Getting Started With Homeschooling When You Don’t Want To
Christmas break can be bittersweet for homeschoolers. Of course, most welcome the much-needed break. The flip side to that is you’ll have to start homeschooling again after such a nice break. At times, it can seem like pulling teeth to get everyone back on track – and that’s just the kids! Getting yourself back in the groove may seem like it will take a Christmas miracle. Here are some tips to start homeschooling with success after the holidays:
Take a Longer Break
Regardless of what you’ve scheduled to take off for Christmas, you may need longer. If January has rolled around and you’re just not feeling in the mood to start homeschooling again, consider taking a couple more weeks off. The holiday season can be so busy with family vacations and visits from friends and family that you don’t feel as though you’ve taken any time “off” because of your unusually busy schedule. Perhaps taking some time completely off from everything is in order.
Taking a break can also mean taking some time off from your usual method of homeschooling. For instance, if you’re an eclectic homeschooler most of the time, maybe you would feel more motivated to begin the second semester if you decided to start homeschooling the Charlotte Mason way. If you’re already using this method, maybe a more traditional approach would be relaxing for you. You could do this by starting with just 2-3 subjects and weaving the rest in slowly by adding in new subjects each week. Whatever it is that brings you peace of mind, go for it – and please don’t feel guilty about doing so!
You’ve probably heard the saying “Haste makes waste,” and this is especially true when deciding what to do after Christmas break. To start homeschooling after Christmas break takes an effort similar to what you needed at the beginning of the school year. It’s never a good idea to make big decisions – such as how or when to homeschool – when you’re feeling tired, stressed, or worn out.
Instead, be intentional in your decisions. Try not to make decisions when you’re not feeling like yourself. Don’t decide on anything major until you’ve had time to think and are refreshed – even if this postpones the day you start homeschooling after your break. Remember, it’s okay to take a longer break than you’d anticipated, and maybe you could use the extra time to be sure you’re not rushing into anything you’ll soon regret.
At times in your homeschooling journey, you’re going to feel frustrated and you’re going to feel like giving up. When these times come, one of the best things you can do for yourself and your kids is to start reading. Many homeschoolers have found encouragement in motivational books, books about why people homeschool, and social media posts. You can usually find good books on homeschooling at the library. Being intentional and specifically looking for reasons to keep plugging away will help give direction to all the reading you’ll end up doing.
Simplify Things When You Start Homeschooling
No matter what your homeschooling style is, you can always scale back and simplify it. If you’re used to administering tests and tracking grades, consider taking some time off from this by homeschooling with a method that doesn’t require grades, such as unit studies. You don’t have to commit to doing this for long; a unit study usually lasts a few weeks, and that may be just the time you need to rejuvenate.
If you are keeping track of these things for high school transcripts and feel you can’t possibly take a break from it, remember that “credit” (as in credit hours) is based on time spent on the subject – not how many pages of a textbook your child completes. In general, your kids earn credit by spending 150 hours on a subject. In most cases, homeschooled children spend far more than that because they’re able to immerse themselves in a topic if they wish.
Think about what’s making you hesitant to start homeschooling…but also be realistic about what sending your children to public (or private) school would be like. Realistically, you’d spend nearly the same amount of time on “homework help” as you do actually homeschooling your children. Sending your kids to school means following someone else’s schedule and someone else’s criteria for learning. Furthermore, no matter where or how they’re schooled, education is ultimately your responsibility anyway. Consider this if you’re struggling to start homeschooling again.
Every family who takes a break will, eventually, have to start homeschooling again. This doesn’t have to be something you’re dreading, especially if you change things up a bit or focus on rejuvenating yourself first. Do you do anything different to help your family ease back into homeschooling after taking a break? What tips do you have for other readers? Leave a comment and let us know!
Tasha is a homeschooling mom to 5 and has been homeschooling for 14 years. Currently, her children's ages span from toddler to young adult. Tasha has a Bachelor's of Science degree in Social Sciences from Florida State University and is working on her MBA through SNHU/Berklee School of Music.