We’re lucky here in the UK that we don’t have to keep homeschooling records or prove we’ve done school for a minimum number of days per year.
Although this means we have complete freedom to choose our schedule, in practice our family mostly follows the local school terms. We also take off several term-time weeks each year to travel. Since my kids probably learn more on these vacations than they do at home, I’m good with this.
How we benefit from “school holidays”
1. Better strewing
The way we homeschool doesn’t involve any lesson-planning as such, but I am kept busy finding and strewing interesting resources to enrich my children’s learning environment. Breaks give me time to replenish my strewing resources and inspiration.
Some strewing is quite routine. For example, I try to offer at least one fun science activity each week. Once a week I reflect on what the children are interested in, and find a related hands-on science activity. I do the same for maths.
But breaks from our daily routine give me time to delve into subjects more deeply – to read whole books, even! Books about homeschooling, about particular subjects, or historical fiction for grown-ups, for example – all of which contribute to my children’s education.
2. Recharging and Modelling
Having more time to myself on our breaks also gives me time to pursue my own interests, which not only recharges my batteries but often also inspires C(9) and J(8).
This summer, for instance, I found time to begin learning German, which I’ve been wanting to learn for twenty years! After seeing me having fun on the Duolingo app, C(9) decided to learn too.
3. Breaks are good for the brain
I come away from our breaks refreshed, inspired and enthusiastic to begin homeschooling afresh. The children benefit just as much.
Neuroscience tells us that taking breaks improves learning. Our brains need time to process and consolidate what we’ve taken in. And time away from studying allows C(9) and J(8) to make new connections and creatively apply what they’ve learned in novel ways.
And of course, we never stop having conversations or reading great books.
4. Friends, Camps and Hobbies
School holidays are when there’s time for my kids to hang out with their friends, both schooled and home-educated. To do sports, art and drama courses. To spend hours on a hobby, making daisy chains or just relaxing with a book without being interrupted by our usual extra-curricular schedule.
And quietly observing how my children choose to spend these long chunks of unscheduled time helps me be a better homeschooling mum.
Our homeschool routine helps create momentum that carries us towards our learning goals. But from time to time it makes sense to slow down and check we’re all heading in the right direction.
For more perspectives on year-round homeschooling (or not), visit:
Barefoot Hippie Girl – School Year Round or Not on Your Life
Every Bed of Roses – Year Round Schooling
Highhill Homeschool – School Year Round?
One Magnificent Obsession – Summer: Repair and Prepare
Next week the Homeschool Help team will be considering the subject of grades. If you’ve visited before, I’m sure you can guess which way I go on that topic. 😉
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