How to Tackle Homework Over the Holidays

How to handle homework over the holidays

Helpful homework tips for elementary and high school students to help them have a happy holiday!

The holidays are a time when students and parents look forward to having a break from the ‘go, go, go’ of the school year.  Despite this, the reality is, many students will have homework to complete during their vacation.

Here is some insight on holiday homework for different ages and advice for making it more manageable for the whole family.

Why give homework over the holidays?

While there are varying opinions on whether or not schoolwork should be given during the holidays, believe it or not, it can actually benefit a child in more ways than one.

Some teachers feel that the break is a good time for students to finish up project-based work.  It’s also an opportunity for children and youth to work on time management skills.

Sometimes, assigned homework is a mandated philosophy from administration, or teachers may be concerned about too much time away from a subject that they want to dive right into, in January.

The break also provides the opportunity for loose ends to be tied up, so everyone can start the new year fresh.

Planning in advance

In our household, we usually plan ahead and try to get it done over the first few days of the holiday break.  That way it is done and dealt with, and the rest of the holiday time belongs to us a family.  Keep in mind, as children enter high school however, this is not always realistic due to workload.  Read further on how to make a plan for tackling assignments.

If you are concerned about the amount of work that might be coming home because you  have a planned vacation, you may want to reach out to your child’s teachers a few weeks before holiday break. Teachers understand the value of family time and they may modify the amount of work to be completed or give your child the assignment ahead of time so that the work can be finished before you leave on vacation.

Homework help for children in grades one to six:

Look at a calendar together and note the dates planned for family activities, so your child can see which blocks of time are spoken for and which ones are open. This kind of coaching helps children learn the lifelong important skills of planning, organizing and time-management.

Plan which days will be the least busy and therefore the best days to get work done.  This will help children see that the workload is realistic and manageable.  Younger children tend to view any homework as holiday ruining.

Use their agenda as well, to plan the best time of day for your child to complete their work. This helps children learn to see “chunks” of time which can be devoted to different activities.  They can begin to learn how to balance their day between work, family and fun.

Holiday homework strategies for middle and high school students

With teens, holiday homework is a chance to practice managing their time more independently.

For teens who struggle with time management, this can also be an opportunity to help coach them to understand that an assignment can be broken down into smaller components

My students sometimes forget that some days will be filled with family celebrations, so it is not realistic to complete work on those days. If their bellies are filled with turkey and treats, their brains will not be working at full capacity!

As parents, we can’t control the homework our children may have over the holidays, but we can help shape a more positive attitude towards balancing the importance of meeting deadlines with celebrations and being merry.


Jennifer Anstiss

Jennifer Anstiss holds a Masters of Education in Literacy from Mount Saint Vincent University, specializing in the Early Intervention and Prevention of Learning Disabilites. She is also an active member of the Ontario College of Teachers. She has been trained in the delivery of Direct Instruction Programs and is a Certified Fast ForWord Practitioner. Jennifer's field experiences include over 15 years of private clinical practice and 10 years of Special Education Teaching for both the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board and Peel District School Board. She specializes in the design and implementation of remedial programs for students with Learning Disabilities and Attentional Issues within both public and private settings. Jennifer gives presentations to parents, professionals and community groups.

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