This summer we have often been asked why we are still working on “school stuff”. It is a question that I usually smile or chuckle at and reply that we are always learning. Then I get the odd looks and the “don’t you need a break” question. I explain that we do have breaks and that we enjoy homeschooling year round. We had done the traditional schedule that went along with public school when we started homeschooling. By the end of the school year we were burnt out, we had a few issues when real life crept in to our learning schedule and did not have time to do the things we had looked forward to as part of homeschooling. We took a good look at the pros and cons of year round homeschooling. The benefits were exactly what we were looking for after the previous year.
Six Benefits of Year Round Homeschooling
The benefits to year round homeschooling are different for each family. They can depend on if the family travels, if there are odd work schedules, if someone in the family has health issues, and so many other individual situations. These are the reasons we enjoy homeschooling year round.
- More Time
- Vacations & Breaks
- Real Life
- Less Burn Out
Our schedule is mostly six weeks on and one week off with a few other breaks here and there. We have more time to do the fun things we want to do. Instead of the typical 36 weeks (or 180 days) to complete our lessons we have as many as needed. We can spend time on subjects the kids are really interested in or need help with mastering.
A year round schedule gives us the flexibility that we want. My dad has some serious health issues and no longer drives. I am his primary support and primary form of transportation. This means there are days of homeschooling on the go while taking my dad here or there. This isn’t always possible so we may take the entire day off and make it up on our week off. This also gives us the chance to take vacations during the “off-season” or for a specific event we want to attend.
During the long summer break in a traditional school schedule many parents, and teachers, worry about the kids forgetting much of what they had learned. That is why the start of the school year is filled with review. Since we only take a week or two off at a time, the forgetting factor isn’t really an issue. We also skip much of the review that tends to be at the beginning of most curriculums. The material is still fresh in the kids’ minds and they are ready to start where they left off.
Vacations & Breaks
When we tell people that we homeschool year round, they often ask if we ever get a vacation. Yes, we do take vacations and breaks. Our breaks follow every six weeks of lessons, six weeks on and one week off. We usually add an extra week as our vacation time in the fall. I also leave two other weeks to “have off” just in case. These we might use for trips or events that pop up throughout the year. We have also used them in times of health crisis.
Things do not always go as planned. That is real life and it can make us adjust our schedules frequently. A car that breaks down, a sick child, a last-minute out-of-town trip, or even a medical emergency can suddenly thrust every good plan right out the window. I am one of the “sandwich generation,” which means that I help look after parents and have children that are school aged. There have been a few weeks where everything seems to happen all at once.
Less Burn Out
The first year we homeschooled we took the same breaks as traditional public school. There were a few times that we were ready to be done with learning anything, burnt out and needing a break. Since we now take a break after every six weeks of learning we have time to relax and re-energize. The kids are still interested in learning even though we’ve reached the summer and the other kids are off. We usually finish up by noon so the kids can be outside and playing by the time the neighbor kids are ready to play.
Choosing Year Round
Year round homeschooling is not for everyone. It is a choice that has to be carefully thought through for each family and their situation. We enjoy it and love the benefits choosing it has given us.