The break is a time “to let all the information of the day settle in my mind,” says Zach Anderson, a junior at the school. “We need time to think.”
The changes at the school have not come without controversy. A few parents see the break as a waste of time that could be better used at the beginning of the school day.
“Let them sleep in, or get a better breakfast, or come to school at the usual time to talk to a teacher if they need to,” says Karrie Shroyer, a mom of a sophomore at Chanhassen High.
When it comes to homework, she says the school would better serve students by cutting back on what some view as an inordinate amount of “busy work,” repetitive work that students who’ve mastered the concepts may not need to do.
“Are we trying to hide the real problem with a simple fix?” Shroyer asks.
Raychelle Lohmann, a professional counselor and author based in South Carolina, says any step schools take to reduce stress for students is a “step in the right direction.”
But she says parents, too, need to keep their own expectations in check, even for young children.
“We’re seeing parents who are putting their preschoolers in tutoring programs,” she says. “The intentions are good. But we’re missing the important point, to let them develop and play” — even in high school.
She says parents also have to model the behavior for their children.
“I’ll be honest. I’m guilty. I don’t take a day off,” she says. “But at some point, we just have to stop — and prioritize — and teach our children to do the same.
“We have to give up this ‘go, go, go’ mentality.”
Lisa Lawrence, a mom in Austin, Texas, said she realized this when her daughter, now a sixth-grader, told her she felt like “nothing she did was ever good enough” for her mom.