Day 31 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Should we be doing weekends and holidays? Have we earned them?!

Welcome to readers from Saudi Arabia! Please stay awhile and let us know how you’re feelin’!

I’ve decided that I feel like I’m doing too much talking without having the time to do enough listening. I don’t feel like I can have anything interesting to say if I don’t get a chance to read, books and blogs, and digest – in other words listen to other voices. So instead of posting every day I will commit to posting one, well-thought about piece a week and then post in between times if I think I have anything of value to say. Hopefully there’s 30 days worth of reasonably intelligent comment to be going on with for new readers and my loyal, older readers can enjoy a different, longer-stewed, better spelled view! 🙂

Should homeschoolers have weekends off, even holidays, especially those of us who are on such a relaxed schedule? The weekends ‘schedule’ is deeply ingrained in us, given Edward was recently at school and Dad works away from home 5 days a week (at least). On Friday and Saturdays, we like to get up even more lazily than we do during the week because at the weekend all four of us can snuggle together and chat and giggle and cuddle. Daddy’s home! Yeah! It’s nice to spend time with Dad who doesn’t, thus far, really want to ‘teach’. But is this OK?

We think time with him is more important than anything and that means dropping everything; homeschooling, play dates and extra-curricular activities (although I should call them ‘extra-home’ activities since we don’t have a ‘curricular’ anymore)! The only things we will do are ‘special events’ like the recent Bahrain ‘Spring of Culture’ performances which we chose for the kids and I to go to with friends rather than with Dad. Weekends with Dad feel very different from the weekday and even though the weekdays feel a lot more like the weekends than they used to when Edward was at school, the last few weekends, since we started homeschooling, are still very definitely ‘weekendy’ in feeling. However, I know lots of homeschoolers who don’t ‘do’ weekends or, indeed, holidays. They do their workbooks, at least a bit, all the time! Yes, for sure, learning never stops. At weekends, we never stop talking about the world around us. We even took the chess board to the café when we went for breakfast yesterday and Edward and his Dad played a bit, although the game was pretty loosely played because there was a nice boy Edward’s age at the next door table who was of course far more fun to play with!

On holiday, I want to visit museums, cultural and historical sites, because they’re really interesting, not just because they’re edifying. But more than anything, I want us to soak up the atmosphere of the place, to try and engage people we meet in conversation, to let the children play with kids they might meet in a local park. You can’t get a real feel for a place if you only know it after 2pm, when ‘school’ or the museum visit (most likely being visited by fellow foreigners) is done! It happens when you go for breakfast around the corner and try to order croissant and hot chocolate in broken French and drink it out of bowls, it happens when you let your hubbie have a lie in and you take the kids to the playground across the road at 9am and meet other parents doing the same thing. If you can’t converse, because you’re a hopeless monoglot like me, you can smile in mutual understanding and the children can play together without a linguistic care in the world.

I want us to have enough time to wander around a place for three weeks, to feel like we really live there; that we’re Amsterdammers or Parisians or Barcelonians. I think this is a great experience for the kids, one that might really stick with them, one that they might really remember, not because of the all the information they gleaned but because of the sights, sounds, smells and happy smiling faces they met. And hopefully, when we get home, they’ll miss all those things and want to know more so that we can get some DVDs, look at some books, perhaps Edward might even want to email some new friends with his recently acquired typing skills!

What do you do? Are you are homeschooler who ‘does’ weekends and holidays? If not, why not? I’d love to know.

Don’t feel shy! Please always feel free to post comments on any of the days you read, however old they are. Your views are valuable and it’s always good to have debate. If you’re too busy to comment that day, but enjoyed what you read, please do press the ‘Like’ button at the end of the post. If you would like to make life easier (who doesn’t?!) scroll down the right hand side of the page and click the ‘Follow’ button. Posts will be delivered to your email inbox until such time you may not want them anymore. Commenting, ‘Liking’, Following is much appreciated as it helps encourage more people to read homeschoolinginthemiddleeast! And commenting helps others who may well like to have more ideas or suggestions about the topic concerned. Any comments about Maths teaching is still especially appreciated and suggestions about resources warmly welcome, as per the plea in my post Take care. Have a great day and thank you for visiting.

