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When Allison was a kid, she attended a year-round school. For the most part, it was the same as any other school, but she got 6 extra weeks off during the year and went 6 weeks during the summer. She LOVED it.
When she started home-educating her kids, she knew that she wanted to incorporate that sort of schedule. It meant longer breaks and more options during the school year. Flexibility is the name of the game!
If you want to add more flexibility to your homeschool, you’d love learning year round. You might be thinking…. “Uh, year round? That sounds like MORE work!” Honestly, continuing to school through the summer can actually give you extra time for science experiments, play dates, or whatever you like to do with your time!
There is No Beginning and End
One main benefit of homeschooling all year is that you start and finish your curriculum when you’re ready. There’s no need to complete everything between the months of August and May.
You can spend as much time as you need and it really makes you realize that homeschooling is about living an educating life, not finishing a textbook.
The Work is Spread Out
You can do less formal work every day, leaving more time for whatever you like. You can take life more slowly, if the kids are having a bad day, you can put school off until tomorrow.
There’s more space to be spontaneous. If the weather’s nice you can opt for a picnic at the park without having to worry about finishing a math lesson first.
You also have more time to delve deeper into a subject. If your child’s interest is sparked by Ancient Mayan ruins mentioned in your history lesson, you can stop all your other schooling and do a unit study on that.
There is No “Summer Slide”
Some families notice that their children don’t retain information as well when they take extended breaks. If your child goes two whole months without practicing reading, you may find that they have to re-learn what they had already mastered the year before.
If you never stop learning, there’s not as much to review and kids actually learn at a faster pace. Another way to combat the Summertime Slide without doing full school year-round is to tackle a summer reading list.
You Can Take More Breaks
Taking extended breaks through the year is another reason that schooling year-round is great. If your family likes to travel, this gives you more room to do so without being bogged down with school work. Alternately, if you’re a work at home mom you can schedule big projects during school breaks.
A word of caution
There are two potential pitfalls here. Either feeling like you’re not going to get it all done or getting a little too relaxed and not accomplishing anything.
A good way to keep balanced is to write out your lesson plans for a 3-month period. You can always move something to the next quarter if you don’t accomplish it this time around, but you’ll be more aware of what to focus on.
Homeschooling is About Freedom
If you’re like us, doing your own thing is a huge plus in homeschooling. You can choose to get your kids up on a schedule, or let them sleep in as needed. You can add as many (or as few) extracurricular activities as you see fit. You can allow your children to deeply explore their own interests, in their own time.