We all get to this place. For many of you, it was probably in February that you came to the end of yourself. We don’t call it Homeschool Burnout Month for nothing. But for me, February was full of traveling and speaking, and I didn’t have time to get burned out. March was full of Charlotte Mason Boot Camp beta testing, so again: no time. (And also: tons of fun!)
But now, here I am. All the nights when I was doing something other than reading and generally filling my tanks back up are beginning to show.
The question is what to do when times like this arrive. Lucky for me, it tends to arrive on schedule. (We Sabbath School: six weeks on, one week off.)
But it isn’t enough to have a break week. I have to plan for it. In my experience, break weeks without a plan breed regret.
So what does a good break week look like? Well, it depends on your goals. For me, I feel a few things: worn out, empty, and behind. My goals are simple: combat all those things. Here’s my plan:
I’ve been getting up early for weeks, even on Saturdays. I rarely get to make up for staying up late (which I try not to do very often) because there are too many reasons I need to be up early. This means that if break week needs to be anything, it’s time for extra sleep. While I don’t want to sleep my days away, an extra hour each morning, or a quick nap in the afternoon, should really help.
In addition to this, I’ve been inside too much. Here it is, spring, glorious spring, and I’ve had too many indoor tasks. This means that time at the park and time in the backyard are both priorities. To be honest, nothing makes me feel better than a few hours in the sunshine. To say I’m excited about our upcoming day trip to the beach with friends is an understatement!
I haven’t had enough time to read and think. Teaching is a funny thing — if you keep emptying it all out without replacing it, you really do turn up empty. I’ve felt it — it’s kind of like that time my car started running out of gas. I’m coasting on fumes, and this is not only dangerous (might not make it to the gas station), but also could cause permanent damage (anyone else needed a new fuel pump before?).
While I try not to play it this close to the edge, life happens sometimes, doesn’t it? The key is to repair the damage and refill the tank as soon as possible.
It’s pretty easy to combine that outdoor time I’m planning with a good book (or, in my case, a stack of them).
I hate the feeling of wanting to avoid my house because there is too much that needs to be done and I don’t have time to do any of it. It’s been hanging over my head for a few weeks now. I’m building a long list of tasks I’ve been putting off: oil changes, recycling runs, various errands, cleaning tasks, and more. My hope is that the children and I can knock these out in a few well-planned trips and activities.
How to Plan a Break Week
You probably need to take a spring break (unless, of course, you already did). I really encourage you to do so. Sometimes a break can set us straight and help us finish the school year well. But don’t just take one — plan one. This is what I wish someone had told me earlier on: that even break weeks were worth planning. It’s worth being deliberate.
Don’t just take my goals — figure out the goals you need to reach in order to prepare yourself for the end run of the school year. Here’s the process I use:
- Ask yourself how you feel — are you tired? bored? lonely? What’s ailing you?
- Turn those feelings into goals. If you’re tired: sleep. If you’re bored: do something interesting. If you’re lonely: connect with friends or family.
- Spend 20 minutes with your calendar and schedule it out.
I still remember when Pam taught me to plan my summers. I had been sort of haphazard about them before, and it always felt like they slipped through my fingers — like they should have been more than they were. I realize now that because I didn’t have a plan, they were only a fraction of what I wished them to be — even if that only meant I wanted more time in the sunshine.
It’s not that we need to make break week productive. It’s just that thinking through goals and making a plan helps us make it what we really want it to be.
Are you planning a break week soon?
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