“We’re waxin’ down our surf boards, can’t wait for June”
--The Beach Boys
A recently received telephone call suggested that a local school district is engaging in an annoying practice -- nagging.
In essence, a pre-recorded message to someone assumed to be a student badgered the youth to get on the stick and do the summer homework assignments.
More specifically, the caller urged that the summer vacation was moving along. She wanted to make sure the youth was catching up on summer reading so the books would be finished when school started.
What a downer.
We don’t think a school district should be doing that -- for many reasons.
First off, June, July and August are vacation. It’s the time for beaches, sun tans, sleeping late and having new adventures.
And, as the Beach Boys sang, “Waxin’ down the surf board.”
No adults on vacation would welcome a call from their company urging them to buckle down and think about work while they were sailing on the bay. Similarly, kids don’t welcome a call telling them to do more homework.
The whole point of summer vacation is that there isn’t homework -- or at least their shouldn’t be.
Children are by nature learners. They get plenty of facts and figures poured into their brains over the school year. They don’t lose that knowledge over the summer. The truth is, they just sort of tuck it away in favor of other things when the semesters are done.
Here is what’s worse: It is bad enough that the schools assign homework over the summer. It is even more distressing that it is in the form of reading books.
Too much emphasis of late has been put on reading and math to the exclusion of art, music, science and physical education (perhaps pandering to testing programs).
If the schools want to assign the kids anything, it should be in the fields that fit better with the summer weather and free time.
If anything, the calls to the students would more appropriately be: “Are you having fun?”
“Are you doing art?”
“Are you making music?”
“Have you walked barefoot in the mud?”
“Are you eating some fresh vegetables and running off some of that weight you put on over the winter?”
The YMCAs and country clubs have recently finished up the swimming meet season. They and other groups are also coming down the home stretch on specialty camps.
These camps build up healthy bodies, teach interesting lessons and promote sportsmanship.
They give the children the opportunity to make new friends, and they aren’t always telling them to be quiet. They also fill in the blanks where the schools are weak.
That’s what summer is for.
This week we have witnessed the culmination of years of Little League play and skill development on the part of students from Kennett and Unionville. They became so good at baseball that they went to the LL World Series.
That’s an experience they will never forget, and it will stay with them far longer than the reading they were assigned over the summer.
Similarly, the kids who attend art, science, nature, wilderness or drama camp are getting knowledge, joy and growth that doesn’t come from any classroom.
But that’s not all. Just their chance to goof off and dream is priceless. It develops creativity and lessens anxiety.
Let’s hear it for summer vacation with more fun and no homework!