This is the first year that we are really embracing the idea of year around school. I know, I know, it sounds so un-fun. But hear me out…
I remember the feeling…
Truth be told, as a kid I would have been crushed to find out that there was no summer break. Summer felt like freedom, a jail break!
Towards the end of each school year (especially high school) I always started feeling desperately burned out, like I wasn’t going to make it to summer. But then, when summer was coming to an end, I would feel bored and glad that structured school days were starting again.
It’s pretty easy for me to get all fired up and want to do all the awesome things I see other homeschoolers doing. Y’all are inspiring! But over time, I’m working out the balance that is right for our family and it’s pretty simple, even minimalistic at times, relaxed, routine based, and above all, interesting.
Our homeschool days run unhurried, by a routine rather than a schedule, and are filled with things that we like learning! Ok, not everyone adores memorizing math facts, but there is a genuine pleasure in seeing the slow, steady progress pay off over the long run.
Basically, we are not desperate for summer break. We’re not pressing toward the end of the curriculum, hoping we can hang on and call it done for the year. Just like in the rest of our real life, we keep on keeping’ on. No rush, no panic, no pressure.
Yes, it takes discipline to complete lessons daily. Yes, we do take breaks! (Six weeks on and one week off, plus Christmas break.) But I actually don’t even want to take the summer off. Is that shocking? Maybe, but it’s true. I love our daily routine. It works so well for us right now, we get lots done, and we have lots of free time everyday to play!
Vigilance against idleness…
Continuing our learning through the summer will also help keep us away from idleness and boredom. I know that when I’m idle or bored, I start seeking ways to stay entertained. Screen time, spending money, and materialism start creeping their way back into my life.
I have to stay vigilant against these things, and so do my children. It’s just way to easy to get lazy. I’m eager to stay on track this summer, to apply my mind to the work before me, diligently and daily.
For those mothers whose families take a more typical approach to school (7 hours a day, 9 months of the year) I totally understand the need for summer break. Yes, take the break, and enjoy it!
But our daily book work takes only about 2 hours per day, and to me, free time is that much sweeter when the day’s work has already been accomplished! I truly want to cultivate the notion of “slow and steady wins the race” in my children. There is no need for stress and pressure and ultimately, another round of burn out.
I said that summer break felt like a jail break when I was a child, and that’s because school felt like jail to me. Prison, with a looming test. The pressure to have a respectable score. The shame and humiliation of failing and having to catch up over the summer. Oof, it was rough. I needed summer break then.
I expect that my children will probably opt to do many things differently than me, I hope they hold fast to the truth that we don’t have to live in cycle of stress and release. We have options. We can put down roots and routines, and we can change them whenever we need to. We’re flexible.
Breaks are still important…
I do look forward to our one week breaks every six weeks. We go for hikes and work on big projects around the homestead, and it’s good to clear our minds periodically. But by the end of the week, we are refreshed and ready to get back into our groove. It kind of feels like coming home.
Have you ever considered schooling year around? Why or why not? What’s your homeschool style, “slow and steady” or “buckle down and knock it out”. There is something that works for every family, in every season. What ya got going on this year, and has it changed from past years? Share your wisdom in the comments, I would love to hear from you.
Homeschooling like a Mother,