As the big ‘Back to School’ push is going on we’re already on week 8 of our homeschooling. Don’t ask me how many weeks ago we started.. it was slightly longer than that!
I’ve had some reservations about year-round schooling, but after evaluating our progress I’ve realized it really does work well for our children’s education, and for our family’s lifestyle.
We have done this before, hardly taken any time off in the summer, but last year a summer break was necessary with all of our traveling and family visiting.
A full summer break every other year seems to be the pattern our family follows.
As soon as we finished our last school year (in May) we took a 3 week break to work on our remodeling projects. It was meant to be a one week break, but because we had never removed or installed flooring like that before, it was a bigger undertaking than we imagined. We also didn’t order as many planks as we needed, so we had a delay with that also.
Our kids still read and did daily math drills during that time; they still visited the library, watched documentaries, did art projects, and wrote letters.
They have embraced the lifestyle of always learning. It’s such a sweet relief for this momma when they WANT to learn even when I don’t have any formal learning on the calendar.
In our official years as homeschoolers I have always been most categorized as a “school at home” style, mimicking the public school and focusing heavily on boxed curriculum, worksheets, and lots of reading.
I think it’s healthy and important to have a plan and stick as close to it as possible after the preschool stage.
As much as I adore the idea of unschooling, that really only flies here during preschool and kindergarten; those times are all about playing and exploring.
I love structure, organization, and planning as much as I love a good Snickers bar. For those of you who don’t know me in real life, that’s A LOT.
My birthday is the day after the 4th of July which landed on a Monday, so we took off Tuesday for my birthday, then the weather was nice so we decided to take the week off totally.
My son celebrated his golden birthday in August, because it was his GOLDEN birthday, we gave the kids the week off.
Life is meant for celebrating and savoring.
We won’t always take a week off for things, but I am grateful that we started our school year early so we can adjust and accommodate where we need to when life happens.
When I say we have time “off” I still do require daily reading and math. It doesn’t take too long, but it’s important to me that the kids keep in the habit.
We haven’t identified a slogan for our school year yet, but if I had to pick one myself I’d say it would include the words Simple, Growth, and Waves.
We’re scaling back a bit from our hard and fast routines, and working more on creative growth with a more simplified approach. We’re embracing that this goes in waves. We may have 6 weeks with a full workload, and a week of more relaxed learning, then back to the 6 weeks of doing it all again.
All that to say the year-round schooling gives us flexibility to ‘drop and go’ when something urgent (or fun) happens, it keeps our minds sharp, and it isn’t too much, contrary to what some may think. We also do lots of field trips. Some of our favorites are museums, art centers, zoos, and factory tours.
Whatever you decide to do with your homeschooling, do so prayerfully and really evaluate what works for YOU and YOUR CHILDREN. If it’s working, keep it up. If it isn’t, change it.
If you’re looking for an easy read that will absolutely help you to simplify your homeschooling, I recommend Simplify Your Homeschool Day: Shorten Your Day, Sweeten Your Time. It’s not a big book, and it’s written in a way that is easy to take in. I was able to read it in one sitting and refer back to it each year for a little extra inspiration.