Should You Homeschool Year Round?
This is a personal question that everyone asks themselves each year? Should I continue to homeschool my children through the summer months? I think that this is a question that should be thought over with great care. If we allow our children’s brain to rest for a couple of months, by the time that they come back to school in the fall, they will have lost the last two months of school that you completed. So if they are starting third grade, then they would start two months behind. They would really be at a second grade level, two months short of being where a third grade student should be academically. Keeping your child’s brain from too much rest is a must to continue good education.
Public School Mom
Now what I said in the paragraph above may seem a little bit harsh, but I know from experience. Being a public school teacher had a lot of demands. One of them being the amount of material that we had to get through each year. If I had a student that didn’t even read in the summer, then they had a really hard time turning their brain back on when school started. There would also be a gap, for where they should be academically, coming into a new grade level. There were some years that I had to do a month worth of review, just to get the majority of my students caught up to where they should be. This took a lot of time and effort from the teachers, and then set everyone behind for the current year’s curriculum. Some years I would be so stressed out, because the material that we were suppose to cover for that year, was not being covered in a timely manner. We would be way behind the curriculum schedule. There was no way that I was going to get through all of the content that I was suppose to teach them. I felt horrible. I felt like I wasn’t preparing them enough for the next grade level. This could have all been avoided, had each student done some school work over the summer.
As a homeschooling mom, I have so much more control over this issue. I can finish up some of the curriculum in the summer, if need be. We usually get through all of our curriculum that we need to cover each year, but, if we are behind in a subject, it is nice to know that we can finish in the summer. The pressure to push my kids to work faster, harder, better, is no longer there. The stress that comes on myself and my kids because we are behind, can vanish. I know that we can play catch up in the summer.
In the summer, we tend to take more breaks. We take three weeks off in June. This allows me and the kids to relax and let our minds wind down. We do a lot during the school year, and by June everyone is ready for a break. Then when we begin our summer school regiment, it is a lot more relaxed. We only do school Monday-Thursday for about 1-2 hours a day. With my older child, who is 14 and going into 10th grade, I let her pick the one, or two, subjects that she feels like she needs more practice on, or even subjects that she wants to get ahead on. She usually picks math to get ahead on, because she likes math. Then we pick a subject together that we think she needs more work on. This year, it will probably be a mixture of Social Studies and Science. This way she will not forget all of the information that she learned. For my younger two kids, I have each of them choose a topic each month, that they would like to learn about. Last year, it was rocks. So I create a bucket that had books, puzzles, activities, hands-on projects and more for that subject. Most of the stuff in their bucket came from the local library or the dollar store. The other topic that they chose last year was birds. I also created a bucket with all sorts of materials on that subject. Each day they chose a bucket and played with the things that were inside of it. I usually sat with them. I would ask them questions, help them with a project, do a puzzle with them, or read a book to them. We had 2 buckets, each with a different topic, ready at all times. When they started to get bored with a certain bucket, we would choose a new topic to learn about, and I would set out to the find things needed, to put into that bucket about that topic. My younger two kids also had to do math everyday and read. For math it depended on what each child needed to work on. My seven year old worked on addition and subtraction facts a lot. My youngest worked on recognizing and writing numbers, sorting, patterning and graphing. They also had to read each day. We usually would go outside and lay on a blanket with a basket of books and read. Sometimes I would read to them, sometimes they would read to me.
One of my greatest joys in life is to always be learning. I love to learn about anything. I started blogging about a year ago and have loved it. I not only have learned how to blog and what to put into my blogs to make them better, but, just about what people need. I have such a passion to help others and to do this, I need to learn what they need help in. I want my own kids to take this same approach to life. I want them to constantly be learning. I find that we can not wait for our next break, when we are homeschooling. It is like we are counting down the days. What I am forgetting is that school can revolve around our life. Not the other way around. I am finding that everyday life is learning too. I can take a walk with my kids and bring along the nature book and we take time to learn about the different plants, or bugs around us. We learn while we are cooking each day. We have tried to cook food from different parts of the world. In doing this, my kids have learned what types of food they like and what they do not like. We have made bird houses and other projects. Planting flowers outside can turn into a math lesson. Going to the grocery store had lots of learning. I can write a grocery list where my youngest can help me categorize each food on the list, so that it is easier to go shopping. The list just goes on and on.
Learning to let them have time to explore their curiosities, more has helped. As we get older, we want to learn more about areas that we are interested in. I do not take the time to learn more about car parts, because that is not an interest to me. Same thing for our children. Give them the opportunity to learn about what interests them and watch them grow. My 4 year old wanted to learn how to build a robot. We went to the library. I made him talk to the librarian and she showed him some books in the adult section. I was a little hesitant at first, but the books turned out to be very useful. One book was about how to make simple robots, from stuff you have lying around your house. My husband even bought him a robot arm that they assembled together. Watching my husband and my son put together this elaborate robot arm was really cool. Now, my 4 year old son, can not wait to make more robots. My 7 year old loves to cook. We have checked out a few books from the library about cooking from different regions in the world. She has learned how to use a real knife, how to shred different food items, how to boil, saute, fry and do just about everything in the kitchen. She is a wonderful cook at 7 years old. My oldest daughter loves math. She is a year ahead because of her wanting, to keep going in her math studies. If we just took the time to listen to our children, then maybe schooling would be more enjoyable. Homeschooling year round, gives you the flexibility to have more choices, to meet each child’s individual need.
One of the biggest reasons why I homeschool year round, is to relieve some of the stress from feeling like I have to stay on a schedule. If I had to complete all of our homeschooling curriculum regiments by June, I would feel a lot of pressure to make sure that we were doing school everyday, so that we finished our curriculum on time. Allowing us extra time in the summer, helps me to relax throughout the year. I know that if we miss a day of school because of sickness, emergencies or because we need a day off, that it is not a big deal. We can make it up in the summer.
We are planning on going to a 4 day school week, next year. We will have a homeschool co-op on Mondays. We are doing a Classical Conversation co-op group this coming year. I decided to choose this group, because instead of wasting a day academically, the trainers at our co-op group will be teaching them what they need to know, for the next week. Then it is my job to teach them the rest of the information at home. So Tuesdays-Thursdays we will be doing school as normal. Then on Fridays, we want to make it our community service day. I feel that it is very important for our kids to learn to think of others and to help others. So doing school year round, will help us to accomplish our school goals for the year.
Monday-Thursday: 1:00-3:00 (afternoons work better for us, because everyone is usually hot and tired by then) 14 Year old – Math (45 min.), other subject (30 min.), reading (45 min.) 7 year old – Math (30 min.), buckets (30-45 min.), reading (20-30 min.) 4 year old – Math (15 min.), buckets (30 min.), reading (20 min.)
I like to find a lesson plan book that has a yearly calendar in it. I write down when we will be taking breaks from school. We usually take time for Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Memorial Day. We also do not do any school when someone in our immediate family has a birthday. If we know when we are going to take a vacation, then I write that down too. I try to leave our year, pretty flexible. You never know when someone will be sick, you need a day off, emergencies pop up, and so many other matters in life that are more important than school.
Free Printable Yearly Calendars
If you are not sure about homeschooling year round, plan a school year that is only 32 weeks. Then plan out a school year that is 52 weeks. See which plan looks better to you and fits your family needs better. Here are a few websites where you can print out a free yearly calendar to help you with your planning:
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