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How to Know When It's Time for a Break from Schoolwork
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There was a time that I set a strict schedule for school. I am a teacher by trade, so it is in my nature to schedule everything. I scheduled start dates, end dates, days off, and vacation dates. It was great! And then life happened.

What happened next for me was a sinking feeling of failure and guilt. We were BEHIND!!! How many times do I hear that phrase in the homeschool community?!? Living life in a constant state of self-imposed guilt is no way to live, and honestly, if you are feeling it, your kids are probably feeling it, too.

Now, against my type A grain, I loosely schedule a start date for school around the beginning of the traditional school year. My goals are simple: get through as much school as we can, when we can. If we need to do "school lite" during the summer, that is fine. In fact, it is nice to have some school to do in the summer at a more relaxed pace. We can do science experiments out on the deck, and we can plant things and watch them grow since the weather is nice and not freezing, as it often is here in Michigan during the school year.

Another huge benefit to this is the loss of the summer slide. If you are not familiar with that term, it is what happens to kids when they completely stop academic studies for nearly three months of summer vacation. They sit back down in September and have lost a lot of the learning they did in the previous school year. We really don't experience that.

How do I know when it's time to take a break from schoolwork?

• You are starting to feel burned out.
• Your kids are getting cranky about their studies.
• There is a lack of peace in the home.
• The house needs a day of TLC (because IT is a hot mess).
• School is starting to feel stale.
• Illness is going through the house.
• It's a gorgeous day, and you know a stretch of bad weather is on its way.
• The first day of accumulated snow!
• The first warm day after a long winter.
• The list goes on …

How much time should we take off?

I often only take one day off and then hit the books the next day. Usually, that day gives us just enough restoration to keep on going until the next normal school break, such as Christmas break or spring break. Over the years, I have learned that these mini-breaks happen more in the nice weather and less in the winter months. We are content to hunker down inside when it is not so nice outside. We do take an occasional snow day, but usually, a long recess after lunch and maybe a little shoveling in the morning is just fine, and the rest of the day is dedicated to learning.

There are times when I will take a few days to a week off. Those are times when there is a serious illness making its way through our home, or when there is a major project that has to be done, such as cleaning up the yard as all of our beautiful maple trees drop their leaves. We do take a couple of weeks off for Christmas so we can serve more, make gifts, and just enjoy making memories as a family.

So, when you find yourself needing a break, please, take one. Leave the fear of getting behind, well…behind. We are not schoolers, we are homeschoolers, and there is freedom in that fact. We are free to nurture that ever-important love of learning in our children. We are free to preserve peace in our homes by not pushing ourselves past our breaking point.

In my next post, I'll fill you in on what we do on our little breaks, be sure to check it out!

Meet the Author

Sharon Huizinga - HomeWorks by Precept Consultant


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