Oh, the holidays and vacation days are so exciting to kids!
And it is nice to have a little break from teaching school ourselves, right?
But I don’t look forward to the days in January trying to re-establish habits and get control of our schooling again. So. . . rather than let completely go of the reins, how about a little “minimum daily requirement” even during vacation days? I’ve found that although there is an initial groan, the kids adjust quickly, view their reduced workload as a vacation, and eagerly get it done in the morning. Because it is such a light load, there’s still plenty of time to play. Even if we get up early and attend some activity, they can get their “minimum daily requirement” finished during quiet time in the afternoon.
Another point in favor that I’ve discovered is that kids, just like adults, like some semblance of order to their day. While free play and vacation is fun, it can also be a bit boring if you are used to having your days busy. Knowing they have a minimum to get up and do puts some order in the day. Some days I find them reading way beyond what is required.
So how much do I require? Well, the plan is to keep them in the habit of doing some mental exertion every day so they can more smoothly transition back into schoolwork when the vacation is over. It can be as simple as having them do 10 math-fact problems, and read a story or chapter in their reading book.
I like to keep music practice going, because it is such a milestone to get them practicing daily in the first place, and they can loose ground so quickly if they stop practicing. Even 10 minutes a day is better than nothing at all.
I want my children to write in their journals every day too. I think it is good for them to get in the habit of record keeping and preserving memories. It is therapeutic to write down your feelings, and helps you sort out your thoughts. It makes a wonderful family heirloom for your posterity—my teens love reading their childhood journals, and I know their children and grandchildren will find them priceless! Besides all this, writing is an important skill that improves with practice. A couple of paragraphs jotted down per day can be finished in just a few minutes, especially if you are typing them on a computer!
So, for my daughter Louisa (11 years), her vacation schedule includes 10 minutes music practice, 2 paragraphs in her journal, 10 multiplication facts problems, and reading a chapter in her book. That takes her about 30-45 minutes. For a younger student, 20 minutes is probably plenty.
Would a little “minimum daily requirement” be good for your children over the holidays?
To your homeschool success!
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