By, Ascellia Arenas
Homework should still be going on regardless of the summer vacation from learning at school. A study conducted at the University of Ovideo, Spain revealed that spending 90 or more minutes doing homework is less effective when compared to students who spend less time.
According to the study, “Those who spent about 90 to 100 minutes a day on homework scored highest on the assessment—however, they didn’t outperform their peers who spent less time on homework by much. The researchers therefore determined that going from 70 minutes of homework a day to 90 minutes a day is not an efficient use of time. ‘That small gain requires two hours more homework per week, which is a large time investment for such small gains,’ they wrote. ‘For that reason, assigning more than 70 minutes homework per day does not seem very efficient, as the expectation of improved results is very low.’ “
As an educator, I personally recommend that independent, regulated, self study should be an ongoing daily practice to maximize learning benefits and to achieve learning gains especially over the summer months.
Students are accustomed to spending 8 hours per day at school. Elementary school subjects are broken down into 30 minute intervals (ie. 30 minutes per subject Reading, Math, Science, Lanuage Arts, and History). The rest of the day is spent in specials (art, music, and PE) and then of course, lunch. Secondary students spend approximately 50 minutes per subject, per day. During the school year, to spend over 100 minutes per night doing assignments seems excessive and does glean negative results. I have come to accept that 90% of my students opt out of doing homework because they have extra-curricular activities scheduled, they work, or they assist their working parents with the caregiving of younger siblings. The homework gets ignored. We are discussing summer time study habits here, though. Ignoring the books over the summer may cause your student to regress, this is especially true for students from low-income families. Alicia Eames, author of, “Summer Reading and The Rich Poor Achievement Gap“, confirms the following:
“What we know is that any child who fails to read during the summer break will lose some reading proficiency. We also know that children from low-income families routinely lose two to three months of reading proficiency every summer while middle-class children gain about a month. This creates a three to four month gap every summer.”
The evidence supports that students who spend time studying over the summer will improve their academic achievement.
Parents, visit a teacher supply store with a variety of published workbooks (Reading, Math, & Science), and purchase a few, preferably on grade level and/or rising grade level. It may help to have a teacher’s edition for you to use as a reference and to grade their work. If a student answers an assessment with 75-80% accuracy, they have achieved mastery.
Daily practice with a review session immediately after they complete activities won’t take away from summer time fun.
The summer time is also a great time to introduce novel study. Reward your child for completing each novel with a one-on-one discussion session over lemonade, pizza, or ice cream. In other words, make it something they appreciate and look forward to! Let them create a blog and keep an online journal of their summer reading experience. Who knows, they may discover a new passion, gain new perspective, or even develop an interest in becoming a novelist. The opportunities are endless.
Let’s celebrate life-long learning, make it normal, fun, and a mandatory part of life in your home. As the familiar end of the year salutation is written in yearbooks and on their hand crafted tie dyed tees says, “HAGS” everybody!