One of the advantages of homeschooling is being able to follow your own schedule. After the first year or two many families are able to fall into a routine and schedule that works best for them.
Although there are many variations of homeschool schedules there are a few more common schedules. Many families follow the schedules of their local schools with the same breaks for holidays and summer. Others homeschool year-round and take breaks when needed. Another is “Sabbath Schooling,” which is generally a schedule that follows a 6 weeks on, one week off pattern.
With all of these schedules some families may homeschool 5 days a week and some only 4, but they usually have one thing in common – they start around the same time. Most families and schools start their school year either at the end of August or beginning of September.
Do you know what I learned the first year we started homeschooling? That doesn’t work well for us. At all.
Our children all have special needs. Retention doesn’t come easy for any of them. Repetition and reinforcement is extremely important. In that important first year I put so much effort into teaching them just to start over again after the holidays.
It made for a discouraging first year, but it made me realize I didn’t have to follow that schedule. So we changed it! We were doing the most traveling during the holidays (particularly when my husband was in the military and we didn’t live anywhere near family), so it just made sense to make that our longest break. So we homeschool by the calendar year.
What does homeschooling by calendar year mean?
Our homeschool year starts the first week of January on the first Monday of the new year. Our year ends the week of Thanksgiving when we then take a long break to enjoy time with family. This schedule does allow for many breaks throughout the year as needed (in addition to holidays), so weeks can be shortened to 4-day weeks or the extra days can be used for sick days, “off days,” vacations, etc. Even the Sabbath Schooling schedule could be used with the calendar year dates.
I admit, it does cause some confusion – particularly when there are activities that the kids participate in that are organized by grade level, and it can be hard to explain to others. It’s worth it, though, to have a schedule that works for our family. It allows for the breaks we need and the reset to the new year is the perfect time to start the new school year rather than trying to pick up where we left off!
Remember, every family is different, and your homeschool schedule doesn’t have to fit in a perfect box. It doesn’t have to start and stop in specific months. If it’s not working consider ways you could change it to work best for your family! It’s worth it to take some time to find the right homeschool curriculum and schedule for your family!