Schools out! In May when the three month summer break students wait for all year long finally approaches, many get crushed to find out about all the summer math assignments they must complete before school rolls around again in August.
For many years in the past, Maclay has had summer math assignments as an optional practice for students who want to improve their math education. However, this summer the math activities assigned on the website Khan Academy became mandatory for all upper school students. It should not be required, as summer math is not a necessity for student’s education and it takes away from student’s fun during break.
When students are assigned daily math assignments over the summer, even if it isn’t a lot, it takes away the fun of summer. Specifically high schoolers don’t have much time left to enjoy their summer breaks, as college and adulthood are right around the corner. Having summer math is unnecessary and it takes away from students’ summer break fun. All it does is strip them of motivation to succeed or lead to being unnecessarily stressed and overwhelmed that they will not end up enjoying their summer.
It is in the name of “summer break” that students are supposed to use their three months off school from late May to early August as a means to decompress from the school year. According to Healthline, 70% of students are often or always stressed out over homework, and 56% listed homework as a primary stressor. Specifically with summer math, the assignments pile up and leave little room for students to have a peaceful summer. For this reason, summer math should not be required, as it only piles on more stress to students during their vacation.
Additionally, schools often give summer math because of the fear of summer learning loss. This assumes that students lose much of the information they learn during the school year over the summer. However, a report from 2017 conducted by Brookings Institution shows that the results of students who actually lose knowledge over the summer are mixed. Every student is different, so requiring summer math may help some and not others, which is not worth risking as it takes so much away from students’ hard earned vacation. Also, the quality of work will not be as good during the summer, because students won’t be focused the way they normally are whilst in school. Learning is stressful enough during the year, and since summer math has not been proven to be always beneficial, there is no point in making it mandatory and adding extra stress.
The main reason why summer math is even offered is that students need summer math to keep their skills fresh or else they will forget everything they learned. For some, this may be true, but for the most part, everyone learns differently.
While summer math assignments can be helpful, they are not needed and end up doing more harm than good for students, as it will only strip their motivation and turn learning into something to get over with and not a way to learn properly. Yes, students do need to refresh their math skills after a while of not doing anything, but summer is an unproductive time to do it.
Summer math should either be optional or not a thing at all. The first day or week of school should be set aside for a quick review of fundamental math skills, leaving summer aside for students to have fun and enjoy themselves. Especially in their teenage years, students need time to rest and have fun while they are still kids. Summer math is the wrong way to keep them motivated and ready to learn when they get back, and it should never be a requirement, only a suggestion.