With the start of a new school year, some students are experiencing the rush to complete summer homework at the last minute.  Reading lists, assignments, and problem solving have been activities assigned to students during the summer months to bridge the summer learning gap.

For Lauren Duffy, the problem loomed large a week before school started.

The Rush to Complete Summer Homework

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She still had to solve 100 problems for calculus class, answer a packet of art-history questions and read the French classic  “Madame Bovary”.

“I haven’t started any of it and school starts Monday, and I’m freaking out,” the 17-year-old senior at Boone High in Orlando said last week.

Despite her earlier procrastination, Lauren was determined to finish the assignments before school starts today. She was comforted by the company of friends facing the same last-minute homework frenzy.

“We’re all in the same boat,” she said.

Summer homework — unheard of when the parents of today’s teenagers were in high school — is the norm these days, much of it thanks to Advanced Placement or other college-level classes now common on most high-school campuses.

But many other high-school English classes also come with summer homework, typically a book to be read coupled with a short writing assignment.

Summer homework became popular about 15 years ago, educators say, and meets two key goals.

The Rush to Complete Summer Homework

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In advanced courses, the assignments help students get ready for the demanding work to come and, once classes begin, allow teachers to jump quickly into a jam-packed curriculum. Required reading in other classes also helps maintain literacy skills that are the backbone of scholastic success.

The assignments often are met, not surprisingly, with a good dose of student grumbling and procrastination.

“No matter how many times I tell myself to start, I physically can’t do my summer homework,” read one recent comment on Twitter.

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