No-homework weekends and breaks provide time for students to enjoy activities they would not otherwise have as much opportunity to do during homework loaded weeks, but these weekends can be complicated for both students and teachers.
No-homework breaks afford students the luxury to enjoy hobbies and activities, rather than working on homework. Mira Arbonies ’18 appreciates no-homework weekends, explaining, “I have more time to be outside, especially now when it gets dark so quickly.” Quinn Schneider ’18 added that during this past no-homework Thanksgiving break, “I volunteered on a political campaign, and I visited my brother in college.”
Spanish teacher Carl Atlee explains that no-homework weekends are a great opportunity to “spend with friends and family.” These breaks are vital because they provide occasions when students can engage in activities different than those during the limited free time of the school week.
Although students enjoy the amount of leisure, once a no-homework break ends, the respite from work can impact a student’s work-ethic when returning to The Hill. Ben Sanger ’19 said, “I find it hard to go back to a normal week of homework.” Responding to a survey sent out by The Razor, 111 of 387 respondents agreed that returning to school after time off is more difficult.
But some students find that having time off makes it easier to come back to the normal Hopkins workload. Arbonies ’18 said, “I feel a little more well rested and a little more prepared,” and 148 other Hilltoppers agreed in response to The Razor survey.
Returning to school after a no-homework break may be difficult for some, but there are many ways to ease the transition. Deniz Tek ’20 explained that, “teachers understand what [amount of] homework is too much, and you can always meet with them [when that happens].”
Although no-homework breaks are a time for taking a step back from the normal Hopkins workload, some students use it as a time to catch up or get ahead.
Clare Chemery ’19 said she uses the time to “do any long term projects,” while CC Rocco ’20 said, “I might study vocabulary.” Of the 387 students who responded to the newspaper survey, more than half said that they also complete assignments during a no-homework break.
The week before may also be less stressful. Arbonies ’18 said, “The week feels less stressful, depending on what you planned and depending on [how much work you have on] normal weekends.
For teachers, these breaks are able to be planned around. Atlee said, “If I know in advance that there is a no-homework weekend, I can plan around it.”
No-homework breaks allow students to readjust and relax before moving on in the school year.
Science teacher Emilie Harris thinks no-homework breaks are important, saying, “It gives kids an opportunity if they are behind or just need to process things.” She added that students have time to “recharge” during breaks. Harris emphasized that these breaks are not meant for homework, saying, “[It is important to] really respect that [no homework] and have that break.”
Rocco ’20 illustrated the sentiment of many Hopkins students saying that she enjoys the breaks “because Hopkins can be stressful.” Of those students who answered the survey, 92.8 percent also agreed that no-homework breaks ease the stress of a Hopkins workload.
Caroline Vanderlee ’17 said it may not be less homework as much as much as “a mindset” that leads to less stress. She said, “I feel more relaxed, [it’s a] mental break.” Tek ’20 added, “[I can] relax, not really having to worry about finishing homework… [I have] time to rest.”