We Want A Real Break


There are many different types of people here at Berkeley Carroll. However, we all share one thing in common. Tall or short, math-lovers or English-lovers, boy or girl, we’ve all had the experience of sitting at a desk, the hot summer air invading our lungs, and sighing at the tremendous mound of homework assignments on our desks. This work, besides being a bummer, may be counterproductive as well. Despite popular belief, research has shown that homework over breaks can actually be more detrimental than beneficial. This applies especially over vacations. “For students who travel during holidays, homework may impede learning on their trip” (Jayne Clare, The Tyranny of Homework: 20 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Assign Homework Over the Holidays). Vacations are a great way to learn from the world around you. Being forced to stay in a hotel (or at home), to finish solving for X, takes away a great opportunity. Vacation is a chance to become a global thinker. It exposes you to different cultures and ways of living, which helps you look at the “big picture,” and think about things beyond the ones you know. The Berkeley Carroll mission statement says that Berkeley Carroll prepares students for “a life of critical, ethical, and global thinking.” With this being the main goal of Berkeley Carroll, it seems unfitting to take away an opportunity to experience the world around you.

In addition to potentially undermining a chance for a new type of education, homework over breaks can also take away from family bonding. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, having family time has positive benefits both emotionally and academically. During the school year, it is hard to find time to be with your family. Between school, your parents’ work, siblings’ soccer practice, time with the family is scarce. Giving homework over breaks takes away from the already miniscule amount of family time students get. The US National Education Association says that “if you must assign homework make sure it is meaningful and doesn’t take away from time with families.”

There are other types of homework that can be more effective as well. The best is reading for fun. At Trinity, which is accepted by most as the country’s best private day school, rising 10th graders have to read a few books over the summer, most of which they get to choose. That’s it. They don’t have to annotate, and it doesn’t carry over into the curriculum. It is just for fun. This helps get students more interested in reading. Also, over other breaks, such as winter break or spring break, they have no homework at all. Despite the small amount of summer homework and nonexistent homework over smaller breaks, the average SAT score is 2180 and 41% of students are accepted into Ivy League schools or MIT. This shows that, even without an immense workload over breaks, especially summer, students can thrive. Another alternative to homework is to have students write a page or two just summarizing a book of their choosing, to show that they did the assignment. Additionally, students could be required to write a few pages about their vacation. This would help them open their eyes, and learn more from their surroundings. Lastly, a student could be required to visit a historical/iconic site, and describe it through an art such as a poem, painting, sculpture, or song.

Each Berkeley Carroll student has faced an intimidatingly immense pile of work, while the warm summer air, spring flowers, or winter snow beg them to go outside. The only drive to continue the uphill trudge through this heap of work is the false sense that it will one day pay off. Studies from various different sources have indicated that homework over breaks is not as beneficial as we’ve been told. It can actually yield negative results rather than positive ones. It takes away family time and impedes learning on vacations, a great way to learn from the world around you. Additionally, young people need to have fun. We have the rest of our lives to be bogged down with work, and confined to a desk. Adolescence is a time to explore new things such as nature, social relationships, and hobbies, not just academics.

Works Cited

Clare, Jayne. “The Tyranny of Homework: 20 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Assign Homework Over The Holidays.” Teachers With Apps. Teachers With Apps, 1 Dec. 2013. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://teacherswithapps.com/tyranny-homework-20-reasons-shouldnt-assign-homework-holidays/>.
N/A. “找资料.” Top Private High Schools in the United States. College Node, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2014. <http://www.collegenode.com/cn/blog/top-private-high-schools-in-the-united-states/>