Every year in our early years of homeschooling I would get burnt out. And every year I would start counting down to summer vacation. I would start to stress about getting all of our curriculum done in time and the joy would just vanish from our home. After years of this, I decided enough was enough and we tried out year round homeschooling. We haven’t looked back since!
Do you really homeschool all year?!
When many people hear year round homeschooling, they envision us homeschooling all of the time and not taking any breaks. This couldn’t be further from the truth! This homeschool schedule actually allows us to take many breaks throughout the year.
We love to travel, so taking breaks to do so gives us the opportunity to do school when we want and travel when we want (which is usually when traditional schools are in session, making for less crowds at our favorite destinations!) Don’t totally write off these travel days, though! Many of our travels count towards school days as we go to a to of museums, national parks, and historic sites. So, sometimes these breaks aren’t even really technically breaks at all (even if they feel like they are). Score!
If you look at a traditional homeschool schedule, you will see the typical family schooling for 36 weeks out of the year (give or take). With 52 weeks in the year, that leaves 16 entire weeks to take off whenever you want! The beauty of homeschooling is that you get to make the rules. So, why not make the schedule up, too?!
Some families choose to create 6 week terms to spread out their breaks in this way. This allows for a large winter break, plus a week off between terms. We are more of a “fly by the seat of our pants” family, so our breaks are a little all over the place. Do whatever works for you in your home when planning out your breaks!
Prevent homeschool burnout
The biggest reason I decided to implement year round homeschooling in our home is to prevent burn out. I cannot even begin to express how much of a difference this has made for us.
I’m the kind of person that I like to change things up often. Maybe it’s adult onset ADHD. Maybe it’s shiny new curriculum syndrome. Who knows. Whatever it is, doing the same thing over and over with not many breaks made our lives much too monotonous. I would get tired of the same thing every day without the time to explore or to just rest. Being able to take breaks helps give us the breather we all need and also gives me the opportunity to plan out some new fun things for our homeschool (or just helps us take a step back from what we were doing so we can keep trucking along after our breaks!)
We live in the South so the summers are hot, but the spring and fall are just gorgeous! I found we were super sad being stuck doing school on these gorgeous days when we could be enjoying a local park or nature walk while the weather actually calls for it. I would often call off school because we wanted sun days (as we call them) then panic because we never wanted to do school! When summer rolled around, we would be bored out of our minds. All of our typical activities were done for the school year, it was super hot out, and there was nothing to do. Why not take advantage of these days to do school work!?
Sabbath Schooling?? What is that?
I recently heard about a thing called Sabbath Schooling and it makes so much sense to me!! Although we don’t operate on a strict 6 weeks on, 1 week off schedule in our home, Sabbath Schooling is based off of that model. You see, in the creation of our beautiful world, the good Lord worked for 6 days, then took a day for rest. Year round homeschooling allows us to step back and take that rest when we need it.
Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh is a Sabbath to the Lord your God, on it you shall not do any work.-Genesis 2:2
We were designed for rest. We take the day of rest once a week, but let’s be honest. On Sunday we are still doing all the things. We are prepping for our week, making plans, even going to church isn’t necessarily restful! Taking a week off every 6 weeks, or however you plan your year round homeschool, allows us to get the rest we need, when we need it. Going and going for months on end, only to take a huge break over the summer, is just rough on the system.
Retain more information with year round homeschooling
Did you know that the schedule of having roughly 3 months off in the summer was created because we used to be such an agriculturally centered society? It makes sense. Farming families would need to have the summers off to be able to work and harvest. However, for many of us, that isn’t the case any more. So, why keep with this traditional schedule?
Studies are conflicted on if taking such a large break actually makes an impact in children’s learning and test scores. According to the Ohio State University, test scores for retention in reading in math are not effect by the long break. However, ask any homeschooling parent or teacher and they will say that, without a doubt, children forget a ton of information over the summer! A lot of review has to happen to get them back on track. It doesn’t meant the information is gone (which is probably why the study from Ohio State shows that the long break doesn’t make a difference), but review needs to happen.
With a year round homeschooling schedule, that review doesn’t usually need to happen, which means more time for learning new information and more time for FUN. Having fun is super important to me to be a part of our home, so I want to make sure there’s little busy work and more joy filled learning. We’ve been able to skip multiple lessons, especially in math curriculum, by switching to this schedule. We just don’t need all of that review with the shorter breaks!
What do other year round homeschooling families have to say?
I reached out to my online homeschool community to ask them what they have to say about year round homeschooling! Here’s what they have to say…
We homeschool year round because it provides us the opportunity to go at their pace, take breaks as needed, and go on lots of field trips without having to worry about a deadline. It, also, prevents skill loss over extended summer breaks so we don’t have to waste time in the fall on relearning things we’ve forgotten.-Elizabeth C.
Our family came to year round homeschooling one year while recounting all of the educational adventures, enriching opportunities and real world learning we experienced over the summer. None of this time was being counted towards our homeschool calendar or grades. It hit me that in the real world when adults work on a project or for our jobs our work counts regardless of when during the year we do it. This was the moment for us that we decided to try year round homeschooling. We’ve never looked back and this change has taken so much pressure off our shoulders as parents, making us feel much more joy-filled, peaceful and relaxed in our homeschool journey.-Christina R.
We love homeschooling year round! We are required to do 180 days in a school year for our state and schooling year round gives us plenty of time to complete the days. We are able to take days off when we need a break without feeling guilty. We can also schedule vacations on off season when places are less crowded. We also like homeschooling year round because we are all over the place with our curriculum. We never start/finish in August and May. We just pick up on the next level when we complete it.-Stephanie S.
We did it this year because everything was closed so we figured why not start in July, and then if/when we can go more places, we are free? It worked wonderfully for being able to take time off when my husband was able to. He can’t take time during traditional vacation times, but by the beginning of September we were ready for a break and so was he! We plan to try it again this year. I like having 6 week chunks to plan for as well. It opens my planning mind up more for unit studies or introductions to subjects.-Julie N.
We love schooling year round! It totally gives us the grace on days when we just don’t want to do school and shortens the days for us that we do. My son desperately needs these shorter days so it’s been great for us!Ashleigh C.
Year Round Homeschooling… is it for you?
Do you homeschool year round in your home? Let me know about it in the comments or in my online homeschool community!