Before I started homeschooling, I did A LOT of research on the topic. I learned that there are a ton of ways for people to homeschool their kids, which of course, is one of the beauties of the choice. For those who like to overanalyze everything (something I know
everything nothing about 😜), it’s also one of the most overwhelming things about this choice.
One of the areas I researched was all about scheduling. I read about families following their local public schools’ calendar, families homeschooling 4-days a week versus 5, families homeschooling on the weekends, families doing their work in the mornings, others doing their work in the afternoons, etc, etc. I finally realized that I needed to make a decision about our family’s schedule.
I finally bit the bullet, and decided we were going to test out a modified, year-long school schedule. When you first hear “year-long school,” you might cringe at the thought; I know I did! But when I learned more about it, it sounded like a great idea that I wanted to try out.
It’s important to know your state’s homeschooling laws/regulations on all of this, so always check that out first before working out your schedule.
After I did this, I came up with a schedule that had us starting mid-July. We are averaging 6-weeks on, 1-week off, but of course there are exceptions to that. For example, there’s a time when we’ll only be doing school for about 2 weeks before we’ll be off again for an extended break around Christmas. There’s another time when we’ll actually school for 7 weeks straight instead of 6, but overall the 6:1 ratio is what we’ll be doing. Then, we’re scheduled to end our school year in mid-May, when we’ll probably take off for somewhere between 4-6 weeks before we’ll hit the books again.
I understand that this kind of schedule isn’t for everyone, but for us in this season of our lives, so far, we are loving it. Here’s a few reasons why:
1. Recoup and Recharge!
We have only had one of our 1-week breaks so far, but we will have our next one next week. I was a bit hesitant to try this kind of schedule at first, but once that first 1-week break came up, all my doubts on the issue disappeared! We’ve had some struggles with homeschool, but overall, I’d say we’ve adjusted really well. But even still, these 1-week breaks have been heaven-sent. It gives both my son and me a break that we really benefit from. I know some families who average 4-weeks on, 1-week off and still others, who do 8-weeks on, 1-week off. Do what works for you, but for us, 6-weeks on seems to be the right balance, not too much and not too little.
2. Evaluate and Plan.
We mostly rely on a curriculum that beautifully maps out our school schedule each day. However, I have needed to make changes to that schedule at times to fit our needs, whether that meant skipping something altogether, slowing down, speeding up, or adding activities to expand our lessons. Also, I am not using any specific curriculum to teach Science or Spanish, therefore planning for those subjects is completely up to me.
I know some amazing homeschool gurus who plan out their entire school year before they start their year, but I am not that good, and as much as I’d like to say that I will get there one day, I know myself and I know that’s never going to happen. Ha! But that is another reason why our 6:1 schedule is working so well for us.
During our last break, I dedicated some time to plan our schedule for the next 6 weeks. I evaluated our last 6 weeks, looked at what had been working or not working, and made adjustments. I looked through our packaged curriculum’s schedule for the next 6 weeks, which made me feel very well prepared. Then I took that info and mapped out field trips for our next few weeks and any extra projects I wanted to do.
I think it’s awesome that some people can sit down and tentatively plan their whole year, but the thought of doing that completely overwhelms me. Planning 6 weeks at a time is just right for me.
3. Extra flexibility.
The past 2 weeks, my kiddos have been dealing with colds that have kept them (and me) up all hours of the night. Because of this, there have been a couple of days where we didn’t school. Because of our 6:1 schedule, those days will be easily made up. We can make up a day or two during this scheduled break if we want, or during a future break if that works better. It makes it so easy and definitely takes the stress out of trying to figure out how to make up missed time when unexpected issues arise.
I know this type of schedule might not be everyone’s cup of tea or work for all families, but for us, this has definitely been a decision I’m happy we made. It might not go this way every school year for us, but right now it definitely works best. What are your thoughts? Do you homeschool year-round or are you thinking about it? I’d love to hear what’s working for you!