5 Words to Make the Most of This School Break ~
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane
We had just put the littles to bed Sunday night, December 19th, when the realization washed over me: No school tomorrow!
I was surprised how I could physically feel the relief and joy well up inside. I love school. Our big kids attend a 1/week “school” for homeschool teens, where my husband and I both teach. It’s a highlight of our week. We all love school. We love Run Club. We love theater. We love Bible study. We love all the beautiful things we get to do each week.
But clearly my body was announcing, loud and clear: You need a break!
And my first thought as I woke up Monday morning? Christmas break!
I’ve mentioned before that our family observes a 24-hour Sabbath rest each week. This has been a game-changer for us, a life-giving rhythm that, I believe, ultimately makes us not only more productive, but also healthier and happier.
But only recently have I really been focusing in on the value of occasional, extended rests.
Our inspiration for a weekly day of rest comes from Scripture. But also in Scripture, God’s people were instructed to observe three weeklong feasts a year. With a Sabbath on each end, these ended up being 8 days long. Until this year, I’d never really considered the universal wisdom in this command.
But it turns out that researchers have recently found that happiness levels peak on day eight of vacation and then hit a plateau. They also recommend we take one week off of work per quarter, for optimum health and productivity. (Source)
I guess what’s good for ancient people might be good for us too?
But is it enough to just “not do school?” Is that enough to really recharge us?
That’s certainly a start, but I’ve found in all of our Sabbath-observing, that there are a lot of ways to waste my rest-day by not being intentional with how I spend it. So here are five simple words to help recharge our bodies and souls so we can re-enter with renewed joy and purpose.
5 Words to Make the Most of this School Break
Bless our bodies! They work so hard! There are seasons when I push mine, when theater Tech Week demands numerous late-nights, when busy schedules leave me living on quick bites of food here and there. But a break is a time for nourishing and nurturing our bodies.
Since each of our bodies are different, what they need might be a bit different. Mine needs lots of protein, veggies, sleep, and water. That’s how I recover, strengthen, and stay healthy.
What healthy habits can help you and your kids’ bodies replenish and renew?
We’ve found over the years that our best inspirations have come during times of vacation or break. This is when we actually have the space to sit and muse. That is, to let our minds roll over thoughts and ideas, let problems unravel and work themselves out in the unhurried space of rest.
It’s so tempting to fill every moment of break with all the must-do festivities of the season, but for the sake of our souls, we need ample space to just be. What about for the kids? Consider having some thoughtful reflection questions they can ponder during the break. Not problems to solve or scholastic information to memorize, but things to ponder, topics on which they can muse.
For the final day my Literature Class, as we had just finished reading A Christmas Carol, we played the old-fashioned games mentioned in the book: Forfeits, Blindman’s Buff, When/Where/How, and Yes/No. It was so good to laugh! One thing I love about my kids’ school is that each week at lunch, before the worship and chapel message, they get to watch some funny video from YouTube.
The director always finds some gem of hilarity. I would never think of intentionally fitting laughter into every school day, but it turns out it’s incredibly good for the soul. Whether it’s a silly game like Charades or Spontuneous, or your favorite funny movie, work in some laughter this break!
Studies have found that kids who spend school recess in nature have a greater increase in sustained and selective attention, as compared with kids who spent recess in a built, artificial space. They also have higher scores in perceived restorativeness. (Source)
Much has been said on this topic, but it’s worth repeating: If we want to make the very most of our breaks, to restore our souls and renew our minds, we need nature. Anything green!
A hike, a nature reserve, a lake or trip to the coast. The positive physical and mental effects of time in nature are huge, so let’s do whatever it takes to get outside!
Does it even need repeating? We all know the value of a regular screen-Sabbath. We know the horrifying statistic that we touch our phones 2,617 times per day (gah!), but I still need to remind myself.
Close the laptop. Turn off the phone. Unsubscribe. I’ve shared here about my 40-day social media fast and how good it was for my heart. Perhaps the simplest way to recharge during this break is to observe a 24-hour phone fast.
Better yet, spend those 24 hours with a little nature, napping, eating nutritious food, pondering some reflective questions, and doing whatever brings a good dose of side-splitting laughter.
From all of us here at Simple Homeschool we hope these words help you make the most of this school break as your year comes to a close. Thank you so much for spending part of it with us!
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I enjoyed reading this post. Such excellent reminders. I decided to give our family two more days of break since most of ours was spent feeling lousy from illness 🙁 The one positive from that is we were forced to do more resting and spend low-key time together. Happy Holidays!
Jamilyn’s latest post: Gratitude Isn’t Just for November