On the weekend of October 14th, Belmont Hill mandated a full-school reprieve from homework. The school-wide homework ban on the weekend of the admissions open house has become somewhat of a tradition and has benefitted students and the school alike. Even though it is just two days, the temporary loosening of academic rigor is still uncharacteristic for the school and a welcome sight to all the students.
Unsurprisingly, the sentiment around campus towards the no-homework weekend was overwhelmingly positive, but students were skeptical, having been at Belmont Hill too long to believe they would truly be able to take a full two-day break. Their suspicions proved true; the two days, especially for upper schoolers, were not completely work-free, but despite its imperfections, the weekend was still a success. Most teachers stuck to the rules and were quite reasonable in their approach to the weekend. While we did have some work, causing some students to complain about their pile of homework due Tuesday and their essays and tests they could not ignore over the weekend, teachers cannot be expected to completely halt course plans, and everyone’s workload was lighter by a fair amount than it would have otherwise been.
The lack of homework certainly helped tour guide turnout by removing what is often a Belmont Hill student’s number one excuse, although generous extra credit from teachers may have played a bigger role. But the weekend’s primary advantage was its role as a stress reliever. The weekend was much less demanding than normal and allowed students to decompress after a start to the year marked by a demanding transition back from summer. Additionally, the absence of homework provided the stressed-out seniors a much-needed haven to work on college applications. The beginning of school can be especially difficult to new students experiencing a Belmont Hill workload for the first time. Seeing the no-homework weekend on the calendar can give them, along with veteran students, a spot to strive for and a first milestone to survive.
Should we have more weekends like this? I obviously want to say yes, but in reality, we can’t go overboard. Part of the reason we come to Belmont Hill is for its difficulty, and when we speak longingly of our friends at other schools who seem to never have homework, part of us likes being able to call them soft. So even if two days of a lightened workload out of 150 or so seems like throwing a deck chair off the sinking Titanic, at this point in our Belmont Hill careers, we’ll take it. In a school worried about its students’ stress levels, no-homework weekends do a great job of reducing pressure while not overly disrupting class plans, and a couple more just might serve the school well.