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    by Mike McHugh

Vacation Planning for Home Educators
Date Posted: January 10, 2008

If your home school family is anything like ours, you probably get rather excited about the prospect of getting away from the friendly confines of home on occasion. After all, families who home school do spend a great deal of time, well … home! Moms, in particular, need a change of scene from time-to-time where they can get away from the routine challenges of daily life in order to relax and re-focus. As any family can tell you, however, just getting away is no guarantee that the time spent on vacation will be truly beneficial. The simple fact is that family vacations commonly succeed or fail based upon how well the family prepared for their time away.

Perhaps the most reliable way to ensure that your family vacation will be a disappointment, is to assume that “everything will fall into place by itself.” The key to wise vacation planning is, therefore, to actually plan out the major details of your trip far in advance of your departure. Some families, (not ours by the way) even go so far as to make up a vacation check list to ensure that the key points of their preparation are done in a timely manner. Regardless of your exact methodology, it is important to consider the following issues when making vacation plans:

  1. Transportation – If your planning on taking a car, be sure to have it inspected in order to know if you need to make any repairs. If you plan to travel by plane, whom will you ask to take your family to the airport? Who will pick you up upon arrival?

  2. Lodging – If your travel plans include the need of a hotel stay, you should make reservations several weeks in advance. In the event that you plan on staying with family or friends during your vacation, ask them if you need to bring any extra supplies such as towels or sleeping bags.

  3. Travel Itinerary – Write out a daily plan for places you want to see, events you want to attend, or people you want to visit. Be sure to schedule in time to simply do little more than relax by the pool or read a good book!

  4. Financial Preparation – Make plans to have your credit card balance paid in full so you have extra funds available to you on your trip. If your trip will last more than a week, it might be helpful to pay for any bills that will be due during your trip before you leave.

  5. House Issues – Remember to suspend the delivery of your newspaper, as well as the mail, if your trip will be more than a few days. Locate someone, preferably a neighbor or relative who lives nearby, to look after your home while you are gone and do things like cut the grass.

  6. Pet Care – If you have pets, make plans to have someone in the area care for them. Small pets, such as fish and birds, can often be transported to the home of the people who will be caring for them a day or two before you leave.

  7. Travel Supplies – Be sure to have enough suit cases for each family member, along with plenty of snacks and games for the trip. When our family goes on a long trip in the car, we often bring a supply of books-on-tape, as well as “radio theatre” audio presentations from Focus On the Family.

  8. Work Related – Ask the proper person at your work place to do the task or tasks that you normally perform during the time that you are away. In addition, if you volunteer at your local church or in your community, then be sure to have someone scheduled to fill in for you.

  9. Meals – How are you going to handle meals while you are on vacation? Will you eat all of your meals with friends or at a local restaurant? When our family goes on vacation, we often pack enough food to have at least some of our meals on our own. This can save you quite a few dollars!

  10. Emergency Kit – Be sure to pack an emergency first-aid kit, for you never know who will get sick or injured while you are away. If you have young children, bring plenty of bandages and disinfectant wipes!

  11. Bible Study Aids – Do not forget to bring along your Bible, as well as good Christian books and music. Some of the most profitable devotions that our family has ever experienced have come while we were on vacation.

Once you have hit the road, it is important to follow your schedule, while also remaining flexible in regard to changes. Minor details of your vacation plan will often need to be changed or modified, but as much as possible, stick to your original schedule to minimize stress.

Family vacations should be focused on creating solid and edifying memories, without going crazy or bankrupt in the process. Thoughtful and careful planning will go a long way towards enabling families to achieve these goals. So, the next time your family begins to talk about the need to get away, remember, great planning paves the way for great vacations!

Copyright 2008 Michael J. McHugh

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Biography Information:
This column is written by the staff at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. As a pioneer in the homeschool movement, Christian Liberty ministries has been operating a full service, K-12 home school program for over thirty years and a Christian textbook ministry (Christian Liberty Press), since 1985. The mission of Christian Liberty is to provide parents with quality, affordable educational products and services that will enable them to teach their children in the home and to train their children to serve Christ in every area of life. A more extensive explanation of the CLASS home school program can be obtained at www.homeschools.org.
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