Homeschool families are together all. the. time. It’s hard to find the time, but if you can swing it a few times a year, it’s a really good thing to get out of town. Alone. Or with your spouse.
It doesn’t have to be a big to-do. Just a night or two can be so rejuvenating. You’ll leave burned out on all your everyday tasks and come home ready to go and take it all on again with a new energy.
Leaving can feel like a chore because there is a lot to organize before you go. You have to find a sitter, organize the kids’ activities with rides and preparing ahead of time. Then there’s the question of school–to have your kids do school or not when you’re away. That is the question.
As I type this, I’m actually on a little getaway myself. My husband and I haven’t been out of town alone together since 2011, so we took a few days off to head to the mountains of Colorado, see a show, and enjoy some adult time.
The hitch was getting ready ahead of time.
It just so happened to be the busiest week ever with new activities starting, school having just started last week, and the kids and I trying to get into a new fall routine. That said, I knew I wanted the kids to do some school while I was away. My oldest needs to keep on track with his co-op classes, and my other children need routine now more than ever.
Before you imagine my mom (my favorite babysitter) doing a full day of school and activities with four kids by herself, plus meals and laundry, let me share a few tips that I use for getting out of town. This goes for an adult getaway with my spouse or when I go somewhere alone. Here’s how I make it easier.
Getaway tips for homeschooling parents
Think ahead and keep it simple. Getting organized to get out of town is not super easy, so start early and think ahead about what your sitter will need while you’re gone. Things like:
- Get backpacks ready for co-op
- Have shoes in the bag for soccer
- Get the library books returned so the library won’t be calling while you’re gone.
Keep it simple by clearing everything except the essentials from your calendar while you’re gone.
Get meals ready. Make things easier for your sitter by planning meals ahead of time. This could mean making some freezer meals or preparing meals and putting them in the fridge. I do a big grocery run and make sure they have everything they need while I’m gone – plenty of lunch and breakfast ingredients, plus the makings for simple dinners.
Write it all down. When I travel, I usually leave the sitter with a whole packet of info. Don’t worry; it sounds more professional than it actually is. I have a piece of paper for each day and a schedule of events for that day. I write down addresses to activities on sticky notes that can easily be removed and brought to the car for navigating. I also write down reminders for each day.
I try to take care of anything that might be a pain for the sitter to deal with while watching kids in an unfamiliar place – library books that are nearly overdue, the leaky sink, taking out the trash…
Homeschool tips for the substitute homeschool teacher
Normally, if I were going out of town for a few days, I would just have my kids play some games and read. This time, with school having just begun, I felt like they needed to keep in the swing of doing school each morning.
- I slimmed things way down. I only wrote down assignments that were really necessary – for us, that was a math lesson and reading. I needed my high schooler to stay on track with his co-op classes.
- On the daily sheet for my sitter, I wrote out what the kids needed to do for school each day.
- For my preschooler, who does much better when she’s part of the action, I gathered up a basket of some of her favorite school-ish activities. That way, each day, my sitter could choose what she felt like would be fun instead of being super rigid in planning every day for her.
- My kids love having spiral notebooks for their assignments. Ahead of time, I filled in their assignment notebooks. It was fun because it gave me the perfect place to write down little reminders and love notes to them – Don’t forget to set your instrument by the door tonight for lessons tomorrow. I miss you, sweetie. Read a book to your sister today if she’s missing me.
- Even though I only had them doing a math lesson and read each day, it was helpful to lay it all out. I reminded the kids of some fun games we had, too, if they need something fun (and educational, but don’t tell them that part) to do. It helps to keep them in a routine, which is easier for me to come back to, plus it’s less stress on kids that might have a hard time when parents are away.
Going away is so beneficial for parents. We need that adult time so we can know who we are as human beings, separate from our kids. We won’t always have a tribe of little ones under our roof, so keeping a sense of personal identity is important. Reading our own books that have nothing to do with school, having hobbies aside from kids’ interests, and going out with our husband and friends are all part of that too.
Get away, mamas. You can do this. You’re an irreplaceable force, but you deserve a break too. Plan ahead, keep it simple while you’re away, and enjoy.
What are some of your tried-and-true tips for keeping things going at home when you’re away?
This post is linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop.