Public school and most private school have 10-month school schedules, while others do a year-round schedule. Here I will layout the pros and cons of a year-round schedule.
When we began homeschooling we didn’t know what we were going to do and as time went on it felt more natural to homeschool year-round. We both worked year-round and this kept our schedule consistent. Consistency is key.
- Less work throughout the year – Many who homeschool year-round take the usual 180-day curriculum and spread it out over a longer span. As a result, students do less work each day but they still complete the curriculum in one year’s time. For you, this will translate into less stress! When homeschooling year round, you don’t have to worry about cramming all of our learning into a 36-week schedule. Instead, you have 52-weeks to work with.
- More time – Having more time also allows you to take ‘rabbit trails’ more often without the guilt of falling behind and allows your family to immerse yourselves in topics that really interest you. Homeschooling year round allows for more time to be spent with a struggling learner. If one of the kids is having difficulty with a certain math concept or is struggling with reading, this allows for extra time to master the skill without feeling hurried.
- Better times off – As you may have guessed, homeschooling year-round provides you with more time to take off. Summer break usually lasts 2-2 1/2 months, Winter break 2 weeks, Spring and Mid-Winter break are each 1 week. Homeschooling year-round simply means spreading all that time off throughout the school year and being able to plan vacations for times outside of regular school breaks.
- Flexibility – Instead of a 5-day school week, we can easily cut back to a 4-day school week without having to overfill those 4 days. We can also spread out our breaks and take small breaks more often instead of one or two longer breaks. We can take a day off here and there (due to sickness, a field trip, an impromptu play date, or just because we feel like it) without feeling like we are going to get behind
- Skills stay sharp – Since you’re not taking a long summer hiatus from school, those academic skills you and your child work so hard on will stay fresh in their mind! Because of this, you won’t waste any time re-teaching or doing the review that consumes 2+ weeks of school years.
- Extracurricular Activities – Join a co-op, take piano, gymnastics practice or driving lessons can all be done on less busy days or less busy times and not feel like it’s taking up some of our learning time at home. With year-round homeschooling we are able to let our children explore extra activities, like sports and music lessons, without feeling like we are taking away from ‘school time.’
- No break woes- Coming back from vacation or long breaks can be seriously difficult mentally and physically. You won’t have an adjustment period of getting back into the school routine again because we never left it (for too long).
- More like real life – Homeschooling is a lifestyle, and life is all year, not just 180 days or 8-10 months out of the year. Learning should be constant, kids should be constantly exploring, and constantly trying new things. Unless your a teach, in the ‘real world,’ they won’t be taking 2- to 3-month long vacations from their jobs, so why would they do it for school? ‘Real life’ is happening all around us – things like moving, babies being born, job changes, sicknesses, vacations, and holidays – homeschooling year-round allows us to live life, enjoy it, and learn from it as well.
- You never get a real break – Since you’re homeschooling day in and day out, it may seem there’s never that “break” to look forward to. Sure, you can take off days here and there, but it isn’t the same as taking weeks off to do next to nothing! BUT you can have a schedule like our where we go 12 weeks on, 1 weeks off PLUS all US holiday off.
- It’s too easy to fall behind – One thing you may have to be vigilant about when doing year-round homeschooling is the tendency to fall behind. Some may feel like they have all the time in the world to get things done and so what’s one random day off? There’s nothing wrong with that, provided you don’t make a habit out of it. Otherwise, those “random days off” can accumulate into falling behind.
- Too far ahead – Okay this doesn’t seem like a con, but it’s a trap we recently discovered. Our daughter IS excelling very quickly and very far ahead of her age, but we started to catch on that we helped her too much. For this reason we have decided to go back and review subjects allowing her to complete the assignment independently to evaluate what areas we may need to work on again. Be sure that your child can do their work with independence after teaching them!
- Your kids may complain – Although kids generally like the idea of doing less school each day or doing a subject every other day (or however you arrange it), you may also hear them gripe that the rest of the world has a summer break but “we never do!” You can address this by promising they can start later in the day during summer and still sleep in. Or, perhaps you agree that summer schooling is very light, not taking on any big projects or anything time-consuming. Or my favorite is reminding them 12-months out of the year they never wake up to an alarm, they get awesome breakfast each day, don’t sit on a bus and homeschooling is way more fun than traditional schooling with much shorter days and only 4-days a week. Perspective. Don’t be afraid to give your young one a dose of reality lol
By all means this list does not include every single pro and con to year-round homeschool and I will continue to expand as I grow more experienced in homeschooling myself! I hope you find this helpful in deciding whether to homeschool year-round or on a 8, 9 or 10 month schedule. Stay tuned for the pros and cons of homeschooling 8, 9 or 10 months.