About homeschoolingpenny

Hi and welcome! My name is Penny and I used to live in Bahrain but In November 2012 moved to Dubai and now we live in Granada, Spain! If you want to contact me my email is I recommend you start my blog on 'Day 1' but please enjoy whatever you dip into. 23 February 2012 marked the first day of no more school FOREVER for my two kids. Edward, who is nearly 10 had attended a variety of schools since he was very little. Petra, who is now 6, has never gone to school. On this date we decided Edward was never going back to school and Petra never would go to school. We hope to successfully homeschool from this day forward, although we would consider an alternative school as an option- if there was some amazing Sudbury or other really alternative school. Actually, I prefer the term 'home learning' than 'homeschool' because I don't like to think of school coming into our home. In fact, I hope to go further and guide/learn alongside, rather than teach, my kids using the 'unschooling' philosophy to instill a lifelong love of learning in them. We lived in the Middle East and now Spain all of which are very challenging places to home educate. This is an exciting journey that I used to blog about regularly, at first it was on an almost daily basis. Please join me on our travels and I hope we might be able to help each other out along the way. I certainly hope I can be a source of support and comfort and, in time, knowledge to all potential/presently participating homeschoolers/home educators/unschoolers. Good luck to us all! If you want to read about why I started home educating, why I pulled my son out of a 'very good' private school mid-term, how I felt at the very start and how my philosophy has evolved, please start from 'Day 1' of the blog. Please do post comments at the end of any days that you read. Your opinion is valuable and it's great to start up debate amongst other people commenting too, however old the post. Thank you for visiting homeschoolingmiddleeast.
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4 Responses to Day 31 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Should we be doing weekends and holidays? Have we earned them?!

  1. Jade says:

    Hey Penny, I think whether you home school or not, you need to have breaks and weekends, especially if that means that Amjad has time to spend with you and the kids in a “natural” setting, whatever that might be! How long will Edward and Petra still want to cuddle in bed on a Sunday morning (hopefully they’ll feel comfortable forever) but many kids don’t want to do this anymore once they reach a certain age when it is no longer cool. Perhaps weekends don’t look like what you do the rest of the week, but they can still include many educational and enriching opportunities! Times with Dad around are so very important too … speaking as one mum with a husband who works a lot and often very late hours, I know that my kids absolutely adore and crave every second of time that they can spend with Craig. To me, spending time with dad is far more important than any other kind of learning they could be doing. Just my two cents 🙂

    • I totally agree with you, Jade, but SO great to hear it from you. Very reassuring! Thanks so much for commenting. It really helps me out! Maybe if Amjad was around more often, we could be a bit more fluid about when to take breaks. But since he’s not, we have to work around him needing to crash at weekends (he often arrives or leaves in the middle of them). He’s so tired that quality playtime is limited and all he really wants is to slot a DVD in the player and cuddle with the kids on the sofa! It drives me mad. I could do so much more with them but I have to have them have their time with him, even if it’s not the highest quality! They are in heaven at least! And I try to do my best the rest of the time 😉

  2. Pingback: Week 6 – Day 48 of Homeschooling in the Middle East – Deschooling Myself | homeschoolingmiddleeast

  3. I met a local unschooling mom that has managed to unschool two children out of the highschool level and has two more teenagers at home. She is a mentor to me. She told me everything counts. Even when the kids are playing legos on the floor or getting exercise in the park. Playing chess while you wait for breakfast is educational. I think everything we do in our lives uses some part of our brain or body and that is education. We just need to stimulating ourselves in some way.

    When my oldest daughter went to preschool I volunteered there once a week. I found it really hard to do something as simple as a kids puzzle. I found that very strange. How hard is a kids puzzle. A few years after that I heard the saying for the first time “use it or loose it.” I realized that it is so true. The simplest things we do can be lost if we don’t keep exercising our brains even in easy ways like doing puzzles.

    I have rambled but I think everything counts towards education. The simplest things to the big things. Even laying and snuggling with dad on weekends is bonding and helping your kids grow. Just live. Education takes care of itself don’t you think so?

What do you think? Please do let me know. I would love to hear your opinion!

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