Summer Learning: Inspire Summer Reading


Reading and writing are likely the last things on your child’s mind as the summer kicks off—and this is nothing new. The battle of the books has been going on forever. Even I, an English literature major and secondary English teacher, was not fond of reading when I was growing up. It wasn’t until college that I found my love of books. When there are countless activities that are undoubtedly deemed more “fun” than reading and writing, it’s no wonder why kids gripe. And yet, the benefits of summer reading cannot be denied. Rather than harping on the idea and shoving a book into your child’s hands, take a look at some subtler ways to encourage literacy this summer.  

Embrace the audio book. Listening to audiobooks is a proven method to encourage reluctant readers. Especially if your family is hitting the road for vacation, an audiobook is a great way to get your child reading for pleasure. While some argue that listening to books on tape is not actively reading, this is far from true. The audiobook is simply a different means of comprehending a text. While listening, your child is still actively engaging with the text by following the plot, analyzing the characters, and making inferences and predictions. Furthermore, most audiobooks have renowned readers that provide entertaining renditions of the different characters, keeping even the most reluctant reader engaged.

Lead by example. With constant technological stimulation around the house, it can be difficult to peddle reading as a leisure activity. However, showing your own interest in literature can be a major influence on your child’s own perception of reading for pleasure. One of my favorite things to do when a summer thunderstorm strikes is to pick up a book. Make an experience out of the act of reading for pleasure. First, make sure to silence cell phones, shut down laptops, and turn off the television. Open the windows to allow the sound of the storm to set a relaxing ambiance. Put on some comfy clothes and curl up on the couch with your current read. By showing your child how books can provide a different kind of entertainment, a more relaxing form, he or she may be more inclined to partake in a leisurely afternoon of literature.

Think outside the book. Sure, reading books is the ultimate goal for parents of reluctant readers. But reading materials can take many forms. If your child enjoys sports, cooking, or video games, provide them with materials that revolve around such topics. Sports articles, cookbooks, and even video game blogs allow unenthusiastic readers to brush up on their favorite topics. Even try an unorthodox method of using reading as an incentive. For instance, when choosing a take-out restaurant, allow your child to choose the place, but only after reading the reviews online. Perhaps you offer your child a day-trip to the location of their choice. However, the catch is he or she must read up on activities to do in the area. Check out local live music opportunities. Pick a family-friendly artist and ask your child to read a few song lyrics before seeing the live show.

By keeping these tips in mind, you, too, can call a truce to the battle of the books this summer!

National Safety Month


We have all heard the adage, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.” Now that summer is officially in full-swing, our focus may be occupied by the exciting seasonal events and occasions popping up. With that, it is important to be mindful of potentially unforeseen dangers that surround us on a regular basis. June is National Safety Month, which makes this the perfect time to raise awareness of how to avoid or effectively manage accidents.

According to the National Safety Council, an average of 150,000 people die each year from “unintentional, injury-related” accidents. Even more eye-opening is the fact that these mishaps are totally preventable, which is why National Safety Month aims to bring awareness to the everyday things in our lives that we may not consider as dangerous. Below are facts about these common dangers and tips for avoiding or handling these accidents.


Poisoning recently surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in all age groups. We often consider poisonous items to be clearly labeled as “toxic” chemicals—obvious to the eye and stamped with warning labels. While some potentially harmful substances come with clear warning labels and guidelines for use, other products and their dangers are more subtle. The leading cause of death by poison is by unintentional prescription drug overdose or the mixing of prescription drugs. It is vital that parents seek advice about dosage and prescription combinations from doctors and pharmacists. Also, with the rise of new detergent packs for cleaning clothes and dishes, it is more important than ever to keep cleaning products out of reach of children. The detergent packs and dryer beads appear small and candy-like—exactly what a child might reach for. Again, taking just small precautions can make these dangers 100% avoidable.

Traffic Accidents

Car crashes and traffic-related injuries are another cause for concern, especially in the summer when families are hitting the roads for vacation. Speeding, aggressive driving, texting and other distractions are obvious concerns. But other less frequently discussed accidents should be considered, as well. The warm weather brings pedestrians, skateboarders, and bicyclers out onto the roads in much higher numbers. It is important for drivers and others on or near the road to take extra precautions in high-volume areas. Pedestrians, runners, etc., should wear bright reflective clothing and LED lights at night to be visible to drivers. Another danger in the summer is the extreme heat that accumulates in parked cars. Children and pets should never be left in the car unattended, no matter how short you plan to leave them.


