Q:

I thought that my role of homework enforcer would be over in the summer. Now, both of my children have brought home assignments that need to be completed over the summer. They are not small assignments, but will take several weeks to complete. Am I the only one to complain about this? -- Overworked

A:

You definitely are not the only parent to face the fact that school is more and more becoming a year-round task. The nitty gritty behind teachers giving summer assignments is simple. Children, especially those in elementary school, need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. For example, if they don't engage in some academic work in math, almost all students lose about two months of grade equivalency between the beginning and end of summer vacation.

The story in reading is a bit different. Children who read a lot or participate in library reading programs may actually make some gains in their reading skills. The secret is that to do so, they must read. And summer homework reading assignments will help them keep their reading skills sharp.

Summer homework definitely pays more academic dividends in the elementary and middle-school years than in high school. If you want your children to start the next year truly ready for handling academics, you will need to grin and bear it and organize time for them to study from day one in the summer. It will be far more productive than cramming all their homework into the last two weeks of summer vacation.

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