In my early years of homeschooling, we used to begin every August and end at the end of May, taking off the summer months like the public schools did. But a few years into our journey, we realized that we were so busy in December with preparations for church Christmas events, and in June taking off for family reunions, that we often missed several weeks of schooling. I felt as though I was failing to educate my children in those months and watched as we got further and further behind and struggled to catch up. Our solution was so obvious and simple: school year-round.
At first, it didn’t seem any different when we took that first full month of June off. But when we started back to school the Monday following Fourth of July, my husband and I discovered that the children were eager to begin learning again. They also retained more of what we had learned, so we were able to move on to new concepts and topics without lengthy reviews. With this schedule of five months of school and one month off, we have been able to also use our family vacation time to our favorite theme park destination during times when there are fewer crowds and cooler temperatures.
Right now you may be thinking, “How do I know if year-round schooling is for me and my family?” My answer is simply this: you won’t really know until you try it. Much like when you made the decision to educate your children at home and no one could tell you if it were the right option for your family, no one can tell you for sure if schooling on this sort of rotation will work well for your family.
Think about the busiest times of the year for your family. Are there a couple of months that seem to be more busy and hectic than the rest of the year? Is one of those months coming up soon? Why not try taking that month off of school and start back to school the following month? I mean, really…why are we trying to follow the schooling schedule of traditional schools? We want to give our children the best possible education. So maybe, just maybe, that looks like a different than doing school from August or September until May or June.
Another thing to know is what your state’s requirements are for days of schooling your children under its homeschooling laws. In my state, we must educate our children for 176 days, 4 hours a day. No one spells out which days are school days nor what specific 4 hours we must teach.
So don’t be afraid to investigate your options and to change your schooling around to fit your family and your needs. This is your year of great things in homeschooling!