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View Full Version : Weekly Poll: How do you handle vacation days as a homeschooler?



Topsy
11-17-2010, 12:21 PM
Since our family has moved more toward an "interest-led" homeschooling style, vacation days seem far less of an issue than they used to, but we've had all sorts of approaches to vacation over the years. Some years, we pretty much followed the school's calendar (for some reason I can't even remember now)....other years, we kind of did more of a year-round homeschooling, with various weeks off throughout.

What about you? How do you handle "vacation days" in your homeschool?

Emerald
11-17-2010, 12:44 PM
I put "we just take vacation days when we need them." We school year-round with no scheduled breaks and when it seems like my kids are feeling extremely frustrated or burnt out, we take the day off to do something fun instead! Sometimes I'm burned out, too, and need a vacation day.

Busygoddess
11-17-2010, 12:46 PM
Two of the answers fit us, so I went with 'Other' (since I could only choose one answer). We school year-round. We have some set breaks - 2 weeks at Christmas, 3 days to a week for Thanksgiving, our b-days, and a few other holidays (depending on what days they fall on & what our plans are), and a one month break between grades (for planning purposes). However, we also take time off when we need it. If it's been a busy, stressful month, we may decide to take off a few days or a week. If there's a family emergency, we'll take time off. When we moved, we did half days during the packing, moving, unpacking process. Right now, we're taking a 6 month break from structured school, while we all destress from the hectic, stressful year we've had. Dea has taken breaks to go on vacations with other family members. Our life is an ever-changing journey, and I work hard to maintain a structure that has the flexibility we require.

Maxaroo
11-17-2010, 12:56 PM
I see this as one of the best benefits of homeschooling - the ability to be flexible and run with what life throws at you. There's a natural rhythm that begins to exert itself in homeschooling, at least in our house. I rather enjoy the ebb and flow and am not opposed to taking a few days to a week's time off if that's what my gut is telling me we need to do. It almost always ends up that during our time "off", we end up learning cool stuff anyway, just not in a prescribed fashion - and that's a good thing! I answered that we take vacations as we need them :)

JinxieFox
11-17-2010, 01:26 PM
We school year round, and I plan specific vacation time, which breaks our 3 fifteen-week terms up throughout the year. I also schedule a 1-week Thanksgiving break during the first term. The other breaks are from Yule to a little after New Year's, from the end of April until just after Beltane (May 1), and then a four-week break from the end of our school year in August, until Labor Day.

We also feel free to take days off whenever for illness or a long weekend, but most of the time we stick with the scheduled breaks.

TamaraNC
11-17-2010, 02:23 PM
We follow the PS calendar because two of our three are in PS right now. When they're out of school on a short break, it's impossible to get the third to focus on school anyway. If the PS break is longer than a couple of days, everyone does school at home on those days.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
11-17-2010, 02:24 PM
This is our first year of homeschooling, but so far we have been taking days off when we have something special going on--a day trip, family visiting, etc. I love this flexibility! We will probably take a break between Christmas and New Years (my husband will be home that week). During the summer I hope to keep up with the "three R's" (so that they don't regress) and do a lot of nature study and hiking.

hockeymom
11-17-2010, 02:56 PM
This is our first official year also. Last April when we pulled DS out of school, we eagerly jumped right into homeschooling for the entire first month. Then we went back home for the better part of a month and it took quite a while to adjust back to being here so we ended up taking all of May off. I had mentally planned for it so it wasn't a big deal. We sort of schooled/sort of unschooled for the remainder of the summer and started a more regular routine beginning in August.

So far we take days off when we need them but don't follow any particular holiday schedule, although since my husband gets all the federal and provincial holidays off we generally don't do much work on those days. We're going back home for the first part of December and then it will be thick into holiday time when we get back so we'll end up taking most of the month off. We may do some basics during that time (math and LA) just to keep a morning routine, but nothing strenuous or too exciting. We have a lot of new material to look forward to in January so we won't dawdle getting back on track.

