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Monday, January 10, 2011

thoughts of year round homeschooling

Last year was our first year homeschooling. We followed a traditional 180 day calendar with all of the same breaks you would get in PS. As a new homeschooler, I pretty much followed the PS calendar in our county. I didn't have the confidence to completely break away, and found it was easy to use as a guide. I also needed to stay with the PS system, because last year I opted to test my oldest with the state. We took our summer break and got right back to it this past August.

No we're well into our second year. I am shocked at some of the things I have found that I've changed my mind about in just one year on the job. For one, I made the choice to teach outside of standardized testing! I forgot why I started this whole HS thing to begin with, and had to remind myself that I was doing this to teach in ways my son needed. If that meant I had to teach outside the box a little, then darn it, I had that freedom! I found the God given confidence to step away from traditional methods, and started looking into some other curriculum choices that better suited him. Making this choice immediately put us on our own calendar. Nice! Me likey.

After getting a taste of stickittothemaniosis (please tell me you've seen the movie School of Rock, and are familiar with this medical term.), I am finding freedom in so many other choices exciting!

I've been thinking a lot of teaching year round. I find that my kids do much better when sticking to a schedule, and even when we do take a summer break I have to spend a lot of time in August reviewing not only the material, but working hard to get back into a routine. It effects their behavior, attitude, and so many other things. What would it be like if we never had to regroup?

I haven't really put much thought into how this would look for us, but I want to start doing some research on the topic. I know right off the bat it would take some pressure off of our curriculum. For example, instead of a five day work week, perhaps we move to a three day work week? Perhaps I could shorten the day all year? I don't really know? I haven't done any of the math on how the hours would actually compare, but it's a thought.

Because, really, we can do whatever we want.

I've also thought about continuing the curriculum calendar in the traditional 180 days, and choosing unit studies over the summer. That way the kids are studying something they are really interested in, but can apply all of the skills they've learned all year to these studies.

I have often thought my oldest would be the perfect candidate for year round schooling. He has difficulty with change in routine. He gets very emotional and stressed after long breaks. I find that during the summer, I want to do something structured with him just to keep him from getting bored, which often leads to some depression for him. Year round schooling could possibly be another way to accommodate his needs?

I'm really just brainstorming, and I am really interested in hearing about what you do as homeschooling moms throughout the year. What does your calendar look like? Have you tried schooling year round? Does it work well for your family? Why or why not?




At January 10, 2011 at 3:14 PM , Blogger Shell said...

I've always liked the idea of year-round schooling...well, after I was out of school myself. ;)

At January 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM , Blogger Jennifer @ Just Peachy in Dixie said...

We go year round. I just find that it is a lot less pressure for both DD and me! Like you was very frustrating to me to have to cover the same material twice from a long break. We usually go M-Th, taking a couple weeks in December, and a couple of longer weekend breaks throughout. This has seemed to work well for us.

I can't wait to look through some of your homeschooling links. DD is now in 4th grade, and we've used Abeka the entire time. I'm thinking about making some changes, and breaking from the mold a bit.

Thanks for the post! I look forward to seeing other responses as well. :)

Jennifer @

At January 10, 2011 at 4:16 PM , Blogger Janet Rose said...

Every family has to do what works for them. We do our own calendar, but do it August til May. We take shorter breaks at all the holidays so we can have a longer summer. We love summer and wouldn't dream of giving it up. I say this because it works for us. Enjoy your days in school and out...learning will come along with the ride.

At January 10, 2011 at 4:47 PM , Blogger Annette said...

This is our third year homeschooling. I actually started when my oldest was 4. Now he's in first grade and I have a Kindergartner and pre-schooler and toddler. In the past we have schooled from Aug-May but we usually keep up "learning activities" to keep our mind fresh on basics(like hands-on stuff and games). But at the ages of my kids it's easy to disguise review as playtime! We school 4 days a week because daddy is home on Fridays.

At January 10, 2011 at 7:27 PM , Blogger blueviolet said...

I've never homeschooled, but my kids did attend a year round school and it really was a wonderful thing. Those long breaks aren't necessary. Fun, but not necessary!

At January 10, 2011 at 9:05 PM , Blogger Tiffany said...

I don't home school my daughter who is in 2nd grade in PS but I do homeschool my 3 1/2 year old since I pulled him from daycare. I have been thinking about HS for my daughter but haven't taken the plunge yet. I agree that the long summer break is too long, esp for my girl. I actually did some studies through the summer, reading books and keeping with math so she would still be stimulated.
I am still looking into HS and haven't made a decision only because I have found that HS children in my state do not get a high school diploma unless I enroll her in adult high school at our local college.

At January 10, 2011 at 10:35 PM , Blogger Impulsive Addict said...

As a former teacher and now a stay-at-home mommy of a one year old, I'm a HUGE fan of the year round program. We moved to a district that isn't good and if we're still here when she's ready to start school, you better believe I'll be homeschooling. I'll just come to you for all my questions since you'll be a pro at it by then!

Good luck!

At January 11, 2011 at 9:37 AM , Blogger Sara said...

My MIL teaches at a year round school and LOVES it. She's off two weeks in October, two weeks at Christmas, two weeks in March and three weeks in the Summer. Or something like that. She says that as an educator, it's the best thing a school system can do!!

At January 12, 2011 at 7:11 AM , Blogger Jessica said...

I started the year round thing back in June. It's working really well for us so far.

~ 4 day school weeks
~ 1-2 week breaks every 6 weeks or so
~ 3 week breaks over holidays

And I time our breaks around planned family vacations.

It really makes learning a part of life. That's what I like. I remind my son that excluding certain careers he won't get summer's off. That's life.

At January 12, 2011 at 10:38 AM , Blogger Mariposa said...

I was homeschooled and we pretty much did year around. We had the month of June off and then took random days (or weeks!) off during the year. We always got our birthday off, which was special. Or if Dad was off work, we were off to spend time with him. It worked well for us. :)


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