Homeschool schedule, breaks, etc? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-16-2013, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't strictly identify ourselves as "unschoolers", but if I'm honest, that's probably the best term to describe our approach...though I do feel we thrive with some level of structure and designated school work/lesson time. Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else is a little more structured and when you take "breaks" for holidays and whatnot. I really know better than to compare ourselves to our public schooling counterparts, but I was having a conversation with some friends from church the other night, and you should've seen their reaction when I revealed that I originally scheduled two weeks for our Thanksgiving break (we actually only took one week, but that's beside the point).

 

It seemed like it was the most ridiculous and absurd thing they'd ever heard. I proudly stated that "we have liberty" and moved on, but I thought maybe they would be more jealous than anything. Where we live, we don't have to give any kind of account of the days we spend schooling, so obviously, I don't really keep track except for my own personal organization.

 

What do you all do? Is two weeks just plain craziness? Lol! I mean, we never actually stop learning, the atmosphere of our home and our lives are always conducive to educational opportunities...


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Old 12-17-2013, 09:03 AM
 
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The concept of breaks doesn't really fit in with unschooling as we do it, other than that our scheduled out-of-home activities tend to have break weeks. So gymnastics, math and violin class will be off for two weeks after this week, to resume in January. I know my child will continue with all those things at home anyway, even without the external classes, but we don't have the classes to attend.

 

Your idea of taking time off when you want may seem foreign to your church friends, and it may seem foreign to unschoolers, but I think you'll find that the majority of homeschoolers at Mothering (especially those in the main Learning at Home forum) have a very similar style and structure to yours.

 

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Old 12-17-2013, 05:58 PM
 
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We take time off as it works for us. We're not typical unschoolers (if there is such a thing), but we don't stick to completely rigid homeschool schedules either. We take off what works for us - for example, by the time we start school back up again, we'll have taken about a month off for Christmas break - and we took a week for Thanksgiving. We start school after public, and finish before they do - but we also don't take half days and at least 2-3 days per month off like they do. We have shorter days in general, because we move more quickly through our work - and we accomplish more in a day than public school does.


When my friends who have kids in public school question this, I simply tell them that it works and they're welcome to come spend a day with us if they'd like to see how. Most don't (and that's okay), but they do seem to realize that if I'm willing to let them come sit in on our day, it must actually work, and they let it drop.

 

Even when we're on a break, my kids are still learning - maybe not in a way that anyone else would define learning, but they are. And to me, the fact that *I* know they are learning is enough.

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Old 12-17-2013, 06:44 PM
 
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I think the issue (of dealing with friends questioning taking time "off" from schooling) is totally valid, but I think it stems from a lack of understanding about unschooling. To me the point of unschooling is to erase the boundary between learning and living. If there's no such distinction, you can't take a break from learning, because you can you take a break from living? And that's really I suppose how I would explain it to the incredulous: "With our style of homeschooling learning is inextricably wrapped up in daily life. Sometimes we drop some of our structure for a while, but we're still doing unstructured homeschooling during that time. For instance we took a week around Thanksgiving where we used a completely unstructured style. It was great!"

 

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Old 12-19-2013, 01:18 PM
 
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I suppose we do take a holiday break.  I don't think about it in that way, personally, but my ds does, in part because his social circle is mostly structured homeschoolers and public school kids. I would say that in the weeks leading up to Christmas there is a lot more downtime. There's a lot of art, baking, movies, video and board games, internet surfing, and tv bingeing around this time.  There's no schedule, and our more traditionally educational activities get more or less shelved for the duration.  I agree with Miranda, that this is just the ebb and flow of life, and there is no need for delineation of this as a vacation from school.  But we do get asked if we are on winter break yet by those who don't fully 'get' unschooling, so it still leaves me trying to figure out what and how much to tell them. Generally the way I explain is that around holidays we may spend more time focusing on holiday-related activities or extra-curricular interests like art and music, and there is more unstructured time, but we don't have a planned holiday break.  When our family and social obligations die down, we pick new projects and resume our old routines.  It can work out to being a couple of weeks to a month, but we also 'do school' during the summer and for longer hours during regular school days, so it all balances out, and I remind them that this nontraditional scheduling is one of the perks of homeschooling. 

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Old 12-19-2013, 01:34 PM
 
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We don't really do a concrete 'break' but then, we unschool and it's a big fluid mess of continuous learning throughout the day. 

When homeschooling was more structured for us though, I did about 6 weeks off from Thanksgiving to early/mid January.  It just worked out better for everyone.  Of course, it was on one of those breaks that I realized we were all happier, and weren't learning any less than when we were structuring things.  Two years later, we're still enjoying that break.  Oops. 

