Whether you school year round or follow a traditional school calendar, the fact is that most homeschoolers end up schooling from about 150 to 180 days each calendar year. These days can be scheduled in a variety of ways. When I first began homeschooling over ten years ago, a lady shared with me a document that listed several different yearly homeschooling schedules. I have since lost my copy, but I have recently recreated my own version.
You will have to consider your state’s homeschooling requirements as you review these options. Each of the following choices are based on a 180 day school year.
- School for 36 weeks, August-May. If you begin the first Monday in August, you will school for 18 weeks before Christmas break, and then 18 weeks after Christmas break. This schedule allows a one week break for the week of Thanksgiving, and a one week spring break sometime in March or April. If you wanted to begin your school year a few days later in August, you would just have to continue schooling a few days closer to Christmas break. This schedule gives you 3 weeks off for the December/January holiday season. If you start back to school on the first Monday after the New Year, your 18 weeks will be completed by the third week of May. This schedule gives you 11 weeks for a summer break.
- School for 36 weeks, 9 weeks on, 4 weeks off. This works well if you are doing unit studies, or are teaching younger children. I am not sure how well this would work for high school students. I personally have not tried this schedule. An example of scheduling this way could look like this: School July 11- Sept. 9, off 4 weeks; school Oct. 10 -Dec. 16 (This is actually 10 weeks, but this would allow you to have a week off for Thanksgiving if you wish. The December break would just be 3 weeks instead of 4 if you chose to break for a week at Thanksgiving); school Jan. 9-Mar. 9, off 4 weeks; school April 9-June 8, off 4 weeks; and then it would be July 9, and time to begin a new school year.
- School for 36 weeks, 4 weeks on, 1 week off. This schedule allows you to work really hard for 4 weeks, and then use the off week for appointments, travel, etc. Using this schedule actually allows for some of those 1 week breaks to be extended during the year, because there are 7 extra off weeks this way. You could use the extra weeks in December and the summer, or you could distribute them evenly throughout the year.
- School for 36 weeks, 12 weeks on, 5 weeks off. This school year would consist of three sets of 12 weeks of school, with a 5 or 6 week break between each 12 week session.
- School for 180 days each year, taking off random days an weeks throughout the year. This is the plan that my family uses. My husband has an average of three days of from work each month, in addition to a week off in the fall, a week off in the spring, a week off in December, and two weeks off each summer. We began our homeschooling journey by doing school when Daddy was at work, and being off from school when he was off from work. Since my husband has many days off each year, this really works for us. I begin each new school year in August, and we try to finish up the school year in late June or early July. This gives us about 3 weeks totally off from school each summer, and I use that time to prepare for the new school year. We also have 2-3 extra weeks off in December and a couple of more weeks off each summer for camps and Vacation Bible School.
Taking the days off all throughout the year has eliminated burn-out for me as well as for the children. We enjoy our family days. On school days, we work diligently, and on our days off, we play and work together as a family. Also, not taking a long summer break has prevented us from having to do review work for the month of August.
I hope these calendar choices will help you as you plan your upcoming school year. What kind of calendar do you use?
Roan is the homeschooling mother of 5 children whose ages range from 5-16. She blogs regularly about both her school and off days at her personal blog, Joyful Always
photo credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art