Why I Stopped Assigning Homework Over Vacation

Why I Stopped Assigning Homework Over Vacation

I was the “homework teacher”. When I taught high school Social Studies, I assigned homework every.single.night. Granted, my homework assignments were usually creative and engaging. But it was still homework. Every night.

In the beginning, I also assigned homework over Winter and Spring Breaks. “Hey, the kids have time!” I thought. But that homework had really poor rates of return. Many kids either didn’t have the time or forgot about the assignment altogether. An assignment that was meant to help them was hurting them.

I eventually stopped assigning any homework over vacations. The decision was not easy in the beginning. I spent time reflecting on the importance of my course and the assigned work. In the end, I realized that my homework was (in the scheme of things) not the most important thing in my students’ lives. And by giving them a break, I could give myself one as well.

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Why I Stopped Assigning Homework Over Vacation

Homework vacation

Students have lives during vacation

Kids often leave the area over long breaks. They go visit family or get touristy in a new place. It gets very difficult to almost impossible to work on homework when you are away from home. You can’t take your textbook. You need to spend time with Grandma. Several of my former school districts actually banned homework over Winter Break for this very reason.

Families don't schedule time for homework during vacation. Nor should they.Click To Tweet

On the flip side, when I worked in poor communities, my high school students were often working full-time over break or watching younger siblings the entire time. The outcome was the same, though – no time for homework.

Kids need a break

Let’s face it – school is stressful. Students (and teachers) look forward to that break because they want time to decompress and not think about school. But homework over the break can bring the stress and anxiety back.

Hard to Get Help

This is especially true when students are completing a major essay or project. I didn’t check my e-mail all that much over break and I’m guessing most teachers don’t. If a student has questions, it might be days before that e-mail is answered.

Kids are happier

My students often did get homework from other teachers over break. However, as the teacher who didn’t assign anything, I looked golden. They came back from the break in a better mood and were more willing to work on other assignments for me.

I’m lazy AF

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The LAST thing I wanted to face when I returned from a relaxing vacation was a stack of papers to grade. (This applies to summer assignments, as well!) When I stopped assigning homework over vacation, I gave myself a pass as well.

Make the Change: Ditch vacation homework!

If you’re a teacher thinking about canceling that project or homework assignment, let’s problem solve how you can. First, try to finish your unit before the break. While you have to grade tests over break (not so fun), your kids get the week off. And you come back from break with your grading done.

If you were going to assign the normal amount of nightly homework over vacation, just don’t. Their understanding of the African American civil rights movement or binomials isn’t going to suffer because they missed one homework assignment.

Move due dates for large projects a few days later. If you have assigned research papers and big tests for the day after the break, just move it a few more days.

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Believe me, this will be the best choice you make. You, the kids, and parents will be happier and more relaxed in the long term!


Related Posts: 8 Ways Teachers Can Practice Self-Care, 3 Reasons Summer Assignments are the Worst, Why Everyone Should Reflect at the End of the School Year

Assigning homework over vacation? Spoiler alert: it won't get done! Click to find out why you should just stop with vacation homework and what to do instead! | #teachingteens #homework


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