowledge at the butterfly museum we visited, were excited to learn to cook their favorite meals and snacks with me and discovered new facts about sharks and ocean life at our local aquarium.  Sounds pretty educational to me!

When it comes to summer projects, are they a way to keep kids interested in school during their break?  Is it a way to get their brain used to more structure as summer break comes to an end, in preparation for the school year?  Is it going to turn a child off to school and have a negative effect?  Isn’t a break from deadlines and homework assignments healthy for our children?  Do summer projects end up being work for the parents as well?

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If you have a type A personality like I do, it is nearly impossible to let your little one do a project and not get in there and help.  We control freaks know we need our kids to do it on their own and create their own masterpieces to express themselves, but wouldn’t it just look great if we did it this way?  I have learned to step back (a little bit) but I really do love being creative and I know my son welcomes my assistance.  That said, when he received a summer assignment (or shall I say three), I also received the assignment.

While I don’t want to project a negative experience with homework onto my children, I would rather them learn through nature, their travels, and summer experiences, rather than by sitting inside with a glue stick and a puss on their faces.  It’s no fun for me to have to constantly tell them to get to work when they would rather be outside playing.  I don’t want them to view summer homework as a chore and something annoying to cross off their (my) to do list.  Will their negative attitude towards summer assignments taint their view of homework during the school year?  If you approach the summer homework assignment a little at a time, instead of  waiting until the week before school starts, your child will not be overwhelmed and feel like it is taking over their summer fun.  Spreading out the work will insure your child (and you) will not be spending hours at a time slaving over poster board and glitter.

Homework can already be a challenge in my house throughout the year, so it’s nice to for everyone to be able to take some time without stressing out about deadlines.  I do however want to show my children that even though it’s more fun to play than sit down and do an assignment, there is a purpose to the poster boards and book reports due the first day they return to school.  I 110% believe in the importance of school and learning.  I respect a teacher for keeping their students interested in school over the summer and actually love the idea of bringing everyone’s summer experience back to school to share with classmates through collages and such.

It’s a hard debate as to whether or not summer homework is beneficial.  Any time a child is learning, whether through traditional methods or non-conventional methods, it is always valuable to them.  

As summer break winds down to a close and we dust off our children’s pencils and uniforms, I can honestly say my boys had a successful and enjoyable summer.  They are ready to get back into a schedule, challenge their brains and see their friends again.  Not sure they will agree with all of that statement but I know I am ready for a steady itinerary and of course ready to take on any homework challenges that come our way!

What do you think about summer homework?  Mommy Masters would love to hear from you!

TOGETHER WE CAN MASTER MOTHERHOOD!™