What is a DEAR day, Anyway?

I first heard about DEAR day when my kids were still attending a local private school. DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read. When we have a DEAR day in our home, we typically skip all lessons and do exactly what the name states. We drop everything and read.

However, from time to time we also do what I like to call a DEAR afternoon. On those particular days we still do our morning lessons, then we simply spend the afternoon relaxing with books! Simple, yet so incredibly amazing you guys!

*Fun Fact: DEAR Day is actually recognized in schools nationwide on April 12th, as a celebration of Beverly Cleary’s birthday. However, our family tends to celebrate this special day multiple times a year!

I encourage you to read on to see how we take advantage of DEAR days in our home!

Looking for other fun ways to encourage reading in your home?

Check out Summer Reading Challenge for simple tips and free printables!

Why We Have
Multiple DEAR Days a Year…

Reading for DEAR Day all Cozy on the Couch with a dog

Rain, housework, and pure exhaustion all play a huge roll in the random DEAR days that pop up throughout our homeschool year. Sometimes I do plan DEAR days, but ironically the planned ones don’t always work out! If the sun is shinning, my kids would much rather be outside. This making it extremely difficult to plan out a DEAR day weeks in advanced!

As much as I love a good plan, I thoroughly enjoy our spontaneous DEAR days most of all. As a homeschool mom, there are just times that the housework and exhaustion completely consume me! When the overwhelming pops up, DEAR day is typically my first go to! Just 2 weeks ago we had a dreary, rainy day. I knew I needed to work on the blog and catch up some laundry, so we ended up having a wonderful DEAR afternoon!

Reading on the couch with a dog for DEAR Day

Both boys hung out on a couch with a handful of books, while little miss chose the floor and some simple activity books she could complete on her own. I had an extra cup of coffee, which is a huge rarity these days!

Love Coffee Like I do?

Check out my favorite coffee recipe for mom down timeDIY Mocha Latte for the Health Conscious Mom This one is so good you guys!!

Later, I did some blog work, washed the laundry, got dinner on the table, and read some scripture! It was such a wonderful time for Mom to reboot just a little. Plus, the kids are READING. I mean seriously, it doesn’t get any better than that! I always count a good DEAR days as a successful day in my book. Absolutely no mom guilt present here!

While reading is the main focus on DEAR day, I do have a younger child that can’t read books just yet. Her attention span isn’t huge and chapter books definitely aren’t an option! This is exactly why I add in other simple activities just for her on DEAR day. Puzzles, blocks, and sticker books are all great options for the little ones. I stick to anything that can be done independently, without ending in a mess! Quiet is definitely key as well! It’s can be hard for older children to focus on their reading if there is a lot of noise coming from the littles.

Quiet Time with Activity Books

DEAR day for my daughter is a similar concept to the quiet time we already incorporate into our daily homeschool routine.

Not Sure How to Incorporate a Daily Quiet Time Into Your Homeschool Routine?

I highly encourage you to check out Homeschool Quiet Time for lots of useful tips!

Extra Tip: Having a DEAR day for your older children can also be a great way to catch up on lessons with a younger child. Plan a full DEAR day for the older kids, while only doing a half day with the young ones!

How We Spend Our DEAR Days

There is no doubt about it… when we do DEAR day, we do it right! For real though.

The kids grab their pillows and blankets, then stock up on an abundance of snacks for the day! Sometimes all the stuffed toys in the house join in on the fun as well, but that’s totally optional you guys! Oh, and we certainly can’t forget the books! SOOOO many books are involved in days like this.

Everyone curls up with a blanket (and usually a dog or two) on their favorite spot. Soon after, the snacks are busted out, books are opened and the reading has begun! The house is quiet for the most part, the children are still, and Mom gets just a touch of her sanity back. Sounds amazing right? Well guess what? It totally is!

Top 3 Reasons We Have
Spontaneous DEAR days
in Our Homeschool…

  • Weather

Sounds silly, but weather can totally affect my mood! If the sun is shining, there is a slight breeze and I hear the birds chirping outside, I tend to pop the windows open and the lessons just seem to just flow better! Anyone else? Even my kids are motivated to finish lessons quicker, when it’s nice outside!

Unfortunately that isn’t always the case. If I wake up to grey skies, thunder rolling and absolutely no sunshine… I literally don’t even want to move you guys. In moments like these I want coffee and books, I want scripture and snuggles. These days work perfect for a DEAR day or a DEAR afternoon.

Now don’t misunderstand, I don’t actually have a DEAR day every single time it rains (as much as I wish I could sometimes). I simply have days where the motivation is totally lacking and weather can totally play a role in that!

  • Stress

This is huge. I’m pretty sure stress just naturally comes with being a mom, even more so if you homeschool though. I love my kids to the moon and back, but the constant being needed can really take its toll on me!

Feeling the same way? Setting up a DEAR day for your children, so you can focus on you, isn’t a crime momma! As homeschool moms, we need to learn to let go of that horrible mom guilt and take care of ourselves from time to time! Honestly, I don’t do DEAR day for this reason, nearly enough!

Need to De-Stress More Often? Check out 10 Ways to De-stress After a Long Day for simple tips on how I fit a little mommy self care in every single day!

  • Tasks

This! This is my biggest reason for DEAR day you guys! As a homeschool mom, my to do list never seems to end! In fact, I think it grows longer every single night while I’m sleeping! I’m betting that most homeschool moms can relate to this as well.

If you need to tackle some things on your to do list, DEAR day is a fabulous option! Even though you aren’t actively doing lessons, the kids will still be learning! They will be working on growing their vocabulary through literature and using their imagination, no electronics involved! Amazing right? This is a huge win for any homeschool mom! The kids read all day and you accomplished a ton of tasks!! Yes!

Feeling overwhelmed with tasks? Not sure how to fit it all in during a single DEAR day? Check out A Much Needed Catch Up Day for tips on catching up and staying there!

How to Make DEAR DAY
Work for Your Homeschool…

This is totally important! If implementing a DEAR day into your homeschool calendar is something you are serious about, it’s super important that you do it your own way.

So you’re a planner? If planning is your thing, try planning out your DEAR days in advance to see if it’s the perfect fit for you! If it’s not, don’t be afraid to mix it up and be spontaneous! Believe it or not, but I’m a huge planner by nature and the spontaneous DEAR day is definitely what works best for our homeschool!

Feeling overwhelmed? If you get stressed easy and winging it sounds like the better option, do it! Like I mentioned earlier, you can do your DEAR day as a day long event or you can simply use it as a replacement for your afternoon activities and lessons!

The point is simple. Get the kids engaged and reading, while giving Mom a small chance to catch her breath or accomplish a task!

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Until Next Time