Hey Shawnta! Should I Make My Child Do the Winter Break Packet?

Dec 19, 2022 4:55:57 PM


Hey Shawnta!

Should I make my child do the winter break packet?


A winter break packet is a packet teachers send home during winter break so students can continue practicing skills.  

Should parents make their children do the packet?: It depends.

As an educator, I want students to have a break. Everyone needs a break: staff, students and families. The school year can feel like one giant treadmill of tasks: get up on time, get good grades, pay for a field trip, take children to rehearsal or practices, buy new clothes because your kid grew a foot overnight, volunteer to support the school … and the list goes on and on. Everyone needs a break from school tasks.

My motto is to work hard and play harder. We should work children like work students hard Monday through Friday and then demand their time during a break.

So, why did I say it depends? Sometimes parents need children to sit down and chill out. I don’t know about y’all, but when summer break started coming to an end, we had to start going to bed early to practice for when school started. As winter break comes to a close and children are getting squirmy, shoving, and pushing their siblings too much, this might be a time for a few academic activities.

The key is that these packets should be optional. There should be no incentive to do them. For example, if you turn in a completed packet, you will earn a treat bag. Students who travel to see family or want to or have to prioritize other things during break should be able to do so without losing out on an incentive.

You know your child best. Confirm that the packet is not for credit. Once you know it is not for a grade, decide whether you will toss it, do part of it, or do all of it. Whatever you choose, just ensure your child gets some rest and relaxation.

Shawnta S. Barnes

Shawnta (Shawn-tay) S. Barnes, also known as Educator Barnes, is a married mother of identical twin boys. She navigates education from not only the educator’s perspective but also the parent’s perspective. She has been an educator for nearly two decades. Shawnta works with K-12 schools, universities, & education adjacent organizations through her education consulting business Blazing Brilliance. She is an adjunct college professor, supervises student teachers, Indy Kids Winning Editor-in-Chief, Brave Brothers Books Co-founder, & CEO, and Brazen Education Podcast host. She holds five education licenses: English/language arts 5-12, English to speakers of other languages P-12, library/media P-12, reading P-12, and school administration P-12, and she has held a job in every licensed area. Previously, she has served as a school administrator, English teacher, English learners teacher, literacy coach, and librarian. She won the 2019 Indiana Black Expo Excellence in Education Journalism Award. In 2023, she completed her doctorate in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education with a minor in Learning Sciences. She is an urban gardener in her spare time and writes about her harvest-to-table journey at gardenershicole.com. To learn more about Shawnta, visit educatorbarnes.com.

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