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Switching to a Year Round School Schedule


Our homeschool is switching to a year round school schedule. There are so many benefits! #homeschooling http://thedeliberatemom.com

When I started homeschooling my daughter, I figured I would follow the school calendar. I liked the idea that my daughter’s school holidays would be at the same time as her peers. I also liked the idea that we would have our summers off to rest, relax, and enjoy the sunshine.

However, after a couple of months into the school year I wondered… what if the traditional school schedule wasn’t optimal for her? After reflecting on our achievements and progress, I realized that the traditional school year wasn’t a good fit for my daughter. At the end of October she fell into her familiar pattern of exhaustion and resistance to learning. Despite how fun I was making things, she seemed just “done”. I too was starting to feel sluggish.

Then it occurred to me… why are we following the traditional school calendar? Why not switch to a year round school schedule? One of the benefits of homeschooling is that I can provide a learning environment that’s specific to my child. Why get hung up on the traditional school schedule?

As I began to assess the possibilities I got excited. There are so many benefits to switching to a year round school schedule! Here are a few of them.

Come read why this family is switching to year-round #homeschooling! Click To Tweet

Breaks

My daughter needs breaks from school. With a year-round schedule, she can have 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off, repeated throughout the year, with a 3 week break when she switches grades.

Planning

With a 6 week on and 2 week off schedule, I could use the 2 week transition to prepare for a new unit. I find that the weekends are too short for prepping curriculum. The two-week period would allow more than enough time to plan for the next learning unit.

Nature studies

Our long winters make it challenging to do nature studies within the conventional school year. With year-round homeschooling, we can do many nature studies during the spring, summer, and fall (approximately 6 months of exploration time rather than 4 months).

Year round schooling - opportunities to do more nature studies. #homeschooling http://thedeliberatemom.com

Time to reflect & evaluate

I am, by nature, a very reflective person. I find that the traditional school schedule doesn’t allow enough time for me to reflect and evaluate. The two-week break will provide ample time for me to assess and document our learning process.

Vacation time

Currently our budget doesn’t allow us to do much travelling but we would like to do so in the future. With year-round homeschooling, we can travel off-season while all the rest of the kids are in school.

Off-season travel is often more affordable too!

Built-in buffer time

Life happens. Children get sick and emergencies occur. I like that year-round homeschooling provides a “buffer zone” for life’s events. If we have to take a week off due to illness, there isn’t a pressure to make up that week by padding the days in the subsequent week. We can simply declare that sick week as week one of our two-week break.

Continuous learning

Last summer, even though we took the summer off, I still had learning opportunities for my daughter because I worried about her forgetting the material she had learned. With year-round homeschooling, I need not be concerned about long breaks in learning.

As a homeschooling mom, I teach every day, whether we’re exploring a new concept or making dinner together; my daughter is learning from me. Thus, I expect the transition to year-round homeschooling to be an easy one.

I’m excited for this change. We just have to push through the rest of the year and we’ll be making the switch in May. I can’t wait!

What are your thoughts on year-round homeschooling? Do you do it? Would you consider it?

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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care. 

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57 thoughts on “Switching to a Year Round School Schedule

  • Janine Huldie

    I don’t homeschool myself here, but I do like your reasoning, especially the traveling while the rest of the kids are indeed in school, because we here can’t do that and I know some of the places we have visited definitely have been more packed, because of this when we went. So bravo for figuring this out for your daughter :) xoxo!!

  • Charlee

    I was on a year-round schedule from K-5. Then in 6th grade, my new school was traditional. I really enjoyed year-round! Sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful change for your family.

  • Rabia @TheLiebers

    I like your reasoning here. My kids are in public school, but our district is looking at the possibility of year-round schooling. I think it will be an adjustment, but there are a lot of benefits to it as well.

  • Katie | The Surly Housewife

    I LOVE the concept of year round schooling. It was what I had originally planned to do. But my oldest can’t handle too much off time so we pretty much “school” all the time: M,T,Th,Fr. I follow her lead and take a longer break when needed. It has been a challenge to keep up, but I am gonna break down and buy some workbooks. It’s too much printer ink to keep up with her demand!

    I hope other homeschooling families are inspired by this to go year round! So many benefits. Especially in regards to vacations!!!

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Well hopefully my daughter can handle the time off (I think she will be able to)– however, if not, we’ll switch to a 4 day week with a week off here and there. I’m really looking forward to it!

      Thanks for sharing your perspectives on year-round homeschooling Katie!

