I'm a second year teacher at a tiny private school. I don't have other teachers in my grade to collaborate with, so I would love some of your input! I teach a combo 5-6-7-8 class. We had 3 weeks off for winter break. Because it was 3 weeks, I thought it was reasonable that the students read a book ("Hatchet") and answer a packet that totaled about 25 questions. One of my students did not do it. She received 1 out of 25 points. I sent the packet home with her yesterday and told her to get it signed by a parent. When I asked for it today, she said she didn't show it to them, and requested that I speak to her mom about it. I approached her mom after school, showed her the packet, and explained what happened. This student is in 6th grade. Her mom asked me why homework was assigned over the break. I was caught a little off guard. I thought it was pretty normal to assign middle schoolers work over the break, but am I wrong? (I flubbed some answer for the mom about trying to teach the students to become responsible now so that they're prepared for high school, etc.) Basically, next year, should I not be assigning work over a 3 week break?