April 9, 2010

Yearly Homeschool Schedules



Wahoo! Spring break!

Wait, you aren’t having spring break yet?

And you already had spring break?

Oh, and you don’t have spring break at all?

The public schools around here are having spring break. We are too . . . for a whole month. When we first started homeschooling we followed a traditional school schedule but I didn't like all the review we had to do at the beginning of a new school year and felt that time was wasted. So I switched to a year round schedule that works for us. We've used it for the last decade or so. We have three months on, one month off, with a week off in the middle month, all year round. This is the schedule we follow. Our school year officially goes from September to July.

September - November school with a week off in October
December off
January - March school with a week off in February
April off
May - July school with a week off in June
August off

There are a number of reasons I like this schedule. The breaks aren't too long so we don't need to review. The week-long breaks give me time to consider how the last six weeks went and readjust as needed for the next six weeks. The month long breaks are taken during the busiest time of year for us farming wise. April is when most of the spring planting, readying of the fields, etc takes place. We're actually pretty busy all summer long but August seems to be the worst. Our garden also really begins producing during this time so there's a lot of harvesting/canning/freezing we do. December is busy because of the Christmas holiday. It's nice to have that break to take things slower. The month long breaks also provide time for me to reorganize our school supplies, buy new curriculum, plan for the next block of school, etc.

Some of you are thinking, “Well, good for you, but we don’t farm so that wouldn’t work for us.” The beauty of homeschooling is being able to create schedules that jive with our individual family lifestyles. Does you family enjoy taking winter vacations? Do you have hobbies or interests that require you to travel at certain times of the year? Take those into account when creating your yearly homeschool schedule. There are 365 days in a typical year. Most states require school attendance for at least 180 days. (You can check the laws for your state at HSLDA) When you schedule those 180 days is up to you. Here is run down of some of the most common scheduling examples:

  • Traditional – 9 months of school (with breaks for certain holidays) with 3 months off in the summer. This is the most common for public schools. For some, having the whole summer off is appealing enough to keep this schedule.
  • Re-arranged 3 months off. Don't want to take all three months off in the summer or at the same time? Deciding which three months to take off is up to you. Spread them out!
  • Ten weeks on – two weeks off. This divides the school year into quarters. And using my highly developed math skills it also means there are four additional weeks leftover that you can use for whatever you decide.
  • Six weeks on – one week off. Again, there are several weeks leftover to use however you choose.
  • Make up your own! Some families like to have a four day school week rather than a five. Our schedule is a combination of the re-arranged 3 months off and six week schedule. Whenever I am pregnant I rearrange our months off so it correlates with the baby’s due date so there is time to just relax, recuperate, and enjoy the newborn.

As we all know, life does happen. Sometimes there are unexpected circumstances that we have to deal with: illnesses, unemployment, accidents, etc. Even though it may not seem like it, having a good basic schedule in place allows us to be flexible when those unforeseen events happen. We can take the time off we need knowing our schedules will be there to help us return to “normal.”

What does your yearly homeschool schedule look like? How did you come to choose what schedule to use? Do you have any tips to share with homeschool “newbies” about creating a yearly schedule? Share with us in the comments!

Montserrat enjoys classical music, playing the piano, reading biographies, sewing, and playing a good game of Scrabble. She thinks spending time with her family is truly heaven on earth. You can follow her family's varied adventures at Chocolate on my Cranium.

11 comments - Add a comment below -:

Dana ♥ said...

We enjoy YEAR ROUND school as well. We use the 4 day school week (Monday - Thursday). On Friday's we meet with our homeschool group, so Friday is our P.E., socialization, Art class, Field Trip, etc. day. We spend more time outside in the Spring and Fall then we do in the Summer because it is just too hot here. So we do school work in the AC during the Summer.

kim said...

We are unschooling, and haven't hit the age that we have to register with the state, so we've enjoyed a VERY relaxed year so far. I am definitely more of a year round type though, because I feel like we are learning so much all the time anyway, so might as well keep school in mind all year and not feel like we are starting and stopping. Even when we were on vacation last week, we played so many games that used logic and math skills, and read so many books, and did two science-type field trips, so really, we were still "in school" then, too.

I love that homeschooling lets us plan our own schedule!

Homeschooling the Penguins ... said...

I definitely agree with the year around schedule. First of all, in public school they spend at least 2-3 months every year reviewing the following year. It's crazy to think that breaks of 3 months at a time is actually good for the education of our children. I find that my children actually crave opportunities to learn versus staring at a television.

JRoberts said...

In Alberta we have a bit of flexability for our schedual, but only so much. We have to follow the Sept/Oct start and be finished by May/June for our funding to keep in effect, but the rest is totally up to us so long as we follow the curriculum guidelines.

We only school Mon to Friday and take quite a few breaks. We will be done all curriculum as of the end of April and that is quite exciting to us! :) LOVE the freedom it gives us!

Frankie said...

We also do the year-round thing. We have school from January through May, and then June is off; and again July through November, with December off. Then, during those 5 month blocks, we take off any days that Daddy has off of work (and being a state employee, that means a lot of holidays!), and we can also take a week off, here and there, when we need/want to. We also have "early out" on Fridays.

Laurie said...

Since my oldest is only in kindergarten, we're much more relaxed right now. We do "workbook" work 2-3 days a week. The other days are for anything else - school and non-school related. I try to start her new curriculum in August, so she has that "back to school" excitement. But really, we're learning all the time! Baking and playing outside and going to the library - all learning experiences!

Nn said...

I love this article! I would like to contact you but am having a problem with my computer connecting with your "contact" button. Outlook is all messed up on this end. Is there another way to contact you off blog?

Andrea said...

We school year-round as well- we take all of July off, all of December off, and a few weeks in the fall, and a few weeks in the spring.

Julia said...

I do year round schooling basically taking off when needed. For instance we took several weeks off in the Fall in the midst of a move. I've noticed even after a week or two off we are fighting bad habits to get back into the schedule, so I can't see taking a full summer vacation.

Sue said...

We school year round too. Our school year is kicked off by our local library's Summer Reading Program in July and we usually end the last week in May or first week in June. We do 6 weeks on 1 week off and take 3 weeks off in December and June. We also take days off when needed :)

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Nn,

You can e-mail me at chocolateonmycranium [at] live [dot] com or send an e-mail to Dana at dana [at] latter-dayhomeschooling [dot] com