Ever since I became a parent I notice things that I used to be oblivious to. One of the things that I am noticing now is the mass number of “Summer homes choolers” These are families whose children attend private and public school during the year but are being given homework during the summer and parents homeschool almost every day during the summer break until school starts again. I see workbooks and curriculum sets designed specifically for these type of people so it must be a growing and profitable industry.
Whatever happened to the “break” part of the term Summer Break? I don’t remember any of this when I was growing up. From the last day of school until the first day of school I had no homework, projects and didn’t have to do anything remotely academic. I read because I wanted to not because some summer program was bribing me with promises of free pizza.
I am not saying that these new (at least to me) approaches are wrong, I am just taking a while to get used to the concept. I see the merits in making sure that kids don’t forget what they learned during the school year. As a bookaholic I am all in favor of encouraging children to read but I see few kids reading for the love of it and they treat it as a job they are doing for a reward instead. This approach of quantity versus quality makes me wonder if the parent’s time, money and effort would be better spent in more customized and targeted approaches to their child’s learning.
I guess that what bothers me the most is how the pressure on parents and children seems to be always increasing. Now parents feel like they have to spend money on summer workbooks, they have to make sure that little Johnny remembers to pack that book he has to read for school during vacation so he can write the paper that is due on the first day of school. It seems like some kids are not getting much of a break as a result. I feel bad for these families and hope that they are able to find the balance between allowing their kids a chance to relax and be children and promoting learning and a love for reading.