For the past few years, we've dumped our old summers-off school schedule for year-round schooling. At first, I was a little worried about the change. I have wonderful memories from childhood of lazy summer days spent reading and goofing off, and I wanted my children to also experience those long, lovely months of freedom. But as a homeschool teacher I dreaded each year having to spend most of the first month of school reviewing what the kids had forgotten over the summer. Math, in particular, was jettisoned from their minds at an alarming rate. I'd get a lot of blank looks and huh?s at the beginning of September. Then we'd have to spend a whole lot of time relearning the material. Public schools have the same problem. If you've ever used a math program which is also used in schools, you know that usually the first 20 or so lessons are review.
With summers off, we also had the problem of getting into the routine of school. Our good study habits vanished when we had too much down time. When we're in a constant routine with a week off here and there, my kids seem to have fewer problems concentrating on our lessons.
So, year-round schooling it is for us, and we like it much better. Every month, we get a week off and 3 weeks off in August. We plan for 189 days of school so we have those extra 9 days for sick days. We take the weeks of Halloween and Thanksgiving off, and two weeks for Christmas and New Years.
I don't get burnout as much as I used to. That one week each month is great for school planning, organizing the house, reading, playing games, watching movies, and relaxing. I have time to get the house really clean and organized which makes it easier to keep up with the housework during school weeks.
At the end of our vacation weeks I feel recharged and ready to get back to school. And when the kids know they have mini-vacations planned year round, school doesn't seem like such a burden.
I use DonnaYoung for our school calendar. That site is a treasure trove of helpful, free resources for just about anything you would need to organize and plan your homeschool.
I use a highlighter to mark our vacation so the kids don't have to ask when the next one is. They can just look at the calendar. Since our state requires us to keep track of school days, I use the calendar to mark off time in school. It's really simplified my record keeping.
So there you have it. Our school schedule in a nutshell.
Until next time!