Summer Homework: Too much, too little, or just right?

Senior+Karissa+Ho%27s+desk+space+featuring+a+double+monitor+and+an+inspirational+reminder+to+%22Just+Breathe.%22+

Karissa Ho '21

Senior Karissa Ho’s desk space featuring a double monitor and an inspirational reminder to “Just Breathe.”

Summer homework: vacation busywork or imperative educational upkeep? Mayfield girls decide! Both teachers and students struggle to find that balance of summer homework that isn’t too overwhelming but also allows scholars to retain skills and to be well-prepared for the school year. However, sometimes this equilibrium is not reached and it becomes difficult to distinguish between summer and the regular school year. 

On one hand, summer work is beneficial as it allows students to keep their minds sharp and equipped. The amount of summer homework can also be associated with the difficulty of a specific course, as APs and honors classes will require more preparation to ensure success during the year. On the other hand, summer is supposed to be a break from constant school work and dedicating hours to assignments every month may not allow students to get the rest that they deserve. When is it necessary to draw the line? 

A survey at Mayfield Senior School was conducted to analyze the attitudes of under and upperclassmen concerning summer homework. There were a total of 141 participants, resulting in a variety of responses. Some students believed that the amount of work is justified while others feel overburdened and criticized the workload. On average, the participants of the survey had a moderate to slightly heavy class schedule for the coming school year and spent 4-9 hours a month on their summer assignments. Underclassmen who had lighter workloads spent less time on their summer homework while upperclassmen with heavier workloads spent an average of 15-20 hours a month on their assignments. 68% of the participants agreed that summer homework is useful as it prepares a student for the school year. The participants were almost evenly split on the issue of changing the workload with 49% of students suggesting that the amount of summer work should be maintained (they were neutral) while 48% believed that the amount of work should decrease. Why are some in favor of summer work while others strongly oppose it? 

“Summer assignments definitely help me see what Mayfield’s homework will look like and it’s also a really good refresher to have before the school year begins,” said Kayley Bao ‘24, an incoming freshman who highlights a popular belief among her fellow classmates. 

Some upperclassmen also appreciate the benefits of summer work as it is a widespread perspective that summer homework allows students to hone skills. Kerry Zhang ‘22 observed that, “The amount of summer work is just right and it is beneficial because the math problems help me remember previously learned concepts.” 

Students are also self-aware and understand that the amount of homework among peers changes drastically due to the kinds of classes one chooses. Mia Pippert ‘21 believes that the summer homework, “Is a reasonable amount, for my classes at least. I think if it were any less, the beginning of the year would be difficult because my work stamina would be way too bad.”

On the opposing side, the addition of summer assignments during a time designated for relaxation can seem both daunting and unnecessary, especially to students who have a variety of extracurricular activities, elective summer courses, or college preparations to focus on.  

It should be taken into account that we have work from multiple other classes as well as wanting to enjoy our summer and have free time” said Elise Sigler ‘22 who believes that teachers can do a better job at balancing the amount of work given. 

Rising seniors expressed concern about not having enough time to focus on the college application process. “This year, I am drowning in summer homework,” said Emma Anderson ‘21. 

“Especially as an incoming senior, I feel like I should be spending more time on my college applications and ACT/SAT prep rather than stressing about my summer homework,” said Anderson.  

Kathryn Parry ‘21 agrees with this sentiment, “We need more of a break before the homework is given. Honestly homework-wise there is no distinguishable boundary between school and summer.”

Overall, as Mayfield students get older, their summer workload increases which makes it more difficult for them to focus on various activities or responsibilities that also need an immense amount of attention. It is imperative for teachers and students to communicate in order to draft a balanced plan for summer work that both prepares the students for success during the year but also allows the girls to live out the definition of summer vacation: a time of relaxation that works to ensure that students do not burn out before September. A healthy portion of summer assignments will allow Mayfield students to maintain previously acquired skills and will help them reach their full potential.