Don't just plan school, plan your school breaks

It can be a challenge to get back on track after a long school break. Staying up late, sleeping in longer, having oodles of free time, then BLAM! Early to bed, early to rise, maintaining a schedule packed with school, chores, and other activities right up to supper time- it can leave you and the kids feeling a bit dazed. Some of the transitional problems can be relieved by planning the break as well as the return to academics.

  • Keep a few parts of the school day static- if you usually schedule blocks of reading time, keep that as an anchor during your vacation.
  • Maintain regular meal times for family fellowship, to ensure good balanced diets and keep bodies - young and old - regulated.
  • Don't go overboard with sleeping in/staying up late. Allow for small changes- maybe an extra hour at night and in the morning, but watching television until 2am and sleeping until lunch guarantees major withdrawals when school starts again.
  • Keep everyone motivated about returning to their studies by talking about future plans and goals.
  • Another motivation is when kids have some control over their study schedules and subject choices- take some time during break to reevaluate curriculum and book lists, and ask kids for their 'druthers'.
  • Encourage the kids to continue with or take on projects and experiments, especially ones that will last the length of your break.
  • Don't let the house fall apart- chores need doing, even on vacation.
  • Stay connected with each other. It may be tempting to allow everyone to go their own way, but too much isolation can lead to a sense of estrangement. Play more games, skate longer at the park, try some new recipes- together.

When it's time to get back into your regularly scheduled homeschool, sit down with the family over supper or a cup of coffee and some Toaster Strudel, and make sure that goals and expectations are understood. Some objectives are born of academic or career path necessity, while others are more about developing good character. Encourage yourself and your kids by discussing how their school plans prepare them for their amazing, vibrant futures.

And then get back to it!