Why year-round homeschooling might work for you
When you think of the first day of school, what comes to mind?
If you’re like most people, you imagine crisp autumn air. Maybe you picture fun “first day” signs and shiny new backpacks. Likely, in your mind, the start of school syncs up with the end of summer.
What if it didn’t though?
What if your school year ran in line with the calendar year?
I know….it sounds crazy. But, hear me out.
Benefits of a January-December homeschool schedule
January is a time of new beginnings. Fresh starts. It’s a time to wipe the slate clean and give everyone a reset.
By starting school in January, we school (in our comfy, air-conditioned home) through the hot months of summer and then take off from Thanksgiving to the new year. Winter break instead of summer break.
Or, at the very least, we just take it easy and do holiday-themed unit studies or focus on “life learning” (time spent baking, writing Christmas cards, shopping and price comparing, fall/winter nature walks, etc.).
Homeschooling year-round gives us the opportunity to take breaks when needed, have shorter school days (or weeks), and pick up and travel if we’d like.
Here are the top 4 benefits of a January to December year-round homeschool schedule.
1. Flexibility and freedom to take breaks when needed
This is a benefit of schooling year-round no matter when your school year starts and ends. Following a year-round schedule gives families the ability to customize their homeschool routine in whatever way works best around jobs, extracurriculars, and learning styles.
- Prefer a shorter week? Go for it. School M/W/F or M-Th and take Fridays off, giving everyone a 3-day weekend.
- Do you like to take frequent breaks? Totally doable. School six weeks on, one week off. Or just take a day or a week off whenever you’d like.
- Travel quite a bit for work? No big deal. School while home and take time off while traveling. Or bring your kids (and their schoolwork) along with you and take more frequent breaks while home.
- Having a baby? Congrats! With a year-round schedule, you can breathe easy when it comes to taking time off after your little one’s arrival. You’ve got plenty of time to catch up.
No matter the specific set of circumstances, schooling year-round gives families the ability to “fit it all in” without worry about running out of time. You can take breaks when needed, keep your school days short, and work at your child’s pace. It doesn’t get better than that.
2. Avoid the dreaded “summer slide”
When following a traditional school year, it’s typical to take a long summer break. After all, that’s how we did it when we were kids, right?
And it totally worked. I loved summer break and looked forward to it all year long.
But “summer slide” is a real issue for many.
When you put down the books and take off three straight months, it’s easy for kids to forget what they’ve learned by the time you’re ready to pick back up again in the fall. Then the first chunk of your year is spent on reviewing.
What if it didn’t need to be? What if you didn’t need to spend so much time re-learning everything you learned before summer break?
By schooling through summer and taking shorter breaks, you won’t have to.
Knowledge retention over shorter breaks allows kids to move at a faster (or more leisurely) pace.
Choosing a year-round homeschool schedule gives kids the opportunity to take time to learn challenging concepts and move ahead quickly when things come easy.
3. Take time off for the holidays
By starting in January and ending in December, you have time to get all of your work finished for the year and take off during the hectic holiday season.
Or if you don’t want to take off entirely, the whole month of December can be spent on “fun-schooling”. You can learn how other cultures celebrate Christmas, bake treats for friends and neighbors, and craft to your heart’s content.
Christmastime is crazy enough without having to tick off boxes and make sure lessons are complete. It’s nice to be able to travel and spend time with family without the worry of falling behind on schoolwork.
By switching from summer break to winter break, your family can relax in December and enjoy the holiday season.
Bonus - you can take advantage of Black Friday sales and score affordable curriculum for the coming year!
4. Start fresh in the new year
In December, it’s typical to start thinking about what we’d like to accomplish in the coming months.
We set new year’s resolutions and plan out how we’re going to improve our health, increase our wealth, and find balance in our personal lives.
Why not take this time to set goals for your school year too?
January 1st offers a clean slate, a chance to start fresh and move on from any failings or hardships from the previous year.
It’s an opportunity to begin anew after the whirlwind holiday season - when minds are fresh and energy levels are high.
Figure out what educational milestones you’d like to see your child reach in the coming year and start mapping out a plan to get them there. Better yet, sit down WITH your child and ask them what they’d like to learn, then together create a vision board to keep you both on track.
The beauty of homeschooling is that no family’s educational journey will end up looking the same.
We’re all different. Our family dynamics are different. Our circumstances are different. Our challenges are different.
Homeschooling is the ultimate opportunity to tailor your child’s education to their unique, individual needs. So long as you’re following your state regulations, your school can look pretty much however you’d like it to. If year-round homeschooling is for you, check out Karen's tips for successful year-round schooling.
We would love to hear from you! Do you prefer to follow a traditional school schedule or do you school year-round? Drop your answer in the comments below.