I recently mentioned on my blog Facbook page that our family homeschools year-round, and several of you expressed interest in what that looks like and how we do it.
So I’m going to show you what year-round homeschooling looks like in our home! Warning: it isn’t always pretty!
First of all, why homeschool year-round?
“Year-round” homeschooling isn’t actually doing school work twelve months out of the year. We do take breaks! We just don’t follow a traditional schedule.
Until last year, I followed the traditional schedule of starting up after Labor Day in September and wrapping up the school year at the end of May.
There’s nothing wrong with this schedule, of course. It works well for a lot of homeschooling families.
However, as our family has grown (we have 5 kids), our children have gotten older (our oldest is ten), and our lives have gotten increasingly busy, I felt the need to rethink our yearly routine.
By biggest “issue” with the traditional September-through-May school year is that I felt like we needed a little more time off during the holidays, especially since we have to travel a lot during that season to visit family.
A second reason is that I felt like my kids could better enjoy a “break” during the best season of the year (which here in Texas happens to be spring). During the hot days of summer (which are very long and hot indeed!), we have to spend a lot of time indoors to escape the heat; why not do school while we’re at it?
My year-round homeschool schedule.
I’m a planner by nature, so I tackled our calendar and pinpointed the times of year we needed breaks, the weeks we would do school, and when our new school year would begin and end.
Our school year generally is comprised of about 34 weeks, which spread out over a 12 month period. I leave a margin in our school schedule so that we don’t fall behind if we end up having a few weeks of sickness during the winter, an unplanned road trip, etc.
Our year-round school year begins in June (usually mid).
Summer time is a busy season, especially with church-related activities such as kids’ camp, VBS, our annual ladies retreat, etc.
My goal is to complete 6 to 8 weeks of school work by Labor Day. We take off a week or two in each of the months of June, July, and August to accomodate our ministry schedule.
In September, we hit the books full time for about 6 weeks. After a short break in October, we go at it again until Thanksgiving. This marks the beginning of our holiday break, which lasts about 6 weeks (from Thanksgiving until New Year.)
My goal is to complete 18 weeks of school before we take a mid-year break at the holidays. This puts us just over the half-way mark toward our goal of 34 school weeks.
After we’ve recovered from a busy holiday season, we regroup and hit the books again around the second week of January.
Throughout the winter and early spring months I schedule a few weeks off here and there, but we mostly keep a steady pace of school work. My goal is to wrap up the school year in early or mid April.
One thing I don’t do is take random “vacation days”. I schedule breaks, but I don’t just take a break because we’re tired of doing school. I think consistency is the key to a successful homeschool experience, whether you’re doing year-round school or not!
Why I love year-round homeschooling so much…
- This schedule gives lots of flexibility in our busy lives as a pastor’s family!
- We really, really enjoy the much-needed down time during the busy holiday season.
- My kids love all the free time to play outside during the beautiful spring months.
- We still enjoy lots of outdoor time during the summer season, but the long, hot days give us plenty of time and incentive to stay indoors and do lots of reading and school work.
What we’re doing right now-
Our first day of the new homeschool year was yesterday (June 16). If “organized confusion” can actually exist, then it is alive an well in my house right now!
Every season of homeschooling a young family brings the need for loads of flexibility, patience, and consistency. Unfortunately, I lack in each of those departments!
Right now I’m leaning pretty heavily on the wisdom in this book to help me navigate a few challenges in our household-
Another good read I plan to tackle this summer-
I’ll pop in throughout the summer with a few more peeks at our summer-time homeschooling schedule.
For now, I’m in over my head trying to get the kinks worked out of our family routine. It’s amazing how many details are involved in making a large-ish household run smoothly. (Too bad I stink at details.)
Do any of you homeschool year round?
Kristy Howard is a pastor’s wife, second-generation homeschooling mom of five, and a passionate believer in friendship, coffee, and quiet time! Kristy writes about motherhood, ministry and life at KristysCottage.com.