Sabbath Schooling – How it saved my homeschool from burnout!

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logo Have you ever heard of Sabbath Schooling? I hadn’t until I read an article in Home Educating Family Magazine a few years ago.  As soon as I read it I felt a burden lift off my shoulders. I KNEW this was for me!

Do you experience burn-out in your homeschool? I invite you to read on to find out how you too can breathe easier and bring life back into your homeschool!

First off ~ Sabbath Schooling is NOT doing school on Sundays!  Sabbath Schooling uses the principle that on the seventh day God rested. Bringing that into the homeschooling realm…we rest every seventh week.

How does it work?
Each family will be a little different, but this is how it works for us. This is our third year doing Sabbath Schooling. We typically start school around the end of August. We do school for six weeks and take the seventh week off. We keep up this schedule and move around as needed to accomodate for Thanksgiving. We also only school 4 days a week, taking Fridays off.

Come December, we take the ENTIRE month off! This allows  for spending quality time with family, baking Christmas goodies, making presents, shopping, etc. We resume the first Monday in January.

We proceed to keep this schedule and tweak as needed to make our Sabbath week our “Spring Break” and Easter break. Then we finish out the year on our 6/1 schedule until the end of June (or until we finish everything). We take about 6 weeks off or sometimes longer, then we resume our schedule.

The idea is to spread out the school year a bit instead of cramming everything into a typical 9 month schedule. Doing this allows for easier scheduling of things like dentist and doctor appointments, errands, and even lesson planning!

For states that have restrictions on how many days you have to school, you could modify this schedule to fit your needs. An example would be doing 5 days a week instead of 4, or taking every 8th or 9th week off. Luckily, in my sate, we do not have attendance requirements. I still manage to get about 36 weeks of school in using this method.

One perk for motivation: My daughter has always understood that if she doesn’t get everything done during the 6 weeks of school, she will be working during our Sabbath Week. In three years, this has never happened! It is a good motivating tool to keep on keeping on ~ with a light at the end of the tunnel!

Find out about your state’s compulsory attendance laws and requirements here.

If you would like to read the article that changed our homeschool for good, click here!

If you are Sabbath Schooling or doing a version of it that you tweaked for your family’s needs, tell us about it in the comments! Gleaning wisdom from each other rocks!

Written by Carrie


Carrie is the owner & operator of Homeschool Giveaways and Curriculum Share. She has been homeschooling for eight years, has two girls and works side by side at home with her awesome husband. She has been saved by grace, fails daily, but continues to strive toward the prize of the high calling of being a daughter of the Most High God.

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17 Responses to “Sabbath Schooling – How it saved my homeschool from burnout!”

  1. Cyndi says:

    We also school for 6 weeks and take a week off. I plan our start date based one the two weeks my husband will be laid off during Christmas time. Then we count back and usually start the beginning of Aug, and end the middle of May. We participate in our county 4H in July so we need June and July off for that. We’ve done it for years and love it!!

  2. Shawna says:

    This is only my second year homeschooling, but even with kindergarten last year we were getting overwhelmed because so many things would interrupt and we would have to miss days here and there. We went end of August to end of May with only a break for Christmas and Thanksgiving. It was too much. This year we started in July, and we take one week off every month. We will go through the end of May, have all of June off, and start back up again. It has been so relaxing. That one week off can be busy and we are thankful to get back into school. When my kids had too much time off without the structure of our school routine, they were getting kind of crazy anyways!

  3. Nikki says:

    What do you do during your week off?

  4. Christine says:

    I didn’t call it “Sabbath schooling,” but maybe I will now! I like the name! And it’s basically what we do! We are in SC, where we are required to complete 180 days of homeschool per year. The first half a year I homeschooled (starting in January), we were in survival mode. I had just (very unexpectedly!) lost my teaching job at a private school, and I had a 5 month old, 5 year old, and 9 year old. And our homeschool accountability group required us to finish by the end of May. (It’s not the law, but they have their members shoot for that date so they can process records… I didn’t go with them the next year!) I considered MANY options for scheduling, and the best option seemed to be a six week rotation, so we started schooling 5 days a week for 6 weeks, then taking the 7th week off. We did that last year from the end of July through the middle of May, with our 176-180th days being a camping trip to Virginia/Washington D.C. We came home and I planned out more days (to finish our curriculum for the year, and I ended up doing work as needed with the kids to finish them up.

