I recently saw a few friends post pictures on Facebook of their kids doing work during the first few days of summer vacation. Most of the comments were, “Great!”and “Well done!” while others chimed in with, “Are you serious?” I posted supportive comments because my girls have been doing the same thing. It’s Journal and Math everyday and it takes about twenty minutes of their time. It’s hardly painful and in fact, they were excited to get a new journal for their upcoming trip to jot down their memories. Writing keeps their brains active and gives me a few moments where I can clean up quietly. I don’t want them to become a statistic either. On average, students lose up to two months of academic skills over the summer holidays. It can be reading comprehension, math skills, or communication abilities. With so much time and days off, why would people be opposed to spending a few minutes a day at a table with a pencil in hand?
There are those who are in the camp of “It’s summer – let them relax!” I’ve seen THOSE students when they come to class in September and I’m sure I don’t want my kids to be in that realm. They “relaxed” all summer and on the first day of class, forming a remotely comprehensive sentence is difficult. Spelling, punctuation, and grammar have become a bit foreign and penmanship is nothing to brag about. The students themselves have told me, “All I did all summer was TV and video games!” Er, yes kid, I can see that.
While we encourage our kids to keep up some skills in July and August, it is not run like a school here. We don’t have a set schedule for their work time. They fit it in during the day when they can. Sometimes we’ll be at the park in the mornings and be at home during the hotter afternoons. That’s when they’ll do their work. After the writing is done, they are also encouraged to draw, colour, use Playdoh, paint, etc. I have a “Things to do Before Electronics” checklist which includes writing work, chores, playing outside and doing something creative. We aren’t about to grow couch potatoes in this Hip Teacher garden in the summer.
Do your kids have assigned work in the summer? Do you think summer should be a “no work” time?