OPINION: Stressful summer homework ruins our much-needed break

After a stressful year, students believe they are entitled to a summer of relaxation and freedom from schoolwork.

Photo Illustration by Haleigh Farese

After a stressful year, students believe they are entitled to a summer of relaxation and freedom from schoolwork.

As the cold weather subsides, and the sun lingers in the sky a little longer each day, the school year wraps up and summer begins. After a long strenuous 10 months of early mornings and late nights, countless hours of studying and a seemingly never ending list of assignments, students are more than ready to kick back and enjoy their freedom. But that relaxing summer fantasy is ripped away as teachers bombard kids with huge amounts of summer homework.

Between juggling classes, exams and projects, school is undoubtedly stressful. While it’s expected for students to try their best, school quickly becomes exhausting and repetitive. The American Psychological Association found that an alarming 50 percent of all high school students have declining mental health during the school year. Students are encouraged to maintain a good social life and maybe even get a job during the summer, yet the work and time that school demands takes away from these necessities that help kids develop mentally and physically. And the unfortunate truth: that’s not where it ends. Long hours sitting in a chair, staring at a computer, late nights studying and pulling all-nighters to maintain the workload are all severely detrimental to a growing teen’s health. Education media news website EdSource reported in January of 2022 that anxiety, depression and eating disorders can all be directly linked to the effects of school, and summer is supposed to serve as a break from it all. It’s easy to understand how detrimental school is, so it does not make sense that teachers can continue to overwork students during their time off. 

As a student myself, I work very hard during the school year, which means that my time enjoying the summer should be relaxing and worthwhile. When I am obligated to continue to stress over the summer, I become more and more fed up with school’s summer homework policies. 

Summer is full of free time for students to spend how they want. When they are assigned homework, especially tasks without any variation or freedom to even choose the genre or activity, that free time is taken from them. Education nonprofit Great Schools reported on their homepage that only 7 percent of all obtained knowledge is lost during the summer, suggesting that fears of “learning loss” over the summer months are overblown. All summer work accomplishes is making students feel like they are right back in the classroom.

The bottom line is that no student wants to revisit their stressful days in school on a beautiful midsummer day. Summer homework has proven to be ineffective, and ultimately students’ overall health and wellness should be a top priority. Summer and school should never cross paths.