Falling is the leading cause of injury-related death among the elderly. But, it is also the third leading cause of accidental death for all age groups. Gates at steps are a must for little ones, as all parents know. However, slips and head injuries at the pool or waterpark are frequent in the summer months, as well. Remind your child, whether inside or outside, to always walk around the pool. Horseplay and shoving could also cause an unintentional accident.

Water Hazards

Speaking of the pool, the National Safety Council reports that an average of 10 people drown every single day. CNN reports that children can drown in less than two inches of water. This means that pools are not the only dangers lurking in the yard. Buckets, kiddie pools, even puddles or drainage ditches could be cause for concern. The bottom line is, leaving children unsupervised around any amount of standing water is a risk not worth taking.

Keep your eyes on the prize this summer, and all will remain fun and games. With a few precautions and some ground rules in place, you and your children can avoid these pitfalls and score some summer fun.

PTSD Awareness Month


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often associated with returning war veterans or first responders. However, children and teens are at a significant risk, as well. Because a child’s emotional coping responses develop as they age, they may be even more prone to symptoms of PTSD after a traumatic event. Thus it is imperative that parents and educators know the signs of PTSD in children and teens.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, PTSD is diagnosed after a person experiences the three main types of symptoms for at least one month following a traumatic event:

      –  Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and               nightmares.

      –  Avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma, and emotional numbness.

      –  Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered.

So, what should educators look for? PTSD in children and teens most frequently occurs when the child has witnessed or experienced a violent or dangerous event. Most common reasons that a child may develop PTSD involve death or injury of a parent or loved one, witnessing or experiencing physical or sexual abuse, and any unexpected disaster, including a car crash, house fire, etc.

The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder estimates that anywhere from three million to 10 million children and teens witness violence in the home every year. Since domestic and child abuse is largely underreported, the true number of cases is thought to be even higher. That said, identifying PTSD involves vigilance, as every child copes and expresses emotions differently. For teachers and family members, it is important to have all of the necessary information when dealing with children suffering from PTSD.

To be proactive, adults in the child’s life should be informed about any recent trauma or violent event. Children may exhibit avoidance behaviors when something reminds them of the traumatic event. Any sort of flashback or familiarity of the event could cause extreme distress, agitation, or anxiety. Therefore, it is especially important that teachers know which subjects to avoid discussing in class, as certain topics could trigger an unpleasant memory or flashback.

Also, loud noises or sudden changes in the environment could cause flashbacks and emotional distress. Children may exhibit this distress by crying, shaking, appearing jumpy or skittish, etc. This hypervigilance is an attempt to foresee the possibility of another traumatic event. It is as though the child is expecting violence or danger at any moment. This sort of hypervigilance can cause sleeplessness, lack of focus, anxiety, and severe shifts in behaviors and emotions.

While some children may exhibit extreme temper tantrums, others may cope in an opposite manner. In an effort to self-soothe, some children may refuse to speak or fail to respond to comfort. In some cases, children and teens with PTSD exhibit selective mutism, in which they refuse to speak, interact, or make eye-contact with anyone.

Since symptoms and age of onset of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder vary from child to child, treatment options are just as diverse. Some cases of PTSD in children have been known to dissipate on their own after a few months. However, it is not recommended that PTSD symptoms be ignored in the hopes that the condition will fix itself. Different therapy options, such as cognitive behavior therapy, crisis management therapy, and play therapy offer various methods for children and teens to confront past trauma. The most important thing that parents and teachers can do is be vigilant and aware of behavioral, academic, and emotional changes in the child.

Cultivating Friendships During the Summer Break


Much like how we adults can relate to those cherished days at the start of summer, your child is undoubtedly thrilled about the beginning of summer vacation. What’s not to love about the freedom, festivities, and full-on summer fun that the end of the school year brings? With the school-day routines shifting to a more relaxed summer schedule, it is important to consider a few different challenges that may arise once school has ended.

One of the biggest challenges when transitioning from the school schedule to the summer schedule is the fact that children may not have anticipated the hiatus from their friends. Sure, they know that summer means no more school. However, what they may have neglected to consider is the fact that no school means no time with school friends.

