Among the many reasons people give for homeschooling is flexibility in scheduling. Flexibility to learn any time they like. Flexibility to play any time they want.
But did you realize there is learning in recreation and play? Time off from homeschool isn’t time off from learning at all! As a matter of fact, down-time can be nature’s best way to learn — giving students the chance to discover, accomplish and soak up much more than what can be found in books alone.
Keeping this in mind means it’s okay to take time off to celebrate holidays and other days that are important to you throughout the homeschool year. Whether you are curriculum-users, online students, literature-based learners or anything else, I highly recommend time off when your family needs it!
What traditions are important to your family? Are Thanksgiving and Christmas your favorite times of the year? Or maybe your traditions include giant family reunions on Independence Day or chili cook-offs on New Year’s Eve. Whatever they may be, family time should be honored. It’s important, and the preparations are, too.
Think about the planning leading up to big days like these. What skills are involved? Is communication one of them? How about budgeting, shopping and price-comparisons? Does design and space planning play a part? What about travel? Now think of decorations, banquet tables of endless buffets, game-playing, and all of the special touches that make up the day. What kinds of things can children learn by creating banners, making photo collages and slide shows? How much creativity goes into all of those home-made games and activities anyway? Would anyone dare argue that preparations like minor home renovations and cooking aren’t necessary skills? And no list is complete without at least mentioning areas like history, geneology, foreign languages, geography, interpersonal skills, fashion, personal hygiene and so many more.
As your family moves throughout the holiday season, particularly as you approach days that are very important to you, rest assured that learning does not end the day before and begin again the day after. Good stuff happens before, during and after special days. Take heart in knowing that nothing is ever lost by enjoying time off, and that there is value in everything you do as a homeschool family.