Discussing home education in all its magick and frustration, with a sprinkling of parental musings here and there.
Some parents approach the homeschool year with a schedule. Others do it with a “go with the flow” attitude. If, like me, you plan a schedule for your entire school year, you probably take the holidays into account.
We homeschool almost year-round, beginning in September, and ending in July. I break the school year down into three separate terms of roughly fifteen weeks each, with a week off for Thanksgiving, two weeks for Yule break, and two weeks for Beltane break. We take the entire month of August off as a summer break. We celebrate the other Sabbats throughout the year without necessarily taking days off, and I incorporate Sabbat activities into our school week.
If we are lagging behind for some reason (more on that in a moment), I may use our holiday breaks for catching up, though I try not to allow this for more than a few days of the break. However, I try to handle make-up time during the schedule school year by doing a bit of work on a Saturday or Sunday, as I prefer to make the holiday breaks a festive time.
Of course, there will be sick days and changes. These are inevitable.
Sick days might affect you, your child or your entire family. If you feel unwell, but can manage to push through the day and teach, go for it. If your child is only mildly sick, and you think they are capable of doing some work, go ahead and allow a partial – or even a full – school day. On the other hand, you are the parent, teacher and principal, which means you may permit as many sick days as you choose, without worrying about someone expecting a doctor’s note.
Other unforeseen changes might include emergencies, car repairs, family issues, losses, and more. You do not need to make excuses to anyone, which is part of the beauty of homeschooling.
Then there are the changes for which you’ve planned: perhaps a pregnancy, a move, or some other change in your life.
If you are concerned about falling behind schedule, whether or not the changes are planned, one option to try is what I call “homeschool lite”. During a time of transition, I will lighten the education load by focusing only on reading, writing and math. This has been particularly useful to me, since each time I have been married, it was to someone in the U.S. military. Even with two moves overseas, I managed to keep my son on target (or ahead) when it comes to academics.
I am currently eight months pregnant with a daughter due January 10, and anticipating a PCS (Permanent Change of Station) in June. For now, I plan to adhere to this year’s school schedule. However, I have given myself permission to ease up and follow my “homeschool lite” plan if I feel overwhelmed. I know my 10-year-old is self-motivated enough to take responsibility for most of his work. We may have to drop the subjects we tackle in great depth and with hands-on activities for a while, such as history and science, but sometimes we need to cut ourselves some slack.
There is no pressure to continue at your regular pace when major life changes come our way. Sometimes it is far less stressful to declare a break and focus on settling into your new routine, especially this time of year.
Taking on the role of teacher to your children can be exhausting and time consuming, even without life’s little surprises or disruptions. Be kind to yourself, especially in times of change, stress or over the holidays.
*Please note, as I am within 4 weeks of my due date, I am not sure if you will see a post from me in the next couple of months. At the very least, I will share a birth announcement when Rowan Alice arrives.
Therefore, on behalf of myself, my husband, my son, and soon-to-be-born daughter, I would like to wish all of you a warm winter with plenty of cozy firelight and candlelight, and a Blessed Yule.
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