Traditionally, summer breaks from school have been reserved for fun and fun only: family vacations to Disney World, sleep-away camps, day trips to beaches and water parks, weeknight sleepovers, water balloon fights, double features at the local movie theater, and late night hide-and-go-seek sessions. For kids, summer breaks used to be truly a vacation.
However, with the ever-increasing competitiveness and rigor in academics at every grade level, it seems as if the tides of public opinion regarding just how much time children should be spending away from their schoolwork have changed, making "vacation" a more loosely defined word.
Most kids are now given a hefty dose of homework made up of exhaustive summer reading lists and endless math packets to be completed before the next school year. Granted, some research suggests an entire summer away from school has its detriments. A review of 39 studies found that achievement test stores decline over the course of summer vacations, and another research study suggests lengthy summer breaks could have even more lasting consequences. But even so, should schools really be assigning homework during supposed breaks? Or is a child's free time just as important as her academic achievement?
Zach Verbit is a recent graduate from Florida State University currently interning at Parents Magazine who always lied about doing his summer reading in grade school.