An Unscheduled Non-Break


Homeschooling this year started out so very well.  I was surprised how well it was going actually.  The kids were excited to learn, we were flying through our work each day, and we even got ahead in a few subjects.  

I might have gotten a little over-confident, because the last few weeks have been a bit of a disaster when it comes to our school.  Between a few family items (purchasing a new car because our old one broke down, flying out of state and coming home more exhausted than I thought, dealing with a cold), we have been running to catch up to normal all month.  We are still managing to get our essential work done, but it's taking all day, peppered a generous amount of exhaustion, with a sprinkling of bad attitudes (from me and the kids).  It just hasn't been great.

(Derek and the kids in the corn maze we visited a couple weeks ago!)

This got me thinking a bit about my homeschool scheduling.  There are a couple scheduling systems that I am aware of for homeschooling.


Year-round homeschooling - This is where you do school all year round, with pre-planned breaks sprinkled in.  The breaks can be anytime you want really, but one method I've heard of is the "sabbath" or term model (every seventh week you take off).  I think some people also do two months on, one month off, or they just take random breaks throughout the year for vacations or trips.

Traditional school schedule - This is where you follow the traditional schedule of school in the fall, winter, and spring, with the summer off.  There may be short breaks sprinkled in, but the more breaks you take during the year, the longer your school calendar goes into the summer, so days off are usually kept to a minimum.


We have always done a traditional school schedule in our homeschool, with one big break taken every summer.  I prefer it this way, because where we live the weather is the nicest in the summer, and I want us to be able to enjoy it.  I also enjoy having a long break in the summer to really get my plans settled for the next year.

The problem with following a traditional schedule is that over the summer, you can sometimes get out of "school mode", and you may need a little time to gear back up to a full load once the fall starts.  Then once you are into full-on school mode, it can become a little monotonous and feel like the breaks are so far away.  It's easy to start getting discouraged, or to get in a rut.

That's about where we are right now.  The novelty of a new school year has worn off, some of our good habits are slipping a little, and we're all just...tired of school.

Because our state requires a certain amount of days completed each year, and because I don't want to not take a break in the summer, our option to take a week off is limited.  But, I have found an alternative.

We are taking a term break without really taking a term break.

And what I mean by that is that every 8-10 weeks this year, I think I will plan to have a light week of school.  Instead of taking an entire week off school and losing those days, we are going to take a week off of just certain subjects.

During our semi-break week we are taking off math and reading instruction while I reevaluate our daily schedule a little bit.  We are continuing history and science (our "fun" subjects) - so we are still doing school each day, just not all our usual subjects.  I am hoping this slight break from our usual school routine will give me some space to figure out what I need to change to keep our school days fresh. It will also give us a rest from parts of our work so we can refresh our attitudes when we get back to our full days in November.

This plan will also be a benefit to our school schedule because it allows us to catch back up in some of the subjects where we fell behind (science and history are the subjects that get dropped when we have a rough day).  We had a little wiggle room in our yearly schedule with math and reading, so we should still be able to finish those subjects "on time" as well.  

A great thing about homeschooling is the flexibility to play with our schedule like this.  I love that when we are all getting in a school rut, I can schedule a small, desperately needed break (non-break?) to give us some breathing room.  I love that I don't have to stress about falling behind in certain subjects, because I can switch some things around and it will all even out in the end.  Homeschooling equals so much freedom for our family when we are going through a rough patch, freedom we wouldn't have if we were attached to an external school schedule.  It's truly a blessing.

If you homeschool, do you follow a traditional schedule?  Or do you change it up?


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