Why in the world would you try homeschooling year round?
The first time I homeschooled my children several years ago, we followed the school year nearly exactly. 36 weeks of homeschool broken into 9 week “quarters”. While it was okay at the time, I found it to be a struggle for my children. At that time I homeschooled my older children (my youngest was still in the birth/baby stage). I felt that I was always working to try to make our homeschool “fit” into a predefined mold. This time around, I’ve completely changed our point of view. We are now homeschooling year round and the result in both my children and myself has been amazing.
The Benefits of homeschooling year round
- You can schedule your breaks when you need them, not according to a predefined pattern.
- Homeschooling year round allows you stretch your curriculum out to go slower for a child who may needs it
- You can take the time to explore deeper into topics that are interesting or entertaining for your child.
- You have the time to schedule extra curricular activities. When we were limited to 36 weeks there really wasn’t time to spend on that many artistic or additional pursuit because we had to focus on the core subjects. Homeschooling year round allows my to ask my children “What else would you like to learn about this year?”
- It encourages a mindset of learning as something that is an expected part of everyday life. Learning isn’t something that occurs from September to May. Every week is a school week regardless of whether the learning is a math lesson or a nature hike.
What about taking breaks?
In our homeschool I schedule 46 “weeks” of 3-5 lessons each per subject. This allows for 6 weeks of breaks
As a single mom it is not always feasible to homeschool Monday to Friday. For example my youngest son still needs one on one attention for every subject. Thus he is only able to homeschool in the evenings when there is someone free to sit with him. Since he has children’s choir and bible school on Wednesdays I usually don’t make him also do homeschool on those days. Instead we pick up whatever work he has yet to do from his lists on Saturday or Sunday. However there are some weeks where it just isn’t feasible to do much homeschool at all. In these cases I am free to use one of the 6 “off” weeks that are available.
I know a lot of homeschool families schedule their breaks out through the year. I don’t really do that. If I need one, I take it. Then, at the end of the year we use however many is left over.
Which brings me to my next point…
If you are homeschooling year round, when does the year start?
In our homeschool we start on January 1. Why do we do that? Why not just start in august like traditional schools?
The short answer – we aren’t a traditional school, and we don’t break in the summer.
The better answer –
- January 1st is new years day. New starts, new beginnings, new plans, new goals and new grades.
- Budget is always a constraint for me. Many of our educational games and tools for next year end up under the Christmas tree.
- Any of our leftover break weeks can get used during the holiday season when we are normally quite busy.
What grade is my child in?
Now this is a question that I could (and probably will) explore much further in a future post. The reason that I bring it up in this one is that with us homeschooling year round and begining on January 1st as opposed to in August I get asked this a lot. This is especially important when you have a child that moves in and out of the public school system. My older son was homeschooled for several years. Then, when we moved he attended public school for a couple years and is now returning to homeschool.
The short answer – It doesn’t really matter. In public schools it’s not a choice and in homeschool it’s not an issue.In public schools it’s not a choice and in homeschool it’s not an issue. Click To Tweet
The better answer – Our homeschool is eclectic and doesn’t rely on “leveled” full curriculum packages. I put my children on the level that they are a in each subject. For example my youngest son should be in preschool. He is working on preschool fine motor skills, kindergarten handwriting, first grade math, science and history, and second grade language arts. My oldest son is in eighth grade, but is doing seventh grade language arts and sixth grade science.
*One caveat here is that this becomes more of an issue when your child gets to high school and the need for transcript worthy records comes up. However ensuring, and documenting, that your child gets enough of the appropriate subjects and credits for entrance into higher education (be that college or trade school) is really not as complicated as you may think. I’m going to cover this fully in an upcoming post so make sure that you subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss this important information.
So there you have it. Homeschooling year round certainly isn’t for everyone, however the benefits for our family are wonderful. By not being tied to a traditional 36 week calendar we have the freedom and the flexibility to make the most of every year and every moment in our homeschool.
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