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My daughter walked into the room laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I asked?
“Mom, your face when that zebra at the safari sneezed on you….!” more laughter. “I’ll never forget that.” she said.
That was a trip we took to a Safari park en route to a homeschool conference we were speaking at last year. The same trip in which we spent an entire day exploring the Teotihuacan pyramids and ruins outside of Mexico City. We had a blast exploring and making memories together and no one worried about taking school work on the trip.
Why a year round homeschooling schedule?
Because of our unique lifestyle as missionaries and expat business owners leading the Spanish speaking homeschool movement from Mexico, our schedule of work and schooling activities needs to be flexible.
We’ve come up with our own year round homeschool schedule that allows us to enjoy travel and unique experiences as a family any time of the year, and to concentrate more on mastery than on grade levels.
We like it because it allows us to cater our school work to our family schedule – like that trip – and not visa versa, and because it allows us to keep a routine all year instead of having a school routine and readjusting to extra free time for a short period and readjusting again for “school to start.”
Traditional or year round schedule?
When deciding if a year round schedule is going to work for you, you first need to decide how you want your schedule to work. Do you want to “have school” 4 days a week? 5 days a week? Do you want to take time off more often? Or have a larger break from formal schooling once or twice a year?
A school year is comprised of 180 days of instruction (including sick days and field trips) the traditional school year schedule is 5 days per week x 36 weeks (18 weeks in the fall and 18 in the spring).
A year round school schedule can be broken down into one of the following ways:
Year round schedule : 45 days per quarter
- 5 days a week schedule is 9 weeks of every 12 or
- 4 days a week schedule is 11 weeks of every 12.
How do you plan a year round homeschooling schedule?
Once you decide on which schedule you want, 4 days or 5 days per week, get out the family calendar and put all of your non-negotiable dates on your school calendar first. Grab a free planning kit here. Non-negotiables may be things like:
- Family vacation
- Work trips
- Doctor’s appointments set in advance
- Out of town company coming to your house
- Special events or trips planned
Then add your recurring activities, those things that happen each month or week at an appointed time:
- Music lessons
- Sports practices
- Community outreaches or church activities
- Co-op classes
And finally based on your 4 or 5-day preference designate your “school” and field trip days around those other commitments.
We don’t worry about officially starting a new year, when we finish a book, we start the next one and celebrate that success whenever it happens. This allows us to focus on mastery of the material too, more than just on “being in the right grade.”
The freedom this kind of a schedule gives you to be fully present for special events and activities is wonderful. It also reduces stress for the whole family because you know you’ll still get your work in and be able to enjoy these other things.
No need to do school while Grandma is visiting or take books on that road trip, just enjoy the time together knowing that you’ll get your work done on those other designated days.
Have you every tried year round homeschooling? Share your experiences below. Never tried it? leave your questions here.