When I first started homeschooling, I didn’t quite know what to do, so I figured I would follow the model of the school system. One of my decisions was to follow the school calendar as closely as possible. I liked the idea that my daughter’s school holidays would be at the same time as her friends and I liked that we would have our summers off to rest, relax, and enjoy the sunshine.
However, after a couple of months into the school year I wondered… what if the traditional school schedule wasn’t optimal for my daughter?
At the end of October, she fell into her familiar pattern of exhaustion and resistance to learning. Despite how fun I was making things, she seemed just “done”. I too was starting to feel sluggish.
Then it occurred to me… why are we following the traditional school calendar? Why not switch to a year-round homeschool schedule? One of the benefits of home education is that I can provide a learning environment that’s specific to my child. So why get hung up on traditional school timelines?
We made the switch the following May and now that we’ve been at it for a while, I’ve seen many benefits to following a year-round school schedule! Here are a few of them.Come read why this family is loving year-round #homeschooling! Click To Tweet
My daughter needs breaks from school. With a year-round schedule, she has 4 weeks on and 1 week off, repeated throughout the year. I’ve accounted for a 2-week break for Christmas and a 3-week break when she switches grades.
With a 4 weeks on and 1 week off schedule, I use the 1-week transition to prepare for the new units. Weekends are too short for prepping curriculum. The one-week period allows more than enough time to plan for the next learning units.
Our long winters make it challenging to do nature studies within the conventional school year. With year-round homeschooling, we are able to do nature studies during the spring, summer, and fall (approximately 6 months of exploration time rather than 4 months).
Time to reflect & evaluate
I am, by nature, a very reflective person. I find that the traditional school schedule doesn’t allow enough time for me to reflect and evaluate. The one-week break provides ample time for me to assess and document our learning process.
I reflect on our activities and document which ones my daughter seemed to enjoy the most. The year-round schedule is also helpful when planning for a home visit with our mentor teacher. I have the time to assemble all of my daughter’s work and report our progress.
Currently, our budget doesn’t allow us to do much traveling but we would like to do so in the future. With year-round homeschooling, we can travel off-season while all the rest of the kids are in school.
Off-season travel is often more affordable too!
Built-in buffer time
Life happens. Children get sick and emergencies occur. I like that year-round homeschooling provides a “buffer zone” for life’s events. If we have to take a week off due to illness, there isn’t a pressure to make up that week by padding the days in the subsequent week. We can simply declare that sick week as our week off. It’s not the ideal way to spend a week off, but it keeps illness from interfering with our learning schedule.
With year-round homeschooling, I need not be concerned about long breaks in learning. We school through the summer, so there’s no lapse in knowledge and no need to spend time on review of the previous year’s curriculum.
As a homeschooling mom, I teach every day, whether we’re exploring a new concept or making dinner together; my daughter is learning from me. Year-round homeschooling is ideal for our family and keeps my little students happy, and engaged!
What are your thoughts on a year-round homeschool schedule? Do you do it already? Would you consider it?
*A version of this post originally appeared on The Deliberate Mom.*