Swampscott Starts ‘No Homework’ Nights

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV

SWAMPSCOTT (CBS) – No need to blame the dog for missing homework in Swampscott. The school district has set aside eight days when there will be no homework. “Every night children are pressured, and we wanted to give them a break. We want them to enjoy life,” says Swampscott School Superintendent Lynne Celli.

Parents and students agree. “It’s just like a really fun time to just hang out and do nothing,” says 6th grader Ocean Sweeney. Her parents surprised her by taking her out to dinner and to a salon. “Her being in drama and gymnastics and other extra-curricular activities, it’s kind of a busy schedule, so it’s a nice time to just hang out,” says her mom, Christina Crawley.

WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager reports

Judy Bevis is one parent who’s especially excited about the new policy. She’s a child psychologist, whose daughter is a sophomore at Swampscott high School. “One thing we know in our children and adolescents is the part of the brain that prioritizes isn’t yet developed. For most people, it doesn’t develop until they’re in their 20’s, and I think that’s what causes most of the stress in our kids.”

Superintendent Celli says it’s part of a holistic approach to education. She says Swampscott is committed to helping children develop not only academically, but also emotionally and socially.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Christina Hager
  • Max

    Bravo, finally some progressive thinking. Kids are overscheduled and have no time for independent play or thinking

    • Lou

      This is hysterical. You honestly think that’s what kids are going to do on a night off? Sit back and reflect upon the great mysteries of the universe? Read a book? Spend more time at the dinner table actively engaging in conversation?

      • HalfDayKindergarten.Org

        Fact: play IS kids work…
        They do need to be left alone sometimes…
        Please read more…

      • tsal1

        halfday – you are absolutely right. As I said in Finland and most scandanavian countries the kids have very long recess periods where they go outside and play – the reason is simply – kids do not learn without play. It is amazing how when faced with a school system that is among the most successful in the world that Americans still think ours is better – simply because this is America and no other country could possible have a better idea.


    • gramps

      Japan, China & India’s teens…..

      Ya think their taking ‘5’?


      • Danny

        you realize that the US gives more homework then most other countries and yet we are behind? There is no evidence that more homework is beneficial, it actually works the other way around.

    • tsal1

      agreed Max – it’s good to see.

  • Mike

    I think it’s a great idea…..would have to agree with what Max said above. I would even go for no homework one night PER WEEK!

  • Joanne

    I think it is a great way to promote more family time.., This way kids are not running from activites to homework. They can enjoy supper time as a family.

  • tsalllllllllllllllllll

    High school students in Finland – one of if not the best school system in the world – get no more than a half hour homework a night.

    • Lou

      That is only a very small part of the education in fantastic school systems such as Finland and Sweden. You are leaving out the fact that school begins at a far earlier age (ages 1-9 is actually mandatory in Sweden) and vacation times are significantly shorter so these kids spend far MORE time in school than in the US. Not to mention the curriculum is far more rigorous.

      • tsal last

        Lou read Wiki again and then you’ll see what you didn’t see 1-9 is compulsory – that is grades 1-9 and not ages 1-9.

      • tsal last

        lou – kids in finland and sweden do not begin school until the age of seven – that’s first grade. My husband went to school in sweden and we have many friends there. They have the regular vacation. They do not have anything more than minimal homework. They have very long recess in even the coldest weather since they feel you do not learn without play. They do not have special ed – schools are inclusion. They do not believe in standardized testing I can go on but you can find all of this.easily. They are the best school system in the world.

        American is beginning to lag behind in far too many areas and our denial that it can be done a different way is a huge part of the problem.

      • Tsal

        Lou kids don not begin school until the age of 7 in Sweden. Or in Finland. My husband began school in Sweden. As well as finland We have many friends there. They do not have special Ed classes and they do not have standardized testing. And on and on. They are opposite america in many ways and yet have a superlative system

  • recalldeval

    It’s no surprise that something this stupid comes out of the govt run school system.

