Is it hard to imagine that a homeschooling family would prefer year-round homeschooling? We have experimented with all kids of homeschool calendars over the years and have finally found the one that works best for us…and yes, it is to homeschool year round.
Keep reading, and I will show you the pros and cons of homeschooling year round and why we prefer the year round calendar.
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We are in our 11th year of officially homeschooling, which means it is our 10th summer. I am commonly asked how we handle summer, and we have tried it a few different ways and settled on what works best for us. This is why we will still be hitting the books this summer.
This was a topic of discussion recently among a group of fellow homeschool moms so the ideas are fresh on my brain. The majority of the moms in the group kind of do the same thing, so I thought I would share how it looks in greater detail than I did when I spoke of the homeschool calendar.
When we started out, we took the summers off. This worked fine for the first year. By the second year I discovered that it was really hard for
my kids me to give up the freedom in scheduling that summer provides once the school year rolled around. I found I rather liked not having school in the midst of everything else, which made the transition really hard for my kids me. Although the break was oh so nice, I decided that it was too long.
The following summer, we took about six weeks off and then just started back in with a more relaxed school schedule. This was better, but again, it was just enough time for us all to fall out of the more rigid routine that the school year requires to again make it a difficult transition for everyone to get back into the swing of things.
It was the third summer when I decided to try schooling two days a week all summer long. Although my primary goal was to avoid that difficult transition time, I discovered that there were other benefits as well, especially as our kids have gotten older and our family has continued to grow. These are the benefits I have found to year round homeschooling.
- No transition to settle back into the routine. This includes not only in our overall mindset, but also in having to get up on time, remembering how to fit chores and other household responsibilities in with the school day, and just not having the overall freedom that the summer offers. Still doing school twice a week requires that we maintain the same daily schedule day in and day out.
- No need to review, and no issues with retention. When you just pass from one term to another without interruption, there is no need to review. We are even able to skip over the beginning lessons in some of the curriculums that we use because they are focused on reviewing in the beginning. This makes for some easy days for awhile, or it allows you the ability to move a bit quicker through the school year since you can just skip things. Obviously retention is not an issue with no time off either.
- More freedom during the year. We still shoot for the same 180 traditional school days in a year, and since we bank so many days during the summer we have days to play around with during the school year. This means that we can take days off for appointments (and with a family of 9 there are many), days when everyone is just grumpy, and we also don’t have school on anyone’s birthday. Knowing that I have all these extra days built up is really a huge stress reliever for me.
- Learning is just a way of life. We are learning all the time. I think because my kids are kind of always in “school mode,” they learn without realizing they are learning as much. Things from school that day can be topics at dinner year round, which provides everyone with the chance to learn more often, and in a non-traditional way, which is always more valuable learning.
There are a few downsides that I want to point out, too.
- Your kids’ friends will have the entire summer off, which means your kids will be left out of a few things. There will be times that your kids will grump and groan that they are doing school while their friends are all off doing what they want to do. In our house, this is short-lived once I remind them of the many, many times that they have the day off while their friends are hard at work. Actually, all of my kids have voiced that they prefer having the two-day school week during the summer anyway. We do try to be fluid with what two days a week we do school in any given week to accommodate as many of the kids’ things as they can, meaning they don’t have to miss as much of the “fun stuff.”
- You, and your kids to some extent, don’t ever really have a big block of time off. There are times that I would love to have an extended period of time off to complete a huge project, to join a group of some kind, or just to do less, but, for us the reward of the year round school is worth this sacrifice.
If you are thinking about homeschooling, just getting started in homeschooling, or even if you have been doing it for awhile, I would suggest playing around with your school calendar. Give this a try for at least a year and see what you think. Among those of us who have been homeschooling for awhile, it does seem to work out really well.
If you homeschool, what does your calendar look like?