How I Do Year Round Homeschooling
When we first started homeschooling, we followed a traditional school schedule for several years. We would work from September to June, about 180 days, and then take 10-12 weeks of summer vacation. This is what we were accustomed to. It’s common for many families to homeschool following this type of schedule, especially since many of them don’t even know that year round homeschooling is an option.
Homeschooling has always given our family tons of flexibility. My children can learn about anything and everything that interests them, and we can homeschool from just about anywhere. After a few years of following a traditional schedule, we yearned for something different, but we weren’t sure what. My kiddos were starting to get a little burned out, and to be honest, so was I. After hearing about year round homeschooling from several families in our homeschool group, we knew this was it. So we decided to give it a shot. And we are so glad we did! It has worked wonders for my children’s learning, attention span, and overall attitude.
Homeschooling year round has opened so many doors for us and given us so much more flexibility on top of what we already enjoy. Here are some of the top benefits.
- Flexible scheduling – Year round homeschooling has upped our flexibility a big notch when it comes to when we homeschool. We live in Florida, and summers here can be pretty brutal. So during the summer, we usually homeschool for 5 days a week and opt to stay inside for the most part. Believe me, there is nothing like a cool house on a hot, Florida day. During the winter months, well, Florida winters anyway, we adjust our year round homeschool schedule to 3 days a week. It’s great to know that we don’t have to rush through our year and can adjust our schedule based on what works best for us.
- No Summer Slide – Summer brain drain? Not here! While everyone else is taking the summer off or trying to combat summer slide, over at our house, it’s business as usual. Our year round homeschool schedule means we don’t have to worry about our kids falling behind. Since we are constantly learning, everything stays fresh in their minds. Once we are ready to move to the next grade level, we don’t really find the need to have to review the previous year’s material.
6-Week Summer Learning Guides
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- More breaks – We recently met another family who also homeschools year round. Over the summer, their schedule varies from week to week, but in the fall they take a week off once a month and take that opportunity to travel. If you’re family is into roadschooling, year round homeschooling will allow you to take more frequent breaks while still giving you plenty of time to stay on top of your studies. More breaks are also a great way to prevent homeschool burnout.
- Field trips/ vacations – Visiting popular destinations during school hours means less crowds. We’ve been lucky enough to have museums all to ourselves on several occasions. Plus, you can take advantage of tons of savings by traveling during the off season, usually when most children are in school. We have been able to stretch our budget quite a bit by planning vacations around February, late September, and early November.
- Less stress/more study time – Why cram so much into a typical 36-week/180-day schedule? Both you and your children will be able to take your time with difficult concepts and really delve into topics they are interested in learning about even more. My oldest is really into space travel, so we’ve been able to really focus on this topic in the last few months and study things like astronomy, physics, mathematics, and more. We’re even planning a trip to Kennedy Space Center in the next few weeks.
- No back to school – As year round homeschoolers, we don’t have a back to (home)school period because we are always homeschooling. So that means not having to deal with the adjustment period that takes place those first few weeks when everyone is trying to get back into the swing of things.
If you plan on switching gears and working on a year round homeschool calendar, know that it can take some getting used to. Here are a few tips that can help.
- Create a schedule that works for your family. Start by deciding on how many days a week you will homeschool. Take into consideration any extracurricular activities your children are involved in, your or your spouse’s work schedule, etc. Remember, you can always change things up if need be.
- Give it a chance and be patient. Just like when you first started homeschooling, you had a period of deschooling and you needed time to adjust and get used to doing things differently. Yes, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed and doubtful when you start year round homeschooling, but remind yourself of all the benefits that you’re gaining and give it time. Don’t throw in the towel right away.
- From time to time, ask your children how they are liking their new schedule. Getting their feedback is very important. It’ll allow you to make any changes to your routine, perhaps even going back to a traditional schedule. Remember, a year round homeschool schedule is not for everyone.
There are so many benefits both you and your children can gain from homeschooling throughout the entire year. If you’re considering year round homeschooling, it’s important to do your research and look at both the pros and cons of stretching out your academic year.
And like homeschooling itself, year round homeschooling doesn’t have to be permanent if you don’t want, or need it to be. Every family is different and what works for one may be a recipe for disaster for another, so do what is best for your family’s unique needs and goals, and be sure to discuss things as a family to make sure everyone understands what is expected and is on board.
Are you a year round homeschooler? Share your own tips in the comments. I’d love to hear them!