Summer Homework Pays Dividends To High School Students

Question: You have written about the academic dividends that summer homework can pay in the elementary and middle school years. I want to add to that the academic dividends that it can pay to high school students.

As a high school Advanced Placement teacher myself, I can state that many AP teachers require summer homework for two reasons. First, it helps students new to AP classes decide whether they will want to maintain the academic rigor and time commitment throughout the school year or possibly switch courses at the beginning of the year. Second, it helps the student develop breadth and depth in a subject that usually ends with an AP exam that may assess more content than can be taught in the normal school year schedule. Some schools do not start until September and miss days throughout the winter, while the date of the AP exam in May does not change.

Some high school students could also use extra preparation for the ACT, SAT, ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) or other standardized tests required in their state, such as the New York Regents exams. Summer homework that is “required” and “graded” also helps high school students to maintain or advance their grade equivalency levels and work on areas of weakness.

Furthermore, during the school year, many high school students divide their limited time between work, sports practices and extracurricular activities. Summer homework offers them the chance to “get ahead” on reading novels and other cumulative projects, such as senior capstones.

Of course, there is also the obvious summer school to explore an area of interest, make up classes that were challenging, and even take classes to allow for early graduation. In other words, there are several reasons why high school students benefit from summer homework. — AP Teacher

Answer: Wow! Your explanation makes it easy to understand the importance of summer homework for high school students.

Question: My child simply doesn’t hold information in her head very well, so she has trouble following directions or doing mental math. How can her short-term memory skills be boosted? — Can’t Remember

Answer: Unfortunately, the demands on your daughter’s memory skills will continue not only throughout her educational career, but throughout her life. What she needs to do is to improve her working memory, which will allow her to hold on and work with the information stored in her short-term memory. The activities below will help build her memory skills:

– Use funny rhymes, songs and acronyms to remember lists of facts.

– Associate new learning with something familiar.

– Use the outline approach. Learn general concepts and then fill in the details.

– Group information together in a related area. Organizing information can significantly improve memory.

– Overlearn the material. This is the most effective strategy that your daughter can use.

– Say what she is trying to learn out loud. Repetition helps information to be retained.

– Work on visualization skills. Create mental pictures in her mind.

– Teach what she has to memorize to someone else.

– Play card and matching games.

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