Don’t hear me wrong. I truly enjoy taking a break (for the most part) from school in the summer. Yes, we do work on a some school things as the weeks go on, but the overall routine and rhythm that we get into during the school year is gone and quite honestly – our home starts spinning into a wee bit of chaos without that routine.
Those of you that are year-round homeschoolers may be shaking your head at me and thinking “You could just school year-round” and while I agree in part, that break has been a bit crucial for us since our kids participate with a local swim team (and OH.HELP.ME if we had school and shuttling back and forth to the pool all.day.long. – not going to happen).
That said, this summer was a time where I actually felt like I did have the chance to disconnect and relax – which is huge for me. Lazy afternoons by the pool. Time spent camping with our friends. Those breaks are really, truly essential.
But at Home…
On the other hand, life on the home front felt like it was falling apart in stages. Our chores and helping around the house lists were supposed to be getting a revamp…and we fell off the bandwagon on that front. Hard. Kids then complained when they were asked to do something that ‘wasn’t their chore’ (sigh) and round and round we went. (Oh, yes. We are fixing this fast).
The “I’m bored” mentality set in and suddenly everyone felt that they must sit their bums down on the couch and watch endless hours of tv (ummm…not going to happen. Hello outdoors??).
We visited with friends. We took day trips. Spent lots of time at the pool. But the downtime seems to lead to a lot of sibling fighting (Yes, our kids fight. I’ll admit it openly!!).
In turn, Mom (that’s me) got rather frustrated and began losing patience quickly with the kids who can’t figure out what to do with all their free time and must ask for something to eat…or do…or (fill in the blank here). Perhaps you can relate?
Meanwhile, we started back to school this week…
Thankfully getting back into a groove has been fairly quick. There are a few stragglers in the morning and we’re still floating on the *new* year emotions, but I have to say it’s been going well so far and making me think about ways to shorten our break next summer…somehow. The kids and I both do well with routine and knowing what to expect from our days.
The ‘limited’ time in our day after school is done has helped me really focus in on what NEEDS to be done and not waste time on ‘fillers’. Truthfully, I feel like I’ve accomplished more this past week than I have in the last month. (I’m not opposed to the argument that self-discipline may have something to do with it. Cough).
School time makes me feel more accountable for what we are doing and really take account of the moments that we are spending learning together. I 100% think that we need to take breaks and relax, but am rethinking our summer ‘gap’.
On the other hand – the break also makes me really excited to get back to teaching our kids and learning again. At the end of the year we were just ready to be DONE and now we are excited to start again. Isn’t it funny how a step back can change our perspective?
So I’m curious – how does your family do with a summer break and then back to school? Do you school year round or are you an avid supporter of an 8 -10 week summer break? I’d love to hear your thoughts!