What to Do; What to Do?

Apple FarmsI am not one to procrastinate. In fact, I am probably the exact opposite of a procrastinator. I tend to work years into the future, if at all possible. Why wait, right? During this holiday break I find myself in the same position. Is this year’s routine working for us? Should we change things up next year?

I think most of my pondering is due to, what seems like, a long pull of learning between August and November with no breaks except for weekends. I have been inspired by other home schoolers and bloggers to perhaps rethink our methods.

Although our children have never set foot in a public school classroom, I have noticed I tend to build our yearly schedule around the local school system. This helps with their non-home school friends being able to visit and keeps me aware of when police and social workers (hey, you never know) might be on the lookout for truancy.

Recently, I have begun to wonder why. Why do we do this? We don’t have many friends in the system and working around that would be easy enough. We never take the summer off, so why do we stick to the system’s routine?

This year we were a little brave and planned three weeks for our Christmas break. While we have yet to get there, I can already tell this is going to be a positive move on our part. This leads me to believe that perhaps a few more changes might be beneficial in next year’s schedule.

California Science Center

To start with, I think we are going to begin our “year” a little early; by a week at least. This will allow us to take a week off between our first and second quarter. Second quarter will run until Thanksgiving, we will take a week off, and then finish up the remaining weeks before Christmas break. Christmas break will mark the end of first semester. Second semester might be more of the same. We would do third quarter, take a week off, school fourth quarter for six weeks, take Easter break, and then finish the school year.

My biggest internal debate right now is the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. Would it be more beneficial to start our year even earlier and once Thanksgiving comes have the remainder of the year “off” (not doing book work, but learning through other means) or is that too long a break from things like algebra, which need constant refreshers? Perhaps we could just do a one day session of “speed drills”, per week, to keep them up to pace during the break. This would clear up our routine, but also keep them at the ready.

Hmmm… See my dilemma? (Okay, so it’s not really a dilemma; more of a puzzle.)

No decisions have been made quite yet, except for starting at least two weeks earlier for our mid-semester breaks. The rest is up for grabs at this point; lots of thinking and prayer still need to be done. At least by starting early, I have plenty of time to work it out.

How do you handle the holidays with learning? Do you take off from Thanksgiving to the New Year or do you take a Thanksgiving break and resume school for a few weeks before Christmas break?