Year-round homeschool can be a great option for families. Do you homeschool in conjunction with the public school calendar in your area? Or do you try to homeschool on a different schedule? When I first started homeschooling, I adhered to the public school calendar for most of the year, except for our yearly September vacation.
Eventually, I began to homeschool year-round and took breaks when my husband traveled for work or for major events in our lives (weddings, illness, or moving). There are definite pros and cons of year-round homeschool and I will share just a few of them that I have found along the way.
Control of Your Schedule (Flexibility)
One of the best aspects of homeschooling is that you have control of your schedule. You can homeschool on your terms. However, that benefit can also be a hindrance.
Pro: Since you have control of your schedule, you are the one that gets to plan when you homeschool, where you homeschool, and how many days per week you will do formal learning. The flexibility is one of the greatest draws in my book.
Con: The biggest drawback to the control of your own schedule when it comes to homeschooling year-round is that it may be difficult to be disciplined enough to stick to a schedule. If you homeschool when school is in session, you have the built-in structure that many people need to be successful. Setting your own schedule may be hard for some people. I have heard many moms say, “We will get back into schooling next week,” and the days and weeks slip away without getting back into schooling.
Turning the Con into a Pro: If you are a person who needs more of a schedule, plan your homeschool days out for a year in advance. By planning your days or weeks off and the times you plan to do formal schooling, you will have the structure you need to be successful. Keep in mind if you plan a week off in September, you will need to make up that week somewhere else.
Pro: Another advantage to homeschooling year-round is the avoidance of crowds when traveling. We have loved this aspect of schooling through the summer and planning trips throughout the school year. Being able to travel off-season means lower costs and ease in finding rooms available when others are in school. Additionally, traveling to a beach location at off-peak times means you have the beach to yourself.
Cons: One of the biggest drawbacks to off-season travel is that many places have reduced hours. Some major attractions, museums, and theme parks are closed or have shortened operating hours. For example, if you are traveling to Maine in January or February, you may find that almost everything is closed because of bad weather.
Another drawback is that you may encounter hoards of school trips. Visiting a museum in May can be wonderful, but when 10 busloads of students are let out with little supervision, seeing the exhibits may be difficult. One solution to this is to call ahead and see which day a museum or site you would like to visit has the fewest school field trips planned.
Academic Skills Stay Sharp
Pro: When homeschooling year-round, you are not taking exorbitant amounts of time off. Therefore, you should not notice a dip in their academic skills. While all children benefit from year-round homeschooling, the benefits are really enhanced for a struggling learner.
There really isn’t a downside to this. Children should be able to do less review at the start of a new grade because they will not have forgotten half of what they learned.
Watching Their Public School Peers
Pro: When homeschooling year-round, your children will watch their peers be in school when they are off. Additionally, they will see relatives, neighbors, and friends, spend much more time in school and doing homework. My children were always excited about being homeschooled because they didn’t want to get up early to catch a bus and spend that much time away from home each day.
Con: When watching friends and neighbors, your children may think the grass is greener on the other side. They may want to have the 2 1/2 months off in the summer to swim, run outside, or participate in summer camps.
Turning the Con into a Pro: If your children are stricken with “the grass is greener” syndrome, work in some additional free time or use the summer activities as an incentive. If my children woke up early and got their schoolwork finished, we would go swimming in the afternoon or plan a picnic with friends.
Will Year-Round Homeschool Work For Your Family?
After weighing the pros and cons of year-round homeschool, the most important aspect to consider is what works best for your family. Maybe year-round teaching will work this year, and then because of changing circumstances, it becomes a hindrance. Remember not to get so hung up on the schedule or the process, but to prayerfully consider how God wants your school to operate. When you follow His direction, you will raise children that follow that path!
Proverbs 20:7 The just man walks in his integrity: His children are blessed after him.