One of the greatest things about school, for parents and children alike, is the social factor. While children are busy learning in class, they are also subconsciously developing friendships, interests, and social skills. Socializing with peers on a regular basis, all day long, is sometimes taken for granted—children don’t realize how much time they spend around peers while in school. Your child might write in a friend’s yearbook to, “Have a great summer” all the while not realizing that they may not see these friends for a solid amount of time. That said, it is important to consider how your child can keep in touch with friends when school lets out.

Of course, camps, days at the pool, and parties over the summer allow children time to see their friends, but what about those friends that may not be included in the parent rolodex of playdates? If your child has friends from school that he or she is worried about not seeing over the summer, there are ways to help them keep in touch.

Send mail—actual mail. In the time of snapchat, twitter, and texting, it is likely that children have not been mailing letters on a regular basis. All the more reason to break out the stationery! Letter-writing is not only a great way to maintain communication, but it acts as an incognito writing practice, as well! If away on vacation or at sleepaway camp, help your child write and mail postcards to friends.

Host a sleepover or backyard campout. Sleepovers are some of the best parts of summer. Help your child continue to preserve friendships made at school by helping to cultivate the friendship outside of school. Set up a tent in the backyard or roll out some sleeping bags on the patio.

Present your child with opportunities for their friends to get together. The younger children are, the more difficult it is for them to arrange time to hang out with friends on their own. That said, parents are key when arranging social gatherings over the summer. Do a little research about family-friendly summer activities in your area. Then invite your child’s friends and their families. Perhaps it’s a concert in the park, a trip to the zoo, or even just an afternoon movie on a rainy day—no matter the activity, your child will be thrilled to get to see their school friends outside of school.

Encourage your child to make new friends, in addition to the current friends. As adults, we know that with each new experience comes an opportunity to meet new people. This is true for children, too. As difficult as it may be, especially for shy kiddos, provide your child with opportunities to interact with new children in their age group. Perhaps this involves taking a class, joining a summer sports team, or attending a new day-camp. The more opportunities your child has to explore and meet new peers, the better. And remember, making new friends does not take anything away from friendships that already exist. Teach your child the common adage, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.”  

Sleep Awareness


According to the National Sleep Foundation, school-aged children between the ages of 6 and 13 should be getting a recommended 9-11 hours of sleep. Teens, ages 14-17 years old, should get between 8-10 hours of sleep per night. It is no surprise that, with the non-stop schedules and overuse of technology, kids these days are slacking on their sleep—and they may not even realize the effect that it is having.

With sleep being such a vital aspect of day-to-day health and productivity, it is imperative to ensure that your child has time to power-down and rest. Again, with after-school obligations, hours of schoolwork, and other extra-curricular activities occupying much of the evening hours, getting adequate amounts of sleep during the week is often put on the backburner. But consider this: teenagers that get the recommended amount of sleep during the week report having more focus, better memory and concentration, and greater motivation. So, despite the common belief that we cannot possibly taper down our hectic evening schedules, there are ways to guarantee a more restful night’s sleep for your child.


Start by implementing an earlier bedtime routine. This may be difficult initially, especially if your child has adapted to a “night owl” schedule. However, after the initial adjustment period, everyone’s sleep will be better for it. Begin with baby steps. For instance, depending on your child’s age, you may want to start by moving bedtime up by 20 minutes and continue with gradual adjustments.


Along with a sleep-time modification, certain foods and drinks should also be abandoned before bedtime. Obviously, caffeinated or sugary drinks and snacks will do little to coax a child to sleep. But perhaps less obvious are the subtle sleep-disrupting culprits. High-fat, salty, or spicy foods can also make for a restless night’s sleep. Even whole milk before bed is not recommended because of its potential to upset the stomach.  

Screen Time

Screen time is also a major culprit when it comes to disturbing a child’s sleep. Not only can technology such as smartphones, laptops, and TV act as a procrastination tactic, but they also disrupt the circadian rhythm. Specifically, the light from screens sends “wakeful” signals to the brain, keeping children alert. Instead, reduce this type of stimuli by modifying your “lights out” rule—it should be lights out AND “turn off” time. Again, this will not be an easy transition, especially for teenagers. However, the amount of screen time that people experience at night is directly related to quality of sleep. Also, notice how I said people? Try this no-phones policy for the whole family to improve your own sleep, too. The more you lead by example, the more eager your children will be to get on board with the “screens off” rule.