I haven't yet decided if we'll formally school year round or unschool during the summer months, but either way our "summer" will probably be considerably shorter than the public school system so we can have the flexibility we want year round.

ginnyjf
11-17-2010, 04:57 PM
I answered, "when we know public schoolers are in school." We take a family trip once or twice a year and now that we're homeschooling, we love visiting sites when they're not overly crowded. We're all introverts and even Zack doesn't like a lot of kids running around! :-D We do plan our vacations ahead, though, because they have to coincide with my husband's vacation days from work.

Stella M
11-17-2010, 06:15 PM
We follow the private school calendar ( so we have some holiday time that isn't so busy every schoolkid ) with some flexibility to take trips etc out of those times. We didn't take scheduled holidays at first. Then we found it was the main time to catch up with friends who are at school. Also, the girl's dance school follows the school terms, so we were in that rhythm anyway. Also, it's like an enforced break for me from being homeschool mama and just being mama, which is helpful in our house.

One of my daughters is quite academic and she often works a reduced timetable of subjects for part of the holidays, as she gets bored if she goes for a long period without 'work'.

Riceball_Mommy
11-17-2010, 06:46 PM
We just started last year with homeschooling so there really isn't too much of a set practice. We were originally going to take off for summer, but then my daughter just wanted to keep doing school, so we do year round I suppose. We'll be taking off from school, at least in the follow the curriculum sense when we go on vacation in a few weeks. Though I'm sure we'll still have plenty of learning opportunities. With Thanksgiving coming up we'll probably still do school that whole week and just take our regular days off. We don't have any big plans so we should be able to just follow our normal schedule.

outskirtsofbs
11-17-2010, 08:01 PM
I put other due to the fact that we do kind of follow the ps calendar, but in Iowa you only have to hs 148 days so if you go from around Sept. 1st thru the end of May (which we do) we have alot more vacation/time off days than ps does. We have atleast one week off a month. I love the flexibility too!

farrarwilliams
11-17-2010, 08:07 PM
I chose WHAT vacation days. But I guess I'm not *that* mean. We do take some days off as needed. It just feels like we don't because we do school most days - we've certainly done school more days than the kids in school around here (though school for us is an hour or two at most). We're going to Rochester for Thanksgiving and I was thinking about taking our school boxes up with us but dh gave me a very funny look when I mentioned it so I was like, oh, I guess we shouldn't do school on Thanksgiving. Oh well.

rxte1
11-17-2010, 11:09 PM
"We take our vacation days when we know public schoolers are in school." That one.

We follow a migratory pattern that puts us at home, doing lessons, when the public schools are on vacation. When school is in session, we can travel without worrying about crowds so much. We've just returned home from a Fall foliage roadtrip, and now we'll hunker down until Thanksgiving is over.

We have pretty good discipline for doing lessons on the road, and on the trail when we are backpacking, but we wouldn't be able to keep on schedule if we didn't have our hunker-at-home time to grind through lessons. Summertime and the winter holidays are periods of intense homeschooling activity for us.

CroppinMom
11-17-2010, 11:35 PM
"We just take vacation days as we need them"

We are pretty lax with our schedule in terms of days off and tend to subscribe to the idea of doing a little bit of "work" everyday so that we can take time off when the mood strikes us. If/when we do travel longer than a day trip we make sure it is while school is in session - who wants to deal with all those dang kids anyway! :)

Emerald
11-18-2010, 09:03 AM
I chose WHAT vacation days. But I guess I'm not *that* mean. We do take some days off as needed. It just feels like we don't because we do school most days - we've certainly done school more days than the kids in school around here (though school for us is an hour or two at most). We're going to Rochester for Thanksgiving and I was thinking about taking our school boxes up with us but dh gave me a very funny look when I mentioned it so I was like, oh, I guess we shouldn't do school on Thanksgiving. Oh well.

We also educate a lot more than the public school does. We do education activities six days a week for at least five hours per day, year-round. We even educate on holidays, although only as time allows. My son doesn't mind, because we also do a lot of fun things. (Growing ancient crops, creating ancient meals, finger plays, puppet shows, art projects, etc.) I try to break up all of the "dry" stuff into 15 minute chunks and follow them up with a lot of reading engaging books and activities. At least, this is the plan. We take a lot of breaks and do only half the work or he'll breeze through something and we'll finish early or he'll be so stubborn about something that it'll take even longer. I work overnights at a full-time position, so sometimes I'm just plain too tired to do some of the work. However, he still gets in way more educational time then the public school kids. It actually blows my mind how LITTLE they do! And Nate isn't stressed out or overwhelmed at all! I must be doing something right, I guess.

