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  1. #1
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    Apr. 24, 1999
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    Default Teachers: do you assign work over vacation?

    Just curious if you assign work to students over vacation. If you do, why?

    DD (6th grade) was assigned a very large project that is to be turned in on Jan 2. She's already put 10+ hours in, and has at least another 10 to go.

    Am I off my rocker as a parent to be a tad perturbed that DD is not getting a 'real' break from school work (which she desperately needs).

    Thoughts?


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  2. #2
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    Jul. 6, 2010
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    Default

    Not a teacher, but as a fellow student (freshman in college), I know how she feels. This is my first break I've ever had w/o any homework, though I feel like I spent my first semester in a daze from lack of sleep. :/ But I do think it is unfair-- breaks are supposed to be just that, a break, a chance to step away from school for a couple of weeks so you can come back with renewed energy and ready to start the second semester. Also, lengthy projects like that make it difficult to spend time with family, go on vacations, etc.


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  3. #3
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    Feb. 25, 2012
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    Default

    Well as a former kid who had that happen (8th grade teacher assigned "Kim" by Rudyard Kipling over Christmas break) I hate it and agree that a BREAK is the whole point. In the instance of Kim, my best friend's mom and mine both made us finish the damn thing, then we got to school, discovered we were the only ones to have read it, so the teacher "cancelled" the assignment! Our parents were smokin'!!! In the end, the rest of the class did have to read it (and we had a day off!!)

    I have almost always had finals during the period Thanksgiving-Christmas so usually had studying/papers to finish over that holiday.



  4. #4
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    May. 26, 2011
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    I wouldn't assign something right before a break and expect it due right after. I have assigned things at the beginning of the semester and had them due after the christmas break. Kind of a last chance for the slackers to catch up.

    So the question is, when was the assignment given to your daughter?
    "I couldn't find my keys, so I put her in the trunk"



  5. #5
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    Apr. 24, 1999
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    Default

    Assignment was given on Thursday, Dec. 20 (last full day of class)



  6. #6
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    I can see both sides--I am a teacher, and yes, I've given work over breaks. It is so kids can stay in practice or to give them more time to complete a larger end of term or unit project/paper.

    Generally, most students do NOT do homework during regular school, so this really is a headache in the making, and I rarely do it anymore. I will say this: with the increased pressure to make "the grade" in regards to NCLB, state tests and now, the Common Core Standards, the load on students has increased exponentially! The good ones thrive, the mediocre either rise or fall, and the poor student fails miserably in this environment. We teachers must push, push, push the "basics" at the demise of the "fun stuff" that we of a certain age remember most from school. School today is not what it was even 10 years ago. Kindergartners are reading and writing complete sentences at 5 or 6--that was 1st grade stuff. In my school, the only two subjects that "matter" are math and reading (literature really). All subjects must focus on reading strategies to increase comprehension/analysis. Many students have two reading or two math classes in place of an elective. Some have 3....
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  7. #7
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    Apr. 24, 1999
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    New England
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    DD averages 2-3 hrs homework a night normally. As a private school, they aren't required to take the same tests as public school (i.e. they don't " teach to the test".. )

    I do know that DD's 6th grade curriculum is nearly identical to what I had as a high school freshman (same school).



  8. #8
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    Oct. 18, 2000
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    Default

    At that educational stage in private school, projects take over at least one vacation break. Hopefully, she hit this one now so the spring break will be the real deal. If you decide to comment, I would remark that this took you a bit by surprise, that it was fortunate that the family was home so DD could spend the bulk of her holiday completing this, and express the feelings that you hope she does not have similar designs for the spring break, as your family usually makes travel plans for that time and DD will not have much time to spend on school-related work for the duration of the break. Make sure this is done in advance of the break so the teacher will be put in a corner here, and will not be able to use the late assignment announcement/early deadline technique to corner DD again. Then do your family a favor and book some time off so everyone gets a nice break, even if all you do is take the phone off the hook and send the world into voice mail.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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  9. #9
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    Nov. 25, 2005
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    Default

    As a student in public high school and middle school, I always had homework over breaks, whether it was regular homework or a project.

    As a public high school teacher now, I do not assign homework over breaks. I don't know many teachers who do either, meanwhile I listen to parents with teens in other school systems that say their kid is dying from homework, over breaks and not. I don't even assign that much homework during the regular week- because nobody does it!! Seriously- high school students- maybe 4 out of 30 will do it.



  10. #10
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    I really can't recall if I had work assigned over the winter break.
    I do find it funny that the little ones have to "stay in practice" or whatever. I guess they can look forward to older, semestered schooling - you do your winter exams and you're done, free and clear

    (Although I sure as heck had work over the spring break/reading week/whatever it's called, so meh).



  11. #11
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    Jun. 14, 2006
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    Default

    I think that maybe it's a good idea to have something academic over these long breaks because from my standpoint, kids fall out of practice pretty quickly.

    My SD's, who know how to set the table correctly, completely FORGOT HOW after just being away from us for TWO WEEKS. After years of doing it right, they had to ask which side the fork went on. Where does the napkin go?

    Being in a routine is helpful for many of us.

