In my last post I urged all of you to take a break, for your health and probably for your sanity too.
Well, we have found that we, as a homeschooling family, need this in our daily lessons too. Sometimes, the best laid plans for what we intend to accomplish and learn about today just aren’t working or at least not in the way we planned. Maybe someone is sick, not feeling their most productive, or are just ornery that day. So, why fight it? Step back and look at the big picture. If we don’t discuss World History today, will the world end? If we save the science lab project for tomorrow, with things blow up? If no one wants to finish their writing assignments, do you have to write off today as a failure?
The answer is a resounding NO!
Sometimes what we all need in our homeschooling, or on a summer day when school is out, is a D.E.A.R. day.
Drop Everything And Read
I certainly can’t take credit for this idea, as the girls were doing this at their Montessori school years ago, twice a year in the mornings followed by a movie and usually right before a holiday break. Teachers there realized that the students were no doubt all excited for the upcoming holidays, and that their little minds were wandering to all those sugar plums or colorful, candy-filled baskets. Why fight it? Let everyone enjoy themselves, relax and settle in with a book for the day.
I know this site is called Learning BEYOND the Book. What I have learned WHILE reading the book on these D.E.A.R. days is that the atmosphere of my home is calmer, the girls are relaxed, and I am less stressed or concerned about progress. So, I have taken this “BREAK” idea to another level.
Along with the occasional D.E.A.R. day, I will also encourage “Free Choice Fridays”, in which the girls can work on whatever they would like to in their educational endeavors. Trying that lab experiment again? Sure. Playing chess and learning to juggle? Why not? Writing a comic strip and drawing new characters? Of course. Reading more on someone we discussed in history just because it interested you? Absolutely. Finding the perfect stick in the woods and learning to whittle it into something interesting or useful? Fantastic!
Our girls find they recharge their educational batteries as well as hone their interests when they have these opportunities to decide for themselves. I am sure UNschoolers nationwide are sitting here saying “I do this all the time!” Well, until I feel comfortable taking that leap, and for those who are in schools and are limited to weekends and summertime for their own educational choices, let’s all think about Taking a Break and letting our children take them too.