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Top 5 Reasons Why Homeschooling Year Round Works for Us!

After last year’s fiasco of trying to follow the local public school calendar, we have returned to homeschooling year round.  I mistakenly thought that it would be easier for us to do Logan’s high school years in a more traditional format.  Why I thought this when nothing traditional has ever worked for us when it comes to education is beyond me.  I really think I got so overwhelmed by the thought of high school that I thought I needed to fit a mold.  Ha!  Those that know me well will get quite the belly laugh out of that thought!

Homeschooling year round for us means that we have lessons for 13 weeks, have a week of finals, then take 2 weeks off to relax.  The only exception to this is from Thanksgiving to the first Monday in January.  We take that entire time off from formal lessons because of Thanksgiving, 2 birthdays (one being mine), and Christmas.  It is such a sensory rich time of year which requires extra down time for everyone, most especially Logan with his autism.  Now I say we take it off from formal lessons but I do offer  lots of fun activities and readings  about the season.  It’s my children’s one chance at unschooling for the entire year.

There are many reasons that this schedule works for us so I’ll only name my top 5. No use beating a dead horse, right?
    1. No need for constant review.  Since the children only get 2 weeks off, we don’t need to review previous material before continuing on with the new stuff.  Now if there is some struggle in a specific area, then we will backtrack and review as needed.
    2. It maintains routine.  Most children, with or without autism but most especially with, crave order and routine.  They claim to love the care free lifestyle but let’s face it, they really want structure.  A few weeks off is enough time in our house to recharge and start getting antsy.  That is a sure fire sign that we need to get going again on lessons.
    3. We can take days off whenever we need or want to for therapy appointments and field trips without feeling guilty. It’s like having built in grace days.  So when opportunity for fun arises, most likely we can say yes.  Not always but most likely.
    4. We can do all the fun experiments and  activities that go along with the lesson plans.  My kids are visual learners.  They retain information better by seeing it done in front of them.  This schedule allows us to slow down the pace of the curriculum so that we can accentuate it visually.
  1. Most importantly, it allows us to add lots and lots of community service to our homeschool.  I want my children to be servant leaders.  I want them to be Jesus to others by serving their needs when they can.  The only way they are going to learn this is to do it from a young age alongside their parents.  Sort of a teach by example moment.  If this is all they learn in our homeschool, then I will consider it a success.

Those are my top 5 reasons for homeschooling year round.   While this schedule doesn’t work for everyone, it fits our family especially well.  That’s really the beauty of homeschooling, right?  You get to  make the schedule that fits your family.  So, tell me some of your reasons for homeschooling year round if you do or why you don’t .  I always love to peek into other homeschools.   Thanks for peeking into mine!

Penny is a fun mom who lives in Florida with her handsome husband and  beautiful children.  She is often seen in flip flops striving to be the fantabulous  wife and homeschool mama that God created her to be.   You can follow their hilarious adventures through homeschooling, autism, and princess in training at  her blog, Our Crazy Adventures in Autismland, on her Facebook page or on Twitter.

 

Comments

  1. That’s what we do too! (oh and my 12 year old has autism and Prader-willi syndrome) We have been homeschooling for 6 years and for a couple of years tried to go by the public school calender and regretted it as our son regresses, he gets bored and then things just do not go well. We take from the first part of July until the first part of August due to birthdays but seriously there are not many days that go by that we aren’t doing SOMETHING educational. This summer my daughter (who will be 11) is hopefully going to be volunteering at a national part that has a goat farm. She wants to become a vet. Life IS learning even for us moms and dads!

  2. National Park….not National Part. ;)

  3. michelle teter says:

    We do a somewhat similar schedule. Our school year begins in January of each year & goes thru September. Our “summer” is from Oct-Dec. The primary reason I chose this schedule was because I have a painful chronic disease that flares during stressful times (like holidays) & the hot to cold weather season changes. This was causing too much interuptions to our daily/weekly routine and by January I was always “behind” & feeling like a failure. I wasnt enjoying the holidays, I wasnt enjoying school & I was in a constant state of feeling overwhelmed. Now by starting in January, we have more consistency. We take our school field trips in the spring/summer when my disease is not as big of a factor. We are able to take our family vacation in October when the weather is cooler, crowds are lighter & prices are cheaper. We spend Nov & Dec as unschoolers. We read & learn about whatever we are interested in or whatever we didnt get to during our regular school term. We do crafts, sewing, baking, volunteering, and extracurricular activities. I work on Character training & Chore training, as I have more time to focus on those things since there is no “book” work. And, we slow down the pace during that time so that we can truly enjoy the holidays together as a family. Changing our annual school schedule to fit my family & not the public school system has given me the grace & flexibility to accept my physical limitations without feeling like I was failing at Homeschooling.

  4. Love this, Penny :) We, too, have always been a year-round homeschooling family. Another major reason for this decision for our family is the fact that we are military family. Thanks for sharing!
    Carlie K.

  5. I think that these are all great reasons! I want to have the freedom to take time off when we need to. My kids are still itty bitty, so I am much more unschooler than you ;-) We believe that everyday there is something to learn, whether or not it is a formal lesson. I want my kids to love learning, and not think of it as “school” So even though I expect more outside science type stuff in the summer, and more reading and actual study in the winter, I think that it gives us the opportunity to keep going and learning what we need to do, while also allowing the kids to follow their interests. I really like your idea of taking Thanksgiving through New Years off. That is always the most stressful time for me with the amount of family/friend visits we try to fit in, and this silly thing I have about making presents.

