My daughter asked me if we were going to have a spring break now that we are homeschooling. At first I didn’t have an answer for her, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized we didn’t really have a need for one. We had no vacation plans, and homeschool is not as demanding on a child’s time as traditional school is. My girls have lots of time to play, explore, read, pursue interests at will, and relax. So I told her I didn’t see a need for a spring break.
It was met with an “awww” whine at first but when I asked why she felt that way, she wasn’t really sure. Then she decided it was because she wanted to take a vacation during spring break. Join the club, kid.
A couple days later, I was on my weekly “I can’t take the clutter anymore” tirade and I decided to repurpose our Friday (Fridays are usually used as either make up time if we are behind or free-form learning anyway) and use it to clean out the girls’ own personal Barnes & Noble store they continually have going on in their room. Most people call this a “bookshelf,” and indeed somewhere behind sliding-over stacks of unorganized books, journals, scraps of string, Lottie dolls, and Valentine’s-themed pencils there is, indeed, a bookshelf. We took literally three hours to have each girl go through each book, sorting them into “keep” or “adios” piles. If either kid wanted to keep it, it stayed. We then sorted the ‘keeps’ into picture books (which would be kept in bins, a.k.a. dishpans from the Dollar Tree), chapter books, and magazines. We further sorted the chapter books into series and non-series and shelved them accordingly. The most popular and oft-chosen got a coveted space on top of the shelf between painted bookends. Magazines and catalogs (are my kids the only ones who love catalogs?) were sorted by date and put in another bin. I tried to cultivate commitment to keeping it organized by adding a dollar store string of lights at the top for fun.
My kids did a great job of sticking with the painstaking process (I bailed and returned several times). In the end we culled the collection to just the best of the best and had a giant pile of books left over to show for it.
Naturally, this gratified me enormously but only fed my desire for order and space in our small house. I thought it over for like ninety seconds and backtracked on my decision to not have a spring break. Oh, we’d have a spring break, alright. A spring CLEANING break. Much to their probable dismay, my children will use time typically spent swimming in a hotel pool, eating ice cream cones, bouncing on trampolines, riding bikes, and watching movies cleaning, sorting and organizing! After all, it is 90% their stuff. And doubtless they’d prefer a mom who is not suffering from a maniacal, clutter-induced nervous breakdown, so we are all going to pitch in to ensure that does not happen. I’ll let you know how it goes.