Vacation–to school or not to school

img_5468Whenever we go on vacation it is hard to know how much school to bring.  Should we bring any at all?  In my experience, it is a lot harder to get back into the groove of schooling after a vacation if we didn’t do anything while we were gone.  It usually takes the first week back to get into the routine of chores, instruments, and then school work again.  We get a little better each day, but a vacation of two weeks can turn into a three week loss if I don’t put in a little effort while we are gone.

But obviously I don’t want to carry a ton of books and stuff on vacation.  When I am setting up my plan for schooling on the go, I start with whatever we have that is available online.  Right now we have access to several online reading programs.  We have Headsprout for the youngest, Ticket to Read for my kindergartner, Wordly Wise 3000 and Reading Eggpress for my 2nd grader.  The kids have Discovery Science Techbook on their cheap Kindle Fire tablets.  We also have an online subscription to Holt Biology and Lukeion Witty Wordsmith for my 5th grader, so everyone has some school subjects that only require access to the internet.

If online access is not available, then I would go onto the next stage of my planning.  There is always a subject that needs more work in our family than some of the others.  I pick the most crucial subject for each of my children.  If it is reasonable, I make copies on my printer so that I don’t have to bring the heavy books.  I can’t do this for my son because he is very particular about using the same materials, so I pick the lightest, thinnest subjects he has.  His math books are soft-bound thin workbooks, so I usually grab those, and a handwriting book.  But my other kids can handle using copies, so I grab enough work to cover half of the school days we will be gone.  (Cause we probably won’t get to more than that even if we work a little every day.)

Then my goal is that the kids sit down and do a little school work at least every other day.  They don’t need to get through everything that I brought, but I just don’t want them to lose the habit or the expectation that they do some work.  That way when we get home, it really isn’t a big deal to jump back into things because they never adopted the attitude that they weren’t supposed to have to work.  I also try to have them stay on top of their living spaces by making their beds and straightening up their rooms, so that they keep the idea that they have to do cleaning chores fresh in their minds.

So that is what I do on vacation to keep the good habits we have been working on alive while we enjoy making vacation memories together.  It works a lot better for our family than taking all of the time off, although I know a lot of people who really enjoy that approach.  Leave a comment below to share what works for you.

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