    • tsalllllll

      something this stupid is a common practice in the best school system in the world ……….. go figure

  • Sally

    “stressed-out, over-scheduled lives” – Really? If homework, school dances and soccer games stress these kids out, wait till they enter the real world and have to worry about bills, mortgages, kids and ailing parents….. ridicuous if you ask me… 20 years ago we were all in the same boat and didn’t get any special treatment, what gives?

    • Petetm

      20 years ago we weren’t coddled, overly-indulged, self-intitled, snot nosed brats. We didn’t get things handed to us, we worked for the things we had and we worked through our problems, not blaming everyone else for everything that went bad in our lives.

      • Yikes

        Totally agree, kids today are going to have a real hard time when they hit the real world and have to fend for themselves, employers won’t baby them the way parents do. That said, the nights my daughter doesn’t have homework, can’t get her to sit for dinner all she wants to do is text or facebook, these kids are so attached to their technology it’s ridiculous. Take it away and boy do they scream! But I refuse to let her become so coddled she can’t handle life.

      • Sally

        I couldn’t agree more Petetm! Those parents are giving the wrong impression to their children that they don’t have to work for anything anymore.. For XMAS they ask for laptops and I Phones, I don’t know about you, but I was happy just getting my favorite CD or a bike..! And vacations? What happened to “family” vacations. Now parents appease their children and allow them to bring the cell phone with them and they barely spend a second talking about anything… and now we’re giving them a night off from homework… what so they can spend more time on their cell phone instead of engaging in a relatiohship with their family…. ?

      • tsalllllll

        Hi Petem – 20 years ago I believe they were starting the “coddled kid” syndrome. But 30 or so years ago we didn’t have hours of homework in grade school and had very little in the upper grades. We also were not consumed with after school activities. Kids had time to be kids.

      • tsal last

        Sally I was happy with a hoola hoop and silly putty. A bike was the biggest thing any kid got and it was cherished. However, and I will repeat – check out the philosophy of the Finnish schools. No special ed – no standarized tests – very little of what we’d recognize here. Yet 15 year olds tested the highest in the world in Finland.

      • annoyed

        @petetm i think you are not giving enough credit to kids these days. 20 years ago there were not as many organized extracurriculars- no 3 hour dance or football practices. There was, at least, definitely not as much emphasis put on these activites as necessary for college. And 20 years ago, did it cost $25,000 to go even to a state university? I don’t think so.

      • tsalllllll

        annoyed – there were the things you mentioned 20 years ago – my oldest is 31 – ohhhh that hurts to say out loud. EAch of my kids had the afternoon activities and the hours and hours of homework. My son (now 27) used to have 2-3 hours homework in 5th grade. I think it was more like 30-40 years ago that kids went home, had a snack and played outside.

        Ok – Petem – I’m holding you personally responsible for making me feel very old right now ;)

      • annoyed

        @tsalllll once again the pressures of getting into a good school were not as great as they are today. Now it is very difficult to get by without a college degree, and kids are forced to work extremely hard to get into the schools they want-or don’t want. However, a degree is necessary, and paying for the exorbitantly high costs may be even more difficult to do. Times have changed.

      • tsalllllll

        annoyed – then why is the system in Finland working so well?


      • Meg

        20 years ago you may not have been coddled, but in present day, it’s those same un-coddled kids who are now parents and teachers calling for all of these coddling measures. What’s up with that?

    • HalfDayKindergarten.Org

      Exactly the case and point:
      homework = structured
      school dances = structured
      soccor = structured

      Kids need balance.
      Unstructured time is important.

  • Frank FitzGerald

    Homework has little educational value. It’s something that parents mistakenly believe is the mark of a good teacher. Check the research. It may have some value for a student whop absolutely needs a little more practice
    Pete and Sally…This is not the hore and buggy era; step up to the 21st century.

  • www.HalfDayKindergarten.Org

    Thank you Swampscott School Superintendent Lynne Celli!
    You are a hero!

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