Honestly, I would love to take a summer break. I dream of having three months to work on my pet projects, re-organize my schoolroom and get refreshed. I tried it once in my six years of homeschooling and once was enough. I realized that it simply does not work for us. Of course, that is one of the joys of homeschooling, the flexibility of it all! I don’t have to line my schedule up with the typical school year, which allows us the freedom to work throughout the year at a pace that makes sense for us.
You see, neither my husband or I have family that live nearby. Our closest relative is over seven hours away. And of course, grandparents on both sides, as well as aunts, uncles and everyone in between, want to visit with the children. It’s just not the same as when they would go visit their cousins in public school. The difference is, when they come to visit us, they are visiting the “school” as well. Their host, is the teacher. I realized very quickly that I am only one person and can only do so much. Entertaining guests and trying to teach three children under the age of ten all while caring for a newborn is a lot. Rather than getting overwhelmed and sending an email to all family members with a detailed school calendar complete with days off from school when they would be welcome to visit, (trust me, I was tempted!) I decided to school year round.
At first it was hard, very hard. “Don’t they know I homeschool!” I would think and fester over for days. Of course this attitude was of no benefit to anyone. Rather than becoming bitter, I changed my mindset. I’ve always wanted to be hospitable and have an open home for others, so here was my chance. It wasn’t an easy decision since yes, there are sacrifices that have to be made. When the phone rings and company wants to stay for several days, plans need to change, and fast. We put the books up and get into cleaning mode. Each child, in addition to their regular chores, are responsible for helping to get the house ready. When the company arrives they are responsible to help with the meals and keeping things in order. Looking back over the past year, we had guests probably every other month, sometimes more. When they come, they want to spend time with the kids so we enjoy their company, go on day trips and try to be as hospitable as possible. The freedom of being able to school year round gives us the opportunity to bless others in this way. It also teaches my children not to be slaves to schedule and routine! Somehow the work always gets done and the kids graduate on to a new year. The skills that they have gained are not only from the books but from their experiences, and for that I am thankful.