I Need a Break!

A Regular RoutineI didn’t realize how deeply entrenched my mind was in the public school system. For years, I have been running a yearly routine similar to that of when I was in school. Then, a few years ago, a thought finally crossed my mind: I need a break!

I had always started our learning year at the same time the local schools did, right after Labor Day. I ended the second week of June, just as I had for years in my school years. We took a week for Thanksgiving, two for Christmas, and another for Spring Break.

While this routine functioned for a little bit, I soon realized it wasn’t going to work in the long run. I don’t want to take the entire summer off! I want to take more breaks throughout my learning year. (August to Thanksgiving is a really long stretch, in my humble opinion.) Basically, I needed to abandon the system’s idea of when education should take place and just come up with my own plan.

Over the course of several years, we have experimented with various routines to find which works best:

  • No Summers Off – We merely change-up the routine and learn through different formats. We do less book work and more Summer Fun.
  • Back to School – Instead of starting at the beginning of September, we start back at the end of July. This gives us more opportunity for breaks during the learning year and allows us more freedom to do ministry.
  • Holiday Breaks – We’ve extended our Christmas and Easter breaks to better fit our needs.

This year, we’ve decided to add a few more breaks into our year. We are going to take a week off between our first and second quarter of the year; then again between our third and fourth. (No more long stretches between summer time and the holidays!)

We’ll test out this routine for the year and see how things work. If they don’t, we’ll renegotiate and try something else; just one of the many joys of homeschooling.

Time to Chime In: How many breaks do you take during your learning year?

14 thoughts on “I Need a Break!

  1. It’s only been two weeks and I feel like I need a break already (smile)! Part of that is my intensity and perfectionist tendencies, and part of it is that nagging concern “will they learn enough.” I’m over that this year. We need frequent breaks so we can remain sane and actually learn more effectively. I’m motivated to go ahead and actually map those breaks out. Nice post.



  2. I agree, it’s too easy for us who were public schooled to incorporate much of the procedure into our home schooling.

    It’s great to be able to chip away at that model and choose ways that appeal more to our family life!

    I find myself still looking for the public school structure too often… and must remind myself that our new way is working better!


  3. Love it! I still don’t understand why people leave the traditional school system and choose to “do school” just like the one they left. Letting people know their choices (& that they have permission to make them) is the exact thing that makes homeschooling wonderful. Thanks for spreading the word as an authority.


  4. Ahhhh such a friend. I had the same awakening. And had to stop doing it. It was so refreshing to read this and see that others are have the same experience as well. Plus I like to see how others handle the same situations. Thank you for sharing.


  5. I have only one homeschooler, my youngest so we adopted a college schedule to accommodate our family… It’s great to have a Fall Break, and Spring Break in addition to Christmas and Thanksgiving…. It works well and keeps him motivated to get done by May… Much easier to do with an older solo child I am sure!


  6. One thing that I have heard many times from educators is that when school starts up in the fall, they have to “relearn” what they forgot over summer. I guess that’s part of the “if you don’t use it, you lose it” philosophy. I think that your plan should work better for your kids.


  7. We take thanksgiving, christmas (3 weeks), spring break, and summer off as well as major holidays. I like for my kids to be able to spend the summer doing things with friends who may be off from the public school system.


    • We tend to change up our routine for summer, just so we can spend more time with other friends, but we don’t take it off completely; the kids would lose to much. We’ve found a routine that works for us. It sounds like you’ve found one, too! Excellent!


  8. I’ll be the lone dissenter, and add that we keep to a very traditional school calender. Since we are a farming family. I need to be done with school in May before I plant my garden and get involved in the yard maintenance that warm weather brings. So, yeah, we work our buns off to be done by the end of April or the first of May. We take off typical holidays like Labor Day, Thanksgiving gives us 2 days off, and we miss about 2 weeks at Christmas. Back to school after New Years Day and work Hard to get it done before the spring rush starts. Usually we end up taking at least a week off in the very early spring or late winter because of the flu or some other kind of illness. It works for our interests and our routines, and the kids even prefer having a 3 month summer break.


    • It’s great that you’ve found a routine which works best for you. That is just one of the many joys of homeschooling; what works for me might not work for you and vice-versa. Good for you for finding what fits best for your family and sticking with it! 🙂


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