Are you drowning in curriculum overload? Do you find that you have absolutely no time for anything else? Does a change need to happen? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you, my friend, need to implement a year round homeschooling schedule.
Don’t let the name scare you off. Hang in there with me – let me explain how it works. It does not mean homeschooling all day every day without a break, as if you’re doing school 365 days a year. In fact, with a year round homeschooling schedule, you’ll find even more time to do the things you want to do. Read on to find out how.
Benefits of Year Round Homeschooling
The benefits of a year round schedule are like the Energizer Bunny. But for the sake of time, I won’t be able to keep going and going, so I’ll just break down the highlights for you.
- More time off
- No information loss
- Kids learn how to learn
- Ease of workload
- More breaks
- Shorter school days
- Focus more on a single subject
As crazy as it sounds, you get more time off with a year round homeschool schedule. Because you’ll homeschool year round you’re able to take more breaks throughout the year. And it doesn’t matter the start month and end month.
Even if you homeschool from July through June, or August through July, or even January through December. You’ll find yourself with a lot more time on your hands with a year round homeschooling schedule because you’re days will be shorter and you’ll have more breaks throughout the year.
By implementing a year round schedule your children will no doubt retain information better. If you’ve ever gone through a 3-month summer break, you’ll know what I mean when starting a new homeschool year in August. The children will effectively forget much of what they learned the previous year.
And then you have to take the first 2-3 months of the new school year to re-introduce and review last year’s concepts. By homeschooling year round there is no opportunity to lose information. And there is no time wasted on backtracking.
Instead, you’ll create the building blocks to a stronger foundation for your child. The school day will be focused less on trying to just get through it and more on actually learning how to learn. Once you’ve built that strong foundation, the learning process becomes easier and easier for your child.
And since you will be homeschooling all year, you will have shorter homeschool days. As the months’ increase, the time in the day decreases. It’s a perfect balance.
The shorter days ease the workload for both your lesson planning process and your child having to keep up with everything. Your lessons can be shorter or even alternated. Plus, you won’t be trying to scrunch everything up in one day.
You gain more flexibility by homeschooling year round. We homeschoolers are always tooting our horns about the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling, but year round homeschooling reveals just how flexible it truly can be.
For instance, you can pick the days to homeschool, the times to homeschool, and even the days, weeks, and months you won’t homeschool. I’ll explain how to set this up in a moment.
Since your lessons will be shorter, and since you can alternate your subjects by day, you give your child the best opportunity possible to focus more on a single subject. Have you been wishing you had the time to dive into that unit study on The Middle Ages? Now you can without the guilt of sacrificing one subject for another!
Who Should Homeschool Year Round?
Of course, all families can implement a year round homeschooling and work out great. However, there are families that have unconventional lifestyles in which a year round homeschool works best for.
- Traveling homeschool families
- Moms who need a lot of breaks
- Families with kinesthetic learners
- Children who are in extracurricular activities
- Mommies who juggle homeschooling and caring for a baby
We’re a traveling homeschooling family and after our first year of exhaustion – I mean, homeschooling – I was determined that there was a better way to homeschool and I was going to find it! It was during this time that I discovered year round homeschooling and we’ve been doing it ever since.
Because of all the traveling, we need a lot of breaks. We like to explore our new destination, we need time to do the actual traveling, and then we need time to get adapt and reacclimate to our new surroundings.
Even moms who need a lot of breaks, or moms who care for a baby or toddler while also homeschooling, year round homeschooling is perfect for these moms. Because of the shorter days, light workloads, and many breaks, working homeschooling around a baby becomes so much easier.
Families who spend a lot of time in other areas of life, like extracurriculars, benefit greatly with a year round schedule. And families who dive into week-long unit studies or love doing hands-on projects will find more time doing the things they love.
Year Round Homeschool Schedules
There are many different options to consider when you start planning for a year round homeschool schedule, so I’ll break the most common ones down in detail. In all of these schedules, your homeschool days will be shorter since in all of these schedules you will be homeschooling year round.
4 Days A Week
You can homeschool for 4 days a week when homeschooling year round. In this sense, you will have three days each week as an off day. A lot of families like this so that they can take the 5th day as a field trip day or a project day. Although with this schedule you’ll have fewer breaks than other year round schedules, having 3 days off makes up for this.
The Sabbath Schedule
The Sabbath Schedule, or 6 weeks on with 1 week off, comes from the traditional 6-day work week with Sunday off. With the sabbath schedule, you will begin your 6-week counting at the first month of your homeschool year. Count 6 full weeks through and then your 7th week will be an off week. Rinse and repeat.
Use your off week for personal home projects, planning for the next 6 weeks, going on trips, or anything you like. Many families who choose to homeschool via the sabbath schedule often say that it is that week off they look forward to during homeschool that keeps them motivated.
9 Weeks On With 2 Weeks Off
This schedule is a lot like the sabbath schedule except you have a longer period of time to do school and a longer period of time to take off. I like to call each 9 weeks a “term.” Again you will start in the first month of your homeschool year. Count out 9 weeks of homeschool. On the tenth and eleventh week, you will take off and have no school.
With calendar scheduling, you go by the calendar year for homeschooling, beginning in January and ending in December. You can still replicate many of the other schedules, it’s just that you will begin in January.
Many families take the whole month of December off when the homeschool via the calendar schedule. They take the month to celebrate graduations, festivities, and/or planning for the upcoming calendar year.
Can you even imagine a whole month off plus shorter school days?
Loop scheduling is a way for your kids to do all of those fun classes, like Shakespeare, poetry, games, pottery class, knitting, foreign language, whatever the subject. It is also a way for you to equally go through all of the subjects (core and electives), just one at a time.