  • Natalie Patalie

    When I was still being homeschooled we did semi-year-round schooling. During summer and other public school breaks I still had light work to do, because my mom wanted to make sure I didn’t start to forget everything I learned during the school year, but she didn’t want me to miss out on seeing my public school friends, either. I think it worked out alright. And I loved going on vacations when all my other friends were in school, hahah!

  • Tiffany-A Touch of Grace

    I really like the idea of year round school. There are actually some areas of California that do year round schooling. I feel like it allows for more family time and vacation time throughout the year, instead of trying to cram everything into 3 months.
    And I feel like kids have a better retention rate of what they’ve learned this way.
    Excited for you guys with this change!
    xoxo

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I am so excited about year-round schooling. I can’t wait to see how it impacts my daughter’s learning too. I think the 2 week breaks will be just enough to build her up for another 6 weeks of learning.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this TIffany. I’ll have to report on it once we’re in full swing.

  • Amanda @ Growing Up Madison

    That’s the great thing about homeschooling, things can be done at your schedule. I’m seriously thinking of homeschooling Madison because I’ll have so much time on my hands and can devote it to her schooling. While it’s easy for my kids to be in school, I want to do things a bit differently with her. Sounds like you have your schedule in hand and I’m sure it will work out great for you.

  • Echo

    These are awesome tips and a wonderful schedule. I would consider us year round learners. We like to incorporate education and life skills in to a lot of the things that we do.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I’m so excited about it Echo. I think the year round schedule will be so much better for us. Can you tell I’m still a newbie homeschooler? The thought of doing something different than the school system takes a while for me to process. LOL

      Thanks for sharing what schedule you share with your children.

  • Sanz

    How wonderful that you’ve been able to tweak your daughter’s education to what fits your family. (Love that about homeschooling!) We’ve been going year round for three years and this is the first I’m thinking we’re going to take a summer break! :0) Have you heard of Sabbath School? It’s schooling for six weeks and then taking a one week break year round. I agree that weekend aren’t long enough for planning!

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I’m so excited about this change Sanz. I think we both need it. we’re doing 6 weeks and 2 weeks off although if 2 weeks is too much of a break, I may consider 1 week off and a 4 day week. We’ll just have to see how it pans out.

      I’ll have to remember to give an update when we’re in the full swing of things.

  • Deborah

    It’s so exciting to see other moms picking up on the benefits of year-round homeschooling. Many moms and kids get burned out during the traditional school year, and have a hard time switching back in the fall. Year round homeschooling solves so many problems.
    I’m so totally excited for you two!
    Blessings,

  • Chris Carter

    This just makes so much sense and seems so much more doable to me!! If I were homeschooling, I would do it year round as well. I’m really excited for you, Jennifer! This seems so much more of a fruitful plan for YOU BOTH which is wonderful!!

  • Ceil

    Hi Jennifer! I think you are going through the same thought patterns as our public schools are doing here in the USA. I live near Chicago, and some schools did start ‘year round’ schedules. I don’t think it ever took off well though, because of the working parent challenges.

    But you don’t have that barrier, so I think it makes perfect sense. All you really want to do is support and educate your children the best way for them, and for you. You have so much flexibility anyway, a day off here and there to match up with friends wouldn’t impact your schedule very much.
    Good luck! I’m sure it will go well,
    Ceil

  • Amanda

    If we do end up homeschooling our kids I definitely will homeschool year round. It just makes sense to me that if I say we home school because we learn all the time then we should be learning all the time! Also, I remember (and I see my child’s older peers) experiencing the start of school excitement and then quick burn out. I don’t want to do that. I’d rather keep the excitement going by not forcing ourselves to rush through curriculum in 9 months.

  • Stacy

    I love and agree with all of the reasons here. I feel like I scramble every weekend doing nothing but homeschool prep for the next week. If I had two weeks to prepare for the next six – that would be SO much better.

    I am a new follower to your blog/FB page but, as a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mom to five, I am looking forward to visiting often. :)

  • Jen@JENerallyInformed

    Half the schools in our town do a year round schedule and the other half don’t. I would like a year round schedule as the summers are long and hot here and traveling during that time is expensive! I am really happy with our school, but I wish they would transition to a year round schedule.

  • Lindsay Gallimore

    As a (former) regular school teacher, I see a ton of benefits to year-round schooling for all children! So much learning just gets… lost… over the summer, and a lot of educational activities that require the nice summer weather can never happen!

  • Monica Geglio

    I think year round schooling is a great idea. I know many other moms who have had problems with their children returning to school after summer break. Many kids easily forget things they have learned, so starting a new grade after a three month break can be intense for the struggling student. If I were homeschooling, I think I would follow a similar schedule. Seems to be very much appropriate, especially since you believe that would be best for YOUR child!

