There are many advantages to foregoing your typical summer vacation and homeschooling year round. While homeschooling year round is not for everyone, many families are learning or have learned to enjoy this relaxed lifestyle.
Why Should You Consider Year Round Homeschooling
One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling year round is that it eliminates the "summer learning gap." Simply put, kids just don't forget as much when they aren't out of school. However, there are some other advantages to homeschooling all year long:
- Consistent structure helps students know what to expect every day. This is especially helpful for little ones that have to be folded into the mix with older students.
- Homeschooling parents find that they have more time to dive into areas of interest or explore other more open ended activities.
- Some parents would say that life is learning and learning simply doesn't stop just because it's warm out.
- Flexibility in scheduling allows the family to take advantage of special opportunities as they arise without feeling the burden of "missing school."
- Kids can get more done in a grade year since there are more potential days in the school year. (This doesn't have to always be academic.)
Creating a Schedule for Homeschooling Year Round
There are as many ways to create a schedule for year round schooling, as there are ways to homeschool. There is no right way to do it and how and what you choose depends on your family's unique circumstances. However, one thing that is certain, is that you must plan for time off. Schooling year round doesn't mean that you never take a vacation.
Many families who school year round still take eight to ten weeks of vacation-but simply don't take them all during the summer. A week here, or a week there and you might find that it's just enough time to get yourself organized to keep going. While scattering your vacations can work with any type of curriculum or situation, it is especially well suited towards unit studies where the family does a unit study then takes a few days off.
Four Day Weeks
Some moms find that taking one day off a week is a great way to schedule year round learning. All errands, major house cleaning, etc. is done on the "off day." This can be a very relaxed way of learning and helps avoid burn out.
Some families just find that they do better to school every day and maintain a routine, but are careful to take a day off when needed. Days off can be for field trips or just for catching up on house work. The scheduling allows a year round family to take shorter breaks more frequently.
Some families simply take the work that they are to do over a course of nine weeks (the traditional school quarter) and spread it out over twelve weeks (one quarter of a year) making for a lighter load. You can essentially take off fifteen days for every twelve weeks of school.
Year Round Homeschooling Scheduling Math
So how often exactly do you have to "do school"? While there are many ways to consider scheduling here are a few points to keep in mind based on a 180 day curriculum:
- Many states require a six hour, 180 day year or 900 hours of elementary instruction. You can do three hours a day of "official" school work, and still finish in 300 days with 65 days to take off during the year.
- If you were to do official school work, six hours per day for 180 days per year, your child would be able to finish two full curriculums. Of course that would only leave five days left over for vacation! However, suffice it to say that you can potentially get more done by schooling year round.
- If you alternated between doing three day and four day weeks year round, you would finish the entire year with 182 days of school under your belt.
- If you took off every Friday, year round, you would be doing 208 days of school per year. If you wanted to stick with 180 days of schooling, you could still take off every Friday and have twenty eight days leftover for vacation.
Is Homeschooling Year Round Right for You?
Just as there is no right curriculum for every family, there is no right method of homeschooling for every family either. While there are numerous advantages to year round homeschooling, you should also consider the needs of your children.
- Were your kids pulled out of school? If so, then they probably have friends who will be getting together over the summer and hanging out. Make sure that you allow plenty of time for them to play with their friends if they want lest they resent schooling in the summer.
- Do you have teens? Summer is a great time for employment for many teens. You might want to consider doing just one subject during the summer so that your teen has enough time to hang out with friends, work, and study.
- Are you the antithesis of organized? Schooling year round does require discipline and some planning. Some moms find that they just do better by following a traditional school schedule.