Homework is ruining holiday breaks

Homework+is+ruining+holiday+breaks

Cartoon by David Diaz

Maia Hito

If you ask students about homework over winter, or any break, most would agree that it is a cruel unnecessary punishment. Most students are now dreading winter break instead of looking forward to it like they’re supposed to.

Winter break is a time reserved for spending time with family and enjoying the holidays, abandoning any and every thought school-related. However, it seems that some teachers make it a mission to do the exact opposite.

It is not uncommon to be neck deep in assignments at the last second looking at so much text you get a headache. Schools should consider the possibility of not assigning any homework over break.

A 1989 Duke University study revealed that those who receive homework over the break do not outperform those who do not receive work. Some countries, such as Japan, Denmark and the Czech Republic, have little homework and outperform other countries that assign a heavier amount. America gives out more homework than most countries only to score in the international average.

While an appropriate amount of homework has beneficial results to balancing out grades for students, too much can be counterproductive. Unless teachers are able to accurately judge the perfect amount of homework, that varies on the subject or curriculum itself, it’s more likely they will end up giving more instead of less. This puts unnecessary pressure on the teachers to keep updating grades and dividing attention away from the students needs to accommodate their own.

Advanced Placement classes that are expected to have a much heavier load can also find  other alternative assignments along the lines of extra credit.

While some teachers may justify giving out work as means to help the students review material practiced over the course of the semester, giving out “busy work,” or packets of worksheets over the break, do little to engage student learning. What it leads to instead is a Google search for a teacher’s copy or a text message to fellow classmates asking for answers.

A 2009 Los Angeles Times article indicates how some school districts, such as Helendale School District and San Ramon Valley Unified School District, have implemented no homework policies over the weekends and holiday breaks.

For the many who can’t manage their time or are victims to procrastination find themselves in an unfortunate position regarding their grades for the spring semester. Teachers who assign winter  break homework hoping to put the students in a position to succeed, are oblivious to the fact that what it actually does is potentially drop our grades that leaves us in a hole to dig out of at the very start of the semester.

If teachers are so desperate to give out some sort of assignments over winter break, make it optional. Offer the work as an extra credit opportunity instead of making it a mandatory grade. Suggesting some good novels to read are also a fun way to keep students engaged academically without making them do actual work.