I don’t have a solid reason why we homeschool year-round, except that it just feels like the right fit for our family. I don’t want to put any unnecessary stress on myself or the kids when it comes to schedules, and so far year-round school has been totally stress free for us.
Schooling all year doesn’t mean that we don’t get any breaks! Believe it or not, it’s actually easier for us. I’m able to break up our lessons into manageable six-week chunks, leaving the seventh week for us to rest. For most of the year our schedule is 6 weeks on then 1 week off.
I have noticed that jumping back into school after only a week off is an easy transition. Lessons have not been forgotten, so we spend less time reviewing what we’ve learned before the break. Also, I’ve noticed that six weeks is just about the right amount of time to focus before they start getting antsy. There were times when we were having so much fun or I felt like we needed to play catch up, that I would end up pushing through and skipping our breaks, but it led to burnout (mostly on my part). It turns out that I need the breaks just as much as they do! So, I try to stay very conscious and respectful of all our time off.
This doesn’t mean that we stop learning during our breaks! We just lead more of an unschooled life for that week. If the kids find something that interests them, we simply learn more about it. We will still take trips to the library, museums, or work on nature journaling. I also like to spend this time organizing school supplies, and organizing the schoolroom.
I try my hardest to schedule vacations around some of our breaks, but if we happen to go during a school week, it’s not a problem to take school on the road with us.
It helps to have a month-at-a-glance calendar, like this free printable from Dear Crissy. I like to mark our off weeks there, and then tape it to my planner so I can quickly see our schedule. Right now, I’m using a simple, cheap spiral bound notebook to keep track of our daily lessons. The notebook cost less that $1.00 and the calendar was free!
So, here’s how I do it.
I take my at-a-glance calendar and in pencil, start at the week of Thanksgiving and mark off that entire week. Then starting from the week before Thanksgiving, I count backwards 7 weeks, and mark off that week. I count backwards again seven more weeks and mark that week off. I do this until I reach January, and complete it by marking off the entire week of Christmas through New Year. So, from the first off week in January until Thanksgiving I should have six weeks on, then one week off. That leaves me with about 8 weeks off for the year of 2018.
Here’s what my 2018 at glance calendar looks like:
And there you have it! All of our breaks for the entire year are planned out just like that! How do you plan your year? Do you school year-round or do you enjoy the long summer breaks in-between?
I failed to mention that by having a year-round schedule we also take Fridays off! Instead of our regular studies, we do things like nature walks, play fun games, bake, watercolor paint. Sometimes the kids will have their sports activities. You get the idea!