Homework on Weekends? Of course!

There’s a report out of Atlantic County that the Galloway Township Public School District is considering a troubling change to its homework policy for next year. According to the Press of Atlantic City, Galloway’s Board of Education will vote this summer on a proposal that would bar teachers from assigning homework to students over weekends or holiday breaks.

Seriously?

Okay, it’s not like I spent four hours a night, seven nights a week slaving over arduous assignments and test preparation. But I certainly did have at least a modicum of homework to complete over most weekends—and I can honestly say that the responsibility of those weekend assignments served me well.

The educational merits of Saturday-Sunday assignments aside, giving homework to students over a weekend or holiday provides for a perpetual lesson in the relationship between hard work and relaxation. I can recall many a Friday afternoon when my parents urged me to complete any homework I had as soon as possible. “You’ll enjoy your weekend a lot more,” my mom would say, often just as I was getting ready to blow off all responsibility and ride my bike to a nearby friend’s house. “But it’s your choice.”

Did I listen? Rarely. More often than not I procrastinated, inevitably waiting until Sunday afternoon to even so much as look at my backpack. But every time this happened I re-learned the same lesson: don’t put it off. Get your work done sooner rather than later, and then you can enjoy the rest of your time in peace.

How does it better serve our students to give them less work than they already have (which, by industrialized global standards, really isn’t all that much to begin with)? It’s already going to come as a shock to them that there is no three-month summer vacation in most manifestations of the so-called real, adult world. What are they going to do when they realize that sometimes—gasp!—they will have to work over the weekend?

According to a December 2010 report in USA Today, out of 34 countries, the United States ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math. With such figures at hand, I don’t see how officials in Galloway think this is the time to become even more relaxed with our standards and expectations of students.

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