When talking to people who are contemplating homeschooling, I am often asked if I follow an actual homeschooling calendar.
My answer is yes, but that calendar is made knowing that because schooling takes place in the home, that the calendar I create will have to be flexible.
Why? Because life happens in the home.
Here is a peek at our homeschool calendar.
Back when I started, I did get out a cheap calendar and lay out how I thought our school year would look including days off, various school breaks and so on. While I still follow that to some extent, I will share the things I have learned since I created that first calendar and what seems to work for us.
We school only on four days a week.
This was not necessarily by choice, but because where we live we are blessed with a vibrant homeschool community and a musical organization that my kids are involved in. It has come to be that Wednesdays my kids have these music classes nearly all day collectively, so we came to take Wednesdays off.
I will say, that it is really nice to have that day off to look forward to. Even though I am in the car taking kids back and forth much of the day, with what time I am home I use it as a day to catch up on laundry, household tasks, and office work – phone calls and such.
The nice thing about taking a day off on Wednesday, we never have more than two days of school in a row. This means that as soon as it starts to really drag on, you get a day off.
We school on two days in the summer.
This is something I discovered after a couple years spent following the typical school year calendar of summers off. I found it to be beneficial primarily because:
- we never get out of the rhythm of the school day
- after summer summer ended, it was really hard for us to adjust back after having so many “free”days in a row
- there is no issue with retention if learning is always taking place
- there much less of the “I’m bored” to deal with
Because we school in the summer, we take more days off throughout the year.
We take all birthdays off, take the occasional “we just need a day off” day off, and have the flexibility to schedule appointments of all kinds without feeling guilty because we have so many days in the bank.
We generally do take breaks when the school kids around us do, like for Christmas, but they are generally shorter.
Getting out of the groove mid-year has proven to not work well. It also allows us to bank some days for other times, too.
In a season of a new baby joining our family, we make adjustments as needed.
For example, we school 3 days in the summer at times, knowing we will need more flexibility when baby arrives. I usually become more relaxed with school for about a month with a new baby – a little bit before and some after the baby’s arrival. We don’t ever take more than two weeks completely off, however, for the same reasons listed above. This could also be adjusted to accommodate longer vacations, a medical condition or surgery, out of town visitors for an extended time, and more. Whatever you see on the horizon of the school year, find some ways to get those days in at a different time.
For me it is beneficial to have an overall scope of the school year, and in the states where more documentation is needed, it is a necessity. I am blessed to live in Michigan at this time where no documentation is needed. With any homeschooling family a certain amount of organization is necessary, especially in the cases of a large family.
A well planned school calendar for the year is a great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed and to keep things on track.