Holiday homework

There’s a schoolbag in my lounge.

Someone opened it. They took out their holiday homework, which is now lying unattended on the coffee table.

But I can't bring myself to start having a daily argument with the owner of the homework about when it will be started, let alone completed.

I am not, you see, a believer in holiday homework.

School holidays are supposed to be a break for the kids. They get to stay up late, sleep late, eat things other than squashed sandwiches for lunch and generally have an awesome time.

They are also, very importantly, supposed to offer a respite to us parents. No getting up at the crack of dawn to have the bathroom to myself for a few minutes. No fishing slightly damp gym clothes out of the dryer and ironing them from sopping to wearable. And no making sandwiches which all the love in the world won’t keep from getting squashed.

And also, teachers please note, no having to ask pointed questions about homework, and projects and an oral about ‘My troeteldier’.

This is why I resent the holiday homework, lying there accusingly on my coffee table, reminding me, and my offspring, that this is not really the break they hoped for. Disguise them as ‘fun’ word-searches if you will, but kids know homework, and they know it doesn’t belong in holidays.

I understand the teacher’s motivation. She is trying to avoid going back on the first day of term to be confronted with kids who look at her with all the academic acuity of rows of fresh produce.

In fact, studies have shown that holidays lead to a direct drop in children’s performance in IQ tests and academic ability. And the longer a holiday, the worse it gets.

So I have persuaded myself to be in favour. I raise my voice cheerfully to let my son know I mean business: ‘Come son, let’s get this holiday homework done and off the coffee table.’

‘But Mom, your favourite episode of Hannah Montana is on.’

Oh well, still five days of holidays left...

Are you in favour of holiday homework?

Read more by Adele Hamilton
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