Latin Should Say Goodbye to Summer Homework


Cole Hanover

Seniors are tasked with college applications and homework over the summer.

Summer homework detracts from the ability to fully recharge during break. While Latin has made strides to scale summer assignments back, I propose they be completely eliminated.

This year, Latin exempted every high school student from summer homework in English except for rising seniors. I couldn’t believe it when the email arrived last spring announcing the change in policy and that the new policy did not apply to my grade. I put it out of my mind—that is, until the assignments arrived for my class while I enjoyed my last summer as a high school student.

I had a few hundred pages of English and an introductory history assignment. The book for English was fun, but it wasn’t a book that I chose, and it was still work during summer. I resented that assigned book taking me away from my pile of “will get to this summer” reading stack, especially because summer was coming to a close. I especially resented my summer homework as I watched my sophomore brother sleeping in and lounging in summer mode.

Junior Charlie Steffen disagrees with the new rule. “I thought canceling the summer reading for English was unnecessary,” Charlie said. “We were given optional texts, which I’m pretty sure nobody read. I wouldn’t mind having to read a book over the summer for school.”

While Charlie would not have minded having an English summer assignment, I do, even if I happen, by coincidence, to enjoy the reading assigned. I want to read what I want to read. Regarding the summer work for history, doesn’t everyone like to chill out with a little John Locke after an ice cream cone and a swim?

Students at Latin work hard, very hard, during the year. Summer should be for recharging. It’s not that the work was that taxing. It wasn’t. The problem is that when you’re completing the work, you know it’s homework. There is a different level of attention that a person brings to reading and work that is assigned as opposed to chosen for pleasure. Summer reading and thinking should be for joy, not to fulfill an obligation. Why not allow summer to be a time that allows students to be curious, relaxed, and encouraged not to think about school, especially when 12th grade has the additional stressor of college applications?

The summer going into 12th grade is the calm before the storm of college applications. For others, it is a time to get a jump start on college application work, especially if you have a sport in the fall. Some seniors use that last part of summer to study for their ACT or SAT.

Currently, every senior at Latin is up to their ears in the annual 12th grade tradition, the famous 650-word common app personal statement. Summer would have been better spent on the college essay than whatever time was devoted to summer homework, especially because the personal statement marks the start of the college essay writing journey. Many students have multiple supplementals to write in what seems like essay-palooza.

Senior Vanessa Block said, “While I may understand that with our age comes better work ethic and time management, that should hold no excuse for adding on to the mountain of responsibilities we already have as emerging seniors and college applicants.”

If there’s a single grade of students who do not need extra homework to keep engaged and tuned in, it’s rising seniors.

Senior Madison Vanderbilt agrees. “I enjoyed my summer reading assignments,”she said, “but I feel as if seniors should’ve been given a rest, especially with the prospects of a stressful fall semester.”

Moreover, with add-drop happening in the first 10 days of school, it’s an obstacle to pick up a class where you weren’t able to do the summer homework prior to the class starting. It’s also a disincentive to drop a class that you already did the summer work for.

Food for thought next year: How about everyone, including rising seniors, gets the summer off— really off. Just give a little more reading when everyone gets back to school. A break should be a break.