Regular exercise is another sure-fire strategy to ensure that your child gets a restful night’s sleep. Burning off the extra energy after school is an excellent way to help children ease into sleep at the end of the day. When energy isn’t expelled, it becomes especially difficult for children to settle in and rest. This energy also makes for a restless night of tossing and turning. Even a walk around the neighborhood after dinner can make all the difference when bedtime arrives.   

Now is the time to assess your family’s sleep habits and make adjustments that will benefit everyone. Time to power down.

Summer Learning Opportunities


The summer months are full of barbeques, pool parties, and long sunny days enjoying the lovely weather. With camps, vacations, and other plans emerging intermittently throughout the summer months, it is no wonder that academic skills take a backseat. However, as much as children and teens would like to forget about school over the summer, there is no denying the benefits of continuing to engage in academics over the long break.

A study performed by Johns Hopkins found that students can lose anywhere from 1-3 months of learning or previously retained information over the summer. The research also indicated that math skills are compromised at a greater rate than reading skills. However, spelling was noticeably affected, as well. Yet, there is no reason that summer should mark the end of student studies and individual inquiry. The thought of academics may initially be met with groans; however, the various opportunities offered to students throughout the summer may change the notion of “summer learning.”

Washington, DC, has extensive options when it comes to museums, exhibits, and other events for students to partake in over the summer. Whether you are interested in organized day camps arranged by the Smithsonian, or simply taking a family trip to the National Museum of Natural History, there are plenty of opportunities to sneak in some learning. CSI Camp, Spy Camp, and National Building Museum Camp are just a few unique options for week-long camps in our area. But even heading to the National Zoo or National Aquarium has its obvious educational benefits.

Here are a few more options for encouraging summer learning:

  • Create a scavenger hunt in the aquarium or zoo. Check online for printable activities that have already been created. A scavenger hunt can help children with categorization, following directions, counting, comparing and contrasting, and many other academic skills.
  • If visiting a museum, ask your child to take pictures of his or her favorite exhibit. Then ask him or her to explain why this particular exhibit was significant.
  • Teach the kids a new card game or pick up a new board game. Many games require quick-thinking and other important skills such as strategizing, memorizing, counting, categorizing, improvising, etc.
  • Take the kids to a movie or play. Then ask them to summarize the storyline. For spelling or punctuation practice, you could have them write the summary as well.
  • Take the children to a painting or cooking class when the weather isn’t cooperating. It’s much easier to get children to try a new indoor activity when the pool isn’t an option.  

Physical fitness is also reported to take a hit during the summer months. As backwards as it sounds, the time away from school brings a tendency for children and teens to become lazy or sluggish—this is particularly true when nasty weather strikes. Of course, it is instinctive to want to curl up on the couch and watch TV when thunderstorms hit, but there are other options! Take the family to a skating rink, a trampoline park, or an indoor rock wall. Even a rousing game of ping-pong requires some physical activity.

There are also numerous online “camps” that allow students to participate from home. Some opportunities are even provided free of charge. Online camps can range from digital robotics camps to academically-based ones that can help your child retain other educational skills over the summer break. For inspiration, visit

For college-bound students, the DC area is a mecca of learning opportunities for teens looking forward to higher education. Many academic institutions, such as American University, Georgetown University, and George Washington University, among many others, offer summer courses and pre-college summer programs for high school students. The courses and programs are designed to give eager students a taste of college life while providing them with instruction and skill sets at the university level. Faculty members and prominent guest speakers provide high school students with engaging and experiential learning.

Casual college visits are also a great way to get outside, tour a campus, and begin the college discussion with your teen. As reluctant as they may be to think about school during the summer, it is important to encourage teens to be proactive when considering their options. Seeing a few college campuses should be a low-pressure, leisurely experience—one which excites and motivates students to look toward the future.

Programs and classes for students struggling with disabilities are also widely available in our area. Schools such as the Lab School in Washington provide camps for everything from speech and language therapy, to typing and cursive handwriting.  

With a little research and planning as a family, you can ensure that summer is a time of continued learning—and new adventures that create lasting memories.

