I’m inspired to write this as my kids are finishing their last few hours of classes before Thanksgiving Break. I thought about writing it after Fall Break when I was most irritated about it.
Our kids get a few breaks during the school year. I don’t really count the odd Monday off now and then. I mean real breaks of a couple of school days plus a weekend. Our school added a week of Fall Break last year, which brings us to 4 real breaks for the school year (fall, winter, spring, and Thanksgiving).
I view these breaks as necessary for a few reasons. First, we all need family time. Parents seem to work around the clock anymore (what happened to being done at 5??) with the changes to technology. Kids are over-programmed with activities. Homework loads can sometimes take up the entire evening from after school until bedtime. We need time for families to eat together. To play together. To just enjoy each other.
Second, kids need mental breaks from school work to be able to engage in other things they love. We ALL need mental breaks. We need to have a few days where we don’t have to worry about what needs done next and how we are going to figure out how to do it. Kids can use that time to read books that aren’t assigned for class and help them remember to love to read. They can recharge their batteries with creative activities.
Third, some kids need a little catch-up time. Whether they got behind because of illness or workload or school activities, a lot of kids use those breaks to catch up on work that they are behind on so that they don’t fall further behind.
Why am I saying all of this? Because I am tired of projects being assigned over “breaks.” I’m not talking about things like keeping kids reading or practicing math facts over the summer. I’m talking about research papers being assigned with the suggestion that “you’ve got 7 days off, it’s plenty of time to get it done.” Or homework being piled on right before the break because the class is running behind and needs to catch up.
Kids need breaks. Families need breaks. Sometimes we take vacations and the kids aren’t even home from the time school gets out until it is back in sessions. Sometimes we just sit and watch Netflix together and eat pizza and play board games. It doesn’t matter what we are doing…but it shouldn’t be extra school assignments.