I’ve found myself purposefully working on our homeschool routine. Honing our homeschool machine so there’s time for everything. So learning is fun for the kids and teaching is not exhausting for me. But after weeks on weeks of the same classes, curriculum, and general rhythm to our days it can get a bit… boring.
We need a break. A breath of fresh air.
Taking random days off has never worked for us. The unscheduled break in routine shakes things up – and not in a good way. It’s difficult to get back into our rhythm, and sometimes taking a day away isn’t enough.
What does work is planning purposeful breaks throughout the year.
Planning Purposeful Breaks in Your Homeschool Routine
Breaks have become part of our homeschool routine. Every five to six weeks we take anywhere from a few days to a week off from our regularly scheduled program to do something a little different.
Mixing it up a bit is refreshing. And I’ve found a few other hidden benefits as well.
Read on for 5 great reasons to take a planned break from your regular routine, and just a few of the hidden benefits you’ll find when you do.
Take a Break From Your Homeschool Routine:
#1 Field Trip Week
“Mahhhhhm, when can we go back to the science museum?” Is it next week? Next month? Wait, how long has it been again?
Throwing in an impromptu field trip mid-week isn’t always possible – or even enjoyable if it turns out to be a mad dash to and fro only to fight crowds of public school field-trippers while you’re there.
Take a break and plan a field trip week. Visit the art museum, planetarium, farmer’s market, zoo, or all of the above. Close your regular books and put down your pencils for a few days. They’ll still be there when you get back!
A memorable, exciting week of learning – no planning or preparation required!
#2 Hands-on Learning
Many times we fall into the relaxed homeschool routine of reading, writing, math, activity, craft, reading, writing, math, activity, craft… While that routine is comforting (because I know my kids are getting through their curriculum), it can get boring fast!
Step away from your regular curriculum to incorporate a unit study or project-based learning for a week or two. Use hands-on materials, activities, and books that cover the same concepts in a new and fun way.
Hands-on learning will inspire your kids and help them understand the material they’ve been working on more deeply. So next time you see your child get really excited to learn, follow them down that rabbit trail – purposefully.
You’re not taking a break from learning – you’re taking a break from how you usually learn. You’re taking time to learn in a different way.
#3 Celebrate the Season
Adding fun, seasonal lessons, activities, and field trips on top of your regular routine can be a lot. Making time for extra activities can feel a bit like constructing a puzzle with too many pieces. There’s just no space for everything in one day.
Take a break to celebrate the season – and I don’t just mean the holidays!
Spring break: Learn all about plants when you visit a botanical garden or plant your own! Tour the parks, take a hike, and plan a spring picnic.
Summer break: Go to the pool or beach every day for a week! Take swimming lessons, go to a festival, or catch a ball game. Roast marshmallows and stargaze at night.
Fall break: Pick apples and visit the pumpkin patch. Take time to build your own scarecrow or get lost in a corn maze.
Winter break: Take time for some fun, hands-on winter activities inside or get out and play in the snow outside!
You and your kids will have time to enjoy some seasonal activities without the pressure of trying to fit it all in AND complete your regular lessons at the same time.
#4 Get Social
Our homeschool routine changes from time to time. Sometimes home and school come first in our homeschools. Other times we end up hustling from class to class, co-ops, groups, and practice.
At times homeschool can be isolating – either because we are actually alone with our families or because we find ourselves rushing around and not taking time to really connect.
If you need a social break, take one.
Make that time to visit family or friends. Schedule a few unstructured playdates. Have a mid-week slumber party. Or try out a day camp during one of the public school breaks. Take that time to focus on making new connections or strengthening old ones.
You’ll be creating purposeful opportunities to connect with other families or kids. And you’ll always have a great answer to the socialization question!
#5 A True Break
The old saying is that play is the work of childhood. Play, activities, learning new things, understanding more and more challenging concepts – this all takes effort from your kids. There will be times that they will need a good, old-fashioned break from it all.
Sometimes you do, too. If you find yourself frazzled, rushed, and feeling burnt out, it may be time to plan a vacation. Simply setting a date for an honest-to-goodness break can be refreshing.
How does your family best recharge? With a restful stay-cation? With an active and fun vacation? Either way, make it a point to have time to take a break and recharge as a family.
Scheduling a true break gives you all something to look forward to. You might even find that you have some energy reserves to dip into in the weeks leading up to it.