Have you just taken a break from homeschool? Maybe your schedule has gotten off track, even for a good reason. It is nice to take a break from routine. We all need that! But at the same time, we all crave routine and get a bit grumpy when it’s a free for all for a week or more. You too? Here’s how to get back into homeschooling after a break.
Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to find a round-up of other ideas, freebies & resources from my homeschool blogging friends.
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What are the problems we face when we pick up homeschooling again after a break? This can be after an extended sickness, after the Christmas holidays, or even after a long summer hiatus. Here are some pain points:
- lack of motivation
- lack of routine
- poor sleep habits
- poor eating habits
- lack of direction
- outstanding projects or tasks
Let’s tackle each of these issues and then end this post with a few simple strategies.
First, deal with motivation & routine
When we take breaks from “real homeschool” days, whether for Christmas break or summer vacation, many of us ditch the natural routines of school days. So, the first thing to put back in place are those routines. When the kids wake up, what should they do first? Do they know? Is it chores or is it an independent subject?
But part of the lack of motivation with getting those routines back in place is that we tend to stay up later and sleep in later during breaks from school. If this is your normal flow, then you’re ahead of the game! But if you normally start school routines at 8:30am and your kids are sleeping in until 9:30am right now, then you’ve got some work cut out for you to recalibrate the family schedule. Start putting bedtime routines in place at a good time to get everyone to bed when needed.
Apple pie for breakfast, pumpkin pie for lunch? Normal fare during the month of December, but now that the holidays are over, we need to also make sure the kids (and ourselves!) are eating some balanced meals. Up the veggie and fruit intake and you may find that the sluggishness of December makes way for some January energy.
Second, get clear on direction
After the holidays, it can be normal to forget where you left off with each subject, especially if you didn’t get to formally finish out a chapter or unit. So, give yourself and the kids some grace as you get back into each subject. January will feel a lot like the first few weeks of school in September. Mom, you may feel stretched more than normal because the kids need extra individualized attention to get them back on track. If you go into it with clear expectations, you won’t be as frustrated. Hey, I’m talking to myself here too!
If you don’t have a clear daily flow outlined for your kids already, then check out these posts:
Next, take time out to address the clutter
No matter when you’re reading this – after Christmas, in September, or after an extended break from school anytime of the year – nearly half of the chaos is probably due to excess clutter or a disorganized house. Hey, no judgment here. We’ve all struggled with this at one time or another. My hardest time with this was probably when I had lots of little people aged 5 and under in the house. Because most of the clean-up and organization was on my plate and I was exhausted most of the time. Now that I have several high schoolers in my house, plus some younger, many of my kids have taken responsibility for their own organization and it’s awesome! So, if you’re in a season of chaos, realize it might not be this way forever.
Now, that being said, give yourself grace to put off starting up school again until you’ve addressed the clutter. You just won’t be successful or feel calm if your physical space is a mess. And many kids with learning disabilities do much better without too much stimuli. Keep it uncluttered and organized for a happier homeschool experience.
Take a day and teach the life skill of decluttering, cleaning and organizing. It’s not wasted time. You’ll be glad you did it.
Finally, give attention to unfinished projects
One other thing that bothers me about starting up school again is if I had expectations of getting certain projects done in the time off, and they’re still hanging around unfinished! It adds to the mental clutter in my brain, and I can feel resentful toward homeschooling if I need an extra day or two to get my work done. Can you relate?
As with the decluttering, I think it’s okay to give yourself time to get those projects to a good point before starting up school again.
Trying to redecorate a kid’s bedroom but just didn’t finish? Get it done before you start up again!
Painting the kitchen? Definitely finish it.
Working on a side business or hobby that just needs an extra day of attention? Go for it! You can always assign the kids independent work to do for school while you finish up your responsibilities.
Can you relate to these struggles? I know I can!
Get rid of the mom-guilt and allow your family to the freedom to…
- Ease into homeschooling after a break
- Take time out for hobbies or passion projects
- Re-assess the routines & structure previously in place – maybe it’s not working anymore
- Spend extra time outside or in physical activity
- Work together on homemaking tasks as a family
- Work together on house projects first before jumping back into homeschool subjects
- Decide if the curriculum is still working or you need to pivot
- Declutter and reorganize your space
- Plan some unit studies to ease back into academics gradually
- Ask the kids what they’d like to work on
- Plan some fun projects that you normally don’t have time for (art? music appreciation? journaling? fort building?)
So, what’s your best strategy for homeschooling after a break?
Back to Homeschool First Day Ideas
No matter how much I plan, every year it seems that the new school year sneaks up on me. With August here, it means summertime is winding down and homeschool days will soon be in full swing. This week, I’m teaming up with some of my fellow homeschool bloggers to bring you some great Back to Homeschool tips and resources. Be sure to check them all out below!
Back to Homeschool Ideas to both Celebrate and Prepare for the Coming Year from This Bit of Life includes fun ideas for your back to homeschool party and to help you start the year off right.
First Day of Homeschool Tips from Homeschooling 4 Him includes simple tips to help you start the first day of homeschooling off right.
Top Ten Ways to Smoothly Transition Back to Homeschool from Homeschool On the Range gives you ten tips for starting your homeschool year right.
Start Your New Homeschool Year On The Right Foot from Hope In The Chaos gives you a simple plan to give you a smooth transition into the new homeschool year.
Fun First Day of Homeschool Ideas from Simple Living Mama will help you make the first day of homeschool even more memorable with these fun first day ideas.
Make A Fun Tradition Around Pancakes To Celebrate from Our Crazy Adventures In Autismland gives you a reason to celebrate NOT back to school.
Top Ten Tips – Help For Your Homeschool Journey from Geez, Gwen! will help encourage and inspire you with these top ten tips for homeschool families.
Back to Homeschool Tips & Resources
These Top Back to School Worksheets for Your Homeschool from In All You Do will help you prep for your new homeschool year!
This Back to school freebie printables roundup from Hess UnAcademy will give you many themed activities and printables to help your kids get excited for the new school year.
How and Why to Use an Eclectic Approach to Homeschooling from The WOLFe Pack will give you an inside peek into eclectic philosophy of homeschooling and how it looks in real life.
Ways to Help Your Kids Focus (ADHD) from Whole Child Homeschool will help you learn about organizational strategies to use with your ADHD or unique learning needs child. It will help them focus better.
Back to School Prep: Don’t Forget the Music! from Music in Our Homeschool includes some free lessons along with easy and fun ideas to help you include music in your homeschool.
Homeschool Room Essentials from Some Call It Destiny includes a list of what you really need.
The Mega List of Free Homeschool Resources from With the Huddlestons brings you a MEGA list of free homeschool resources, including preschool to high school, YouTube, Netflix, and more!
How to Plan Your Homeschool Year in One Day from Heart and Soul Homeschooling will help you plan your homeschool year in a simple, efficient, and flexible way.
My List of Favorite Homeschool Math Resources from Julie Naturally gives you a list of unschooling math resources if you want to break free of the textbook approach.
Back to School Deals from The Homeschool Café helps you build your homeschool library with these unit studies, supplies, and courses.
Homeschool Organization Without a Homeschool Room from An Off Grid Life shows you how to homeschool and stay organized even without a dedicated homeschool room.
The Pros and Cons of Open-and-Go Curriculum from Thrive at Home shows what you need to know about open & go or all-in-one curriculums for homeschooling.
Meal Planning for Homeschool Moms from My Joy-Filled Life will help you get the meal planning under control so you can focus on homeschooling.