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Guest Commentary: Home work – 365 days a year, The Summer Rise!

By GWYN GITTENS - | May 26, 2023

Gwyn Gittens

Wait, before you get up in arms and storm the school board, this is not a part of the Code of Conduct, let me explain. Summer is here! Schools will look very different for a while; busses will not be lined up, the parking lot will not be full, you do not have to raise your voice to be heard in the hallways, parents do not have to threaten sleepy children to “hurry up or you’ll be late for school”, or to “turn off your phone and do your homework”… OR DO YOU? Homework is not just work that was assigned by a teacher; it is work done together with your child at home; reading a book, story or magazine, games, movies, a trip, flashcards, just talking, etc. etc.

Summer may mean relaxing and slowing down, and children need time to relax, but it doesn’t mean STOP, especially learning! Learning should be happening 365 days of the year whether at school or at home. A great aunt of mine used to say, if you don’t learn at least one new thing each day, your day was not successful.

There is an education concept called the “Summer Slide.” It means the difference between a student’s reading scores mainly and other academic measures; that slide downward during the summer. Data shows that if children do not read over the summer they can lose as much as 3 months of reading progress! Why, because it is like any skill, that if you stop practicing for a period of time, your performance goes downhill. A dancer or musician or singer that don’t practice cannot perform at the same level. Remember to balance and mix learning and fun.

When students return in the fall, they WILL be tested to see how much they did “Slide”, academically. In order to know how much they slid, they have to know scores at the end of the year. Parents must know those scores too. Before the last day of school, make sure you have talked to the teachers and have your student’s latest academic scores. You should know if your child is in the Achievement Gap, so you could work on getting them to “Rise” out of it. Homework can reduce the Summer Slide and maybe even create a Summer Rise.

1. Know your child’s scores, not just their end of year grade, they are different.

2. Ask for “Summer Learning” packets and reading lists from their school.

3. Make a summer learning plan with your child and the family.

4. Continue to ask the question, what did you learn today and wait for an answer.

Home Work 365 days a year is a must! There are many simple, easy, fun ways to have a “Summer Rise” not a “Summer Slide” and gain academic achievement.

(Check out more resources on GwynEducation.com).

Gwyn Gittens


GwynEducation, LLC

Gwyn Gittens is a former School District of Lee County School Board member