Summer homework: a necessary evil

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Summer. The time we all look forward to. It’s a lovely time of rest, relaxation, sleep, and… summer homework? This past summer, I felt something I haven’t felt since Catholic School: the dread of summer homework. The question came up more than once: is it necessary to have summer work at Townsend Harris? In middle school it made sense because it was easier to forget things as a child.  Now, I’m in high school. Do I still need the extra homework?

The initial response is often, “no.” The main reason behind summer work is to keep the minds of the students occupied so they don’t forget what they have learned throughout the year. However, a poll conducted by The Classic (for the June 2013 edition) showed that Townsend Harris students already occupy their minds over the summer, usually through SAT courses or private tutoring. For all the hard work given throughout the year, students not only deserve their summers off, but they also need them to mentally recover from the fatigue of the school year. However, there is an exception to this idea, and it is the AP course.

I signed up for AP English this year and one of the first things I heard was that you get summer homework.  I was annoyed that my summer would be devoted to reading a book I most likely would not enjoy. But after having some time to think, I realized there were legitimate reasons behind this injustice.

When you go on Daedalus and select an AP course, you’re mostly thinking about getting a five on that test and enjoying a 10% boost on your transcript. What many seem to forget, however, is that you are actually making a commitment. An AP course is a college-level course that rewards students who pass the AP test with credits that allow them to skip entry level classes in college. By taking AP courses, a student could potentially save thousands of dollars.

Summer homework also helps to save precious time during the school year. Instead of having a month-long introduction to the course and learning what the teacher expects, students could start learning right away. This permits more time for actual content. Remember, with standard courses, the final exam is in June, but for an AP course, the test could be as early as the first week of May. The time saved by doing summer homework means more time to prepare for the AP test.

If we consider the benefits, it becomes apparent that summer homework might just have an actual place in our summers.