Should you homeschool year round?
The short answer is…
Now before I go any further, I have a question for you.
What is your definition of year-round homeschooling?
I’m asking because I’ve come to realize that people have different understandings of what year-round homeschooling looks like.
When you imagine year-round homeschooling, do you picture starting school and taking a break every several weeks for the duration of the calendar year?
Or does this look similar to a traditional school calendar but with extended breaks at some point during each season?
Do you anticipate homeschooling throughout the entire summer?
Clearly identifying your definition will help clarify if you should homeschool year round.
And once you’ve figured out what your definition of year-round homeschooling is, there are a few key questions to consider.
- Do you prefer following the calendar of your local school district? If your children have lots of friends who attend the local traditional school, you might want to consider scheduling your homeschooling breaks at the same time.
- Do you travel frequently as a family? If so, what times of year include the most traveling? You will want to factor this in and consider planning your homeschooling around vacations and holidays.
- Are there certain times during the year you can identify as possible peak burnout times? Maybe the winter, post-holiday season is tough. Or maybe spring fever hits hard and the burnout comes on strong. Think about what times of year feel especially challenging and prone to burnout.
Here are a couple of examples of potential year-round schedules:
- You homeschool for 6 weeks and then take one week off. Rinse and repeat.
- You homeschool for 8 weeks and then take two weeks off. Again, repeat this over the course of the year.
This is what our current year-round homeschooling looks like:
- We begin in mid-August.
- We take a full week off for Thanksgiving.
- For winter break, our goal is to take an entire month off. This usually means the last three weeks of December and the first week in January.
- Spring break consists of two weeks off.
- We usually wrap up our school year in mid-June.
- While we take two solid months off during the summer, we schedule a few camps targeted to specific interests. This allows for full-immersion into topics that are of great interest.
Important to note: Most states require 180 total school days per year. Make sure you factor this in for planning purposes.
Helpful tips I’ve learned along the way:
- Simplify! It is best to under plan than over plan. We can always add more if we have the extra time and energy. But to avoid overwhelm, simplifying is the best!
- Take breaks when needed. Understand that when exhaustion and frustration occur, true learning ceases. Take the time to relax and recharge when you need to.
- Be realistic about the time required for other responsibilities. The kiddos get sick. We have a million errands to run. Dr’s appointments, cat-sitting for the neighbors, out-of-town guests… LIFE! Unexpected events happen all of the time. Remember this.
- Allow time for your children to explore their individual interests. One of the greatest gifts of homeschooling is the amount of time available to pursue passions and curiosities. And while you’re at it, remember to allow time for yourself to explore your own interests as well.
- Consider all of the learning taking place while not technically doing “school”. Going to the Farmers Market. Helping to cook dinner. Feeding the neighbor’s cat while they are out of town. Writing thank-you notes for gifts received. Reading. Listening to music. Playing. Guess what? It’s all learning!
So here is your action plan:
- Identify what your definition of homeschooling year round is.
- Answer a few related key questions.
- Brainstorm potential schedules that might work for your family.
- Review the helpful tips I’ve learned along the way.
Most of all, remember a few of the best aspects of homeschooling.
Family, flexibility, and time.
Let me know if you have any questions related to year-round homeschooling!