On Impending Summer Work

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The countdown has begun – there are 43 days until the official beginning of summer. There is little students seem to look forward to more than summer break. But often it also means assigned work that either takes away from fun time, is finished early and promptly forgotten, or gets finished in a panicky final day before school starts again. Because it is so drawn out, it is understandably necessary to give students work over the break so that their learning does not stagnate, or, even worse, regress. So, how can we assign work that will both help students and not hinder them when it comes to summer activities? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Reading: The typical is assigning one or more specific books which students must report back on or be tested on when they return to school. So, to make it a little less stringent, why not provide a list from which students can choose one or more books? They’ll likely be a bit more happy to read something they have chosen, and an assignment which employs creativity can help assess their understanding of the text/s. This could be supplemented by Parent/Student discussions, trips to the local library, and student discussion groups.
  2. Math: Math skills are easily forgotten over the course of a few months and reteaching old concepts can take up valuable class time. This subject is one where a log of practice time might be employed. Options for practicing could be offered to students and they, with the help of an adult, could practice for a certain number of hours every week. This way, concepts are reinforced throughout the summer, rather than worked on in a short span of time.
  3. Digital: Now, this is not necessarily feasible for everyone. But the idea is that some sort of continuous discussion could be taking place over the summer. Students could work on a blog to practice writing skills (which could include commenting on each other’s work). Or discussions could be facilitated on other social media platforms. This could work as preparation for future classes, a segway between school years, or anything really. Digital platforms have a lot of potential and possibilities for summer learning.
What do you think about summer homework? What kinds of homework should be assigned over the summer? Are all options feasible or efficient?