Do you follow a traditional school schedule? Or do you embrace year-round schooling? There are benefits of each method, but if you want as much flexibility as you can get with homeschooling, check out why you should consider a year round homeschool schedule for your family.
Year Round Homeschool
There are many benefits of homeschooling year round. Year round homeschool provides a great way to enjoy the most flexibility and freedom without the summer slide that comes when you follow a traditional school year calendar. And because you can fit in your school time anywhere in the year, you also have more freedom to slow down and dig deeper. By spreading out the education over the entire year, you can take advantage of frequent breaks as needed. This will prevent burnout and keep your kids and yourself fresh and ready to learn. Here are the details you’ll want to consider.
What is Year Round Homeschooling?
Year round homeschooling is simply spreading your breaks out all throughout the calendar year instead of taking one long break during the summer months. Year-round homeschooling works for many families because you can take frequent breaks to prevent burnout, take advantage of homeschool field trips when places are less crowded, and fit in family events as needed.
Year round homeschooling does not mean that you’re doing school 365 days per year! You may still do an average of 180 days like many kids following a traditional calendar, but when you do those school days will follow a flexible year-round schedule.
Families have different ways that they like to structure their year-round schooling. First, you’ll want to check your state laws to make sure your homeschool is in compliance. Then, you can figure out a schedule that works best for your family’s needs, priorities, and temperament.
How many weeks do you homeschool?
You can decide how to plan homeschool schedule for as many weeks as you need to with year round homeschooling. A typical school calendar year is divided into approximately 36 weeks of 5 school days per week, giving students a total of 180 days of school work.
Homeschool families who want to spread the school time throughout the entire year may structure multiple weeks of school followed by a week or two of break. The important thing is to do what works best for your family. But we’ll give you some specific ideas below so you can make a great year-round homeschooling schedule.
The Benefits of Year Round Homeschool
There are many benefits of year round homeschool. One amazing benefit is that you can experience less stress by taking breaks whenever you or the kids need it! Instead of pushing on toward Christmas or summer break, you can take a week off from school work without any guilt. If you’re having some big family changes like welcoming a new baby or helping a sick family member, you can spread out the homeschool days throughout the whole year and take off time as needed.
Year-round homeschoolers know that they don’t have to struggle with their kids every fall with getting back into a school routine. Instead, their kids are used to learning all the time and so there are no huge transitions. Plus, you won’t have to spend weeks reviewing last year’s material if you don’t have a huge break in between.
Here are some additional benefits of year-round homeschooling:
- being able to truly live a homeschool lifestyle
- fit in doctor appointments, sick days, or other needs more easily while still getting your school work done
- take trips when there are fewer crowds because it’s off-season
- not feeling like school is drudgery because there’s always a break right around the corner
- being able to focus and work hard for shorter lengths of time
- take the learning inside during the hot summer months if you need to
- participate in outside classes and easily fit them into your schedule
- take as much time as you need to get through the curriculum – because it doesn’t need to fit into a traditional school year
- high school students can fit in internships, apprenticeships, or dual enrollment with a more flexible schedule
- count summer camps as school
- you can take an extended break for family emergencies or big events
- prevents burnout
How to Plan Your Year Round Homeschool Schedule
Here’s what you need to know in order to plan your year round homeschool schedule.
Know Your State’s Laws
First, as always, start with your state homeschool laws. Do they require 180 days of school? If so, or if you want to stay with that traditional benchmark, then go ahead and let’s do some math. 180 days of school equals 36 weeks. If you subtract that from the 52 weeks in a year, you’re left with 16 weeks of break. And you can now figure out when you want to have those break weeks throughout the year.
Plan Your Breaks
Next, plan your breaks. Some families like to do 6 weeks on with one week off. In order to fit your schooling around holidays and other natural breaks, your terms might be anywhere from 5 to 8 weeks, followed by a week of rest. Go ahead and print out a yearly calendar on one page of paper so you can see it all in front of you. Now mark your breaks in where they make the most sense for your family.
Still want a month off in the summer? You can do that. But you can also homeschool in July. It makes total sense, especially if it’s really hot where you live and the kids tend to stay indoors anyway. Want a nice long Christmas vacation? You can do that too!
You can plan your homeschool year from July until June and schedule in regular terms and break weeks. Or you can look at your homeschool year by the calendar, from January to about November and take off the month of December in addition to regular break weeks all year long.
No matter how you decide to do it, mark the non-negotiable break weeks based on your family and holidays. Then count back from those breaks about six weeks, and you have a natural starting point for a 6 week term.
What does a year-round homeschool schedule look like?
A year-round homeschool schedule looks different for every family. But here is one simple way to plan out a year-round education that gives plenty of time for rest and enjoyment.
