One of the things I love most about homeschooling is the ability to set our own schedule. Our first year of official homeschooling, we stuck with a traditional school schedule. I realized after that year that I would quickly burn out. So over the years, we’ve settled into a year round schedule. I found our school routine naturally settled into a 5-6 weeks on, one week off rotation. We also take a longer (generally 2-3 weeks off) break in December and in July.
We love this schedule for many reasons, and I’ll cover the main reasons here.
Slow and steady progression. I’m a big believer in doing a little bit every day. The habit of a little bit of housework or a little bit of reading time (or so many other things) adds up to huge progress over time. The same is true for our schoolwork. We spend about 60 minutes together in official schoolwork daily (the big kids–ages 8 and 12–complete a little bit more independent work on their own in addition to that time) and I don’t feel like we are lacking anything.
Greater flexibility in taking time off throughout the year. We usually “do school” for six weeks and then take a week off, all year long. I find that this is the perfect rotation for us. Usually we’re all ready for a change after six weeks. During our off weeks, we go on trips or work on house projects or other things that it’s harder to get to during a typical school week.
We also do longer breaks in December and June/July. This allows us to really enjoy the Christmas holidays. We are able to spend time making gifts and reading the holiday books we love and less focused time on academics.
No Summer Slide. The first month or two of a traditional school year is generally spent reviewing what the students learned last year and then forgot over the summer. We don’t see any of the dreaded slide, because we never put schoolwork aside long enough for the kids to forget what we’ve covered. Because they are doing a little bit of math almost every day, it takes just a few minutes, and it’s not even a challenge most days because the kids know it is expected and needs to be done before they can play with friends or have screen time, etc.
We are able to spend a shorter amount of time each day, because learning is spread more evenly throughout the year.
Learning is a part of life. Our morning routine is so much a part of our life that it almost feels unnatural to not “do school”.
The breaks keep us from burning out. Our week-long vacations are a time for us to work on other projects and for me to check larger organizing projects or other items off my to-do list. I make a long list at the beginning of each “off” week and try to get to as much as I can. I usually do some extra cooking to stock the freezer, deep clean a room/closet or two, work on scrapbooks, and catch up on anything that’s been driving me crazy lately.
Our Summer Homeschool Plans
That’s it for our Morning Time during the summer. It’s a simple, enjoyable start to our day. Our Littles are in and out of the room while I read aloud to the kids. Edith (8 months) is often nursing or eating cheerios/raisins in the high chair. Elijah (3) is loud and distracting and pays attention for only short snippets. I try to keep them entertained as much as possible, but there are definitely interruptions. That’s just how it is.