The Home Stretch: Excelling in the Last Few Weeks of School


Summer is quickly approaching—the weather is beautiful, the pools are open, and vacation planning is in full swing. With all of the anticipation of the summer months, it is no wonder that students and teachers are ready to close the door on the classroom for a couple of months. Yet, before everyone jumps for joy and purges all of the accumulated school work, here are a few tips to stay motivated and finish strong.

Employ these strategies toward the end of the school year to encourage little ones and older students, alike:

Maintain the routines until school has truly ended. It is easy to become more lax about bedtimes, chores, and curfews when the days become longer and children get more restless. However, the routine that was put into place at the start of the year is just as important, if not more, than it initially was. The end of the school year should not signify the end of all responsibilities; it is simply a transition.

Create an organized schedule and calendar for the summer, complete with camps, vacations, family events, tournaments, etc. Keep the calendar somewhere accessible for all members of the family, like the kitchen. Be sure to keep plans up to date, organized, and easy to read. To better include your kids in the planning and to allow them to be accountable for their own activities, have them help out with maintaining the planning calendar.

Start a portfolio of student work and file any important reports or academic documents. This is especially important for high school students, as records are often needed for college and job applications. If your printer has a scanner, use it to scan and file important documents digitally. Collecting student work is also a great way to track your child’s progress from year to year.

Especially if you notice that your child is struggling or slacking towards the end of the school year, have a conversation about all of the hard work that he or she has done this year. Remind them that the success they have achieved this year should not be undone by laziness or carelessness at the end of the year.

Look back on previously set goals and reflect on successes, shortcomings, and struggles.

Remind your child that they are in the home stretch—that they have all but completed another year of school and should be proud of everything they have accomplished.

Celebrate the countdown! When the school year is coming to a close, the anticipation of summer is at its peak in the final month. Continue to motivate your child by creating a countdown and allow him or her to cross off the dwindling days. Build up to a final celebration, in which your child is in charge of selecting the take-out restaurant, or perhaps you want to prepare a special dessert in honor of another school year down.

Prepare your child to continue learning over the summer by consulting summer reading lists or suggestions from your child’s teachers. Allowing your child to choose the books over the summer will also spur their own motivation—student choice is an intrinsic motivational strategy that teachers employ often.

With a proactive approach and a little planning, you can help to ensure that your child gets the most out of the final weeks of the school year—and is poised to succeed come fall.

Fuel Up for Learning


We all have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, many of us claim that our hectic mornings simply do not allow the time for breakfast. Instead of fueling up for the day, children are rushed out the door, either skimping on or skipping breakfast altogether.

Besides the nutrition factors, breakfast has proven to have a positive effect in the academic realm, as well. Children who eat a nutritious breakfast exhibit behavioral, cognitive, and attentive benefits. Let’s take a look at some revealing facts regarding the positive influence that breakfast can have on children and adolescents.


Nutritionally speaking, those who consume breakfast on a regular basis are more likely to have a well-balanced diet. It only seems logical that your first meal is your first opportunity to fuel up on nutrients that the body needs to sustain focus all day. Consuming high-fiber and nutrient-rich foods allows children and adolescents to stave off hunger throughout the morning hours. Breakfast also provides a jumpstart for the recommended intake of calcium, iron, and protein.


Cognitively speaking, children and adolescents see major benefits from eating breakfast before school. Breakfast has proven to improve concentration, attention, and memory. Studies also indicate that students who come to school hungry are less likely to participate during class. Again, it is reasonable to assume that, when children go to school on an empty stomach, their focus is more geared towards the tummy rumbles and the countdown to lunch. Participation is likely not on students’ minds if they’re experiencing hunger pangs. By fueling up beforehand, hunger is alleviated, thus helping students to focus in the classroom. Studies also show that students who eat breakfast appear more motivated and alert. Those who skip breakfast, on the other hand, often experience lethargy and headaches, as is evidenced by higher instances of absences, tardiness, and trips to the nurse during class.


Studies prove that students experience more behavior issues when going to school hungry. It makes sense that a hungry child would be more fidgety, irritable, or obstinate in the classroom. As adults, we certainly understand the connection between hunger and temperament. There is a reason we’ve coined the term “hangry”—the ruthless combination of hunger and anger. When hunger strikes, behavior fluctuates in children and adolescents even more than it does with adults.

