Schooling Over the Holidays
vs No School December…
This post is raw and straight from my heart, you guys! Get all the details on NO SCHOOL DECEMBER & how we make it work for our homeschool.
There I sat, in my living room, feeling completely drained and unmotivated to do anything about it.
It was Tuesday – Tuesday, December 3rd to be exact.
Thanksgiving was the week before and it went by WAY too fast! We had somehow made it through our Monday lessons, but I just couldn’t seem to muster up the energy to make it through our Tuesday lessons.
I was craving simplicity. I was craving a break.
That’s when my light-bulb moment happened.
What if I just took this entire month off?
What if I decided to focus on making memories with my kids & enjoying our fun holiday traditions instead of working through homeschool lessons all month?
I quickly realized I needed to know the answer to my what-ifs — so I jumped in headfirst.
I glanced over our pacing guide, rearranged a few things, and pushed all official lessons (and lesson planning) off till January!
I immediately felt a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders, but that quickly transitioned into terror.
A new what-if had weaseled its way into my mind.
What if I can’t get back on track after this?
What if this break messes up the rest of our homeschool year?!
As a homeschool mom that suffers from anxiety and deals with the constant battle of overthinking all the things, this was a tough what-if to overcome.
I had to force myself to relax and be in the moment.
It was totally hard, you guys!
Once I let go of the fear and began soaking up the simple, it all became crystal clear that this was the right decision for all of us!
Why I Needed a
No School December…
As a working homeschool mom, I simply needed a break!
I would constantly find myself in this battle of rushing through all the things on my to-do list and completely missing out on the little moments that the list was compiled of in the first place!
I wanted to feel the holiday season in its entirety for the first time in… years.
What We Did During Our Break…
I personally caught up on laundry because apparently, it’s just easier to do when you don’t have other things filling up your schedule — go figure!
However, we also did lots of fun things together as a family as well!
- Went to the movies (twice)
- Drank copious amounts of hot chocolate
- Slept in
- Snuggled daily
- Participated in advent activities and books
- Read through the entire book of LUKE
- Made holiday crafts
- Played board games
- Baked too many cookies
- Watched Christmas movies (then watched them again)
- Read all the Christmas books we could find
- Attended Christmas parties and events
- Handed out gifts
- Donated to the less fortunate
- Scheduled play date with friends
- Looked at tons of Christmas lights
What We Didn’t Do…
- Formal Lessons
- Anything involving too much structure
We didn’t have to worry about trying to fit lessons in with the extra holiday stuff or stress out over figuring out how to do extras while we had lessons to finish.
We simply did the extras and let the stress of homeschool lessons out of it.
Our Break Was…
This time off was a much-needed refresher for all of us!
Even though we skipped structure, for the most part, I was able to work on my personal planner by planning out the upcoming calendar year, setting personal goals, and getting creative! Something I haven’t been able to do for myself for a while!
I’m a huge planner, so this was actually a fun activity for me.
I also got to experience the holiday rush with NO rushing! As abnormal as it sounds, it was pretty much the best holiday experience I’ve ever had — it was incredible.
I shopped online, wrapped gifts when I wanted, had impromptu baking days, and worked on special activities whenever I felt like it.
This No rush philosophy left plenty of time for snuggles, family traditions, and field trips! It was not stress-free by any means, but definitely what I would consider STRESSed-LESS.
The best part? When I look back at our December, I don’t just feel like it zoomed by! I feel like I was actually present and in the moment.
Our First Day Back…
Okay, I couldn’t write a post about trying out a no-school December for the first time without touching on the aftermath.
Not going to lie, returning to schedule and routine after a whole month off mid-homeschool year completely terrified me!!
But, here we go!
Our first day back actually went smoother than I ever could have imagined.
Not going to lie, I was completely terrified it was going to be stressful and H A R D.
We started lessons around 10 am on January 2nd, slowly easing back into our routine.
I simply covered language lessons, encouraged lots of reading, and worked on handwriting with my youngest.
I let my older 2 loose to work on whatever they wanted/needed.
Since our original plan wasn’t to start work (after the holidays) until January 6th anyway, I didn’t rush things in the beginning.
It was amazing.
Day one back to homeschool 2020 was in the bag!
Then the real challenge came.
Prepping our second semester, finalizing our pacing guide, and starting back to full school routine the following Monday (January 6th).
We totally did it!
I got our homeschool stuff fully prepped over the weekend and somehow even managed to completely re-organize our entire office area (yeah, that last part was totally unplanned but incredibly amazing!)
Then, our first FULL day back went on without a hitch!
Our second day? Yeah, we made it through that with flying colors as well!!
I don’t know if it was just a break itself or the fact that I learned to completely let go over the break, but I was finally feeling motivated again! I wake up with purpose and have been able to get things checked off my list again.
Did No School December Hinder
the Rest of Our School Year?
I really don’t think so.
Even though we are only officially 4 full days into our 2020 school year, I’m feeling confident and motivated again.
Will we do it again next year?
Right now I want to say YES, YES, YES!!
Reality though? Come back and ask me in mid-July when I’m still teaching lessons a couple of times a week, haha!
In all seriousness though, I do think no school December will be making a comeback for us in 2020 (and beyond).
No School December
The Pros & Cons…
While our break was a great fit for us, it may not be right for everyone.
If you are ready to give no school December a shot in your homeschool, take a quick peek at my list of pros & cons first.
Schedule Got Thrown Out the Window.
Pro: This was actually pretty amazing!
Forgetting about schedule meant we could stay up late watching Christmas movies and sleep in if need be.
It also meant we could have impromptu baking sessions, snuggles on the couch with endless books, and we could do whatever extras we wanted without the fear of getting behind or making deadlines.
Without structure, teenagers are prone to it and if we aren’t careful we can be too!
We had some of this behavior sneak into our Christmas break (especially at the beginning) and it had to be nipped quickly!
While there’s nothing wrong with a lazy day or even two… a whole month of laziness can really put a damper on things, making it even more difficult to return to schedule!
Getting All the Things Done.
Pro: Being able to put my focus wherever I wanted to for the day, without a set in stone plan, was refreshing for the most part!
I wasn’t constantly being pulled in 3 or 4 different directions because of a never-ending to-do list.
If I needed to work on laundry and chose to relax in between loads, I totally could!
Skipping the lesson due dates also allowed us to focus on fitting all the holiday extras in! Something that would have been a difficult task otherwise.
Con: I thrive with to-do lists and so do 2 of my kids.
I simply get more done if I write out a plan for myself each day.
If we managed our time a little better over the break, we probably could have managed to squeeze more productive things in — plain and simple.
Taking time off and managing that time well, isn’t always an easy task!
Could our month have been more productive in the housekeeping area? YES.
Could we be further along in our homeschool lessons if we didn’t take this time off? Also, YES!
Getting Back on Track After the Holidays
Pro: Luckily for us, this wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be!
Something about the break left me completely refreshed and ready to tackle a brand new year.
With that said, I also took December off from working which I think also played a huge role in my newfound motivation for getting back on track.
I was actually able to let my guard down and relax over the break, so I was 100% ready for structure come January 6th!
Con: I crave productivity, so I don’t have a personal con here (at least not yet).
My only possible one might come later this summer when we don’t get a huge summer vacation.
However, I do believe this can be the trickiest part for most homeschool moms!
If you already struggle with motivation and typically have a hard time coming back to schedule after other large breaks, like summer vacation, this may be crazy hard for you!
NO School December
Here’s the deal… This was by far the most memorable December I’ve ever spent with my kids.
While it wasn’t necessarily the most practical way I could have spent my time this holiday season, it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
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