Dividing Your Year Into Terms
If you decide to break your 36 weeks of school into neatly divided terms, then you could have 6 weeks of school followed by a break week and repeat this six times during the year. This will still give you eleven more vacation weeks that you can spread out in your year-round homeschooling schedule.
Many families enjoy a good month or so off in the summertime and then another extended break at the Christmas holidays during the winter months. If you map this out on a calendar, you’ll see that this plan gives you regular breaks all year long, plus two lengthy vacation times in the middle and the end of the calendar year.
You might also use certain times of the year to encourage hobbies, extra learning that doesn’t fit into a traditional schedule, or classes. So for example, taking swimming lessons in the summer can certainly count toward schooling according to most definitions.
Or, your child might attend robotics summer camp that deep dives into the STEM field. Maybe your summer term can be filled with crafts and other activities that are sometimes neglected? Or your Christmas term can include a lot of baking and crafting of gifts.
Year Round Homeschool Schedule
Another year round homeschool schedule is based on the number of days you do school each week. So, instead of schooling in 6 week terms with a break week in between, you could school most of the year with a 4-day school week. This extra day off each week gives you plenty of time for errands or rest or household tasks.
By making that slight change from a typical 5-day school week, you will need closer to 45 weeks of school to make it to 180 school days, for example. Then, you’ll still be able to schedule in an additional seven weeks of break throughout the year.
If you would love some extra help in setting up a year round homeschool schedule, then you’ll love the printable year round homeschooling calendar from AOP. It divides the school year out and gives you 3-week seasonal breaks four times each year.
Scheduling in Regular Breaks
This way of scheduling frequent breaks is sometimes referred to as a sabbath schedule. The six weeks of school followed by one week of rest is patterned after God resting on the seventh day after the six days of Creation. However you decide to do it, taking regular intervals of rest is a beautiful acknowledgement that we do need frequent breaks. We are not omnipotent.
But the extra days off don’t mean that you’re not busy or getting things done. But it’s the change of pace that everyone needs. So now instead of requiring that the math lessons be done every morning, your child might be able to indulge in more free play with his LEGO set or building a fort outside.
Breaks for Moms
As a homeschool mom, the regular breaks mean that the house doesn’t have to fall apart during the school year. You know that with frequent breaks in the schooling, you’ll have time to declutter the kitchen or clean out the kids’ closets. You can also schedule your errands and other trips around these break weeks. And if you want to take a family trip, you’ll know when the longer breaks are in the year-round calendar to get the best deals on off-season tickets.
Should I homeschool year-round?
When you’re determining if you should homeschool year-round, ask yourself these questions.
- Do I frequently wish I had extra time for (fill in the blank)?
- Is it hard for my kids to push through certain seasons (winter blahs, right before Christmas, etc.)?
- Would my kids be motivated knowing they have regular break weeks throughout the year?
- Could we benefit from taking time off and enjoying off-season rates for field trips and vacations?
- Do we regularly feel burned out with homeschooling?
If you’re answering yes to any of these questions, then you might want to give year-round homeschooling a try! If it really doesn’t work for you, it’s easy to switch back.
Your children with special needs may especially benefit from year-round schooling. These students generally need more concentrated time to master concepts, and you’ll be able to prevent a big learning loss that can happen with the typical summer break.
Homeschooling Year Round Cons
When you homeschool year-round one of the cons to consider is that your breaks won’t necessarily align with the public schools. If your children have friends that attend public school, this might be an issue. But for most of us, this is actually a perk of homeschooling year-round! The parks are quieter, you can enjoy off-season rates for family vacations, and heading out anywhere in public is a lot calmer when most of the kids are in school.
One last negative to consider is that if your high school students are dual enrolled, then a traditional school year schedule might work better for them. However, many high schoolers do enjoy a 4-day school week so they can regularly work at a job a full day during the school week.
The mindset shift necessary, especially for newer homeschool parents, is that you don’t have to follow the public school system schedule! You really can enjoy a year-round education that fits your own schedule and your family’s priorities. While a traditional schedule may feel safer because most of us grew up in it, you can give yourself permission to craft a totally flexible and customized homeschool calendar that will prevent burnout, keep the love of learning alive, and give everyone the regular rest they need.
No matter how you schedule your homeschool, be sure that you keep your homeschool record keeping up-to-date to reflect your student’s year.
Sign up with AOP and never miss a sale, helpful tip, homeschool freebie or giveaway!
Founded in 1977, Alpha Omega Publications is a leading provider of PreK-12 Christian curriculum, educational resources, and services to homeschool families worldwide. AOP follows its mission every day by creating and providing quality Christian educational materials to thousands of students through curriculum, support services, and an accredited online academy. Visit Alpha Omega Publications online or call 800-622-3070 to learn more.