Everyday, as students, we strive to do our best (whatever our best may be) and deal with the stress of homework, family, hormones, friends, and getting a good night’s sleep. When that wonderful three day weekend or holiday break comes by, it’s a time to rejoice, a time to unwind or spend time with family. Yet, we continue to receive homework even on days that are considered a “break” and frankly, it’s plain wrong.
I understand that homework, depending on the class, is a necessity. In math, it is useful to get in a good handful of practice problems before the test. For history, it is necessary to read academically about historical events. What is English class without having to take home a book and read that sucker? Although homework can make for a good learning tool on more than one occasion, students, depending on the level of classes being taken, can receive a huge amount of homework. I’m talking three to four hours of homework; that is if students even bother to do it whole-heartedly. Is it really necessary to read and annotate thirty pages worth of a thick, boring reading just to bring it to school and find it’s actually not acceptable so you must take it home to redo it? Is it also necessary to, in addition to the thirty pages, to do thirty math problems? Plus, the math problems aren’t simply math problems they have a part a, b, c, d, and e. Don’t get me started on math problems that also have Roman Numerals that follow those letters. So thirty math problems is actually more like sixty and don’t forget to fully show your work and graph your equations, friends! My point here is that students receive a lot of unnecessary homework; we’re made into slaves to school work and grades. Why? Because if you don’t do your homework you don’t get good grades; if you don’t get good grades you don’t get into college; if you don’t get into college you don’t get a good career, and finally you live an unhappy life. What’s even better is that it’s not even good enough to get good grades anymore; you must be a phenomenal athlete, club-creating, extrovert who can afford to pay an arm and a leg for college. All of these things haunt students these days, and all we deserve is an actual break from the pressures of being a “good student” every once in a while: a nice simple break.
A nice simple break is really all we need, but things aren’t so simple. I have come to believe that when a break comes along teachers think, “Great! More time for students to do their homework.” Now, I’m not claiming this is actually what teachers think or anything along those lines, but I get so full of rage that I feel the need to blame someone or something on the fact I have to spend my lovely Thanksgiving time being oh-so-very-thankful for all the homework I have to do! Yes, I would love some equations with my turkey, oh I would love some reading with my mashed potatoes and who could eat apple pie without an essay?! Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, Thanksgiving break is five long days including Saturday and Sunday. But think about it this way, every single family is different, so maybe family “A” has a whole lot of relatives coming over and they need to prepare the day before, celebrate the day of, and then has a bunch of cleaning to do the day after. Come Saturday evening and student of family “A” has to worry about all the homework they received even though they’re exhausted. Let’s say family “B” has their small family dinner, but loves to go black friday shopping, which of course can be very exhausting. Anyway, the point of the holiday break is to give time for not only holiday celebrations but also for a BREAK. Thanksgiving break used to be longer than three days, anyway. So really, this holiday break isn’t “extra homework time,” it’s supposed to be break time. Maybe some students don’t get any break homework, but I sure do. Not only this last Thanksgiving break, but on many “breaks” over the years.
I could go on and on if prompted, but really holiday breaks are meant for a break. Life for a student isn’t so simple anymore and the amount of unnecessary things we have to deal with is ridiculous to the point that it’s hard to find the motivation to strive to be our best. What cruel institute pushes students to the point of stressing out during Thanksgiving? Learning is a beautiful thing and no one goes a day without learning something new, but why has learning become a stressful activity? Well despite the stress of school, and the unnecessary homework over holiday “breaks,” what’s life without a challenge? Yet, we need a little balance in our lives, and a real break from the complications of the world is a true necessity.