Back on Schedule After Our Holiday Break

I was toying with whether or not to continue our holiday unschooling or dive into some more traditional schoolwork today.  The boys pretty much decided that for me when they asked what we were going to do for school today.

I had a few things planned in the back of my mind for today, but knew that after almost two full weeks off it would take a while for us to get back into our normal homeschooling routine.

Here are some tips for getting back on schedule:

1.  Ease into the routine slowly: 
  • I recommend starting with just a few core subjects:  I decided to stick to our traditional math and reading and then add in just a bit of world history.  
  • We were pretty much all done our work by lunchtime regardless of my vow to do more traditional schoolwork and have a set schedule for this winter.   Again I wanted to ease into our schoolwork. 
2.  Try to keep it fun and light:
  • The boys had been asking to learn about vikings so I pulled one of the viking books from the library and thought we could watch How to Train Your Dragon as part of it too.

3.  Allow for the kids to follow their own interests or choose their work when possible:  
  • After breakfast Alec went off to his room to read.  He's hoping to finish the Warrior book Dawn today since it's due back at the library with no renewals left.  
  •  When he took a break from reading, I gave him his third grade math book and put the new 4th grade math book next to him and asked him to choose a few pages to do.  He decided on the 4th grade book and worked on reading bar graphs and naming polygons.  He was finishing within minutes and ran back upstairs to read some more.  
  • Ian called over the railing that he read the book Shoe Dog 
4.  Plan extra time to work individually with students to review any material they may have forgotten or introduce new material:
  • While Alec was reading and Evan was getting dressed, Ian and I sat down to start his new math book.  We pulled out the Key To Fractions book 3 and worked through the first two pages together.  I think he likes that they are small books so he's not so intimidated by all that is left to do.  
  • As I was finishing up with Ian, Evan came to sit at the table and asked if he could work on his books.  He pulled out his old Star Wars 1st grade math book and set to work on adding.  He completed the page all by himself while sitting on my lap.  He asked me to look through the book and count up how many were left to do.  He only had a dozen or so page left.  I asked if he wanted to do one more and offered to write the answers for him this time.  We worked on subtracting and I was happy to find how many subtraction facts  he just seemed to know without having to stop and figure them out.  
5.  Allow for downtime and playtime.  I find my kids need more frequent breaks from schoolwork after a long vacation from school.  This is especially true after the holidays when they have new toys beckoning them to come play!
  • Evan ran off to play with his Lego sets then Ian joined him.
6.  Work together to cover subjects at the same time:

  • We sat on the couch together and I read 100 Snowmen. Evan made me hide the pages from him so he could figure out the problems and then look at the pictures.  I love the added math challenge he gave himself!
  •  The boys had sat and listened to Yo Vikings! which was a wonderful way to start our viking unit. 
  • We read chapter five in Harry Potter

7.  Continue to work with students as long as they're willing; take your cues from them:
  • Evan still seemed eager and willing to work so I grabbed his Star Wars phonics book and we completed two pages in that book.  We flipped through to see how many pages were left and found a page with all the sight words listed in pretty colored boxes.  Evan started pointing to them and reading them to me.  Out of the 33 listed he was only stumped by 13 of them.  I figured that was pretty good progress.  As well as he can read now he still has a hard time with stand alone words.  We're working on memorizing sight words as well as math facts (something he told me he wants to get better at).  I'm trying to come up with some fun memory games to implement over the next few weeks for him.  
  • We finished up Evan's work for the day reading Biscuit Finds a Friend.
8.  Be Flexible: 
  • Alec settled down to watch How to Train Your Dragon on our living room couch while Ian and Evan took Wild Kratts up to Ian's room to watch.  Ian and Evan had already watched How to Train Your Dragon and didn't want to re-watch it today so they asked if they could watch a science video instead.  
9.  Add in a fun mini- field trip:
  • We decided to break up our school day with a trip to the library.  I'm not sure if we were happier to see the library and all the librarians or if they were happier to see us but it was smiles all around.  
10.  Add some fresh air and exercise into your day if possible:
  • Once home we spent just a short bit of time outside.  I was cleaning up the yard and watching a flock of black birds mob a red- tailed hawk while the boys decided to take some shovels, rakes and other assorted metal tools to the ice.  They wanted to see how thick or thin the ice was by breaking off pieces. Evan loved watching the water squirt up wherever he broke through the ice.  He tried breaking off small pieces all in the same area and raking them out of the way to get to the water.  They were all careful not to step on the ice or get wet knowing it was so cold out and they'd have to come inside immediately to dry off and warm up.  They're careful around the water and around the ice.  They've heard enough over the year to know they can't go out on it until my husband checks the thickness.  They also realized that if they could break up the ice it's not thick enough to walk on.  Being outside led to some really wonderful self- guided science lessons; and we hadn't planned on covering any science today!

Raking in the ice 
For our first day back I'm pretty pleased.  It's like we never even got off schedule!

 I'm looking forward to cooking dinner with Ian tonight too.  We added a few new chores to the kids routines and helping mom cook dinner at least one night a week was added to each boys'.  I've enjoyed working with Evan and Alec floored me when he tried to take over completely and do the whole meal on his own from start to finish.

I can't wait to see what Ian will  be like.  He's excited and picked out his meal two nights ago-- spaghetti with meat sauce, homemade bread and salad.

Sounds yummy!

Linking Up With:

Live Live Well Pin


  1. Just so I an doesn't feel bad, liam couldn't do that book on his own, it was book 1 decimals he just started book 2 today...we started fractions and put it away for later!!

  2. This was fun to read. I love the way you encourage your sons' curiosity!

    Thanks for linking up with the Homeschool Blog and Tell.

  3. This is so awesome! We really struggled to get back on our schedule last week so I am trying a different approach this week. He is really having a hard time focusing in math. Honestly, it is stressing me out a little. It is really hard homeschooling in areas where we learn so differently! But I am trying to take it slow and be flexible. Thank you so much for all of the wonderful ideas and examples.

    Thanks for linking up @ Live Life Well!



    1. You're welcome! I have felt the same way at time when my boys are really struggling in just one subject... it's hard to let the worry and doubt creep in and take over too but I have to say looking back that my even when I was sure they were not going to get it and I was failing them... they eventually did and often took large leaps after that. It's not always easy to remember that homeschooling is a marathon; not a sprint.

    2. Oh, I like that! A marathon, not a sprint. :)

  4. You had a full day. You make it sound so relaxed and laid back but your boys accomplish a lot! We started school back Monday and luckily it hasn't been too bad getting back into routine. Although my daughter misses watching so much tv.

    1. I do try to keep our learning pretty relaxed and laid back; of course we have days that feel more stressful and there are times I push them to do more or challenge themselves but I have found that easy and slow tend to work well for us. I do find one of the hardest parts of coming back to a school from a break is getting all the kids used to the no TV/video games during the day rule. I'll try to add in a few extra movies and educational screens here and there to make it just a bit less painful for us all.

  5. Good Friday Morning!

    I just wanted to let you know that your post was chosen as the Featured Post for this week on Live Life Well @ The Quiet Homemaker! :)

    Thank you for such a needed and inspiring post. I will definitely be keeping all of this in mind in the future!



    1. Wonderful! Thank you. I am so glad my post inspired you.


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