  6. Thanks for the kind comment, Heather! That is a great perspective on what to expect during the different seasons. The holiday idea has been the best one that I have ever come up with! It has saved so much stress in our house.

  7. Thanks for sharing! We don’t school year round. We need that extra long summer vacation to relax and get excited about the following year. But we continue to do many things through the summer months – hiking and nature study, gardening, swim lessons, scout and horse camps, library summer reading programs, camping – that are OUR unschooling weeks. Learning never stops!

  8. Rachel Betts says:

    I think we would like homeschooling year round but right now my husband has summer’s off so we are sticking to the traditional school year… August to May. Last year we continued lessons through the Christmas holidays (up to my husband’s holiday two weeks before Christmas). I should say we ATTEMPTED to continue lessons! It was tough! I love your idea of halting school through that time. You are right… so many other ways to “teach” kids in that time period and SO many activities, parties, meetings, and unique opportunities. We are planning to start early in August so that we can take the time between Thanksgiving and January off. Thank you for your highlights on why year round homeschooling works. It is definitely something I would like to do in the future.

    • We normally take a day off here and there when my husband is off too. If he had the entire summer then we would not homeschool year round. Great job recognizing that spending time with Dad is important too! Thanks for reading!

  9. This is a great post. My oldest is starting K this year, and I’m planning to try year round. I think many of my friends think I’m crazy, LOL. I’ve got four children four and under. I’d much rather start off the year ahead. ;)

  10. That’s great! Your schedule sounds similar to mine. You’re in Florida..so are we. Hey….are you stalking me?

    Great article! Wonderful!

  11. We homeschool year round and love it. I love your post. We’re missionaries in Tanzania and life is often unpredictable. Homeschooling all year gives us freedom to take off when visitors come or we want to get away. Our main goal is that our children love the Lord, His word, and His people so this allows us to be with our kids in the villages interacting with the amazing people we work with.

  12. Thank you for this post. We will be brand new to homeschooling this coming fall with one starting 7th and one starting 4th. I love routine and structure and assumed I would be following a “traditional” schedule. However the closer we get to the end of this year, the less sure I am of what I want to do. I like the 13 on, 2 off idea; I like the month of December off; I like semesters; I like everything! Thanks for giving me more ideas!

    • I am curious: how do you “count” your days? Here in California you are required to log in 180 days/school year. I have been obsessing about how to start/stop/qualify “days of school”. If you go year-round, how do you keep your records? I am new to this.

  13. I am finishing the first year of homeschooling my son, and I was just thinking about the fact that there seem to be so many more cool field trip opportunity in the summer months. I have been considering having school year round so we can take advantage of the opportunities, but I haven’t decided yet.

  14. I agree with so much of what you wrote; especially your point about how easy it is for kids to forget what they’ve studied after a long break! I remember as a public school kid 35 years ago having to spend a month trying to remember what I’d learned in math the year before.

    Our home school style is eclectic. When I really think about it, we do homeschool all year long. We do NOT follow the public school calendar. One of the reasons we homeschool is because we want to stay away from the rigidity of the public school system – schedules and all!

    That said, we tend to take more time off during the summer months. Not because it’s a big break for three months (we don’t go that long), rather the weather is lovely for camping and hiking and napping in the hammock. We live in Montana where the winter months can be beastly. So when the sun comes out and warms us for a few months we take full advantage!

    Thanks for sharing your thought provoking ideas about your choice to homeschool year round. I think it will cause other parents to give it a thought.

    Love,
    Laura

  15. Sarah Avila says:

    Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to hear how other people do it! I decided last December to homeschool year round! It’s just a better fit for our family!

  16. Jenandboiz says:

    After the first year of literlily trying to keep up with the Jones of Homeschooling (the people you feel like you have to follow)…. I threw in the towel, got on my knee and cried out to God saying “what do you want me to do with these kids” lol.. And after much prayer he lead me to school year round. We have goals however, I am not in a rush to get them finished in “180” day’s.. We school from Oct-Sept.. Because of my hectic schedule it is soo convenient to no be hurried through curriculum.. We can spend time on certain areas and still enjoy it. I am also sending going to school full-time year round so like I said homeschooling year round fits our family and I am finding out by the time we reach the end of our school my children are far ahead than I thought they would be. I live in Florida and so umbrella school so there is no testing for us..

  17. My children are 3 & 4. As of right now we are unschooling! However, we have decided on trying to have our school year start in January. The holiday months are always busy for us so having that extra time will be wonderful! Also, this is my last year of nursing school so schooling year round makes it less stressful! Im still working on trying to convince my family that homeschooling is the best decision for my wonderful children!!!

  18. Great post! We homeschool year round also. Not taking time off except for a family vacation (formally anyway). We love to do field trips and overnights, camping etc. I find it much more relaxed and yes routine for the kids (for us) is KEY! In NY we have a set amount of hours we need to maintain, but honestly with homeschooling, isnt almost every waking hour learning and teaching? LOL..

    Have a great day and fun Summer!

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