The Importance of Homeschool Breaks

As I write this, we have just begun our Christmas homeschool break. I still have my daughter do a bit of reading each day and practice a few math facts. (Due to her learning differences, this is necessary. If I let this go for two weeks, she would forget them all.) But still, the Christmas break provides a good breather, a necessary breather, a chance to regroup and relax from the challenges of homeschooling.

Whether it is Christmas break or a midwinter break or summer vacation, both parents and children need a periodic break from schooling. From the parent’s point of view, homeschooling can be a tough job. It isn’t always easy to plan lessons, gather materials, and (perhaps the most challenging part) get children to actually do the lessons. In addition, it can be a delicate balance to manage both parenting and homeschooling. Are you the mother or father or are you the teacher? Of course, the answer is always both, but there are times when the roles require different hats and different approaches. Being the one responsible for your children’s education can be both a blessing and a burden.

On the children’s side, just as if they were at a brick and mortar school, schooling can be a challenge. It can be hard to learn (especially if they have learning challenges), hard to be forced to do things they don’t always want to be doing, hard to feel that home and school are forever intertwined.

Homeschooling breaks provide the opportunity for us to simply be family. While learning never truly stops (life is all about learning, after all), taking a break from formal lessons allows us to simply enjoy our time together without feeling we need to adhere to a particular schedule or keep homeschool records. We don’t need to try to see the educational value in every activity.

Instead, we can use this time to share Christmas cooking and baking tasks, spend time with extended family and friends, and maybe even take a field trip or two. Children can also take advantage of this time to pursue some of their own pursuits. They can choose how to spend their time in a way that they don’t necessarily get the chance to when school is in session.

By this point in the school year, we can all feel a bit worn out. Taking this break gives us the opportunity to focus on the meaning of Christmas, the coming of Jesus, and to spend some quality time with our families without the added stress of homeschooling. Hopefully, by the time the new year comes around, we will feel refreshed and once again ready to tackle the rigors of formal learning.

I wish you all a very blessed Christmas!

Author: Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "Today's Catholic Homeschooling", is the mother of two biological sons and one adopted daughter. She is in her fourteenth year of homeschooling. She has a B.A. in History and Fine Art and a Master's Degree in Applied Theology. She is the author of "The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling" and "The Power of Forgiveness". She blogs at spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com