“Learning happens all the time!” Every homeschool parent will say this often, to anyone who will listen. But if learning happens all the time, why do you need a break from it? Isn’t it just life at that point? What are you breaking from? What do you do during breaks?!
We’re eclectic homeschoolers. So some of our learning is unschooling, some more traditional, and some is more new age with technology and online learning. Homeschooling this way is what works best for our family. That’s the best part of homeschooling! Doing what works best for each person, for each family. But more traditional teaching is a LOT of mental work and breaking when we need to is a must! The learning doesn’t stop with the closing of the books, however. So here’s how we continue to cultivate learning, even though we’re relaxing.
- Before a break, I will hand out a quiz or two. Mainly in math. I do this simply to see what areas my child might need some extra practice in. For this first break of the school year, I noticed that my third-grader who is learning all about multiplication needed some extra practice in skip counting. So we wrote out some number lines on the whiteboard to go over here and there during the break and made a playlist of skip counting songs on youtube. Getting catchy songs like this stuck in kid’s heads is very helpful for memorization! You don’t have to dole out a quiz, but take note during that last week of what topics your kids might need a little extra practice in to review during your time away from the books.
- Take the extra time to play or exercise. Go swimming, ride bikes spend extra time outside, go ice skating, get fresh air. Promotes health, helps them get out the sillies, and is wonderful at helping them learn!
- Go on an adventure. Camp (if possible), or nature hike. Try fishing, or a different outdoor hobby, heck, try a new indoor hobby. Go to a museum or zoo. Expand horizons, and have some fun at the same time!
- Tackle the honey-do list. This is a sneaky learning idea. When your kids are adults they are going to need to know how to take care of their home, how to do small home projects, big home projects, or simply how great it feels to declutter and live in a clear home. Not to mention the happy feeling of dropping off gently loved items for donation!
- Relax. While it’s important to help kids get out their sillies, it’s important to teach them the importance of relaxation. They’ll need this later in life, too! They might not relax in quite the same way that we do as adults, but being in practice with it now gives them a really valuable lesson for when they are adults in this crazy stress-filled, workaholic world they’ll inherit from us.
- Get prepared to start back up again! Most of the time I only have a week-long break planned between terms. However, we take almost the whole month of December off and things happen like getting sick. When it gets closer to time to start back up take a little time to make sure you’re prepared to open those books (or whatever you use) back up on Monday! I make sure any worksheets are printed, I look through and see if I need any supplies through the week and jot notes down in my planner, this is maybe a 30-minute ordeal on Friday before we start back up.
Breaks are beneficial and just plain NEEDED when we spend so much time working hard! Summer break is just too long when we really could use some of that time during cold and flu season, or the holidays or just a nice fall day to take off and go play. It really amplifies the idea of freedom in your homeschool when you are able to break when you need to and do school when everyone is more refreshed!
Until next time friends!