Today I had to be the mean dad. When school let out in June, Gavin and Grace came home with packets to get them ready for second grade. Fifty pages of worksheets working on basic language arts and math skills. Now with the school year four weeks away we needed to get to work. It was torture for me to sit and watch my two seven year olds do school work on a beautiful Friday morning of their summer break. A question kept popping in my mind as I helped the twins struggle through 5 pages of worksheets. Should schools assign work for students to complete during summer?
The worksheets seemed the standard rote math practice, elementary grammar and some reading comprehension practice. Gavin and Grace completed first grade with good marks, achieving at grade level or above in all areas. Could they use practice to keep sharp? Of course we all can. Do these worksheets inspire students to learn? Absolutely NO. Grace kept asking if she “Had to” do them. “I get good grades, it is summer break.” Gavin chimed in ” Come on dad! I want to go in the pool this is no fun!” I told them that they didn’t want to be the only students who didn’t complete their work. “Don’t you want to be ready for 2nd grade?” They nodded their heads, begrudgingly returning to their work.
Would I ever assign work like this to my students? NO, I try not to give my students any homework to value their home life. Was this different? 50 pages to complete during the 70+ day summer vacation . It was less than a page per day. Maybe we were just slackers and didn’t make a page part of our daily routine. We read everyday of summer, we do physical activity everyday of summer, should we do a worksheet everyday? What should summer learning look like?
Shouldn’t summer learning be more than a worksheet? (What can you learn from a worksheet anyway?) Summer learning needs to be engaging. Students need to find the value of learning skills so that when school starts back up they will be motivated to learn. Summer learning should be the freedom to explore HOW adults use their education in their daily lives. The twins learned more attending their summer day camp than they ever will from the worksheet package.
Please comment on what you feel summer learning should look like.