Year Round School
One of my favorite parts of homeschooling is the freedom available to do just about everything your own way. This includes our schedule. In this Homeschool 101 post, I want to share with you what year round school looks like for us.
Some people feel a little shocked and afraid when I say that we school year round. They envision me teaching my kids school lessons five days a week for 52 weeks a year.
Nope. Not even close!
As I write this, my kids are 9, 12, and 14. They are all able to work mostly independently, though we still do group studies for history/geography/Bible/literature.
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We have a lot of new friends here, so let me introduce you to my “students.” From left to right: Nathan is 12, has NEVER liked having his picture taken; he eats, sleeps, and breathes with a Rubik’s cube in his hand; sets a timer to race the clock for everything, prefers non-fiction over fiction, and is quite the deep thinker. Catie is 9. She is talkative, happy, outgoing, and friendly. She loves purple, ballet, friends, and shopping. She prefers to read stories. She is the cat whisperer. Nicholas is 14. He’s already taller than me. He’s an amazing artist, is ambitious, driven, and very smart. He is determined to finish school early, and is currently working his way through a list of financial books. My oldest two daughters have already grown up and graduated. (One of them is married to a homeschool graduate.) All five have been educated at home their whole lives. Thanks for joining us here! I’ll share a bit more about our actual homeschooling schedule and curriculum soon!
A typical school week has three-ish school days. This is when we are busy with our school books from about 9-3. All the subjects are covered. Sometimes they get a long lunch break, and other days the kids eat while I teach history. The rest of the week still includes Bible reading, chatechism, and at least 30 minutes of reading.
While some year round schoolers have a structured calendar they follow, I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of mom. We’re almost always schooling because I like to give my kids a little structure each day along with their free time. I believe in using time wisely. But when something comes up, we’ll drop the school schedule with very little warning. It’s easy to do because I don’t feel “behind.”
Related Post: There’s No Such Thing as Behind in Homeschooling
Our biggest breaks of the year come at Christmas/New Year, my husband’s vacation time, and for beautiful weather. Since we live in Texas, we might take more free days in Fall and Spring. Even Winter gives us some nice weather. But Summer? Ugh. It’s so hot. We can study in the air conditioning.
In Texas, there are no homeschool requirements for hours or days, so I don’t count how many days we put in each year. We don’t have a “first day of school” here. If anything, resuming studies after the Christmas season is more of a “first day” kind of thing for us.
I also suffer from migraine headaches, and work part-time from home. This year round schedule allows a lot of flexibility from day to day and week to week.
Learn to see your homeschool as a HOME and not a SCHOOL
I write all the time about thinking outside the public school classroom mindset, and that’s what I want my readers to understand about year round schooling. If you’re running a government-funded school district with hundreds of kids in attendance, you’ll need a pretty structured system to manage. But homeschoolers are not doing that, so you don’t need their system.
Learn to see your homeschool as more of a HOME than a SCHOOL. When you do this, you’ll see that the dates on the calendar don’t matter as much. Set up a schedule that works for you. That may look very different from all the other homeschoolers you know, and that’s okay. You’re a family!
Some families I know do three weeks on/one week off; others do 3 days on/2 days off. There are many variations to the year round school, and there’s no wrong way to do it.
There are some really fun bonuses with this, such as park outings and vacations. We only take vacations during the “school year” because tourist destinations are not at all crowded. We enjoy park and museum outings during the week while all the public school children are in class.
Enjoy the freedom that homeschooling gives your family by being in charge of your own schedule! Build your schooling around your life, and not the other way around.
Other posts in the Homeschool 101 series: