We all need breaks—spaces of time where we step out of the regular routine and move into a different schedule, or perhaps no schedule at all. For a goal-minded homeschool parent, taking a break can lead to more stress than usual as kids have fewer tasks to occupy them. Let’s talk about a few different kinds of breaks, and discuss some tips for making the most of them.
The Adventure Break
This is the adventure you go on when you’re sick of all your usual haunts and familiar places. It’s a summer where you stuff backpacks with snacks and drinks and find all the trails you’ve never been on. Or you go to a different playground every day.
Your explorations might include visiting a nearby lake or waterfall, going horseback riding, taking a camping trip, or touring a historical site. A cave, a tunnel, a covered bridge, a rock formation, a nature preserve, a children’s museum, an arboretum—any point of interest within a day’s drive is fair game.
The best part? An adventure break often turns into an educational experience without much effort from you!
The “Anything Goes” Break
Sometimes, we all need a day or two where we do absolutely nothing useful. It’s the kind of break where kids get to do whatever they want all day long, with minimal rules. Maybe that’s extra TV or electronics while mom kicks her feet up and reads books. Maybe it’s take-out for every meal to minimize cleanup, and maybe you skip the household chores for a day or two.
The only trouble with this carefree break is that you eventually have to go back to normal, so be ready for that! Even so, this indulgent respite can be deeply refreshing and can help you appreciate your more structured way of life.
Peaceful, Purposeful Breaks
Perhaps the best summer break is a blend of adventure, activities, and rest. You can have days where you venture into the unknown, ready for anything, as well as days of quiet relaxation at home. Have some review papers and library books on hand for those hot summer afternoons. That way, your kids can keep their knowledge fresh. Puzzles, board games, Legos, water play, and art projects can keep kids busy for hours, even if you’re not feeling adventurous.
You could make a schedule for summer break. For example, some families prefer adventure in the morning and rest in the afternoon, while others prefer a day of adventure followed by a day of rest. Summer schedules differ for every family, especially if you have toddlers or babies in the mix. But the best experiences usually happen when you’re willing to bend the schedule, or toss it out altogether, and dive into a new experience with your children!
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Rebecca is a work-at-home freelance writer, novelist, wife, and the mom of two bright-eyed little ones. She credits her success in writing and her love of books to her own mom, who homeschooled three kids from pre-K through high school.