    I liked it a lot! So much that I planned the same for this year. Only with a full week off at Thanksgiving, and three weeks at Christmas instead of the 2 I had planned last year. (Yeah, we totally didn’t start school back the day after getting home from vacation!) We started again the end of July, and by my calculations, we SHOULD be done with school by the middle of May this year.

  5. We follow a similar pattern, but I hadn’t really thought about it! We had to take a longer break this year at Christmas due to emergency surgery I had during the break, but we’ll be back at it on Monday full-speed ahead!

    I’m glad I now have this perspective. I always felt like this was a good way to do school, and now I have a more thought-out reason. Great post!

  6. What a wonderful idea!!! Thank you for sharing. :)

  7. I am homeschooling my Kindergartener right now. I didn’t realize it, but this is exactly what I’ve been doing. I like the term “Sabath schooling” much better though, I was just calling it break time. I like the idea of looking at it as a week of rest.

    Scheduling 6 weeks at a time has made it less stressful. I am able to evaluate what needs to be changed and tweaked in 6 week increments rather than feeling as though I’m behind on a 9 mo. schedule. I love it!

  8. Laura says:

    Great idea! I think because I saw my mom homeschool my sisters I came into homeschooling my own kids with a much more relaxed methodology. We take time off as needed, and Friday is our fun/art/field trip day.

  9. Great idea. God rested, we should rest. I like this.

  10. Michelle Rooney says:

    This is a wonderful concept!
    But, like another poster asked, how do you
    spend the “Sabbath week?
    I’d really enjoy some suggestions.

  11. Rachel R. says:

    I am a homeschool graduate. When I was in school, we did 8 weeks on, 2 weeks off (with all of December off, and all of…July, I think).

    I’m not very disciplined/organized, so we don’t tend to do an even anything on/anything off in our homeschool, but it comes out to roughly the same thing. (For instance, someone in our household has been sick pretty much perpetually since before Christmas. So I haven’t been to the library to swap out books for a new unit – so last week we were off. This week we STILL haven’t gotten to the library, but will be taking advantage of the impending snowstorm to center our studies around snow all this week.)

  12. Debbie says:

    That’s how our school system works over here in England. We have six week blocks called “terms” winter term spring term and so on every seventh week is half term break. We get a little extra at Easter . At the end of July they break up for the summer and get the whole of August off .

  13. Lauren says:

    I have never been homeschooled and am planning
    on being a classroom teacher, but I just want to say
    that I love this schedule. It is very similar to the
    school calendar that my brother and I had when
    we were stationed (military father!) in rural England
    and attended local British schools. I miss this
    schedule so much!!

  14. Christa Barnhizer says:

    We do it a little differently. We homeschool year round, with a week off at Christmas, and a week off in February, and usually the entire month of July, due to camps, and a week with each set of grandparents. What we don’t do is homeschool for a long time each day- school starts between 9AM and 10AM and is over between noon and 1PM. My eldest prefers to learn her math using Teaching Textbooks on the computer, before anyone else gets out of bed. The youngest needs direct instruction and individual attention for that subject, so we use Life of Fred, and do that after lunch. That leaves our afternoons mostly free for me to recover. lol.

  15. Liz says:

    I do something similar and it is wonderful! It has definitely helped with burnout

  16. An says:

    We live in England. My kids were in school till ages 6 and 9. The school system here is in 6 week blocks. When we first started homeschool, we did school for months and months, without a break it was too much. I felt that to be able to have beach days in the summer months, we had to work through school holidays in the winter months. The second year, I stuck to the school holidays, purely because those were the only weeks schooled friends were free for play dates, and homeschool groups tended not to have activities. It mostly works. I now have a 12yo in school and a 9 yo in homeschool. We have to stick rigidly to the school holidays now, which I dislike. If I allow Lego days, for example, we’ll have to catch up in the summer when my eldest is already off school and that will not go down well with my youngest. It was easier to have 2 kids at home! Oh, school’s here don’t finish till part-way thorough the 3rd or 4th week in July, so pretty late. This year, my schooled child’s last day will be Wed 24th July.

  17. renita says:

    We have been doing this for several years and I blogged about it as well. We love it so much.

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