Christmas break. A time for students to spend time at home, away from school and relaxing their brains for the second half of information soaking that will come in January with the new year. But for students who call their home school, how is the break different?
Homeschooling is common in many towns. Many parents opt to educate their children at home, rather than send them to a public or private school. Kerstin Klassen, who home schools her children, said that Christmas break at home school is similar to that of public schools.
“Every family has their own thing,” Klassen said. “We’re accountable for the school days through the year but there’s some flexibility there.”
Klassen said, in her experience, the Christmas break for homeschoolers can be adjusted, depending on the year and obligations the family has during the holidays. Home schools have the same educational expectations as public schools, but have the flexibility of working on schedule that can be adjusted. Klassen said, for example, this year her husband, Steve, and daughter, Elisabeth, went on a medical mission trip with their church to Guatemala, which the flexible holiday schedule allowed for.
“Guatemala wasn’t on the radar when I made the schedule,” Klassen laughed. She said she made her families schedule this summer, but was able to make the adjustment to allow time for the trip. Klassen said her family also does some schooling during the summer, which opens up more days later in the year. Ultimately, she said for her family the length of the break varies greatly depending on the year.
“We have the freedom to assess and make a schedule,” she said.
Shelly Aljoe also home schools her daughter, Jordan, and said the Christmas break can vary, though for her family it is generally two weeks.
“Sometimes it shifts around,” Aljoe said. “Usually it stays close to the public schools’ break.”
Aljoe said Jordan uses the break to go beyond the books in learning and utilizes the time from studying for community service projects. Aljoe said her daughter, who is a junior, goes to Elmbrook Nursing Home during the break to read to the residents, especially during Christmas.
“She loves to visit with older people,” Aljoe said. “She loves to hear their Christmas stories and read Christmas stories.”
Aljoe said Jordan told her of one resident who remembered spending Christmas through the Great Depression, noting she didn’t receive a Christmas gift for five straight years before receiving a doll on the sixth year, after her parents saved money for more than the half-decade. Aljoe said in addition to the visits, Jordan also bakes cookies and treats for members of the church and delivers them. She also participates in projects through the home school group ACT 20:35, which does various projects like Operation Christmas Child and projects with the Salvation Army.
Aljoe said the break is also used to plan college visits. She said Jordan has been home schooled since fourth grade and the Christmas break has remained fairly consistent throughout the years, unless things needed to be adjusted.
Aljoe said homeschooling has allowed for a flexible Christmas break, which has allowed her daughter the opportunity to learn not only at home from books, but by being active in the community.