Did you take time off school during the holidays? Or just scale it back a bit? We have traditionally taken off from Thanksgiving through New Year’s at our house and this year was no different. Although I planned to do some minimal schooling, life happened and we ended up taking the time off anyway.
What happens when you find yourself taking off more than a few days for Christmas? It’s really easy for kids to get out of a routine and become lazy. While I love for my kids to enjoy time with their cousins when we visit back home and enjoy playing with their new toys/games they receive as gifts – it can quickly spiral out of control (at least in our house) and they fall into a new routine of no routine.
So now, how do we get back into our routine without all the drama and nagging? Well, there are a few tips I have used over the past several years that seem to make the transition back to school less painful – for the kids and me!
6 Tips for Restarting your Homeschool
1. Have a countdown calendar – Similar to any other countdown calendar for a vacation or Christmas, create a fun countdown to your first day back to school. Although the enthusiasm probably won’t be the same as it would be for a vacation, you can build it up as much as you like!
2. Ease back into it – Just as many people do when getting started after a summer break, start slow. Do a couple subjects the first week and then add more in as the kids get acclimated back into their routine. This helps the kids get back into their routine of school without taking away everything they have been “enjoying” over the past few weeks.
3. Do half-days – If you just don’t feel you can start with a few subjects a day, do partial work in each subject to get everyone back in the swing. That way you are still doing all your daily subjects, but just in a smaller amount.
4. Make it fun – If you’re like me, crafts are not your strong suit. However, I have made a commitment to my kids to add more “fun” in to their learning. So with a toddler and two kindergarteners, we do sensory bins, sticker pages, crafts that correspond to our unit study or upcoming holiday and more. I also try to add in fun games while we’re learning a new letter and math. They seem to enjoy school a little more when it’s fun for them.
5. Be flexible – Kids can sense tension a mile away. No matter how hard we try to put those feelings aside, they can tell when we’re stressed or bothered. So take a step back and relax. Getting back into a routine after time off, especially such a hectic time like the holidays, kids need some flexibility (and so do you).
6. Plan, plan, plan – Although I am the worst at making sure every little thing is planned and out ready-to-go, I do notice a remarkable difference in our days when I am organized and ready to start “on time” than when I’m rushing around trying to gather papers, pencils, crafts, sensory bins, etc. for the day. I get frazzled and it rubs off on my kids. So, I have vowed to do better and even if I don’t have lessons planned for months in advance, I can at least gather our papers and supplies for the week. And I do that on Sunday nights now.
Truth: Some days will go smoothly and some days you will be ready to pull your hair out.
How quickly we forget that it wasn’t but a few months ago we went through this same song and dance when we began the school year. And it finally leveled out and they settled into their routine. So take heart, they will settle in again soon. Settling back into a routine can often seem harder than just getting started at the beginning of the year. But, it will happen. Have no fear, dear Momma, if you keep at it and push through those tough times it will get better.
What are your best tips for settling back into a routine after the holidays?