Long-holiday homework

Two teachers, one primary and one secondary, recently wrote to me expressing their frustrations with the students who had done their Easter homework carelessly. They had assumed that the students would put more effort into their homework since they had a long holiday. One of them even wondered whether it was a wrong move of hers to assign the Easter homework.
These two are highly conscientious teachers, who care enormously about their students’ progress in learning. Understandably they will be disheartened when their students do not reciprocate with sufficient effort.
It is difficult for me to say what should be done. For one thing, few students today (including university students, I’m sorry to say) are self-disciplined enough to plan their holidays and work schedule and stick to it ruthlessly. They often leave their assignments until the last minute, and hence end up with work hastily put together.
Then, there are the more liberal-minded people who think that holidays should be spent on leisure activities or other pursuits, not on school work!
I haven’t been paying much attention to this issue, so I want to refrain from making casual suggestions. I’m just thinking there might be some practical solutions which would alleviate the problem. What about setting interim deadlines for Ss to submit some initial work online? What about varying the nature of the homework? ……

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