Thursday, November 19, 2020

Holiday Breaks for Homeschool

 Ever since we began homeschooling, I'm found it works best for our family to follow a traditional school schedule...sort of. I've written before about following the school schedule and why it works for us. We make adjustments of course, because one of my favorite parts of homeschooling is the freedom to figure out what works best, but right now, this schedule works. 

When it comes to holiday breaks, we do things just a little bit differently, and that starts for Thanksgiving. Generally speaking, if we can, we try to get through our first third of school before Thanksgiving with no "big" breaks. Because we plan for a four day week with the fifth day as a "swing" day, this is usually doable. We have plenty of time for park days and field trips and co-op classes and can still do 12-13 full weeks of curriculum.

Our holiday schedule starts the week of Thanksgiving. We take the full week off from school. We finish up the the week before, put everything away and spend the week of Thanksgiving recharging. We'll spend a day in our pajamas watching movies. We'll do a few Thanksgiving themed art projects if we're feeling motivated. We'll work on Christmas lists so we'll have them ready for everyone who is planning to ask for them. We might even make lists of what we want to do leading up to Christmas. But we do absolutely no curriculum work. They need the break, and I need the break. 

After Thanksgiving, we come back for three weeks (usually) and try to get through. If our December schedule fills up, and there are years that it does, I may take two weeks worth of curriculum and give us three weeks to finish it. Some families like to take off the entire month of December and focus only on holiday themed activities. There are definitely years I'm tempted to do this, but I've actually found that for our family, it's better to come back to routine, at least for a couple of weeks. 

In December, we take the full week leading up to Christmas and the full week after Christmas. I like our weeks to begin on Monday and end on Friday (this goes back to my days as a public school specials teacher, when short weeks, although lovely in theory, wrecked absolute havoc with my schedule). Some years that means we finish up earlier in the month, and some years we go "back" later. I love it most when things line up, and despite all the mess of this year, 2020 happens to be a year that works. So this year, we'll have almost a full week leading to Christmas and the full week afterward before going back to the grind after New Year's. 

Right now, we're only two days away from the start of our first holiday break, and I'm not shy to admit that I need the break just as much as the girls do. I can't wait to put the books away on Friday and leave them on the shelf for a wonderful ten days to kick off the holiday season.

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