    ~Monica

  • Jessica Dimas

    Dang Jennifer, you are churning out the helpful posts!!! Thank you so much for this, I was considering also following the traditional school year but after reading this I can tell it’s so much better to do year-round. And can I just say (like I know I’ve creepily said before) every time I read your parenting posts I think “I wish I could’ve had Jennifer as my mom!!!!” Haha! You are seriously the best, I love your devotion to your children, I admire you so much. You’re such an inspiration, and I really mean that.

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Awww, Jessica… this is my turn to say this is the best comment ever. I try my best… I do but I fall short; but I learn and keep trying.

      I’m so glad this helped you. It was a huge decision but I know it’s a good one for my family and I think “balance” will be more obtainable with this type of schedule.

      Thanks again for the lovely comment… it just boosted my spirits.

  • i>normaleverydaylife

    I think this sounds really smart. I wish our school district was on a year round schedule. I think summer breaks are too long and I’d like to have that time spread out more during the year. It often feels like feast or famine in the traditional school year! The traveling ease sounds great too!

  • Ai

    We started out with a traditional schedule too, but all for the same reasons you mentioned, we switched to year-round. As a kid, I went to a public school, which followed a year-round schedule because of overcrowding. But I remember liking all the breaks in between. Turns out I like it even more as a teacher. :-)

  • Cindy Hasko

    Such a great post!!!!!! I love this. I’m actually going to visit your homeschool section on your site and print some stuff this week. This is helpful and I always look forward to reading your homeschool tips. Thanks. xo

  • Melissa

    I would definitely do year round. I like traveling on the off-season and love going places when everyone else is in school. We have talked about homeschooling for this reason.

  • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Our family has found that a year-round schedule works best for us, too. I don’t plan the breaks in that you do, but I allow them to happen naturally. This way, if we plan a last minute trip, family comes to visit, or someone gets sick, we just take the time off and don’t worry about it too much. We always end up with more school days than the traditional school does.

    In the summer, we do what I call “part-time” school. I let the kids put away the tougher subjects, but try to keep them doing a little bit of math, language arts, and foreign language. They enjoy less of a workload, but they also stay up on their skills.

    We all need to find what works best for our families and be careful not to feel like we have to do what everyone else is. This was a big one for me!

    Thanks so much for sharing your method with us. It’s very helpful when we share so that we can offer up solutions that another family might not have previously considered.

    Thanks, Jennifer!

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      I loved hearing how you structure your homeschooling days Heather. I want to try out this schedule– if my daughter for some reason doesn’t do well with the 2 weeks off, we may try a 4 day week with a couple breaks.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on year-round homeschooling.

      • Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

        Sure! Always happy to encourage when I can.

        I find, with my boys, that two weeks off gets them out of the habit and it is harder to get them back into the swing of things, so we usually take a week off a time.

        Like I said, though, every family and every child is different. Just experiment, remain flexible, and you will find what works best for your family.

  • Carol Amato

    Hi, Jennifer,

    Wow, this post brings back a lot of wonderful memories! :-) I did homechool my kids for several years, although I was not the teacher. I used Abeka Book publications, and master teachers taught my three kids via video/DVD. We did send all papers in to be graded, etc. and my kids got a report card, etc.

    While it was easier in the admin area, we still did a lot of learning together, and I have fond memories of helping my kids complete projects that caused their growth in more ways than one.

    For my own experience, I remember the grade school I attended in second grade switched to a year-round school schedule for short while. The community was in an uproar because of work schedules, scheduling vacations… There were many objections. They eventually abandoned the practice, but I sort of liked it.

    I prefer short vacations, but more frequent, and the same thing with school. More frequent breaks but shorter in duration.

    You’re an awesome mom, Jennifer, and I applaud you!

    Have a great day.
    ˜Carol

    • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom Post author

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on year-round homeschooling Carol!

      I’m so excited for this change. I think it will be beneficial for all the members of our family. It took a while to come to this decision… I learn by hands-on trial and error. My daughter really needs that breaks and I can see that now that I’m 2 1/2 years into homeschooling her.

  • Rebecca

    Oh yeah. Year round makes a lot more sense when you have to come up with the lessons and plan everything out. All of your points are great, and when the curriculum/schedule is completely tailored for your daughter’s benefit, what more do you need? You’re doing a fantastic job ALL YEAR LONG! Okay I know- we’re cheesy together. lol