Why Year-Round Homeschooling Works For Us

This is the story of how we fell into year-round homeschooling and why it works for us. Some of the content I covered in a recent post about why we don’t take summer break but I will expand here.

Close up of calendar page with large black numbers. Text reads: Why year-round homeschooling works for us.

What exactly do you mean by “year-round homeschooling”?

Of course, “year-round” homeschooling can mean many different things, depending on who you ask. Some folks might go for six or eight weeks and then take a week off. Others might take the entire month of December off, or condense summer break into six weeks instead of three months.

For us, it means we very rarely take long breaks, instead preferring to muddle through most weekdays unless we are sick, traveling, or hubby is off work {because, hello, distracting}. 

Probably the longest stretch we take off is when we are wrapping up one grade level and moving to the next. And even that is often just a week {maybe two} to reset and order new materials. This year it worked out to be eleven days. 

Of course, “year-round” homeschooling can mean many different things, depending on who you ask. Click To Tweet

As a military family we also move frequently, so longer breaks happen then by default as well. When we moved from New York to California, for example, we ended up taking six full weeks off; a month at my mom’s in Pennsylvania and then two weeks to unpack and acclimate once we arrived. 

What about holidays?

We tend to just take off the actual holiday {or perhaps one additional day, such as the Friday after Thanksgiving} and “do” school the rest of the holiday week. This usually ends up giving us many more “school days” on our calendar, although we don’t work as long on any individual day, so it more or less evens out. Instead of the typical expected 180 days at five hours a day {~900 hours}, we generally include more like 225 days at four hours a day {also ~900 hours}.

How much work do you complete each day?

On any given “school day” we do approximately 1.5-2 hours of written work and an 1-1.5 hours of joint reading {all three grades}. One or two times a week we watch an online Spanish course {about 20 minutes each}. All three Agents do a significant amount of independent reading and art time, and we watch documentaries related to our studies together in the evening. The oldest Agent also rotates practice for three musical instruments and sewing projects. 

When does your school year “end”?

So how do I determine exactly when we are “done” and ready to move up a grade level? The short answer is, just when it feels right. I know; not helpful . . . but true. 

Sometimes an outside entity {e.g., the Navy telling us it is time to move} influences our decision, but often we just get to a point—usually after 9-12 months—when it just seems appropriate to start wrapping up. Maybe we are nearing the end of several spine texts. Or maybe we know the next topics we want to cover will take way too much time to get involved in now. Or maybe we are just tired of school and want a bit of do nothing time. Often it coincides with a longer planned vacation or a deployment starting or ending.

Basically we have learned to listen to the rhythm that we have created. Because we never stop for very long, we do not have to deal with “summer slide” or forgetting skills during a long break. It also helps to keep things consistent in other areas of life, since we are not contending with a “school” schedule and a separate “summer” schedule. 

Do you homeschool on a similar schedule? How does year-round homeschooling work in your family?

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