One of the things that I get asked about, and one of the few things that I sometimes falter on when I answer, is do we take ‘holidays’ from home education, in the same way, that schools take holidays.
I think the thing with home educating is that you can sometimes feel like you need to be ‘doing learning’ all the time – especially when we have obvious days out where the formal learning isn’t taking place. Admitting to taking breaks can make me feel a little guilty and the truth is that the breaks take place naturally when the children need it. The only real exception if when are physically on holiday and we don’t have our usual routines because we are away, but other than that, I don’t plan our holiday and break times. It just sort of happens when the children (and I!) need it.
We have a pretty standard routine with things but, like anyone, we need a break sometimes. We have a few regular commitments with speaking and listening group and themed project fairs so we always have a ‘big’ piece of work on the go in some way. And in between those projects we have the day to day work such as maths and English, Spanish and the Sassafras work we do, as well as getting out and seeing friends and of course football, swimming and everything else in between.
We took a fairly big chunk of time off in December and we had a short break around Easter – it coincided with the better weather and the end of some projects we had been working on, so it seemed like a nice natural break. Our next break will be when we go on holiday in the summer, and then in the summer, we will pull back on the bigger projects as we make the most of the better weather.
I always feel a bit guilty saying we take breaks as it can sometimes feel like we aren’t doing enough. Although when I review our month’s work I am usually reassured that we have done a fair bit. And I am always reassured when I see comments on social media from school friends who say their children are so ready for the half term break; I am always thankful that we can take those rest points as and when we need them, at the points that work best for us rather than a pre-determined date.
Do you plan out your breaks; I know some families like to follow the school holiday breaks and others just carry on throughout the year. We are quite loose in when we have downtime – something which is quite unusual for me given I like to be fairly planned and structured in our approach!