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
January - March school with a week off in February
May - July school with a week off in June
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!