A couple of years ago, my husband and I decided to dramatically change our homeschooling routine. We moved from homeschooling using a traditional school year calendar to homeschooling year-round. I wrote about the reasons we chose to move to a year-round schedule in the post “3 Reasons to Homeschool Year Round.”
We have not regretted our choice to homeschool year-round, but the transition was a bit challenging. If you’re considering switching to year-round homeschooling, here are some tips to help you on your way.
Plan Your Calendar
Set Up a Routine
Homeschooling year-round will give you a lot of flexibility with your schedule, but you still need a plan. You still must meet your your required number of days or hours. I do recommend setting up a routine—it will help your child immensely to know what you expect on any given day. Some families choose to homeschool five days a week for a set number of weeks and then take a week or two off. My family has adopted a four-day-a-week schedule, and we try to take the same day off every week.
Plan Time Between School Years
It will also help your family if you plan a multi-week break between school years. I have found that I need time to mentally wrap up our school year, pack away any curriculum I hope to reuse in the future, and give myself a “breather” before starting all over again. I usually plan on a four to five week break between school years. Having that longer break also gives a “freshness” to the new school year that allows me to make changes to old routines more easily.
Communicate Your Homeschool Plan
If you are planning to homeschool year-round, you will want to communicate your plans to any homeschool umbrella organizations that you may be a part of. My family is a part of the Academy of Home Education (AHE), and every year we email AHE a copy of our planned yearly homeschool calendar which we usually create in Excel. Based on our calendar, AHE adjusts our reporting deadlines so that we don’t incur late fees.
Anticipate the Need for Adjustments
Adjust Your Curriculum
You will have to make some adjustments along the way. For example, the BJU Press spelling curriculum is set up for a five-day school week, which did not fit well with our four-day week. In order to avoid the possibility of having to take a spelling test after a three-day break from school, we decided that we needed to do spelling five days a week, even on our “day off.” It was an easy adjustment.
Adjust Your Grade Reporting
We also had to make some adjustments to our grading and reporting. Our quarters are usually 11 to 12 calendar weeks long, which at first glance, doesn’t fit very well with the nine-week grade reporting forms required by our homeschool organization. But this was an easy fix as well—we just ignored the calendar’s weekly divisions and counted every five days as a “week.”
Our family has really been blessed by year-round homeschooling, and I’m sure yours will be as well. I hope that some of these tips will make your transition easier. If you still need help, reach out to one of your local HomeWorks consultants—they are there for you!