Break Week??? But You’re Unschoolers!


     Tomorrow marks the beginning of our first break week since Christmas break. Since we school year round, we follow a six weeks on, one week off schedule with longer breaks over Christmas, Easter, and the summer. Why do you need breaks if you’re unschooling? you might ask. I can only answer for our family, but here’s why.

– I don’t need to log in what my children do during this break. Think of it as more of a break for me than my kids. While this week may look similar to ”on” weeks, I can take a breather from the tedious record-keeping required by PA.

– My kids can get a respite from their math curriculum. To be sure, there will be plenty of math learned this week, but they won’t even realize it! Measuring for experiments and recipes, board games, divvying up meal portions, and geometry will continue as usual. These are activities that come naturally to my children. Unfortunately, required standardized testing has made me anxious enough that I do require my kids in third grade and up to complete a traditional math curriculum. I really do have trouble reconciling this. I see my kids doing math all the time without ever knowing it, but, somehow, I doubt that would be enough for the school district. I am switching to Life of Fred next year, though. (I actually just ordered almost all of these books since I have such a wide age range.) This erases the sting a little because literature based math will definitely be better for everyone to swallow.

I can just let my children be. Although I’m definitely getting better at this, I still feel sometimes like I’m hovering over them to see exactly what they’re doing so I can later write it down. I often wonder if the powers that be realize how much this hinders learning. If a child is left alone, he/she will naturally accomplish so much more than if they know they’re being watched. I know this. I’ve seen it happen with my own children. They’ll be happily pursuing any number of activities, but if I start questioning them too much, they’ll immediately freeze and just stop. Maybe it’s out of self-consciousness or thinking that what they were doing wasn’t what I expected of them. I’m not saying you shouldn’t show interest in what your children are doing…I’m saying that, in my case, I went a little overboard. And I’ll admit that even now I still unintentionally express irritation sometimes when I don’t see the value of their pursuits. This is not a fault of my children- it’s my own, and I’m working hard to rid myself of this ”school” mentality.

     So, this is why my family takes ”breaks.” They’re still learning all the time, but they’re learning in freedom this week. Freedom from an overregulated state and, as a result, a leech for a Mom. And, honestly, that’s enough for anyone to need to take a breather.

Do you school year round? If you’re unschooling (or not), do you feel the need for breaks as well? I’d love to read your thoughts on this!

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