This is the first of Noblesville Schools’ two-week spring break.
While we should be feeling a little relief for some R&R, I can’t say that we do.
My high school freshman daughter still has so much homework to finish over break. Thankfully, many of the teachers are generous to allow students lots of extra time to finish homework this school year without penalty.
However, if we didn’t have so much homework, we wouldn’t still be working on homework this week.
Our goal is to do homework every day until we get it all done so we can enjoy the rest of break, or what’s left of it.
Who really wants to work on homework every day of break? Or for hours every night after school? Or every weekend?
There is no time for family. No time for friends. No time for household chores. No time to volunteer. No time to work a job. Only time for homework. Which causes a lot of stress.
And school that used to be fun isn’t fun anymore.
Noblesville High School principal tells me that my daughter has a rockstar set of teachers this semester.
We just wish there was less homework.
We know it’s all about the grades. So that teachers look good. And schools get accolades.
We also know that students who were earning straight A’s in middle school, such as my daughter, are struggling in high school. And it’s not due to laziness.
I don’t know how much more students can take mentally this semester. Students are not only ready for spring break but also ready for summer break. Just ask any high school student.
Besides too much homework, students have Zoom burnout. All day on Zoom, then all night on the iPad doing homework.
They’re too busy in their schedules to even go to the counselor to talk about it. And what can the counselor do about too much homework anyway, except to tell students to get a daytime planner calendar to help organize their schedule. I can barely organize my daughter’s homework schedule, continually making lists of homework and daily deadlines to keep straight. And I thought newspaper deadlines were tough!
Homework teaches us “organization, problem solving, goal setting and perseverance,” but too much of it, according to Stanford University research, causes stress, health problems, a lack of balance in our lives and alienation from society.
Back in the winter, I enjoyed reading Sheridan High School sophomore Payton Warren’s editorial column written in her English class about homework. She hit the nail on the head. Students spend seven hours a day at school and then come home just to work on more schoolwork. A better alternative, she said, would be to give students classwork so they can ask any questions in class. Because once you get home and don’t understand the homework, you won’t just wing it. Plus, she said, some teachers never really explain why a student got a wrong answer and how to solve the question. “It is hard for a lot of students to learn things on their own and to do work they don’t understand.”
In our household, we stay up way past midnight working on homework, and then we have to wake up early for school, leaving us exhausted, and performing less than optimum.
I think it would be interesting to talk to school counselors after spring break to get some insight of the social and emotional effects of COVID-19 on our high school students. How are counselors helping students cope with this school year due to the social isolation? Are there enough counselors, and how long do students have to wait to get in to see a counselor? Are parents having more challenges with attention deficit due to students being at home three days a week? Are students’ grades’ suffering?
After the first semester, I saw a note from the school reminding students to have their Zoom cameras on their face, not their foreheads, and that students shouldn’t be lying in bed during Zoom. I would like to know how much motivation these kids have after more than a semester of Zooming from home. There’s no wonder that they stay in their pajamas and go back to bed between classes.
It’s difficult for students. My heart breaks for those kids. Especially the students who thrive from in-person interaction and are struggling in this hybrid schedule.
Since the beginning of the school year, NHS students have been on a hybrid schedule, with about half of the students attending school on Mondays and Tuesdays, then all students eLearning on Wednesday, then the other half of the students attending school on Thursdays and Fridays. Besides that, there are gold-schedule days and black-schedule days, with three classes on gold days and four classes on black days for my daughter.
Noblesville Schools parents recently completed a survey that asked if we supported going back to school four days a week, with one eLearning day, for the last five weeks of school. Yes, our family definitely supports going back to school. We’d prefer going back to school five days a week in our household.
But the district just announced the results last Friday of the survey, which received 6,500 parent responses sharing their degree of agreement toward proposed schedule changes. At the high school, there was mixed agreement, “coupled with significantly increased quarantine projections due to decreased social distancing,” so the schedule will sadly not change and will continue as is.
The same was decided for the middle-school schedule which is every other day in school.
The only change was made for elementary schools. Since the start of this school year elementary students who chose to learn in-person have been attending every day. There have been two elementary bus routes to accommodate spacing for one student per seat, with arrival and departure times staggered with one group of students coming and going before the other. “It's been a slightly shortened day with not as much instructional time as a normal year,” said Marnie Cooke, the district’s spokesperson, who clarified the change. “The change we announced yesterday (March 24) will be a move back to a normal bus route and all students arriving and departing at the same time. The school day will be 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., which gives additional instructional time for the last five weeks of the school year.”
She said the change would not increase class sizes. “Most other districts have been using one bus route all year and are not showing problems,” Cooke said. “Therefore, this change would increase instructional time without an anticipated increase in quarantine rates.”
I am glad, though, to learn that there will be a senior prom this year, and a graduation commencement.
Hamilton Heights is also on a two-week spring break through April 9. Carmel, Hamilton Southeastern, Sheridan Community and Westfield Washington schools are all on spring break April 2-9.

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.