Does Your Homeschool Play Catch-up over Winter Break?

With the best will in the world to keep Christmas break set apart for holiday celebrations, I find that we are almost ALWAYS playing catch-up over our homeschool winter break.  Especially since entering the realm of homeschooling high school, lol.

In our family, there is a constant effort to stay on track with our homeschool schedule.  Now that we are in Classical Conversations, that has been a bit easier.  Or harder, depending on how you look at it.  The accountability is great but it does lead to some stress, I gotta admit.

But there are too many variables in our family’s life to enable us to stay completely caught up.  My husband travels a lot, so when he’s home we like to spend time with him.  The three older girls are in college, necessitating trips to visit them.  #4, the junior this year, now has a job to work around (ha! see what I did there? :-) ). Then there are the sick days, the emotional days, and the “just can’t seem to get going” days.  (Are we the only ones that have the latter?)

Finding yourself behind schedule going into homeschool winter break?  Here are some tips for catching up from a mom who has been there MANY times!

So again this year we are entering winter break with a few subjects that we are behind in.  Math is almost always a given, lol.

I hate the fact that we can never have a TRUE, don’t-have-anything-to-do-but-have-fun, holiday. But I hate starting the spring semester behind in our work even more.  And this year we just can’t do that, or my kids will not be able to participate in class discussions on community day.

But since we’ve had to do this for so many years, we’ve learned a few things about making it work so that we don’t feel like we can’t ever get away from doing school.

Here’s what we do to make catching up over homeschool winter break more pleasant:

1) Work hard early on in the break.  This year, the college girls don’t get home until a few days after our own break has started.  So we’ll just keep working at our usual pace for those days.  Since we’re not behind in EVERY subject, that means we can maybe squeeze in multiple lessons per day for the ones we need to catch up in.

2) Schedule several completely school-free days.  Obviously Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve/Day would be some of those.  But I can look ahead at the calendar and pick a few more, especially if they coincide with special activities we want to do or Christmas shopping days.

3) We prefer to plan out the break so that there is a little bit of school to do on most of the days that are left after doing 1) and 2).  There truly is only so much math you can do in one day, lol.  But another option is to plan just a few scattered days that will be completely school days, and work hard on those, so that there are more days that can be completely free.  But I have to confess that we are a pretty unpredictable spontaneous family, so a more relaxed schedule works better for us. :-)

4) We don’t adhere to a time schedule within each day over homeschool winter break.  We just know what school needs to get done and work it in on the given day.  That helps the time seem more like a holiday, because we can sleep in as needed or desired, watch movies in the middle of the day, or just hang out and talk.

5) Work hard again the last few days of break.  This is where we start to panic, lol.  (No, not really.) (Well, in reality, TBBH [Just made up a new achronym.  It means “to be brutally honest.”  LOL], yes, we do. :-) ) But it helps to make the bulk of winter break seem relaxed when we plan the last few days to get back up to speed.  You may argue then that our break is actually shorter, because we work hard at the beginning and the end, and technically you’d be right.  But we’re still calling it “break,” okay?  It’s a psycho/emotional coping mechanism that helps me us.

So for us, today is the first day of this year’s winter break.  We did all sleep in a little bit.  But I’m going to have a planning meeting with each of the kids to see exactly what catching up we need to accomplish and set up a strategy for getting it done.  During our down-time we’ll hang ornaments on the tree. :-)

There are things to like and dislike about the homeschool lifestylePlaying catch-up over winter break is one of the necessities that we may not like so much but have to bow to just the same.  Hopefully these strategies will help it go easier for everyone, so that the holiday still feels like a holiday — in all the meanings of the word.

Are you playing catch-up over homeschool winter break this year??

6 thoughts on “Does Your Homeschool Play Catch-up over Winter Break?”

  1. Those are good suggestions for making the catch-up a little more pleasant. Yes, we will be doing some make-up. My son has been taking a couple of community college courses and I have been letting him put more focus on those classes since they have definite deadlines. I can allow him to slide a little on the work I assign him with the knowledge that it will still need to be done.

    He’ll be done with his college courses on the 14th and that will leave him with only his home classes to focus on for the next week and a half. We’ll probably take from the Dec 23-Jan 3 off completely because my husband is taking the time off as well, but then there will be another few weeks before college classes start up again. Maybe we can get ahead of the game. Ha!

    Enjoy your break!

    1. Thanks, Sarah — and you enjoy yours! Yes, there needs to be at least a week, I feel, that is ABSOLUTELY NO SCHOOL. Christmas should be family fun time!! :-) Thanks for commenting!

        1. Yes, you could, Jenny, and many people do. But I have this idea that one day I will actually have a summer in which to do nothing. :-) So I try to catch up over breaks to make it possible for that to happen. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

  2. Hi ladies. This is my first interaction with your group. We live in South Africa but our summer break is going to be similar to yours in a few ways. My one daughter have finished her year work which she did through something similar to yr community college while her sister still has a lot of work to cover for exams in June next year. Mostly Maths and Science. Unfortunately I struggle as much with it as she does. We Google you tube lessons when necessary. I tried to get her sister to start on next year’s work in order to keep the one company who absolutely has to catch up during Christmas break, it it didn’t work as I planned. School is defnitely more flexible now with individual art and craft projects the girls want to complete as gifts for Christmas. But it’s nice to hear other people are going through the same things. Thank you for yr encouragement and solidarity in this (actually) minor struggle with homeschooling

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Anthea! It’s true, there are lots of larger struggles than homeschooling. But we still can stick together — for ALL of them! :-)

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