Summer Homework: Is it Necessary?

Summer Homework: Is it Necessary?

Moriel Weitzner ’24

Summer homework is not something I enjoy, and receiving a summer reading book as well as an email describing my Judaic studies assignment for the summer are things I dread. For students taking classes like AP Psychology, I imagine that dread was magnified by the AP course work they were assigned to complete over the summer as well. The question often asked is if summer homework is necessary or just another tedious aspect of high school life. Although appropriate arguments can be made for both sides, I ultimately agree with the latter.


On one hand, summer homework can facilitate learning that ensures students don’t forget the material they learned the previous year. Certain AP courses may also require some background knowledge as a prerequisite for the class or to ensure students are prepared for the exam in the spring. Sarah Silverman ’24, who is taking AP Psychology, reflected that “since it is an AP class, we wouldn’t have had enough time to accomplish all the material for the exam in May without having the summer homework.”


On the other hand, summer homework is hardly completed at all or in an appropriate time frame. Summer reading material is scarcely discussed upon the return to school anyhow; my classes often examine the summer reading for two weeks at most. As for Judaic studies material, students are given a short quiz on it sometime in September before discarding it completely. Summer is also an essential time for students and teachers to relax, to recharge their batteries after another taxing year, especially at a notoriously stressful school like Ramaz.


I would say that summer homework is somewhat good in theory, but not in practice. The purpose of summer homework is to refresh students’ memories over the course of an entire summer, not the week preceding a new school year. The type of homework given over the summer and the nature of how it’s completed defeats the purpose entirely. However, I concede that AP course work is in a different ballpark. Students who elect to take AP classes should be prepared to put in the work, because after all, most will want to do well on their exams in May. Summer homework seems to be another part of the education system that ends up falling short, so perhaps it’s time for a change.