Homework Over the Holidays? What Are Your Thoughts?

(I had this entry ready last week, but couldn’t post it due to some technical difficulties. So while you are reading, please pretend that it is December 21st! Thanks!)

Today is our last day before Christmas and it’s hard to contain the excitement (both me and my students)! Our day is filled with movies, treats, a classroom party, and caroling and a liturgy with the whole school. It is a fun-filled and energetic day and there is lots to do! At the end of the day, students will clean out and empty their desks, so that we can all start fresh in January. Many of my students have asked with some fear and apprehension if they will be getting homework over the holidays. My students have just a couple of short homework assignments that were assigned yesterday and should take no more than one hour to complete. In fact, some students have already submitted their assignments to me via edmodo.com (aside: Do you use edmodo? I started using it about a month ago and really like it…I will post a full review in a few weeks).

I have heard from friends, family, and acquaintances that over the years, their children have received tons of homework and projects that had to be completed during Christmas break and were due on the first day back. These assignments ranged from simple homework review to full projects that required days of preparation. This got me thinking: what is the purpose of homework over the holidays?
The purpose of homework on any given day is to review the materials covered during the day’s lesson. It is a way for students to practice, apply, and review what they have learned, so that they are then able to ask the teacher for extra assistance if needed. Projects are culminating activities that allow students to integrate a variety of concepts and ideas in a creative way. There are some projects that I love to assign my students simply because the final result is awesome–they are able to apply their learning while allowing their personality to shine through. I’m always so impressed with the amount of creativity and effort some students are able to put into their projects. I have several of these types of projects slated for various times throughout this year.

That being said, I don’t think that Christmas vacation is the appropriate time for students to be completing tons of homework and intensive projects. During these next two weeks, I will be doing some marking and planning, but I will also be spending time with family and friends. I hope that my students enjoy their holidays and come back refreshed to begin again in January.

What are your thoughts? Do you assign homework and projects during holidays? Let us know in the comments!

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