We all need regular breaks, both homeschooling kids and homeschooling moms. The first two years of homeschooling, we started in July and went through the end of May, taking a one week break each month, with a longer break for Christmas and all of June off. Those breaks were essential to planning and preparation of all our homeschooling lessons, but also for appointments and just time to take care of “stuff.”
This year, we started in August with the intent of taking a one week break every six weeks. It sounded great in my head, and seemed to work well on paper, and I felt pretty confident that I had reached a point where I did not need all those breaks. However, we ended up traveling during many of those breaks,making life all the more hectic for Momma. I no longer had a week each month set aside for household catch-ups. No week set aside for doctor and dental appointments. No time to plan and prepare the next months lessons in multiple subjects for three different grade levels. Most of this year has felt like I have been running up a down escalator. Overconfidence will get you every time.
Around Christmas, I realized my increasing frustration with our schedule was simply this: we needed our breaks back. So, starting in January, I worked a week off into every month. We are still finishing up our school year in late May, but with only 35 weeks of school this year instead of the usual 36.
But do you know what? In Texas, as a private education option, homeschoolers can plan their year to be as long, or as short, as we wish. In Texas, we also are not required to maintain or turn-in any sort of attendance records, however I do keep detailed attendance records of days of school, and our planned days off. And since we spend many of our “off time” of travel and vacations actually doing field trips to zoos, aquariums, museums, etc., I feel we actually end up with more educational days than public school classrooms, once time is removed that is normally spent on testing days and days spent doing practice tests. Therefore, I feel no guilt at all about that “lost” week, or my regained planning time.
Homeschooling is a rigorous form of education, for the educator as well as the students. We must take the responsibility of how we spend our time very seriously because we report to the worst critics of our kids’ education: ourselves. We decide what is best for our students, for our families. Planning and preparation are vital, as well as rest time away from the books. We cannot reach our destination without frequently consulting the map, and we cannot get there on an empty tank.