Summer is HERE in the south. Traditional schools have celebrated their last days for the year, the traffic to the beach is backed up for miles, and parents are either scrambling to find summer care, or enough activities so they all don’t go stir crazy before August. But… you’re homeschooling. So do you take a summer break? Or not? Is there a right or wrong answer? Let’s take a look.
To break or not to break, THAT is the question!
One of the things I love about homeschooling is the flexibility, don’t you? So let’s say this right at the beginning: there is no right or wrong answer to whether you should take a summer break.
I mean, you need to take “breaks,” but do they have to be in summer? Of course not. The bottom line is you do what works for your family. And what works this year may not work next year. And what looks like a break to you might look like learning to the general public.
The many faces of a homeschool “break”
Do your kids take a lot of classes through co-ops, or online, or other organized programs? Then a break is a time without schedules, shuttling or logging in. But you may need to plan ahead and take breaks at more traditional times of the year, like summer and holidays, so that you can best use the classes and resources you’ve invested in.
Is your schooling more relaxed to begin with? Our family is, so for us, a break is no checklists, no goals, no curriculum, no workbooks. Since our goal is lifelong learning, we never purposefully do a full stop of learning and reading… we just take a break from planning what that’s going to look like.
Maybe Mom or Dad works a seasonal job. A teacher, perhaps? (Ooo, you rebel, you!) Enjoy extra family time by breaking when Mom or Dad breaks! Or take advantage of the time to have everyone hands-on in the learning experience.
Who needs a break anyway?
Listen up, parents! Do you know who really needs the break? YOU do!
The thing is, your kids are going to keep learning and growing every day. But if you don’t take a step back from the curriculum pages, the planners and the to-do lists, you’re never going to have a full appreciation of the fruits of your hard work. Plus, you need time to make sure you’re just enjoying your children!
This family’s break philosophy
No two homeschools are going to look alike, but sometimes it helps to have a real-life example to make sense of the concepts.
Generally, our family schools year-round. My kids and I are not a fan of the summer heat, but we love the mild winters here in the south. So we usually plan a 4-day weekend in the fall, an extended holiday break, and a mid-February jaunt to somewhere even warmer and sunnier. Usually.
This year is different for us. My oldest is away working a summer job. So there are no book lists, no workbooks, no unit studies this summer. But you can bet he’s learning things I certainly couldn’t have taught him at home! My middle child is diving deeper into building up an inventory for her Etsy shop and trying different ways of marketing it. The youngest is busy playing with letter puzzles and following the dog around with the broom so the dust bunnies created by her summer shed don’t eat us in our sleep.
What am I doing? Well, I’m trying to give my brain a break. I’m bad at turning off research-mode, though. In the midst of making notes about world history curriculum and taking inventory of what we planned, but didn’t use, this year, I’m trying to step back and be deliberate about observing.
This is the time to review our long-term goals, pay attention (without being schooly about it) to my kids’ passions and progress, and take lots of deep breaths because we’ll be diving back in before we know it!
I’ve also got a local homeschool conference in the works and a stack of education and business books waist high. Yeah… I’m bad at taking my own advice. Ahem….