Last year, I blogged about Sabbath Schooling (that’s teaching for six weeks and taking the seventh week off) but I made it clear I did not apply it literally in our homeschool. This year, I decided to take it seriously. I dislike burnout as much as anybody else and taking breaks more often seems to be the formula to keep burnout from visiting us again and again.
Seeing all the artisans and their crafts at Heritage Day reminded me of my book projects.
Of course, the children love it. They work very hard and a break feels good to them, too. Am I working them too hard? I don’t know. But they are getting older and starting to complain about school. It’s a sign I must be doing something right. Maybe. At any rate, my mission in life is not to keep my children happy. It is to make them competent. Continue reading
We still do our daily devotional and instrument practice (violin and piano). We still read books together. We still attend their orchestra practice, violin lesson, piano lesson, soccer practice and tae kwon do training. But it makes a big difference that our mornings and early afternoons are “free time.” We make sure they get fresh air by playing outside and limit their computer time.
The surprise? They want to do history. They like it so much, they do not consider it “school.” They asked me to read them a chapter a day from The Story of the World volume 3. This is great news because on busy weeks we might have to skip history and focus on math and language arts. Since we get a chance to skip ahead, hopefully we will not get behind in history like last year.
Several homeschoolers I know homeschool for six weeks and then they rest on the seventh week. They call it Sabbath Schooling. I like it. I sort of do it, but I don’t rigidly stop teaching on the seventh week. Sometimes it is on the ninth week, based on what we have going on. For instance, if we are learning a new math concept and have momentum under our wings, I will not stop just because the seventh week started.
I like to take a break when I feel exhaustion coming or when the kids are burned out or when we have a family outing. Our version of Sabbath Schooling happens on a weekly basis. We homeschool six days a week and rest on the seventh. Continue reading
I don’t know why we should only school for five days a week. “Six days shalt thou labor…” says the commandment, right? Even God worked for six days and then rested on the seventh.
Even Jessie Wise, the mother of Susan Wise Bauer, says in The Well-Trained Mind that if she could do everything all over again, she would school for six weeks and then take a break.
On Friday, we still hit the books (although only for essentials like reading and math) and practice piano and violin, but we also clean the house and the yard, fold laundry and cook an extra meal for the weekend. We count it as home economics. The kids learn skills that will help them in their home life.
Some weeks, I do take a day or two off if I sense that we are all approaching the point of no return, a.k.a. burnout. We do not want to go there. We stay away from it. By the way, compassion fatigue is a real medical condition and it happens to care-takers. Homeschooling moms are not just teachers, they are also care-takers. 24/7. Unless you have a break for yourself, you will experience compassion fatigue and it can lead to some ugly behavior. Take a break! Take a Sabbatical.