With all of these positives, the importance of breakfast seems obvious. If there truly are no extra minutes in the morning, try prepping quick go-to breakfast options the night before. Even a slice of whole wheat toast smeared with peanut or almond butter is better than nothing. Make a few fold-over toasts, zip them into a bag, and be on your way. Small baggies of apple slices paired with granola or yogurt could be just as beneficial. Also, depending on your child’s school policies, you may be able to send a box of breakfast bars or shakes to school for your child to keep in a locker. On days when time is truly limited, these quick, accessible snacks could make all the difference in the school day.

Secrets of a Great Student


We know that education can make all the difference in a child’s life. You’ve completed the forms, labored over the homework, purchased the wide array of school supplies (many times), met with teachers—the list goes on and on. Yet, learning is never an exact science; there are no hard and fast rules for educational success. There are, however, a number of strategies that great learners employ.

Here are some secrets of great students:

Great students challenge themselves.

Encourage your children to go that extra mile when it comes to school work. If they’re studying a particularly interesting or difficult topic, help them do a bit of research to find out more about what they’re learning in school. Practice an additional math problem every day, or go back to previous assessments to review how much information was retained over time.

Great students are present.

Reduce absences as much as possible. Make-up work can create time-management issues and increase stress. Moreover, being present means more than simply showing up. Help your children practice active listening using note-taking skills, summarizing the key points of a lesson, or talking about interesting things that they’ve learned that day.

Great students communicate with their teachers.

Students should feel comfortable speaking up when they need extra guidance from the teacher. Educators appreciate the autonomy and effort that students display when they take the initiative to ask for help. Communicating openly with teachers also shows that the student values his or her education enough to spend extra time discussing a given concept.

Great students know their strengths and weaknesses.

It is safe to say that no one person is going to be the best at everything—we all have our strong suits and weak areas. A great student is aware of both, as well as how to navigate through challenging tasks. These students also embody “grit” or perseverance—they continue to practice the especially difficult tasks in an effort learn more.

Great students don’t measure themselves against their peers.

With much of the focus of education on grades, test scores, and GPA, this practice is particularly challenging. The competition amongst college-bound students is especially tense, causing many students to worry about how they “measure up” in the class. Successful students focus more on improving themselves, not on how they can out-do their peers.

Homework: Transparency is Key


The many benefits of assigning homework are readily evident to all of us educators. Students are able to practice the skills learned in class on their own; teachers are better able to identify areas of confusion; and parents are able to see the concepts that are being taught in the classroom. Overall, homework is a necessary aspect of education.

The benefits of homework are not always transparent for students, however. Much of the time, the homework announcement is met with groans and eye-rolls. In those moments, there are a few things that I’d like my students to know:

  • The homework that I assign is meant to give you additional practice on the skills that we discussed today. It is not intended to torture you, occupy your evening, or cause you frustration. If this is ever the case, please tell me—because that is certainly not the point of my homework assignments.
  • I do not expect, nor do I necessarily want, your parents to coax you through your homework. If this is happening, it means that I did not adequately prepare you to tackle the assignment. I’d rather you attempt what you can and explain your confusion the following day. It is certainly not your parent’s job to complete your homework—and again, this tells me nothing about what you’ve learned.
  • Homework is also intended to provide students with a grade cushion. While we are certainly not chasing the grade, many of you consider the final grade to be very important. That said, homework provides you the opportunity to pad your grade simply by putting forth effort. This is your chance to show me that you are trying to learn the content.   
  • I do not expect you to achieve 100% correctness on homework assignments. Instead, I’d rather see 100% effort on assignments. A vital aspect of education is work ethic and determination—homework is simply one way to display your intrinsic motivation.
  • Homework is not intended to be “busy work.” Again, the point of homework is to assess comprehension of the skills taught in the classroom. While assignments should not frustrate you, they should challenge you. An assignment should not be mindlessly easy—it should not feel like busy work.  Again, my goal is to assess our progress in class, not bore you to tears or occupy all of your free-time.

While we, as teachers, may never persuade our students to love completing work outside of the classroom, transparency about the purpose of homework assignments is key to getting students to buy in. We should talk to students about homework practices and policies and request their feedback regarding homework frequency and level of difficulty.