Beginning homeschoolers often try to model their year after the public school system: do “school” from the autumn to spring and take the summer off. After all, it’s the schedule many of us know best.
It’s not long before we realize that homeschooling is very different from public schooling. For many families, rather than winding down in summer, they often rev up their studies in the months when children are most energetic.
In this article, we look at how year-round homeschooling offers several benefits over seasonal homeschooling.
Benefits of Year-Round Homeschooling
Since homeschooling is a lifestyle, learning naturally happens throughout the day, at all times of the day, including weekends and holidays. This is why some families opt for year-round homeschooling.
Learning doesn’t stop just because the academic calendar does.
We can’t let a school calendar dictate how much time a child needs to acquire a concept. Some concepts require more time than others. This also depends on the child’s learning needs. Working with a year-round calendar, the child gets more time so that they can learn at their pace.
Some families continue homeschooling in a less structured fashion even if they travel for several weeks or months at a time. If life is the classroom, learning never stops, making year-round homeschooling a natural choice for homeschoolers.
Learning in summer is motivating.
Choosing to stop intentional learning in the summer months will do the child a disservice. Being outdoors offers a different perspective on tired activities. What may be uninspiring during the winter months may suddenly become a brand new math activity when taken outside using the sensory input nature provides.
Accommodates for illnesses.
Whether the child or the parent is ill, it’s common to have the homeschool schedule interrupted for a health issue. In homeschooling year-round, a family allows for space to recover but to also catch-up on studies throughout the year. This takes away from parental pressure to continue studies no matter what. It’s important to teach children to respect their limits. If the parent or child is not well, resting is an important lifelong skill they will learn first hand.
No wasted time.
By eliminating a break of several months between “schooling,” your child never loses the momentum for school subjects. Skills remain fresh and the time saved reviewing allows for the flow of learning to happen quicker and in more depth.
Limitations of Year-Round Homeschooling
There are two major obstacles with year-round homeschooling.
Child may resent not getting a break.
When neighborhood public school friends are out and about, your child will likely resist the idea of schooling during the summer months. You can make it more appealing for your child if you match school breaks with those of public schools. In this way, your child enjoys spring break, national, and religious holidays with other non-homeschooled children.
During the summer break, reduce the number of hours you spend on structured schooling and allow the child to choose the block of time they would like to work on certain subjects. For example, your child may decide to work on math for 45 minutes in the morning immediately after breakfast and read in the afternoon after swimming with friends. If you keep the activities flexible and allow as much choice by the child as possible, you are more likely not to be met with resistance.
Adults don’t get a break.
Unfortunately, the homeschooling adult doesn’t get a large block of time off of planning and executing the plans as their seasonal homeschooling counterparts. However, this can be prevented by doing one or both of these:
- Block in 1-2 week breaks every quarter
- Make the summer learning less structured and more student-led. In this way, the parent is less likely to burn out and will also enjoy the benefits of learning throughout the year.
Year-round homeschooling is not for every family. If you find that it’s not working for your family after a fair trial, create a schedule that works best for your situation. There are not right or wrong answers when it comes to the homeschooling calendar. The most important thing is that there is ease and enjoyment in the activities.
About the All-Star Blogger
Gabriella Volpe is a homeschooling mom of a child with special needs, a certified teacher and the homeschool consultant for families of children with special needs. She knows first-hand what it means to struggle with educational planning for a child who does not fit the system and is limited by resources and products intended for children without disabilities. She helps parents find ways to adapt and modify the curriculum so they don’t have to spend hours figuring it out on their own. She also helps after-schooling families of children with special needs navigate their way around the homework hours. You can find her at www.GabriellaVolpe.com