Holidays, vacations, and breaks are a healthy part of a family rhythm and they can provide much-needed times of rest and renewal for all of us. Wonderful as they may be, they can often be bad news for your homeschool. In fact, the simple act of disrupting your homeschool routine for whatever the reason can make it seem impossible to get your homeschool groove back.
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Don’t get me wrong, I love a good break from homeschooling as much as the next person. However, from my experiences, there are times when it’s so hard to get back into the homeschool routine that it almost feels like the break isn’t worth it. I mean, why interrupt your flow if it’s going to cause you months of hassle in the long run?
Getting Your Homeschool Groove Back After a Long Break
The good news is that you can have your break and your homeschool groove too. The key for me has been knowing and applying the following tips.
1. Ease Into Your Homeschool Routine
My first tip for getting your homeschool groove back is to ease into your normal routine. If you’ve had a long break, whether planned or unplanned, it’s likely that you’ll sabotage yourself by starting back to homeschool with a full load right away.
Take December for example. If you’re a homeschool family who prefers to take most of the month off due the holidays, it can be awfully rough to step into January 2 with a regular homeschool schedule. It’s as if you’ve adjusted to a new routine for three weeks and then WHAM!, you expect yourself to instantly revert back to homeschool life as usual.
It may not take long to adjust to life on break, but going from unscheduled life to the homeschool norm requires a grace period. In fact, it’s possible that it could take a few weeks to ease into a normal homeschool schedule. If so, no worries. Make room for that grace period in advance and it will be much easier to get your homeschool groove back once it’s time to get schooling again.
2. Make Room for Fun
Along with easing into your homeschool routine, be sure to include some fun in your plans as you start homeschooling again. After all, it’s much easier to leave your break behind if there’s something fun to look forward to once you resume homeschooling.
That said, it’s also important that all that funschooling doesn’t add extra stress on you. If it’s too complicated or requires too many moving parts, it won’t help get your homeschool groove back at all. It will just lead to frustration and disappointment.
Here are a few fun, but no-stress things to add to your homeschool plans as you get started back:
- Snap Circuits – These are super fun and inspire hours of hands-on learning and STEM-inspired problem solving.
- Magic School Bus Science Kits – These affordable kits are lots of fun, but they include most of the needed supplies and don’t require much as far as parental preparation is concerned.
- Go on a field trip.
- Chalk Pastels Course – A chalk pastels course is perfect for getting your homeschool groove back because you’ll only need construction paper, chalk pastels, and the course. It’s always easier to get back to normal when you don’t have to round up tons of supplies, right?
Those are a few of our favorite ways to add fun to our homeschool, but there are plenty more that would work for getting your groove back. Consider your family and find the funschooling option that works best for you. Then be sure to incorporate your family’s homeschool fun into your plans.
3. Use Your Break to Inspire Learning
Did you visit somewhere interesting, have new experiences, or take up some new hobbies while on break? If so, look for ways to incorporate these into your homeschool routine. You can do that in a several ways:
- Create writing prompts inspired by your break. That gives your student a natural opportunity to talk about the break while practicing valuable language arts skills.
- Use art as a way to celebrate the fun you’ve had on break. Look for a seasonal mixed media workshop that allows you to continue celebrating the season even if the big holidays have passed.
- Do a unit study about someone or place that made your break special. This helps with that slow start and allows your kids to learn more about a topic that interests them before the interest fades. Search for a unit study that matches your kids’ topic of interest or create your own (that’s what usually do!).
- Hit the library and help your kids find books to explore the topics. It’s amazing how far learning through books will take you!
By including fun from your break in your homeschool plans, it’s much easier to ease into your normal schedule without leaving your break behind altogether.
4. Allow Independent Learning
It’s always possible that your kids are more than ready to return to a normal homeschool routine, but you’re not. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to incorporate some independent learning — or at least ways of learning that don’t solely rely on you to pull them off.
Independent learning through books, audiobooks, online unit studies, or something else could be helpful while you get caught up on laundry, work on meal planning, and anything else that could distract as you work your way to normal.
5. Don’t Stress
We were preparing to put our house on the market this time last year and I simply didn’t have the time or motivation to pull off a normal homeschool routine when January and February rolled around. We took a bit of a break from our usual homeschool structure during that time and, while it’s not what I would’ve wanted as a Type A personality, it’s what I needed most.
What I learned through all of this was that there was no reason to stress. I was bothered by our lack of normalcy during and after our break, but my kids weren’t. As it turns out, if you lay the foundation for a love of learning, the learning will come regardless of whether you’re fully in your homeschool groove or not.
Ultimately, if you’re finding it hard to get your homeschool groove back, the best thing you can do is give yourself some grace and let the foundation you’ve provided for your kids speak for itself. Remember, it’s okay if your days don’t instantly look normal once you start back. You’ll get there when you get there and your homeschool planner will be waiting patiently when you do.