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Back to Homeschool: How to Ease In After a Long Break

Back to homeschool! Does this phrase make you excited…..or just tired? I used to be so rigid about our schedule. I would get so stressed out about taking long breaks for holidays or summer. We would be a few days into break, everyone would be relaxing and playing–but my mind would be doing cartwheels. I’d be thinking about all the things they were “forgetting,” how we were getting “behind,” or how we’d never be able to get back into the routine after the break. Basically using the whole break to stress out rather than enjoy. Such a waste of my time!

These days, I know better. I know our brains work better after taking a break. There’s more appreciation for our routine after we shake it up a bit. The breaks give me time to gather my thoughts and ideas, do some planning and come back to homeschool with a deeper love for it!

We’ve returned to homeschool after a break two different ways: 1) FULL STEAM ahead! Full throttle, diving in with abandon. OR 2) Gently. Dipping our toes in a little slower and taking our time, giving our systems a chance to adjust.

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Neither way is right or wrong. Both can be very effective.

Today though, we’re taking Easy Street. 

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We’re going to talk about re-entering homeschool after a nice, long break by slowly submerging rather than diving-in.

Getting back to homeschool after a long summer or holiday break, it can feel daunting! Here are some simple tips to get back into it.

Back to Homeschool: A Gentle Approach

In a nutshell, here’s what our back to homeschool plan looks like after a long break:

  • Week One after a long break
  • Week Two after a long break:
  • Week Three after a long break (full schedule):
    • All of the above
    • Plus any other subjects that haven’t been added back in yet

See how nice and easy that was?

That One Extra Thing to Get Your Kids Excited about Back to Homeschool

When we return from a long break, I love to roll in one extra thing that will get my kids excited about coming back to school. We have experimented with TONS of great things. Here’s a quick list of our very favorite things.

We love using CuriosityStream. It’s a digital streaming network of hundreds and hundreds of documentaries. We watch these almost every day. My older kids really like the history documentaries and my youngest loves the nature episodes. Anything with animals, she loves! These are a great way to ease back into homeschool.

The other thing I love about CuriosityStream is the price! It’s priced so well–less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks! Just $3/month! 

We have been doing these online nature study classes for a couple of years now. If you want a consistent, easy way to study a wide variety of nature topics, this is it! Cindy holds two online nature classes each month where she leads them through a lesson and a drawing in their nature journal.

  • Tinker Crate (or others crates from Kiwi Co.)

Tinker Crates are a life-savor for us!! I’m not the best science mom and these ensure my kids are getting a good monthly-dose of STEM. We do these for Christmas gifts for our kids sometimes and they are such a special gift that keeps on giving from month to month. Your kit comes with everything you need, which I love. It totally cuts out the stress of having to have a bunch of different materials on-hand.

We really love all the crates, but Eureka Crate is extra fun and challenging. It’s suggested for ages 14 and up. My kids have made electric pencil sharpener, a ukulele, and more–so fun! The Tinker Crate (ages 12+) and Eureka Crate are quite challenging, which is great for kids who want a bit more. AND it keeps them busy for a long time when you need a little extra time to get something else done.

Doodle Crate has also been SUPER fun for my girls! They’ve dyed fabric, made paper, soap, and more!

 

RELATED: 103 Ideas for when you Need a Substitute Homeschool Teacher

Chalk Pastels Art Lessons

If you’re looking for a way to ease back in with quick and easy art lessons, this is it! We love Chalk Pastel art lessons in our house! These are video-based lessons taught by Nana. She’s so kind and gentle–great for perfectionist kids who always feel like they “messed up!”

The other great thing about these lessons (making it a great EASY transition tool) is the low supply list. Just paper and chalk pastels. That’s it! You can find lessons on all kinds of things: winter, all kinds of history lessons and periods, inventors and more.

The best bang for your buck is to join the membership club–giving you full access to everything! AND giving you new lessons each month too.

Read about three things we love most about Chalk Pastel lessons HERE.

This is a great art curriculum because you accomplish so much more than art when you complete the lessons. You cover lots of fine arts, history, music and more!

 

  • Audio Books

Listening to audio books is one of our favorite things to do on school days where we’re feeling “off.” Here’s a list of our favorite audio books. 

  • Play games

Sometimes just adding in a simple card game to our morning routine makes easing back into homeschool so much more pleasant. Just choose a couple games and leave on your school table for your school morning. It will give your kids inspiration to get their math lessons done quickly!

Here’s a list of our favorite card games! 

  • Study Nature

If you’re returning to homeschool after Christmas break, this is a great time to ease back in by studying nature. YES, in winter! We love studying nature in our house so much I actually compiled all our ideas, books, projects, poetry selections and more and created a winter nature course. 

The course spreads out across five weeks with one new theme each week. We’ll study

  1. Winter Birds
  2. Weather during wintertime
  3. Trees in Winter
  4. Animal Hibernation and Winter Survival
  5. Maple Sugaring

Each week includes a combination on projects, journaling ideas, book suggestions, poetry, and more!

 

If you don’t live in a cold climate or if you want a resource to take you through the whole year, I highly recommend Exploring Nature with Children. This study gives you prompts for each week of the year divided into different themes each season and tons of ideas and journaling prompts. We love this nature curriculum!

Take it slow. Be kind to yourself and to your kids. Breaks are good and necessary. Enjoy the breaks. Enjoy getting back at it. Take a few of these ideas to help you out. Set your high expectations aside for a while. You don’t have to be SPOT ON all the time, right?

Homeschooling is exceedingly effective and efficient. Remember that if you feel stressed about taking time off.

Other helpful articles:

Getting back to homeschool after a long summer or holiday break, it can feel daunting! Here are some simple tips to get back into it.

3 Comments

  1. Love this Alicia! That’s my plan as well with my first grader. We are going to ease back in with lots of library read alouds which we have already been doing, but adding in math which our curriculum has some great stories with math. We are going to continue our craft projects and No Sweat Nature Study, Lang Arts, and community helpers. Slow and steady is this race. Enjoy your time off with family!

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