Let’s start with a misconception about year-round homeschooling.

It is typically NOT homeschooling all the time. Just because we are year-round homeschoolers that doesn’t mean we are doing more school than your average students.

Traditional American school schedules begin in late August, take a couple of weeks off in December, and continue through the end of May with about twelve weeks off in the summer.

Homeschoolers who school year round simply shorten that summer break; often cutting it in half or making it shorter so we can take more frequent breaks during the school year.

This is all about flexibility y’all.

Why do year-round homeschooling?

Why? Taking breaks at other times during the year allows you to enjoy the best weather, go on vacation when top destinations are less crowded, and split up your year in a way that makes sense for your family.

Many families don’t like to take long breaks because of the “summer slide” where kids are out of practice with academics and it cuts down on the amount of review you have to do at the beginning of a school year.

There are as many different ways to do year-round schooling as there are homeschoolers, so I’m going to share a few ideas my friends use and then tell you how we do it as well.

Different patterns of year-round homeschooling

Sabbath or term homeschool schedule

The first is something that we call Sabbath schooling. With Sabbath schooling, homeschoolers school for a period of time, let’s say six weeks and then they take a week off and they do this throughout the entire school year.

A lot of families who do sabbath schooling do still take a longer break at Christmas time and a little bit longer break in the summer, though not the traditional 12-week break. Their summer break might be four, five, or even six weeks.

The term also doesn’t have to be six weeks long. You could do five weeks or even four weeks before you take your week off. You’re just going to have to do the math and see how short of a period you can school before taking a break and still meet your required number of days for the school year.

So what do you do during that break week? Well, you can do anything you want with it. You can just get outside if the weather’s nice. You can go on vacation. You could catch up on household chores or you could even schedule all your doctor’s appointments for those weeks.

For more tips on how you can turn a break week into a prep week, check out this post.

Four days a week homeschool schedule

Another way to do year-round homeschooling is to follow a four day a week schedule. It could be Monday through Thursday or it could be other days. And then you take the fifth day off and have an extended weekend. This is awesome because you can use that day off each week to catch up on household chores, to do doctor’s appointments, or to get all of your shopping done.

Magic number homeschool schedule

The final schedule variation is something I like to call the magic number technique. So what I do here is I take the number of days that we’re going to be schooling for the year — let’s just say a 170 for example’s sake — and then I divide it by the number of months that I’m going to homeschool. If that is 10 then that gives me 17 days a month that I know we need to be homeschooling to stay on track.

As I’m tracking my attendance each year, I just make sure that we’re hitting those markers where we need to be hitting them to know that we’re getting enough school days in. This allows me the luxury to take off various times throughout the school year without really having to sit down and plan which days I’m going to be off. That way if there’s a spontaneous, beautiful weather day or a chance to join dad on a business trip, we can do it and take the time off whenever we want. I love magic number homeschooling.

How we do year-round homeschooling

Typically, we take off about six weeks from the end of May to right after 4th of July and then about two to three weeks off at Christmas. That is my preferred way to homeschool though there are some years when we have to start a little later due to our schedule.

We make it work for us.

What about you? I would love to know how you set up your homeschool schedule so tell us in the comments — or if you have a question you can drop that there too.

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Pam Barnhill

Pam Barnhill

Pam is the author of The Your Morning Basket Guide and Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and Peace. She also is the host of three popular  podcasts -- The Homeschool Snapshots Podcast, Your Morning Basket, and The Homeschool Solutions Show. She lives in the Deep South with her husband and three kids, where she is the go-to lady for great curriculum recommendations or a just a pep talk on a rough day.
Pam Barnhill
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