Our Year-Round Homeschooling Journey
When we first started our homeschool journey, we pulled my son out of a K5 program three weeks into the school year and started off following the local school calendar. I soon realized that I could cater our calendar to our needs, and not let the school calendar dictate our lives. As the years have gone by since we started (nine, so far) we have moved to a year-round schedule, which fits seamlessly into our lifestyle.
My goals for educating my kids at home include instilling in them a love and desire for inquiry and discovery, along with a biblical foundation upon which to build their lives. In order to accomplish this I make sure they have time to pursue their interests wholeheartedly, and we embrace spontaneous opportunities to explore topics further. Learning does not start and stop at a certain time or day, but it is a process that continues all the time.
I can remember thinking that my teachers were crazy for expecting us to do homework on weekends or holiday breaks. How dare they expect us to learn on a non-school day! Now that I am a homeschooling mom, I realize how misguided I was, and because my kids have no other frame of reference, they do not know the difference.
A year-round homeschooling schedule has many benefits:
- The freedom to be spontaneous if something comes up, like an impromptu park day or bowling with friends.
- Going on field trips all year long.
- No “burnout” in the winter months.
- No “brain drain” from a summer with no schooling.
- No bored kids; there is always a “school” book or project in progress.
- Vacationing in the off-season.
- Taking advantage of longer days and hot summer weather to get schoolwork done and still have time to play.
- Taking advantage of beautiful fall and spring weather to be outside.
- Being able to take days off when Daddy has days off.
- Having time for unit studies and special projects.
- Nurturing my kids’ interests by crafting curriculum to meet them, such as developing a filmmaking course or hosting a literature discussion group.
The main advantage for us is time. We can have shorter school days with time to pursue other interests. My oldest son is a budding filmmaker, and he and his brothers have time to pull off impressive productions. The kids are also able to attend to their entrepreneurial ventures: lawn care and pet-sitting. I am able to relax about getting all of our required days in. We always do more than my state’s required 180 days, and the record-keeper in me likes having extra days in the bank.
Our school year usually starts at the beginning of August when we transition up to the next grade level. I start a new school planner and we buy a few of the new school supplies that hit the shelves about this time. We live in the south, and the weather is so miserably hot through the month of August that we would rather be indoors anyway, and with the crowds in the stores getting ready for back-to-school, it is nice to stay home.
We gear up slowly, starting off with math and language arts, and then add in one new subject at a time until we are on our full schedule. We do not cover every subject every day but follow a plan more like a college schedule. This allows us to fit in even more extras, such as geography, Spanish, vocabulary, SAT prep, art, music, filmmaking, and robotics. We also frequently cover more than one lesson in a subject at a time, often getting a week’s worth of lessons done in two sittings.
We tend to take days off here and there rather than weeks at a time, but when special circumstances arise, we adapt the calendar to meet them. When my third child was born, we were able to take a break from school that fall for almost five weeks. This year, we took off the entire month of June due to a family wedding.
A typical year-round homeschooling week for us looks something like this:
Monday–Math, language arts, science, history, filmmaking club
Tuesday–Literature discussion group, music lessons, geography
Wednesday–Math, language arts, science, history, art class, errands
Friday–Math, language arts, science experiment, history, timelines/notebooking catch-up
Saturday and Sunday–history read-alouds, literature read-alouds
We always have two novels going for read-aloud time: one for literature and one for history, plus we read a Bible story every night. I usually read to the kids at bedtime, and we hardly ever miss a day, even on weekends and holidays.
I would call our style of homeschooling relaxed, even though it looks like we have a great deal going on. One of the many wonderful parts of homeschooling is being able to adapt curriculum and schedules to meet our needs. By following a year-round schedule, we are certainly able to do this while maintaining plenty of time to build and nurture close relationships and savor the joys of childhood and family time.
What does your homeschool schedule look like?Share this: