Homeschooling and Pesach preparations

>> How do you fit in homeschooling with your Pesach preparations?<<

I think that preparing for a yom tov is the priority for that time of year, not the academics.  When my kids were younger and I had to choose between cleaning/cooking for yom tov or homeschooling, I declared an official vacation from homeschooling so that we could focus on holiday preparations without anyone feeling like they were being neglectful of something else they should have been doing.  During the weeks before Pesach, I read Pesach themed books with them, listened to the story of yetzias Mitzrayim, stories of Eliyahu Hanavi, discussed the Hagada, learned Ma Nishtana, did projects or colored pictures, etc.   But I dropped anything else with regards to homeschooling not related to Pesach, unless it was something the child himself wanted to do with his time.  We homeschooled year round, and it worked out very nicely to take a three week break for Rosh Hashana through Sukkos, three or four weeks for Pesach, and shorter breaks throughout the year. 

As my kids get older and our family size continues to grow, I continue to adapt our schedules to what works best for us.  For the last three years, our schedule most of the year long is we do all of our academics in the morning, and generally everyone has their work finished by lunch time.  After lunch is free time, which for the most part I leave to the kids’ discretion to use as they want.  This is for Mondays through Thursdays; erev Shabbos is spent preparing for Shabbos.  And Sundays are very relaxed – they do some academics, but they have piano lessons/ Girl Scouts/learning on Sunday mornings, too, so I don’t expect them to do the same amount of academics they would do on a regular day.

Except for the couple of days preparing the kitchen for Pesach (which as you all know is a bit of a marathon), we stick to this schedule even while integrating Pesach cleaning into our days.  What changes is that the kids have less discretionary time – the cleaning takes place in the afternoon.  They still have time to go swimming, play basketball, exercise, or get together with friends, but not as much time.  I don’t think that three hours of free time a day instead of four is suffering. :)    (To be very honest, though, unless they leave the house for the entire afternoon, they rarely use all of their afternoon time for just leisure.  All of them participate to some degree every afternoon in some meal preparation, playing with a younger sibling, diaper changing, clean up, or something like that if they’re around.) 


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