Written by contributor Toni Anderson of The Happy Housewife
It took me a few years to realize that as a homeschooler I didn’t have to follow the public school schedule. Growing up in public schools left me ingrained with nine week periods and summer vacation. Once I realized I had the freedom to create a different schedule homeschooling became so much easier!
Goodbye nine weeks, hello flexibility!
How do you determine what schedule is best for your family? Well, if your current method is working don’t change it. If you are struggling to finish school by the end of the year, stressed out, or constantly feeling behind I’d recommend trying a different schedule.
The scheduling possibilities for homeschooling are endless, but here are just a few.
Follow the Public School Calendar
For many families this schedule works great. If there are siblings in school or a dad who works in the school system having the whole family on the same schedule makes life easier for mom. The best part, there is no schedule to create, the public school does it for you.
Labor Day to Memorial Day
If you like a long summer (perhaps you live in an area with terrible winters and beautiful summers) this is a great schedule. A longer summer means fewer breaks during the school year, you may end up doing school on Veteran’s Day, but you’ll be enjoying summer longer than most.
Year Round Schooling
Year round schooling is great for families who like a lot of flexibility. Lora does a great job of discussing the benefits of schooling year round, especially for younger children. If you like to travel a year round schedule is wonderful for taking vacations and field trips during the off season. Destinations are less crowded and you usually save money too.
Six Weeks On, One Week Off
Joy from Five J’s uses a six week on, one week off schedule, or as she calls it a no stress schedule. With this schedule summer break is only four weeks. This is perfect for kids who tend to forget everything over a long summer vacation. This schedule also gives everyone several mini breaks throughout the school year.
Four Days a Week
Do you find that maintaining your house is impossible during the school year? If so then a four day a week school schedule might work great for you. Many families use Fridays as field trip day or cleaning day. This schedule is great for staying caught up on cleaning and household projects throughout the school year.
January 1st- December 31st
Why not start the school year when you start the new year? This schedule usually allows for a month break in December/January and a few other breaks throughout the year. This is a great idea, but easiest to implement if you start when your kids are young.
Create Your Own Schedule
Does dad work nights or weekends? Is October the best month of the year in your area? Create a schedule that works for you. I’ve heard of families taking “summer” break in October and November, or doing school on the weekends and taking Wednesday and Thursday off to be with dad.
Schedules and High School
While over the years I’ve loved the flexibility homeschooling has allowed our family, I’ve realized that once the kids are in high school things change a bit.
Especially if your child is interested in attending college, things like co-op classes, dual enrollment, work, extra-curricular activities, and service projects fill the calendar. I’ve found that keeping my older kids on a public school calendar schedule works for them even though my younger children still school year round.
There are no rules when it comes to creating a schedule as long as you meet the requirements of your state and the kids are learning. It’s okay to try several different schedules before finding one that works. Remember to be flexible and don’t feel pressured to follow the crowd.
Have you found a homeschool schedule that works for your family?