A yearly homeschool schedule can help you keep on track, but there is no hard fast rule about how your year should flow.
Some families are able to work effectively without scheduling out a yearly plan. However, I have come to realize that if we are going to get things done each year... we need to have some sort of a plan.
Out of necessity our yearly homeschool schedule must be a flexible one... but if I at least have a plan it keeps us on track.
If you have a basic idea of how your year will go, you will be able to plan your curriculum around that and around your family routines.
A great place to start is with a two year calendar.
Circle days that you know you will need or want to have off throughout the school year.
Click on the image to print one for yourself. ---->
A start date, an end date, holidays birthdays, vacations etc.
This would be the ideal schedule. Your dream year. Now you need to get realistic, start adapting and create realistic goals for your year.
Wen deciding how to schedule your home schooling year there are several things to keep in mind.
Go to this page on homeschooling requirements for more details. Each state will be different.
Some states require a certain number of hours per day, some a certain number of days per year. Work with that. Take a calendar. Decide when your school year will start and end. Ours starts July 1st and ends June 31. Use the entire year as your school year. This way, any time off can easily be made up.
Mark off any time you know you will need to take off. Vacation trips, birthdays or any other special days you may want to declare a holiday. Then count how many days you have left. From the days left you can decide when you want to take breaks.
Follow a traditional schedule
For some families it works well and keeps things simple to follow their local school system schedule. If your children have friends in traditional school it may be that will make it easier to get together for fun activities. Your children may appreciate having the same schedule as other kids. It may be that for moms and kids alike that longer summer holiday is needed and looked forward to.
Spread the weeks out
For some folks having the entire summer off is too much. They prefer to set up their homeschool schedule with a certain number of weeks and then take off a certain number of weeks. It works better to spread things out evenly over the year. For example six weeks of homeschool and then a week off. It may work to break your school year down according to quarter. Nine weeks on and then a break.
4 day school week
You could also choose to have school 4 days a week. Take off each Friday for errands, appointments or lessons. Don't forget that lesson days can 'count' towards school days if you must report this to your state.
During the winter we sometimes take off one day each week as a ski day. A homeschool group organized group lessons at a good price. Those are hectic but fun winters! The days are actually still considered school days, but I don't schedule any book work on these home school PE days.
Relaxed Homeschool Schedule
Try planning one month at a time. Or even one or two weeks at a time. See how it goes and adjust for the next month or couple of weeks.
Go with the natural flow for your family, depending on work schedules, on health, on studies, on real-life happening. This is how I organized our days when my boys were younger. Be cautious though if you are like me and you tend to easily get totally side tracked. There are some subjects that simply flow better if it is tackled on a regular basis. Skill based studies like math in particular.Plan for the Weather.
The weather for your particular area is a good way to decide what weeks to take off. If you live where sunny days are few and far between, be flexible enough to allow spontaneous days for running and playing outside. Believe me, if your boy is sitting at the table with a math book but yearning to be out digging holes in the dirt. You'd best be sure to allow him some dirt time.
I find that hot summer afternoons are a great time to schedule some school work after lunch. Play and outside chores in the morning and reading and math in the afternoon when no one really wants to be outside anyway.Other homeschool schedule ideas to consider
When my children were younger I'd often take off from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Even though in reality we still kept reading and doing lots of learning activities, we'd take off from the more schoolish looking books.
Currently we take off time in the spring and fall. We have a garden and planting and harvesting times are busy. Plus hunting season you know! Hunting takes precedence here. This gives the boys in my family much needed "guy" time. It is counted towards PE. Now that my youngest goes with his dad and brothers... I get a whole week all to myself!
Remember also that this may change from year to year. Depending on the ages of your children, work situations and health issues.
My point here is.... It is all up to you! Be aware of your state regulations and be creative. There is no hard fast rule of how your homeschool schedule should look.
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