Homework filled summer

Angelica Co, Student Life Editor

As the school year comes to a close, Advanced Placement and honors students prepare themselves as teachers begin distributing summer homework in the last weeks of June.  The departments providing summer assignments include English, History, and Chemistry.

AP and honors classes call for devoted students who are eager to learn and are willing to challenge themselves.  Not only do teachers instruct in a faster rate throughout the school year, but students are compelled to test their minds and go more in depth.  AP United States History teacher Charissa James depicts the class as more competitive, but fun as she prepares for her fifth year teaching this subject.

“Most AP and honors classes require students to learn more independently, think more critically, complete a significantly heavier homework load, and (in humanities) write to more challenging essay prompts,” Ms. James said.

Due to the courses’ complexity, summer homework is given as a prerequisite in order to get the students to start thinking about what is ahead of them for the upcoming school year; however, in regards to the history classes, the assignments are a necessity since AP exams are given out in May.  Teachers are left with no option but to finish the course in nine months compared to the usual ten.

“When school starts, we are essentially a month behind,” Ms. James said.  “Summer work helps to mitigate this problem by providing students with a jump start so that we can still help them successfully complete the course work in time for AP exams.”

In English classes, the students’ obligation consists of reading novels, writing essays, and creating reading logs.  In the past years, the classmen have been expected to read books by Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Upton Sinclair, George Orwell, and plays like Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.”  Even though the summer reading list and the amount of work changes every year, the novels and plays are carefully chosen to ensure that the students will absorb valuable messages.  The complexity of the novels allows the readers a chance to analyze the context past the surface of the book.

“The novels are either from a district approved grade level list and/or approved by our administration,” Honors English 9 teacher Andrea Sims said.

However, despite their dedication and enthusiasm in being a part of an advanced class, students are commonly disinclined to do their work during break.  Homework is often left untouched until the last week of summer vacation where most of them attempt to read their novels while rushing through the pages of their history and chemistry textbooks.

“My guess is that most students don’t get around to completing their summer work until school is about to begin again in September,” AP European History teacher Stephen Sanders said.  “But because these classes are voluntary, I believe that it is fair to ask students to complete summer work.”

Fortunately, out of the thousands of students roaming around the campus, some, like AP student Afredo Munoz, have a positive outlook on the workload ahead of them.

“I feel that summer homework is actually a good thing because it keeps our brains working while most students just take the summer off and lose half of what they learned the previous year,” Munoz said.

Even though not all students have the same outlook as Munoz, summer work will still be required for those interested in taking a much more advanced course.  Failing to do the assigned homework may result in a removal from the class, and in the end, only the dedicated and hard working will prevail.