There are many ways to do a loop schedule. All you do is make a list of the subjects you want to include in the loop. Then decide how many times you want a certain subject to show up in the loop. For example, if you want writing and music in the loop, but you want writing 3 times for every one time you do music, write a 3 next to writing and a 1 next to music.
Then just build your list according to the desired occurrence.
Do you remember going through high school and you had A days and B days? That’s similar to Block Scheduling. The difference is, you can choose how long you want your terms to be. You can choose days, weeks, 6 weeks, 9 weeks, or even the traditional 16-week terms.
For example, say you want to do math, science, art, and writing for 6 weeks. You only do those subjects for 6 weeks. Then for the next 6 weeks, you’ll do grammar, history, music, and handwriting (this is just an example).
You can alternate any subject by the desired block schedule, while also keeping your core subjects daily. So you would do math, language arts, and reading every day, but alternate history, science, and other subjects.
Even though block scheduling allows you to focus deeper and longer on a subject, making lessons longer, it is also going to give you the opportunity for information loss, which happens to be one of the advantages of year round homeschooling. So if you were to do this type of schedule, I wouldn’t recommend long gaps for each term. I also don’t recommend long studies for elementary-aged students, since their attention spans are limited.
The Numbered Days Schedule
I made this name up. I’m not sure what you call it, but for forever I’ve been calling it this, so we’ll go with it! You can do year round homeschooling according to the number of days you want to homeschool each month.
All you do is decide on the number of days you want to do school for the entire school year. Then decide on the number of months you want to homeschool. Next, you would go through your calendar and mark off all the holidays, weeks off, vacations, and so on.
Now, just divide the total number of days by your total number of months. The answer is going to be how many days of homeschool you’ll do each month to satisfy your annual homeschool attendance goal.
So for example, say you want to homeschool 180 days total. And you want the entire month of December off, so you’ll only homeschool for 11 months. Divide 180 by 11, which will be 16.36. Let’s round that to 17. So now you know that if you homeschool 17 days each month you will have homeschooled for your desired 180 total days for the year.
To keep track of this, use a Year Round Attendance Tracker. I have one available on my website, Homeschool and Humor. This way, you’ll know how many days you homeschooled each month at a year’s glance!
Sample Year Round Homeschool Schedules
Although my family used The Numbered Days Schedule while we traveled, I find it easier to go down to 4-days a week while we’re at home. In addition, regardless if we’re traveling or not, I always use loop scheduling and block scheduling.
When we use the Numbered Days Schedule, I always keep track of our days on the Year Round Attendance Tracker.
Now that we transitioned to 4-days a week, it’s been easier to go with the flow of homeschooling. Here’s what our 4-day homeschooling looks like, though we use all 5 weekdays:
Monday: Planning Day & Library Day. I plan meals, homeschooling for the week, and we also go to the library. This is a light homeschool day, so we usually do math, reading, spelling, and an elective (usually Latin). Afterward, we go to the library.
Tuesday-Thursday: These are our “full” homeschool days. We do math, language arts, science/history/ art/music and Latin.
Friday: Field Trip/Project Day. Another light homeschooling day. We finish up the week with tests, so our days on Friday are much shorter. I don’t do both a lesson and a test for a single subject. We just ‘test’. We also get out of the house a lot to go on field trips. Or we do virtual tours at home. If we don’t have a field trip planned, we’ll do a hands-on project.
We use block scheduling for history/science and art/music and Latin. I’ll alternate DAYS, which is something you may already do in your homeschooling and just didn’t realize it’s called block scheduling!
We’ll do history and music on Tuesday, science and Latin on Wednesday, history and art on Thursday, and science and Latin on Friday. Sometimes we shuffle the electives throughout the week, but we almost always do history and science on those days, twice a week.
Now I could very well just do history for one week and science another week, or history for 2 weeks and science for the next 2 weeks. This has actually been something I’ve been considering!
I could also just do unit studies for a week or 2, and within those unit studies, I could include history and science. As you can see, your choices are limitless! The power of freedom and flexibility is an amazing thing.
Tips for Year Round Homeschooling
You may start with one of these schedules and do it for a while, but if you find that you’re struggling with it, go ahead and change it to another type of year round schedule, like we did in the example above.
Your homeschool schedule, regardless if you’re going year round or traditional, should work with you, not against you. So if you find that your homeschool is not in a good, natural flow, it’s time to upgrade your homeschool schedule.
Your schedule may differ all throughout the year. It should help complement your already busy life, creating structure and order in your days, not overwhelm and stress. The glory of homeschooling is flexibility.
Your homeschool seasons change from time to time. Your kids grow older, you become a more experienced homeschool mom, your situations change, and so on. With each change, decide if you should continue on the same year round schedule or if your family best fits a different one. And it’s also totally okay to do this mid-year!
I also don’t recommend you call it year round homeschooling to your children! They’ll look at you with wide alligator eyes and now they’ll be the ones all stressed out. They won’t know the mechanics of it, not like you know now.
So if you have to tell them something, just tell them you decided to change up the schedule a little bit, explaining how you’ll be homeschooling a little bit in the summer but you’ll more than make it for it with your many breaks throughout the year. Usually, this last part does the trick.
How To Structure A Year Round Homeschooling Schedule
Year round homeschooling is quite a joy to do for all the right reasons! To me, it’s how life ought to be – enjoying all the facets of life. When you think of homeschooling as less of a “set schedule” and more of a lifestyle, you’ll realize how very uncomplicated life can be when you just tweak a few details in it.
I hope you find joy in the midst of your homeschooling with these year round homeschooling tips.
If you like this post, please share so other moms, like yourself, can benefit from a year round homeschooling schedule.
A big thank you to Richie Soares from Homeschool and Humor for writing this guest post.