    I get needing a break. But 2-3 weeks winter break now? In our case, most of this time is spent in front of the TV during that time. Sure wouldn't hurt them to read a book or something.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  12. #12
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    Jul. 15, 2003
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    Default

    I know I had work over vacations, but I am quite grateful that my younger son's school scheduled its semester to end right before the winter break. He goes to an an accelerated schedule, college-geared school, and the kids are encouraged to take college classes during their junior/senior years. They graduate into their sophomore year in college if they follow the suggested program and do well. He does enough work during the regular schedule!
    Don't tell me about what you can't do. That's boring. Show me what you can do. - Mom



  13. #13
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    Jan. 26, 2010
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    I always assign the regular reading and journal writing over break. They need to stay in practice and keep building that mind. They complaints that they need a break so they can play video games or be on their phone 10 hours a day are ridiculous. As one parent told me, if she can do 250 texts a DAY, she can certainly write 600 words a week for journals.

    I don't know what your daughter is doing. I hear parents all of the time saying they spent "10 hours" on something, and I look at that they did and am stunned. IS she actually doing anything?

    If she's at a private school, she may be doing a lot more, and as damaged as you may think she will be by this, it will put her way ahead of the other kids and MAYBE on par with the level of work kids are doing in India and Japan. Asking her to to push herself isn't necessarily a bad thing.

    I've had unending complaints about "overwhelming" amounts of homework (60 words a week to write, 600 pages a quarter to read.) I've NEVER had a complaint that there is no or not enough homework, no matter how low skilled or far behind a student is.

    In general though, I woudn't give a "project" before break to come back finished. I'd have to know the details to give perspective. And if she's going to be in competitive AP classes in high school and college, she's going to be doing a lot more.


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  14. #14
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    Jun. 16, 2011
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    Default

    I do not, a break is a break. Honestly if I did what I would have turned in would not be quality simply because most would put it off until the night before and the rest would forget about it.

    I have offered extra credit work over breaks but that is only if the student wants to complete the extra credit.


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  15. #15
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    Nov. 13, 2005
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    Default

    We would get reading assignments, & in lower/middle school we had to do math over the summer, but very rarely over Christmas or Spring break. I also went to a private school. I think a 20hr project over a short break period is completely ridiculous especially at a 6th grade level.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey



  16. #16
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    Apr. 24, 1999
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    Default

    3 pages (double sided) of instructions/ requirements. Subject matter is Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and Ancient China. Just the first page would make your head spin...
    1) draw a geographical map of each - must include all major landforms, climate...
    2) write about the history of each (minimum 6 paragraphs for each and no paragraph may be less then 6 sentences.
    3) Illustrate 3 "special" places from each
    4) write a min. of 2 paragraphs about festival, ceremonies, holidays etc for each.
    5) create a 'travel' brochure for each. (Do not copy/paste from the above.)

    That's about 1/2 of the instructions from just the first page....
    No skiing for DD this week....grrrrr



  17. #17
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    That seems like a lot, but, she will be well prepared to get work done in very competitive situations.

    If I did that for a week in class with six hours class time, 1/3 of that assignment, I would only get half of them turned in, in 8th grade. I've done just the brochure many times for many places, and the complaints of overwhelming work ensues. I'm going to use your story as to what REAL work is!



  18. #18
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    May. 20, 2006
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    yikes...that is a lot!! i teach 7th grade at an urban turnaround charter school where the majority of my 135 students are way below grade level in reading and math...i did assign a project, BUT i gave it to them 2 weeks before break started and it's not due til thursday, so they could have (and some did) finished the whole thing before break. it was nowhere near as indepth as your daughter's, either. some of my kids couldn't write 6 paragraphs on a topic if their lives depended on it...
    My mare wonders about all this fuss about birth control when she's only seen a handful of testicles in her entire life. Living with an intact male of my species, I feel differently! WAYSIDE



  19. #19
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    May. 6, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruth0552 View Post
    As a student in public high school and middle school, I always had homework over breaks, whether it was regular homework or a project.

    As a public high school teacher now, I do not assign homework over breaks. I don't know many teachers who do either, meanwhile I listen to parents with teens in other school systems that say their kid is dying from homework, over breaks and not. I don't even assign that much homework during the regular week- because nobody does it!! Seriously- high school students- maybe 4 out of 30 will do it.
    Ditto this- only I teach middle school, not high school. So frustrating when I assign 2 homework problems (no exaggeration here, some days it's just 2) and over half the class can't bother to do it!
    "Life is too short to be a slave to the whims of others." -- RugBug, COTH



  20. #20
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    For those saying kids need to be in a routine - there are plenty of ways to keep this up without assigning 20+ hr projects like the one the OP describes. The kids I aupaired for's mom was really good at finding educational but still fun activities for them over breaks. They did an "art" class where they made puppets and wrote plays which were all in English (they're French, so just the speaking English was practice for them without all the other stuff). I read books they chose from the library with them. We played games like scrabble, boggle, etc. We lived near Paris where there were plenty of opportunities - museum tours for kids, etc.

    In their week off they'd spend maybe a couple of evenings watching a movie, but apart from that no tv, computer or video games allowed. Yet they still found stuff to do which kept their brains working and shock horror, they enjoyed.

    I think parents should take some initiative and find educational "fun" activities for their kids over breaks. Then teachers would be less inclined to assign ridiculous projects like the above just so the kids aren't all brain dead after a 2 week break.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


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