Why We Keep A Traditional School Schedule

Do you take frequent breaks or stick to a fairly strict schedule?  Over the year, not daily.

Since being back in the homeschool world as a mom, I've noticed alot of homeschoolers doing "year round" homeschooling.  Instead of homeschooling during the fall and winter and taking the summer off, they take smaller breaks spread out over the whole year.  I totally understand why some homeschoolers choose to do this - you can get all the good vacation spots when they are cheaper, you are less likely to get tired and burned out because you are getting more frequent breaks throughout the year.  I think it's a really good option!

For our family though, we stick to a regular, traditional school schedule, with a mid-year break at Christmas.  Here is why.

1) It's how I grew up.  I was homeschooled from 4th grade through high school, and we always stuck to the traditional school schedule, so it's just what I'm used to.  Actually I'm used to the traditional school schedule with longer winter and summer breaks (no teacher in service days or snow days makes this possible).  Since it worked for me when I was growing up, and we don't have any particular reason o change it, I just haven't.

2)  We live in a fairly cold state.  Where we live, and at the altitude we live, summer is when it's nice and you want to be outside.  Winter lasts from about November to May, with a few weeks of muddy spring in between Winter and Summer.  I figure we might as well be doing school during the months when we are all stuck inside, and keep the summer months free for all the fun stuff.  If we lived in a more temperate climate, or somewhere where the summer months are unbearably hot, we'd probably rethink this.

3) I like having my kids off when public school kids are off.  This may or may not be an actual problem, but in my head, I'd hate for my kids to see other kids off for the summer when we are still plugging away at our schoolwork.  If we actually tried year-round schooling, we might feel like having breaks during quieter times would be worth the trade off, but back to point number two, summer is when it is nice around here. I don't want my kids to think that public school families have it better off when it comes to summer break, because around here, summer is when you want to be outside.

I usually try to work it out so we have a couple extra weeks at Christmas (our Christmas break is usually around four weeks), and we try to finish up by mid-May so we have a couple extra weeks of summer.  If we have a vacation in the middle of the school year, we usually try to make it up by planning to start school a week earlier in August, or by doing school on a few Saturdays, so that way we are still able to take trips whenever we'd like.

If you homeschool, do you homeschool year-round, or follow a traditional schedule? I think there are definitely advantages to both!

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Natalie@She Builds Her Home said...

We pretty much follow a traditional schedule, as well! I do adjust it some. I agree with all the reasons you said! I have some friends who do year round schooling and I have thought about going that direction, but I just really like having long breaks! This year we started at the beginning of August because from mid July-September is hot and muggy and miserable here, so I figured we may as well be inside, but we started that month with a super laid back approach. Maybe just 1-2 hours per day, and then slowly added subjects in, which was a nice way to start! Because of that, we should be done end of April-early May this year, which is such a nice time of year and I'm excited to get out and enjoy it while everyone else is still in school! Next school year, we have some trips planned in August, so we probably won't start until September and then we'll go later into the year. The main reason I like to have a summer break is because my kids are off of all their activities in the summer. It would seem silly to me to take off a couple weeks in February, but they still have all of their classes & activities to go to. This way, we can truly have a break from everything for a few months! I also like to use summer as a good time to get together with friends whose kids to go school! We don't see a lot of them during the school year, and I'd be sad to miss out on things in the summer because we had to get school done!

Elizabeth said...

Factors affecting our schedule: 1) My husband is a university professor, so we'll follow his schedule, which is roughly September through June. So that's like 10 months of school, not sure how that compares to the average. But basically we couldn't travel anyway during those months since he doesn't have time off. 2) Daylight: as you said, doing more school during the colder months might make sense...although, I find that energy level is also pretty low in the winter. 3) Vacations: we will probably just go with the federal/school holidays or whenever my husband has off. 4) Days per week: I'm not opposed to keeping Saturday as a school day with some low-key review or bilingual work, in case we decide to have a lighter day on another day of the week. I don't mind spreading school out among several days, but I agree that summer vacation is good. :) 5) Bilingual study: I want to devote 4 days a week to our main curriculum, and have a tutor or family member work more intensively on the second language 1-2 days a week. Basically like a special subject day.

Brittney said...

I don’t think we will fall into one category or the other! Technically, we started in July this year but it was very light until September. It’s now March and my kids are done with all of their work (or I have started them on the next level because finishing in December seemed way too early.) we’ve taken breaks when we needed to and are about to move so I imagine a relatively large disruption and I forgot the longer break when the baby was born, ha! So we are all over the place but it’s more important to me to cover the work I want to do (and that’s ever changing,) then to say “I need to be done at such and such time,” or banking on having breaks when they have popped up not when I would have originally planned.

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