Monday, April 25, 2011


Why do schools now seem to feel it is necessary to assign homework over long holidays? Is this a thing in the states too, or just overseas? I don't remember ever having homework over Spring Break or Christmas Holidays, not once, not ever. As an adult I would work overtime before vacation to make sure I didn't have to work while on vacation. I would strangle David if he brought work with him in vacation. So why should our kid's vacations be ruined by homework? What kind of lesson is it supposed to teach? That it is bad to take time off to relax? I know darned well those teachers aren't carting papers to grade when they go on safari, so why do they expect the kids to do it?

Today is the last day of Spring Break*. I am sitting here forcing the boy in Year Four (3rd grade) to read Charlotte's Web. The whole book, in one day. He dutifully carried the book with him to Zambia but instead of curling up and reading, he chased lizards, befriended donkeys, swam, went on Safari, got drenched at Victoria Falls, sat around campfires and generally enjoyed himself. He didn't get around to even starting Charlotte's Web.

While the older boy is sulking, but at least holding the book, even if he isn't reading it, I am in the kitchen with the boy in Year One (kindergarten). He is filling out his "My Animal Spotting Book." Said book didn't make the trip with us because mom was more worried about making sure we had swim suits, bug spray, sunscreen, malaria meds, and food. I wasn't even remotely thinking about homework over the holidays. So we are getting it all done today. Each page has a space for an animal's name, where it was spotted, and then it is to be classified as wild or domestic, herbivore carnivore or omnivore, and finally fur feathers skin or scales. I can't tell you how much fun it is get a 6 year old to write "I saw a BABOON at VICTORIA FALLS, it is an OMNIVORE, it is WILD and it has FUR," when all he wants to do is go swimming. Then we get to to do this for 4 more animals. He is supposed to draw a picture for each one too, but I am just printing the pictures and he can cut and glue, or we would be here all day.

The homeschool boy is running around outside because I didn't realize I was supposed to assign homework. Bad Mommy! Whatever was I thinking? No school work over vacation? The very idea of actually having time off! Sheez!

Dave had to run into town for a few things. As soon as he gets back we are going to head to the Tamarind Club and go swimming. Homework be damned. Whatever isn't done will just have to wait. The sun is shining, it is still spring break and we are going to enjoy it. It is already fall and I have been told that by mid-May it will be too cold to swim so we are going to enjoy these last days of summer.

*It is probably called Easter Break or something, since it is in fact the very end of summer here not spring, and the days are already starting to turn cooler. Yes the kids go to school all summer then get a month off during winter, which be summer if we were north of the equator, but since we are south of the equator it is winter and will be too clod to swim when they are off from school. Confused?


Mom24 said...

Well, this isn't going to make you feel better, but yes, it happens here and it's beyond ridiculous. I am so temped to just say no, but I know it would be my kids who are punished, not me. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

You got me! My son probably had some kind of homework he was supposed to do, but at least he is in high school. I know he didn't have much, anyway, since I have to keep track of it all, sigh.

Aprille said...

My 2nd grader has homework assigned for the week. He gets it in his homework folder on Monday, and it is due on Friday. No weekend homework and no vacation homework. My kinder student brings home a monthly "homework calendar" and it basically has 3 assignments per day. As the work is completed, she colors in that day. She does not have to turn in any assignments, just the colored calendar at the end of the month. We generally do 2-3 days of homework at a time, since it is all very easy for her. A typical day will have "Count to 100; write your name 3 times; read" or "Count out 12 pieces of cereal. Eat 4. How many are left?; Write 4 words that rhyme with dog; Read." I'm glad there is no weekend or vacation homework here, but who knows what it will be like in Colorado.

Monica said...

our kids didn't have homework over their breaks, but instead they did have a cool sheet encouraging them to read (you know i am "big" on that, so i actually liked it). it was totally optional, but the kids who did it got some sort of treat - - either treat bag or a homework pass. it had a reading log for each day of vacation. corina and sofie completed them both breaks (they both read ALL THE TIME anyway - so it was a no whining type of thing). so sorry about your sucky situation. i would blow it off in favor of sun!!! ;o)

Jill said...

We had a project due after the spring break .... which, of course, we left until the LAST possible moment.

When somebody else figures out why, let me know!

Shannon said...

Mom24- it is totally ridiculous! It is so hard to get a balance between work and play in this day and age, So we are teaching kids from very young that even on time that should be dedicated to relaxing and mental health we should drag some work with us??? I don't get it.

Wellthatwasdifferent- I hope that it wasn't anything too major. I have actually contacted teachers before and said he will not be doing this because it is vacation and we will be traveling. Usually I backed it up with not wanting to loose the book in Bali or whatever. Some teachers took it well and some were unsympathetic.

Aprille- Both kids have homework almost every night, I really don't have a problem with it, in fact I usually heap extra practice on them just to make sure they are learning everything they should. BUT during the holiday everyone around here travels. Why would you assign work when you know that most of you kids will be traveling out of the country the whole time. In fact at the border crossing to Zambia I had Grayson hanging out the window yelling at his swimming teacher who was waiting (and waiting and waiting) to get through immigration, and Colin was all slouched down trying not to be seen by a little girl in his class. At the last moment he popped and and Said HI See you next week! Then he blushed like mad. Too cute!

Monica- There was plenty of reading going on. I downloaded the first few Oz books to the kindle. The Wizard of Oz, Ozma of Oz, and the Marvelous Land of Oz. (Free with no pics or 1.99 with the original illustrations from 1904.) Alonzo finished Harry Potter book 4 and then read The Marvelous Land of Oz and Colin was already reading Ozma of Oz and wants the rest of the books RIGHT NOW! He doesn't want to read Charlotte's Web at all. They read it last year in 2nd grade in Germany and he is not at all motivated to read it again. He has been there done that, seen the movie. Plus he hates when they get to go to the library then the same day the teacher assigns a a reading book for homework.

Jill - UGH! Projects over holidays are just the worst. Dakota got those a lot in high school. We all hated it. He almost wept for joy when we pulled him out of the IB program between his junior and senior year to send him to the DODDs school. Apparently the last assignment of your junior year is a major research paper to be completed over the summer and turned in the first week of school in the fall. Seriously????