What is DEAR Day?
DEAR Day is recognized and celebrated in schools nationwide on or around April 12th each year.
This is done in remembrance of Beverly Cleary’s birthday.
Dear Day stands for Drop Everything And Read Day.
This awesome day is the perfect time to ditch traditional responsibilities and homeschool activities, to read.
Yes, you heard right, an entire day just for reading!
With that said, our family chooses to celebrate this awesome day multiple times a year!
Why? Because we can.
Having Multiple DEAR Days
Much like the popular Christmas in July or half-birthday celebrations some families enjoy, we host multiple DEAR Days as a part of our homeschool schedule each year.
When we have a DEAR day in our home, we typically skip all lessons and do exactly what this day was created for.
We drop everything and read.
With that said, there are times we do what I like to call a DEAR afternoon instead.
On those particular days, we still do our morning time activities and lessons.
Then, we simply spend the afternoon relaxing with books.
Simple, yet so incredibly amazing!!
Planning the Ultimate DEAR Day
In our home, celebrating DEAR Day on April 12th and beyond is an absolute must and it is one of the most looked-forward to reading activities by far.
Not only do my kiddos enjoy the main activity of this day (reading), but they also thoroughly enjoy the planning and the setting up.
For real though.
First, they pick a fun spot to park for the day.
Then, they grab their pillow, a favored blanket, and an abundance of snacks.
Sometimes there are stuffed animals that join the party, while other times it’s one of the family dogs instead.
Either way, the kiddos get their space prepped and prepared for a long relaxing day of reading.
Finally, they tackle the books.
Man, oh man, there are so many books involved in our homeschool DEAR Days.
All that said, planning the ultimate DEAR day for your own homeschool requires only a few important items.
From classic books for kids to comfort items.
Follow these simple steps for planning your first DEAR Day!
- Visit the library for enticing new book options
- Stock up on individually packaged (non-messy) snacks
- Provide comfort items like stuffed toys, pillows, and blankets
It really is that simple, you guys!
Planning Random DEAR Days
As I mentioned above, DEAR Day is traditionally only observed 1 day a year, on April 12th.
However, choosing to celebrate it multiple times instead can be such an amazing refresher!
While I do occasionally plan these days in advance, our most successful DEAR Days have definitely been the random ones.
From yucky weather to being behind on laundry, any excuse is a good excuse for a DEAR Day!
For example, if I planned a DEAR Day in advance and the weather happened to be 70, cloudy, and perfect, my kids would much rather be outside riding bikes than inside reading all day.
As much as I love a good plan, I thoroughly enjoy our spontaneous days of reading most of all.
3 Reasons to Plan a Random Day of Reading
I absolutely love random days of reading, you guys!
Once my kiddos bus out their snacks and put their nose in a good book, the house gets quiet and I get just a touch of my sanity back.
While my boys prefer to hang out on the couch, my youngest spreads out on the floor with some simple activity books she can master on her own.
I take absolute advantage of days like this.
From enjoying my coffee while it’s still warm to get some much-needed rest.
Self-care aside, I tend to get so much done on our DEAR Days!
Plus, my kids are reading and it seriously doesn’t get any better than that!
With that said, there are 3 major reasons I plan a random DEAR day in our homeschool.
Sounds silly, but the weather can totally affect your mood.
If the sun is shining in through the open windows and the birds are chirping outside, moods are just higher, and lesson time just flows better in our home.
However, if the skies are gray and thunderstorms start rolling in, every single one of my children becomes lethargic at the same time and that motivation to work on lessons officially disappears.
Not going to lie, when it comes to cold dark days, I literally don’t want to move either, you guys!
These are the days we lean on all-day reading fun.
Give me all the coffee and the snuggles.
With that said, it’s totally unrealistic to have a DEAR Day (or afternoon) every single time it rains.
Most days I choose to through the lag and get things done, which in the end gives us the flexibility to take off the days we need most for reading and relaxing.
This is a huge one, you guys!
I’m pretty sure stress is the universal language of all homeschool moms.
I mean, I totally love my kids to the moon and back, but the constant being needed thing can definitely take its toll on me.
Stress can be a killer and sometimes it’s 100% essential to drop everything and focus on a mass reset.
So, tossing the mom guilt out the window and planning a day of reading for my kiddos while I take care of me is a-ok in my book.
Honestly, I don’t plan a DEAR Day for this reason, nearly enough!
While weather and stress can both affect my ability and motivation when it comes to homeschooling, I saved the best for last.
This is my absolute favorite reason for having a random DEAR Day, you guys!
As a work-from-home homeschool mom, my to-do list never seems to end!
In fact, I think it grows longer each night while I’m sleeping.
Skipping the formal sit-down lessons and planning a day of reading to work on an ever-growing to-do list is such a genius, you guys.
The kiddos will still be learning and engaging in something semi-educational while you practice the art of catching up.
They will grow their vocabulary through literature and you will prioritize tasks while shortening your to-do list!
This is what I call a win-win.
*Extra Tip: If the tasks you’re behind on have to do with homeschooling instead. Consider having a DEAR day for 1 or more of your children while catching up on lessons with another child.
If all your kiddos are behind on lessons, plan consecutive days of reading, swapping readers each day.
Half DEAR Days are a great option for this as well!
DEAR Day for Big Kids
While planning a DEAR Day for your homeschool can be relatively easy, it is important to consider various tactics for different age groups.
When it comes to big kids vs little kids, big kids definitely tend to be on the easier side of things.
With that said, I know that not all children are avid book readers as my children are.
So, consider providing a selection of both chapter books and easy readers to mix things up and encourage all-day reading.
You can even lean on comic books, picture books, or magazines if needed.
If you’re planning an all-day reading celebration for multiple age groups, consider separating younger children and older children to limit distractions.
Then, let your older kiddos curl up with a blanket in their favorite spot with a plethora of their favorite snacks.
Finally, let the reading commence!
DEAR Day for Little Kids
While reading is the main focus of DEAR Day, I personally have a younger child who can’t read books just yet and I know just how tricky that can be when the theme of the day is Drop Everything And Read.
My young daughter has a very small attention span and chapter books definitely aren’t an option!
This is exactly why I chose to add some hands-on activities to our DEAR Day that were just for her.
If you’re planning an all-day reading extravaganza for your older kids, consider leaning on preschool activities such as puzzles, blocks, and sticker books!
With that said, sticking to activities that can be done independently and quietly, without ending in a mess is a must, you guys!
Older children will struggle with focus when little ones are making noise and creating chaos.
If you have multiple children under 5 and are trying to encourage all-day reading for your older children, consider implementing a quiet time routine and looping through fun activities to keep little ones busy all day long.
More Reading Fun
If implementing multiple DEAR Days into your homeschool schedule is something you are seriously considering, try combining them with other fun homeschool activities and reading challenges to mix things up from time to time!
Plan a half day of reading in combination with a fun loop schedule full of activities.
Or, simply suggest unique places for your children to read.
Either way, encourage both reading and fun!
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