We are half way through our second official year of homeschooling and we are still finding our way. I suppose we’ll always be finding our way.
It’s good to keep a beginner’s mind, yes?
We’ve learned a thing or two over the last year and a half – like the benefits and challenges of homeschool breaks. It’s not always as simple as it looks. Or so we have found.
The holidays are a perfect time to express our homeschool style. Many of us do this in the form of taking an extensive, well-deserved break from routine lessons.
It can be wonderful to embrace long festive days together as a family – filled with baking, crafts and holiday outings. Sometimes we just need time and space to be in our separate corners and regroup. I’m willing to step out on a limb and speak for the group here – I bet we’ve all been on both sides of this fence at one time or another.
Last year we took an extended break and enjoyed ourselves so much, doing all sorts of crafty, festive things together. The break was not a problem.
The problem came when it was time to get back to work, back to routine. Things felt completely out of sync, disorganized, and we were unmotivated. We hoped to feel rejuvenated and ready to go… instead, we had lost our mojo entirely and it took a full month to find our groove again. That’s a long time; especially considering the break was nearly a month long as well.
I guess we can add it to our list of homeschooling mistakes.
I’m approaching this year differently. I’ve come up with a few options for a holiday break, also known as our desire for a mid-year pause.
Part time school, for an extended period of time.
- Take a few days off completely to celebrate and generally relax with friends and family.
- On “school” days, focus on two subjects or lessons per day. That’s it, just two.
- Drop into this. Four to six weeks would be nice.
A typical ‘school’ break, about a week and a half.
- This is something most of us are familiar with.
- It’s a nice break, but is it enough of one?
- Does it allow us to live up to the full potential of homeschooling? To follow the beat of our own drum?
An extended break, perhaps the full month of December.
- A lot of homeschoolers do this, it’s exactly what we tried last year.
- It didn’t work out for us (realized in hindsight).
- The break was fine! It was the coming back to routine that was too a big a transition.
So which approach am I going with this year?
You guessed it! Part Time School, for an extended period of time.
For a good long while, we’ll be dialing it down, just not all the way down. We’ll take nearly two months for part time school, with a few solid days off for each holiday. We’ll have plenty of time to unwind and live more spontaneously in the day to day, while keeping a small dose of familiar homeschool rhythm. And when it’s time, hopefully easing back into a longer day will happen a little more gracefully.
Disclaimer: As homeschoolers, we know that taking any kind of a break does not mark a stopping point for learning, often times the very opposite can happen! I’m speaking about general routine and planned lessons, a break from that.
A bit of routine with plenty of interest led living. Sounds like a good fit for us.
How does the idea of part time school as an extended holiday break sound to you?