Summer Assignments

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I was fully aware that summer was petering out and we were about to be slammed into back-to-school chaos.  The sky is darkening, the winds are blowing and I see the storm school buses on the horizon.  Yes, lunches are packed, back packs are ready and MY SON IS STILL DOING HIS SUMMER ASSIGNMENTS.

He is a rising 10th grader who was assigned a math packet, a 550 page book to read and:

The Summer Assignment for AP World History & Geography has three parts:

Part I Read the following selections from World Civilizations:

The Global Experience (6th Edition) and summarize. Part I: The Rise of Agriculture and Agricultural Civilizations (pages 2-7) Part II: The Classical Period, 1000 BCE – 500 CE (pages 34-39) Part III: The Postclassical Era (pages 130-135) Part IV: The World Shrinks, 1450-1750 (pages 354-359) Part V: Industrialization and Western Global Hegemony, 1750-1914 (pages 520-525) Part VI: The 20th Century in World History (pages 650-657)

Part II Read Chapters 31, 32, 33 & 34 of World Civilizations: The Global Experience (6th edition), and using the HEADINGS AND SUBHEADINGS in each chapter, take notes/outline. PLEASE INCLUDE NOTES ON THE THINKING HISTORICALLY FOR EACH CHAPTER AS WELL.

Part III Define the following terms and include a sentence about their historical significance. DO NOT INCLUDE THE TERMS IN THE NOTES.

Then 51 terms are listed, I will spare you the details.

AP or Basic Studies, why do they have to do what looks like half of a semester’s worth of work during the summer?  I could rant on and on about all of these kids’ summer trips, camps, work schedules which don’t necessarily allow the time for cumbersome workloads, but that isn’t even the point.

What about SUMMER BREAK?

These kids work hard all year long.  They have  the added pressure to keep up with their studies throughout Winter and Spring Breaks.  I see many teenage clients on a regular basis due to anxiety and stress that they experience during the busy school year. I don’t understand why they can’t just get a rest during the summer.

Another rant I have which piggybacks on the Summer Assignment rant is that in May when SOL’s (Standard of Learning  Exams in the State of Virginia) are finished, the students spend many a class watching Finding Nemo and Shrek.  I wish I were kidding; last spring my oldest son complained that he had to watch the same movie in two different classes on the same day.  I wonder why the self-taught chapters that they are grinding through now can’t somehow be taught in lieu of Disney movie week during the academic day in high school.

I feel badly about writing this negativity (and posting it) as we jump into the new school year.  Facebook is covered with posts about new learning opportunities, excited kindergarteners and fresh beginnings.  But, these summer assignments are a reality that are troublesome; how can these high schoolers feel any sense of excitement or positive energy about starting a new school year after spending the past several weeks with their heads in the books?

The scene at my dining room table

The scene at my dining room table


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