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When we began homeschooling 7 years ago, homeschooling year-round wasn’t even a consideration. I didn’t even know that this was something people actually did. When I did hear the term year-round homeschooling for the first time, I thought it sounded crazy; who does that? And why would they want to?
Well, 5 years into our homeschooling journey, something had to change, and homeschooling year round sounded like it might be a good option for our family. With several moves and several babies in the last several years, I needed something that allowed for more flexibility while providing efficiency as well.
Here are some of the benefits that I, as well as other homeschoolers, have found from homeschooling year round –
What homeschool mom doesn’t need less stress? When homeschooling year round, I don’t have to worry about cramming all of our learning into a 36-week schedule. Instead, I have 52 weeks to work with.
Just like I mentioned above, we have more time to get our schooling in. Instead of the typical 36-week school year, we have 52 weeks to work with.
Having more time also allows us to take ‘rabbit trails’ more often without the guilt and allows us to immerse ourselves in topics that really interest us.
Homeschooling year round allows for more time to be spent with a struggling learner. If one of the kids is having difficulty with a certain math concept or is struggling with reading, we can take the extra time to master the skill without feeling hurried.
Homeschooling year round offers so much flexibility. Instead of a 5-day school week, we can easily cut back to a 4-day school week without having to overfill those 4 days.
We can also spread out our breaks and take small breaks more often instead of one or two longer breaks.
We can take a day off here and there (due to sickness, a field trip, an impromptu play date, or just because we feel like it) without feeling like we are going to get behind.
We can join a co-op and not feel like it’s taking up some of our learning time at home. In the past, when we were following a 36-week schedule, it was hard for us to be a part of our church’s co-op and get all of our other schooling done at home too.
With year-round homeschooling we are able to let our children explore extra activities, like sports and music lessons, without feeling like we are taking away from ‘school time.’
You don’t experience any summer learning loss (ideally), which means less time needed to review concepts when school starts, which means more time for other things.
We also don’t have an adjustment period of getting back into our school routine because we never left it.
We are able to school using a block/modular approach. When we study things like science, history, art, or literature, I like to be able to fully study them and not just visit the subject 1, 2, or 3 times a week. We like to focus on one main subject and do that subject everyday. We may finish our science curriculum in 3 months and then do an art project for a week, then a literature study for a couple weeks, then do a few months of history, then another art project. Math and language arts are done every day, all year.
Vacations & Breaks
We can space our break times out so that we can have more of them! I prefer several smaller breaks throughout the year versus one or two larger breaks so that we don’t experience burn-out as often.
We can vacation in the off-season–which means cheaper rates and fewer crowds.
We take more time off for Christmas! Before schooling year-round, I didn’t feel like we had the time to really enjoy the Christmas season or to fully focus on the real reason we celebrate it – our Lord Jesus Christ.
Homeschooling is a lifestyle, so it is our life all year, not just 180 days or 8-10 months out of the year. We are constantly learning, constantly exploring, and constantly trying new things.
When my kids are in the ‘real world,’ they won’t be taking 2- to 3-month long vacations from their jobs, so why would they do it for school?
‘Real life’ is happening all around us – things like moving, babies being born, job changes, sicknesses, vacations, and holidays – homeschooling year-round allows us to live life, enjoy it, and learn from it as well.
Mapping Out the Year
This is the one-page planner that I use to start my school planning each year. I like to be able to see the whole year at a glance and map out the days we will be taking off of school.
The first thing I do is figure out the number of days we can potentially take off from schooling. If you figure a 180-day school year, we can take off about 80 days each year (not counting the weekends).
Then I highlight everyone’s birthdays (because those are holidays to us because who wants to do school on their birthday?) and holidays that we take off. Next I will highlight any vacations we have planned or any days that we will have family in town visiting (Grandma and Grandpa live across the country). Finally, I space out a couple more breaks within our year. For this school year (2014), I have allotted for roughly 50 days off from school, leaving 30 extra days to use when needed for sick days or days when we just need a break.
Below you will find calendars for 2017 through 2020 in all 3 formats (with school years running from January – December, from July – June, and from September – August.
January Through December School Year:
July Through June School Year:
September Through August School Year:September 2017 – August 2018
Homeschooling year-round may not be the best fit for every family. And some families may find that it works for them for a time, but then they may switch to a different schedule that better fits their season of life. If homeschooling year-round is something your family is considering, hopefully you will find the benefits that I mentioned above helpful to your decision-making process.
Does your family homeschool year round? Are you considering it? Why?