Do you remember summer reading for Honors English in high school? I don't - I'm getting kind of old despite the fact I have a toddler running around at my feet. Things from my childhood get fuzzier every day. I know I read a lot every summer but don't remember anyone making me do it.
Last year for Honors English 9, my daughter and her friends had to read Great Expectations and Mr. Pip - a book of perhaps lesser literary quality (I only say that because I never read it in college). This year, it's Huckleberry Finn and yet another book of perhaps less quality that's similar to Huck Finn.
Kids are dropping out of Honors English like rain falling from the sky. The worst part is not the reading - it's the requirement for note taking - very detailed, specifically formatted notes assigned by a teacher who clearly doesn't love her job.
I can think of no better way to suck the enjoyment out of literature.
If I were an English teacher, I would assign books that teenagers would enjoy reading over the summer. Imagine that. Catcher in the Rye, perhaps? Something more modern would be fine too. It would be better to have them read one of the Harry Potter books and look for certain literary techniques and themes. They are in every piece of decent literature, not just the ones that are painful for teens to read.
Today, I left a message for my daughter's counselor and also an email asking (begging) her to do the course drop now, and not the customary 10 days into the quarter - if only so my personal suffering will end. I offered her cookies. I would actually bake monthly treats for her - pumpkin bread, cookies, blueberry pie, whatever she wants just to expedite this one request.
The problem for my daughter is there's a test on day 2 and a grade for the ridiculous amount of notes she has to take (and will likely get a zero for anyway if they don't precisely follow the rules) - the grades flow downhill to the class you downgrade to. Not good for the GPA.
Until I hear from the counsellor, she has to suck it up and do it, but one person suffering in a home makes us all suffer. I'd rather be baking cookies.