Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Six Reasons We Homeschool Year-Round

Let me just start with the fact that I don’t enjoy hot, crowded places or wasting time.  As a homeschooler, I am free to schedule our year in a way that is most desirable for our family without any concern for adhering to the traditional, nine-month school year.

Look at the beach images below. I have a strong preference for the experience on the left over the one on the right.  How about you?

 

 

 

All right, let’s move onto the reasons year-round schooling is a great way to make the most of your freedom and flexibility as a homeschooler.  Here are the top six reasons it works for our family.

  1. Experiential Learning–Instead of tying ourselves to workbooks and a curriculum every day, we like to be out in the world exploring. Knowing we have plenty of days throughout the year to complete our school work, it takes a lot of pressure off of me.  So many wonderful opportunities are open to homeschoolers from September through May that I don’t want to miss.
  2. Summer Slide–The “summer slide, which occurs when kids fall behind in reading and math over the summer, is well-documented” according to U.S. News and World Report.  Forbes asserts performance falls by approximately a month and is cumulative over successive summers. Additionally,  with respect to public school, they point out “reteaching forgotten material when students return to school after the summer costs more than $1,500 per student each year, or more than $18,000 over the course of a K-12 career.”  I don’t like to waste time or money.  By keeping skills fresh throughout the summer, we actually have more time for things we love to do. We don’t have to do buckets of work over the summer to retain skills. Just a little bit of academic work steadily spread throughout the summer can make a big difference.
  3. Summer HeatI don’t enjoy being out in the blazing heat. Rather, I have a strong preference for the more moderate temperatures when most kids are back in school. In fact, on days that are real scorchers, I’d much rather be inside our air-conditioned home doing academics.  I’m grateful I don’t have to cram in all our fun during the 3 months of summer.
    heitsler park with grands
    We take off when Grandma and Granddad come to visit from Louisiana!

     

  4. Crowds–As homeschoolers know, our favorite places are packed during the summer. It is quite a nuisance to many of us. Instead of fighting the parking and throngs of people, I prefer to make progress on our school work during the summer months so we can go back and enjoy those places when the crowds die down.
  5. Structure–My kids do great with a couple hours of structure in the morning.  I hear so many families talk about their kids fighting with one another or complaining they are bored.  This is something we have never really experienced much as a family. I think the combination of structured and unstructured time is helpful.
  6. Vacations--We often take our family vacations in early September. The masses are back in school and work. This means fewer crowds and much cheaper prices. I don’t need to stress out about taking off a week or two from academics since we were diligent over the summer. 

While we don’t do a full load over the summer, we continue to plow through on and off June through August. Sometimes we take off a full day to go have fun. Additionally, we’ll nix school for a week or two for camps, vacations, visitors, etc.

For the days we do school, math is non-negotiable. My kids love to read, so I don’t need to assign that. We alternate between other subjects like grammar, spelling, and writing. A natural and enjoyable part of our lives is the reading, discussing, and experiencing of science and history together. This is a year-round pleasure and does not feel like school work.

It takes discipline to school during the summer.

It takes discipline to school during the summer. Knowing that so many people are off relaxing and playing all day makes it tempting to slack to off.  However, I know well the reasons we make this choice. We push through, and it pays off.

Do you school year-round? How does it look in your family?

You may also like:

If You are New to Homeschooling or Thinking About It….

The State of California Pays Me to Customize My Kids’ Education

Homeschooled Teddy Roosevelt Never Sat in a Classroom Until Harvard

Need Some K-6 Math Inspiration?

Top Read-Aloud Picks for Your Family

Homeschoolers Make High Profile Entries into Top Universities

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The Summer Heat

I don’t enjoy this heat. Each day we have all this really hot weather, it makes me thankful I don’t have to cram in a bunch of activities into a 3-month summer break  when the sun is so fierce and places are crowded.

 

shamu beautiful
We are grateful to have all year to visit our favorite places with fewer crowds and better weather.

 

 

Each day of this intense summer heat, it makes me thankful I don’t have to cram in a bunch of activities during a 3-month summer break when the sun is so fierce and places are crowded.

 

We steadily get some school work done on days like this knowing we’ll be out enjoying beautiful weather during the fall, winter and spring when places are less crowded. I fully embrace year-round schooling for our family!

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Academic Scheduling for More Experiential Learning: Part One

We all want to be out doing this!

 

Instead of this! Math pic for blog 003

So, we need to knock those academics out of the way ASAP so we can have some fun.

Last year, we dramatically changed our schedule by being away from home 3 full days each week so we could be involved in a weekly program at Disneyland, another day sailing and another day at our co-op. This did not include other activities like extra-curriculars, field trips, park days, etc. I wondered how we would ever complete our academics so came up with a plan as a family.

This is a series on how to schedule academics so we have plenty of time to engage with the world. This is what we have done as a family and has worked for us. What type of schedule has worked for you?

  • SET EXPECTATIONS

Before signing up for all the activities, we had a family meeting. The kids had to give their commitment that they would need to be dressed and starting their math at 7:30 AM on days we were to be gone.  They would also do their required history/science reading for 25 minutes in the car en route to our activities. Additionally, they would need to do some math over the weekend. Prior to this, they never had school work on the weekend.

  • CREATE A CHECKLIST

I told my kids what needed to be completed and they used Google Sheets to create their daily check-off list. This had the added benefit of giving them practice with spreadsheets. We will talk about what that schedule looks like in detail in the 2nd post in this series.

  • YEAR-ROUND SCHOOL

We have always done year-round school. However, because we were out 3 days/week last year and plan to do the same in the fall, we are doing a little bit heavier workload over the summer than we did in prior summers. Sure, we take some days off completely and even a week here and there.  A writing composition teacher has come to my house on Fridays giving them assignments to work on each day. That has helped us to stay on track with writing as it is easy for me to skip on that over the summer.

Additionally, it is hot during the summer and crowded with all the conventionally-schooled kids out and about. I’d much rather be knocking out some school work in our air-conditioned house on some of those days and enjoy our beautiful and interesting places with fewer people and better weather.

How do you schedule your academics?

Find Part Two of this series by clicking on the link below:

Academic Scheduling for More Experiential Learning: Part Two

Here were our curriculum choices last school year:

An Example of an Eclectic, Academic Homeschool Curriculum

For ideas on how to design your own writing curriculum:

Designing Your Own Writing Curriculum

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A Case for Year-Round School

“During that 12-to-13-week period where kids are out of school, they are, in fact, losing that knowledge that they’ve already learned to the degree that, on average, kids on the traditional calendar are required to be re-taught or instructed on the curriculum they were taught the year previously between four and eight weeks annually. If you compound those four to eight weeks of required re-teaching in 1st grade through 8th grade, it’s quite possible a student entering high school will be a year to a year and a half behind their counterparts.”

It is nice that we are free as parents in charge of our children’s education to decide whether we want to do this or not. For us, we school year-round for several reasons. First, we like to do a lot of field trips and other types of experiential learning throughout the entire year. We don’t fall behind this way. Second, we don’t have to waste time reteaching material from the previous school year. Third, a light school load during the summer gives them some structure before we go out and enjoy our day. We do not do a complete school load during the summer. Their primary summer academic work is math, instrument practice, a little writing and reading (they would read anyway). I don’t want to have to backtrack on math in the fall.

I know some families look forward to that extended break over the summer. So glad they get that time off. 🙂

Is it Time to Move Away from the Traditional School Calendar?