Teaching Opinion

Liberate the Turkey and Homework on Holiday Weekends

By Starr Sackstein — November 24, 2016 2 min read
Paper craft with construction paper, scissors, pencil, and glue. Turkey made out of construction paper.
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Thanksgiving is family time.

Time to watch parades and eat ourselves into comas. It’s time to talk and explore personal relationships as well as navigate through the waters of potentially divisive controversial topics (especially this year).

Why would we want to encumber these fun, family festivities with homework?

No matter what you are working on in school right now, there is no reason to ask students to stress about it during the first short extended break of the school year.

It’s possible they have family coming in from all over or a sibling coming home from college for the first time and sometimes a break is what the doctor ordered to get kids ready to do more learning when they come back.

If you’re like me, this break is coming at a good time too. School can be an anxiety-causing place and a holiday shouldn’t induce more.

Rather than assign worksheets or reading logs, consider any or all of the following that would support what could already be happening at home (regardless of the age of your students):

  • Ask students to engage in a discussion about current events and try to hear and understand multiple perspectives
  • Interview a family member you don’t know much about
  • Take a nature walk and explore different kinds of plans and animals with family
  • Meditate
  • Read a book of your own choosing for fun and talk to someone about it
  • Listen to a podcast or catch up on your favorite series on television
  • Blog about a topic of your own choosing
  • Observe the family dynamics and see what you notice
  • Take a risk to try something new and be ready to share when you return
  • Try a new app that has learning potential and share it with friend/family
  • Sleep and try to remember your dreams - draw about them if you remember
  • Play with a family animal
  • Help prepare the family meal or ready the house
  • Pay close attention to the nutritional facts of the foods you will eating
  • Spend time connecting with a friend face to face
  • Take a Pokemon Hunt with family members you don’t often see
  • Share successes/Celebrate successes
  • Play catch with a football or a baseball or have a kick with a soccer ball
  • Reflect on a recent moment and consider the impact on the future - share your ideas with someone

Most importantly remember the children we teach are “whole”. We can’t always cater to the academic at the peril of other aspects of who they are as people. Consider the social emotional well being of your students and let them reflect on learning already done and prepare for what is to come when they return.

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