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It’s Called Break for a Reason

Alyssa Carolan, Editor

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Winter is coming.  And, this means so is winter break.  Now, winter break seems like having no school for 10 days, but sometimes it doesn’t feel this way.

During winter break, students are assigned hours of homework to complete, causing them to lose out on valuable family and relaxation time.  I firmly believe that students should not be given homework over breaks, especially December break.

Right now, students go to school for 7 hours a day, then go home to complete hours worth of homework along with going to sport practices, attending extracurriculars, and getting the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep.  Achieving all of this is nearly impossible in a day’s worth of time, causing students to lose sleep because they’re trying to finish homework at 1am.  Breaks from school are the one time students can actually get a break and not constantly worry about that test coming up or that big essay that’s due.

I asked some people why they think teachers should not assign homework over break.

Arianna Gehling, junior, said, “Other students are stressed out of their mind and need to sit down and breathe without having to worry about the paper due on Monday or their google classroom counting down to 11:59 on Sunday night when a project is due.  Breaks are not vacations.”

Seniors Tori Healey and Sara Gabriel add their take on the issue: “Breaks should be a time to relax with family and re-energize for coming back to school.  Winter break has lots of religious holidays, and it feels disrespectful to have homework.”

Regarding winter break, sophomore Jenna Rocrick adds, “It’s time you spend with your family.”

In 2016, Massachusetts Amherst College students did not receive any homework over winter break.  The school’s superintendent declared, “there are times during the school year that students should be able to rest and recharge.”  Additionally, Lane Tech College Prep High School in Illinois has decided to refute all homework assignments over its winter break and allow students to “re-charge, re-connect with families and friends, and reflect on classroom learning.”

I met with Dr. Joyce Edwards, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Franklin Public Schools, to talk about the homework policy from an administrative and town-wide perspective.  Currently, there is a Homework Committee, almost like a study group, made up of administrators and teachers that are interested in homework.  This Committee uses current research and core values and beliefs to look at homework and what new policies can look like.

The goal of the committee is to come up with a set of proposals for practices, which would then be sent to teachers, students, and families for feedback.

In terms of homework over breaks, this Homework Committee is wondering if they can strongly suggest a homework free break for this upcoming winter break.  This may not go into practice for the high school, as the Committee looks at homework for grades K-12.  This suggestion will most likely go into effect for K-8, but the Committee is trying to strongly suggest a homework free break to teachers at the high school as well.

It seems as if the Committee is trying to look at us students as a whole, with all our activities we do: sports, music, work, etc and determine what the best policies for homework are.  After speaking with Dr. Edwards, it seems that the Committee wants us to have a homework free break, like we all want.  So, the question is, if the Superintendent’s office favors a homework free winter break and so do us students, why don’t we get it?

Teachers, students need a legitimate break from school.  School breaks are not the time to have school, but at home.  It’s a time for students to spend with their families they never see during the week, and it’s a time to de-stress and come back stronger in the new year.  So please consider giving us an actual break, it’s much needed and well deserved.

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It’s Called Break for a Reason