My husband is now used to my zeal... and he gets the funny look when my son asks, even on holidays, "Mommy, don't I have homework to do today?"

dottieanna29
11-18-2010, 09:23 AM
I put we take them as we need them. We school year round but lighter in the summer and November/December holiday season. We do also tend to take off when oldest dd is out of school since that usually leads to a lot of running around. This year is being affected a lot by oldest dd. Between dance, cheerleading, PSAT, college visits, SAT's, learning to drive, college paperwork.... even with her at school most of the day it feels crazy.

Thankfully I'm in a non-reporting state and my kids are too young to be official anyway or I'd really be losing my mind.

allisonsracquet
11-18-2010, 09:59 AM
I am another "take them as we need them" kind of parent. This is our first year homeschooling so we started in early August (at the time I didn't want to get behind). Since then, we haven't taken any days off with the schools, but we have taken days off when I have my "mommy breaks" (when I went to 2 days when I went to San Fran, 2 when I didn't feel well a couple of days). That is just another thing I love about homeschooling. I did tell my husband when I started I would need some "breaks" or vacations if I was going to be home all day...anticipating that it would be really exhausting and hard on me....don't tell him, but I am loving it!- I still want my vacations though...
We plan on homeschooling through out the year, but my son does go to summer camp for almost 4 weeks (where I must say, he learns A LOT).
We are not going anywhere for Thanksgiving so we were planning on schooling through that time (but as others mentioned) throwing some fun things in. I am also planning to school over the December holiday break...but we will probably do some more "fun things" including our 50 states scrapbook, science experiments, etc. We are hosting a flat traveler from Japan, so most of our traveling to take the flat around the US will happen around that time.

shanajo
11-18-2010, 10:09 AM
We've only been homeschooling for 3 months, but so far the plan is to just take days off when we feel the need. Such as, I have a chronic pain condition and there has been a couple of days in the last 3 months where I just could not facilitate learning and declared the day to be a free day. For vacations days longer than a day I suspect that we'll do those when we are feeling burned out and at holidays. Next week for Thanksgiving we are going to take 2-3 days off. At Christmas we are planning to take two weeks off, maybe even three. From there we'll see what happens. We are planning to school year-round, so I'm sure that the feelings of burn out will be coming and we'll have to take some time off in the spring and summer too.

Hampchick
11-18-2010, 10:09 AM
We're in the "take them when we need them" camp. Which is why I was thrown last week when PS had Veteran's day off. Of course my son wanted to take the day off to play with his friends, but we'd taken most of a day off earlier in the week. It's a work in progress for us but I will have to keep a better eye on the PS schedule from now on.

inmom
11-18-2010, 10:52 AM
I had to put "Other" also, as three of the catagories fit us. We take "mental health" days as we need them, to prevent burn-out (usually for ME). But we generally follow the regular school schedule. On the other hand, when we take "travel" vacations, we try to schedule them when school is in session.

InstinctiveMom
11-19-2010, 03:14 AM
I see this as one of the best benefits of homeschooling - the ability to be flexible and run with what life throws at you. There's a natural rhythm that begins to exert itself in homeschooling, at least in our house. I rather enjoy the ebb and flow and am not opposed to taking a few days to a week's time off if that's what my gut is telling me we need to do. It almost always ends up that during our time "off", we end up learning cool stuff anyway, just not in a prescribed fashion - and that's a good thing! I answered that we take vacations as we need them :)

Well said, Vicki :)

We also school year-round, which I feel gives us a little more 'leeway' with days off.
Our schedule is M-Th, 6 weeks on, one week off, Jan-Nov. But we almost always end up schooling during our off week, and our week is really quite flexible.

I voted for 'take days as we need them'
~h

hawaiianatheart
11-24-2010, 09:45 AM
We homeschool year round and while I *schedule* MOST of our vacation days around when their friends are out we take them as we need them. By going year round it gives us a lot of flexibility in order to meet our County/State requirements. :D