Why Would Anyone Want a Year Round Homeschool?
There are many reasons I choose to homeschool year round. All of them pretty much mirror why I choose to homeschool in the first place. I want to be able to live life WITH my children – not just live under the same roof.
This week, I plan to reboot potty training lessons for my youngest.
We recently returned from a road trip on the US east coast. Her dad really wanted her to join him for Memorial Day weekend. And although all the points on the original agenda were not hit, she still had a blast.
Unfortunately, going on this road trip also meant making some adjustments. Her sleep schedule and previous potty training successes flew out the window. She now wakes at two in the morning and pretty much refuses to use the toilet.
Add to that an older child (who missed you dearly) that alternates between a year round brick and mortar school and homeschool. Plus, visiting relatives – already settled in for their summer break when I returned.
Yet, all of this reminds me of one of the many reasons why I enjoy the option to homeschool year round. For me, it is more flexible than a traditional schedule. When the unexpected things happen in life, I can adjust without missing a beat. Neither do I have to feel guilty about missing two weeks of school.
Why, why, why…
Of course, when I admit that I homeschool year round, I get incredulous looks. And a lot of questions.
- Why would I choose to school through the summer?
- Don’t my kids miss being able to visit with friends and family during the summer?
- What will I do when they are older and want a seasonal job?
- How do I handle vacation time? Do I even allow for much vacation time?
- How do I possibly determine their grade level?
- What does a year round homeschool give you that a traditional schedule does not?
- As I said before, one of the reasons I enjoy this schedule is because of its flexibility. Because it allows for a certain amount of wiggle room.
- I don’t have to fight so hard to get it all done
- If the kids are having a meltdown or the house is in utter chaos, I prefer to spend my time doing housework or soothing upset children. Plus, my kids learn better if the house feels calm and orderly.
- I can spend time training. I may need to focus on teaching life skills and I want to be able to give them undivided attention… that includes potty training and sleep training.
- I don’t have to sweat the small stuff as much. I am a busy work-at-home mom who likes to knock out her to-do lists. I enjoy being able to handle the housekeeping (cooking, cleaning, budgeting), the homeschool planning, a job working remotely, a consulting business and three foster cats.
- Another reason I like to homeschool year round is for the consistency.
- The kids don’t experience any summer learning loss (ideally). As we continually review the material, it stays fresh in their minds.
- We understand better what material we need to work on if someone (including mom) is struggling – which helps us determine approximate grade level.
- There is no adjustment period for getting back into a school routine. By choosing to homeschool year round, we don’t leave our routine for long.
we love our vacations and breaks
- The kids enjoy how vacations and breaks are scheduled.
- We can space our break times out so that we can have more of them!
- We take several smaller breaks throughout the year (my preference) versus one or two larger breaks so that we don’t experience burn-out as often. Plus, the kids love the quick excursions.
- We can vacation in the off-season–which means cheaper rates and fewer crowds.
- We take more time off for Christmas! As my oldest alternates with a year round brick and mortar school, it works out that we can enjoy Christmas/Winter break until the beginning of February.
- We can find MORE TIME to enjoy extra-curricular activities.
- We can join a co-op, or just interact with other homeschoolers without feeling that it is taking from our learning time.
- My oldest is able to explore music lessons with no guilt of taking away from ‘school time’. (Only one activity at a time, though because this solo mom doesn’t want to wear herself ragged.)
less time needed to “do school”
- Three words…four day weeks!
- I am able to take one day off a week to plan for – or revamp – the upcoming week’s schedule. I also use that “off day” to schedule and plan for my consulting business, private music lessons and household maintenance.
- The kids get a day for independent fun study like cooking, model toy trains or photography.
real life happens
- And when (not if) all the pre-planning falls apart; it encourages me to be reminded that (for our family) a year round homeschool works because real life is happening all around us – CONSTANTLY!
- Our family is constantly learning, constantly exploring, and constantly trying new things.
- For us, homeschool is a lifestyle. It is our life all year. It is not just 180 days. It is not 8-10 months out of the year.
- When my kids contribute to the ‘real world,’ they won’t be taking 2- to 3-month long vacations from work. Why would they do it for school?
- We move to another country. Babies are born. The foster cat unexpectedly gives birth to a litter of eight! We change jobs or careers. We catch colds. We sleep train our kids. We potty train our kids. Real. Life. Happens…Every day.
I am a huge planner so, in order for me to smoothly hit all 6 of these reasons, I needed a planner that would fit my family’s needs. Unfortunately, when I decided to homeschool year round, I was shocked to find there were few January to December planners. Most academic homeschool planners catered to the traditional school schedule of Fall, Winter, Spring. Yes, I enjoy flexibility, but I also want to be able to schedule the year without waiting on a new planner to be published. Then, hoping it isn’t a new and improved version that no longer has‘the thing’ that I am used to having that makes my ‘real life’ run smoother.
It wasn’t until recently that I began to see planners for those that homeschool year round.
On a Budget?
Because there are homeschoolers on a tight budget, I want to also include recommendations for the many FREE yearly planners. A lot of them forego the pre-printed dates so that homeschoolers have more flexibility in planning. Of those, I recommend:
The Homeschool Mom Planner (2016 AND 2017 in one PDF)
Our Homeschool Planner by Homeschooling on a Dime (2015 AND 2016 in one PDF)
But hey, if my suggestions don’t suit your family, there is a bumper-crop of highly recommended FREE planners here. I’m sure at least one of them will suit your family’s needs.
So, this week, as I chase my daughter around the house in our unconventional potty training sessions, I am thinking of my fellow homeschoolers. My desire is that you find the flexibility and freedom in whatever schedule you decide is best for your family. (If anyone knows that one-size-DOES-NOT-fit-all, it is you.) And that you always keep in front of you your WHY – your reasons – for making (or adjusting) that decision, if ‘real life’ requires it.