Japan Data

Japanese Elementary School Kids Pick Book Reports as the Hardest Summer Vacation Task

Education Family Society

A survey of Japanese elementary schoolchildren found there was no end to homework even during the summer vacation.

The education company Benesse conducted a survey on attitudes to summer vacation among third- to sixth-graders taking the company’s correspondence course for elementary school students. A total of 8,195 valid responses were received from the students surveyed.

When asked about what sort of homework they had to do during the summer vacation, 94% said that teachers had assigned arithmetic and other math problems and Japanese-related tasks such as studying kanji. It seems that most elementary school students across Japan cannot escape those basic learning tasks even during summer vacation.

The most difficult type of homework during the summer vacation, mentioned by 27% of the students surveyed, was book reports. The second-most difficult type of homework was research projects or crafts, but it was also described as the most enjoyable type of homework by nearly 40% of the students.

Students who thought doing a study project or making crafts was difficult pointed to the challenge of thinking about and deciding on a topic, while those who thought such homework was fun mentioned that it allowed them to freely work on what they wanted to do. Such homework was thus either fun or difficult depending on a student’s view of “freedom.”

In the open-ended responses to what they looked forward to most about summer vacation, spending time with friends was the top response, mentioned by 1,028 students. Playing with friends or enjoying a sleepover with them were some of the enjoyable activities that kids associate with summer.

The start of summer vacation was paralleled by a spike in COVID-19 infections as Japan entered the fifth wave of the pandemic, but hopefully elementary school kids will find some chances to enjoy themselves during their time off from school.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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