Homeschool Flexibility: Taking Homeschool Breaks

Let’s be real here.  Homeschooling isn’t always rainbows and unicorns.  Some days, or weeks, or even entire seasons are hard.  Almost every one of us has fondly imagined calling it quits and loading our kids onto that big yellow bus!  That doesn’t make us bad homeschoolers or bad moms.  It makes you human.  We can prepare for those hard days so they don’t make us give up.  If you read my post on year round homeschooling you know that homeschool flexibility means that we can prepare for the hard days by taking homeschool breaks!

A family taking a homeschool break while moving.

Planned Homeschool Breaks

There are seasons when we know, in advance, that our lives are going to get crazy.  If you know ahead of time that life is going to make homeschooling difficult, don’t add extra stress to your life that you don’t need.  Plan to take a break!  Use that homeschool flexibility we all love to schedule some time off until life calms back down.  There are 3 times in your life when I highly recommend scheduling a break from homeschooling.

Busy Seasons
  • The holidays are usually pretty busy and can tend to make your regular homeschooling schedule a bit tricky.  That’s why we take a break from homeschooling for November and December and focus on holiday schooling.
  • It’s also good to plan a short break if you will have a week or two packed with appointments of some sort.  It’s much easier than trying to squeeze your lessons in around them.
Special Trips
  • Plan to take vacations off from homeschooling, or at least from your regular lessons.  Nobody is going to want to look over their math curriculum or spelling lists while sitting poolside!
  • Do NOT try to homeschool over a move.  Trust me, I learned this the hard way!  Pack all of your school stuff in a special box and label it ‘homeschool’ or something like that.  Then seal it up and don’t look at it till you’ve settled in your new home.
  • Surgical recovery is not the time to try to get school done.  It’s the time to rest and heal!  If you, your spouse, one of your children, or a loved one you’ll be caring for has surgery coming up, just plan to put school on hold for a bit.  It will be waiting for you when recovery is over!
  • There is a reason people take maternity/paternity leave when bringing a new child into their family.  Whether you are giving birth or adopting, adding a new family member is a huge change.  Take time off to let everyone rest and adjust before starting back to school.

Unplanned Breaks

Unplanned breaks are even more important than planned ones.  Sometimes life just doesn’t go how we want and we have to make a choice.  We can either fight what’s happening and keep plugging along (probably causing more stress for ourselves and our kids) or we can take short break to let things get better.

Full Days
  • What kid doesn’t love a snow day!  If you get some amazing weather, just go ahead and take a snow day (or a sun day if that’s what floats your boat).  The beauty of homeschooling is that we have the flexibility to take days off just for the sheer joy of it!
  • Do NOT try to force a sick and miserable kid to do school work.  Do NOT try to drag your sick, miserable self through a school day when you can barely talk or think.  Take a sick day and don’t feel the least bit guilty about it!
Partial Days
  • Did your kid finish a workbook or subject?  Did you family reach a big goal?  Take the afternoon off to celebrate!  Homeschool breaks aren’t just about dealing with problems.  You can use them as a reward when things have gone especially well, too.
  • I remember one day, several years ago, where our school day just kept getting worse and worse.  Everyone was grouchy, tired, and uncooperative.  I decided it was time to just press reset and start again by watching some educational shows.  You won’t regret pushing reset!
Specific Subjects
  • Have you ever heard of deschooling?  It basically means taking an intentional break from formal learning to help your child regain a love of learning.  If your child has developed some trauma or mental blocks around specific subjects, set aside formal curriculum for a bit.
  • Sometimes kids just aren’t ready for a specific subject.  They might not have had any specifically bad experiences with reading, or math, or spelling, but their brains just aren’t there yet.   Do NOT push!  Take a step back and take a subject-specific homeschool break for a bit.

Homeschool Breaks Will Make Your Life Better

One of the best parts about homeschooling is that we have the freedom to school when we choose and take breaks when we choose.  We aren’t beholden to any district or principal telling us when we can and can’t take a break.  We don’t have to justify our need or desire to take a day off.  Look at your schedule and at your life and see how taking some time off might help your year run smoother.

Leave a Reply