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Old 12-19-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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Just piping in that my unschooling daughters still like taking an "unday", and idea proffered from an Electric Company skit, where and "unday" is "a whole lotta nothin'".  It's a day where everyone does what they want*, even me.  As you can imagine, it looks "a whole lotta" like every other day at our house, but it's the thought that counts, I guess.

 

But, yeah, the idea is not as relevant to unschoolers.  We also take breaks from some activities, especially in August to make room for camping, extra time to explore outside and not have to commit to driving time, etc.  And some weeks that I work a lot or leading up to Christmas or Cookie Sale season that I might not want to do projects of my own so I can focus on the girls and the very basic housekeeping.  So, I think I notice those "breaks" more than the girls do.

 

*This is an interesting sentence, grammatically.  I wanted to write "everyone does what they wants", which obviously isn't right, but "everyone" is single, and and "they" plural, even though they refer to the same people as everyone.  Hm.


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Old 12-19-2013, 08:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post
 

 

 

*This is an interesting sentence, grammatically.  I wanted to write "everyone does what they wants", which obviously isn't right, but "everyone" is single, and and "they" plural, even though they refer to the same people as everyone.  Hm.

 Replace they with he (or she) to make them agree. 

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Old 12-20-2013, 09:11 AM
 
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 Replace they with he (or she) to make them agree. 

Ah, yes... I'm afraid I've forgotten my basic grammar, though no one uses "he/she" much in that context anymore.  The usage of "they" has become so normal in this respect, I've forgotten how odd it is.

 

Anyway, sorry for the sidetrack. :)


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Old 12-20-2013, 09:28 AM
 
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The stuff you revisit while homeschooling your kids is interesting.  I know what the rules are, but I break them frequently until I have to think about it. 

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Old 12-20-2013, 10:39 AM
 
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*This is an interesting sentence, grammatically.  I wanted to write "everyone does what they wants", which obviously isn't right, 

 

I'd tend to side-step this awkwardness of the singular indefinite pronoun ("everyone") entirely and say "We all do what we want."

 

That's kind of my approach to real-life problems too: let's see if we can't do things differently so this isn't a problem anymore. :D

 

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Old 12-20-2013, 11:01 AM
 
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I'd tend to side-step this awkwardness of the singular indefinite pronoun ("everyone") entirely and say "We all do what we want."

 

That's kind of my approach to real-life problems too: let's see if we can't do things differently so this isn't a problem anymore. :D

 

Miranda

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And thank you for reminding me of the proper terms as well as the proper grammar.  It has been a long time, indeed!


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Old 12-20-2013, 12:28 PM
 
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The English language hasn't caught up to culture in this regard.  'He' is no longer the default singular pronoun.  Since there is no recognized gender neutral option, many people adapt by using a plural pronoun in situations where it's technically incorrect grammatically because it's easier than writing "he or she" over and over.  Most languages have a non-gender-specific pronoun.  I find myself frequently irritated with the inflexibility of grammatical structure and lack of inclusive vocabulary available to English-speakers.

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Old 12-20-2013, 07:31 PM
 
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You can try to translate unschooling into terms that school goers and some of the more rigid homeschoolers understand but unschooling is better understood without them.  as in the case of "breaks" because learning happens not only "all the time" but also often when you don't plan for or expect it, like while you are in the bathroom or waiting in line for something.  are 



 



wrt everyone …. I usually say she or he, or sometimes s/he



 



 


no longer  or  or ... dd is going on 12 (!) how was I to know there was a homeschool going on?
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Old 12-21-2013, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, all! I enjoyed reading your responses. :-)


Actually, I'm a joyful mom of three and counting! (I was a tad short-sighted when picking my username!) Married to DH since 2006, mom of DS (2007), DD (2009), DS2 (2012) and a new little one expected early May 2015!
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Old 12-21-2013, 08:16 PM
 
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We report our school days and I have to say it's quite difficult to really present a clear boundary.  I think I typically include days that are more planned learning, as school days, so I try to plan for a certain number of days, but I can't say that I really exclude many days at all.  For instance we're schooling right through Christmas and when I report our school days for this quarter Christmas eve and Christmas day will be included.  Mostly because I tend to forget to plan every two weeks or so!  I do this just in case someone asks to see our records.  As it is we only have to report attendance, but if for some reason someone wants to investigate, I also have a school year planning book to show that we did "school", but again, I don't write nearly as often as we actually learn/work.  

 

Weekends are learning days, summertime they're learning, holidays they're learning.  Aside from that as I remember the days before a holiday in school were lazy days in which we did nothing but party, watch movies, read, do busy work, for most classes.  It doesn't seem much different from a break at home, it just happens that the kids are still in the school building. 

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