Feb. 7, 2013: Upper School No Homework Night by Bill Bussey, Provost
It was a little after 1 p.m., on a Saturday afternoon. I had just finished running an errand with my oldest daughter, when she, against all odds, agreed to go to Legal's for lunch. I didn't take her initial reluctance personally; she's just not a fish-eater. It was great to sit back with her and do nothing for an hour or so. Soon after being seated, I began thinking about the winter break and all the things that needed to get done: family stuff, school stuff, and things that I needed to follow up on sooner than later. And then my daughter pulled me back into the here and now:
"Hey, you going to talk to me?"
I appreciated the chance to have a casual conversation with my daughter. Sometimes family time is hard to come by, which is why you might welcome this plug for an upcoming event:
On Thurs., Feb. 7, the Nobles Upper School is having a no homework night. That also means no tests, quizzes, papers due on Friday. A legit break from the action. We did this last year. The Student Life Council and the Multicultural Student Association, along with 25 faculty members, put on a well-attended night of moonwalks, karaoke and blackjack. This year we hope to get the Afternoon Program completed a bit early that day and send everyone home, except boarders (for whom we will do something special), to sit back and hopefully relax or plan something fun.
Parents frequently lament that casual conversation with their children, especially during the weekdays, is tough to come by. Despite everyone's best laid plans, the traditional family dinner with everyone present is also an increasingly rare event. By the time many parents arrive home from work, their children have scarfed their dinner and retreated to their rooms for the evening. A few students may have a late practice or rehearsal and arrive home past dinner time. Other parents may hold a couple of jobs and simply don't have the opportunity to be at home in the early evening. On the weekends, many kids (understandably) opt to go off with friends, play video games, or (maddeningly) chat online endlessly into the night—that is, when they are not doing homework.
Sometimes golden situations unexpectedly present themselves, and often for understandable reasons, parents fail to recognize those opportunities or are too busy or wiped out to rally.
So maybe knowing a month in advance might increase the odds of having the night of Feb. 7, resonate in a way that works for those in your home who can take advantage of it. Maybe dinner together. Tell stories. Play the game "Apples to Apples" or even watch a great movie together. Invite a relative or neighbor over. Go skate on the Frog Pond. If you are feeling ambitious, you could read "The Other Wes Moore" and talk about that—the author will be visiting Nobles the day before on Feb. 6. Whatever might work. Ask your son or daughter what he or she would like to do. They'll say "sleep" or "nothing"—not the end of the world, but do your best to up the ante.
That said, the spirit of this evening ultimately means down time, ideally with family if possible. We strongly discourage using this evening for sleepovers or parties.
We hope this evening can help bring a little warmth to an often cold stretch of the year.