There’s been a lot of talk lately in the homeschool world about year-round homeschooling. In general that means that families who homeschool year round do not follow the traditional summer and holiday break schedule. They still get all of their “school” days in, but not necessarily by doing school when the rest of the world does it.
If you’re a type A person, this idea may sound a little scary to you because you might be stepping out of a mold, and some people might raise their eyebrows or disapprove of how you plan your schedule. If you’re a more free-spirited type of person, this may be the breath of fresh air you have been looking for – some freedom to loosen up your schedule.
Here are some things to consider when trying to decide if year round homeschooling is for you.
Do you live in a geographical area where the summers are extremely hot or the winters are extremely cold? Year-round homeschooling means that you could plan your larger breaks for when the outdoor temperatures are most appealing. Too hot to be outside very long in June and July? No problem! Stay inside, enjoy the air conditioning, get some school work done, and take a couple of weeks off in October, or a month off in December. This is especially appealing when you think that the best vacation spots are often overpriced and overcrowded in the summer. By homeschooling year round you could plan to take advantage of cheaper rates and fewer crowds by taking your family vacation in the off season!
A lot of parents are noticing how much learning their children seem to lose with an extended summer break. It often takes the first 4-6 weeks of school to get back to where we were, before we can move into the new year’s material. Year-round homeschooling allows for shorter breaks and more learning retention. Some have chosen to just do a lighter load during certain times of the year, concentrating only on the basics.
Others have noticed that the homeschool routine is good for their family, and that without it the children tend to express boredom more often or get on each other’s nerves more quickly. Year-round homeschooling offers a consistency and routine that may be good for your family. Young children especially find a certain security in routine, and the lack of the security during the summer months could affect their behavior. If you do take a longer summer break, consider still maintaining a routine of reading, chores, and activities so that they don’t just feel adrift in their day.
3. Special Needs
If your family experiences illnesses, medical emergencies, a move, or has a special needs child, you might want to consider homeschooling year round. It takes the stress off of having to complete the year so soon, and allows flexibility for scheduling appointments, recuperations, etc. It could also offer the consistency and security of routine to a special needs child who does not deal well with change.
4. Real Life
Real life happens, and you need to give yourself the freedom to live and to enjoy living with as little stress as possible. You need freedom to flex with the ups and downs of life and family. It is ok if you don’t finish your science textbook by the first week of May, really. The world will not end. If schooling year round would loosen up your schedule (and the nerves), then by all means, DO IT! After all, if it doesn’t work, you can always go back to the August to May schedule.
Do you homeschool year round? Is there anything else you would suggest to those considering year-round homeschooling?
Katie has played teacher for as long as she can remember. With a master’s degree in education and experience teaching public school system, she now teaches her 4 children at home. She is also developing a curriculum for Spanish speaking home educating families. Katie promotes home education in her blogs Educando en el Hogar and Paradise Praises, and resides in Mexico, where her family serves as church planting missionaries.