Happy first day of homeschool! We started our new year-round homeschool schedule today. This year we have grades 5th, special needs 3rd, 1st, K5, and 3 preschoolers.
In years past, we have always just done the next lesson in our curriculum, working steadily through each day, week, and month until we break for medical emergencies, pregnancies (morning sickness), or the birth and recovery of another baby. I wanted things to be better planned this year. I wanted our breaks to be restful instead of stressful!
Year-round Homeschool Schedule
Trial and Error
I have been looking at year-round planners and trying to determine the best year-round homeschool schedule for us with our special needs. I thought I had it figured out, but then changed my mind! I know that things may (and probably will) change as needed throughout the year ahead, but I feel better going into it with a plan.
The Original Plan
I tried blocking out breaks for all major and minor holidays throughout the year, giving us a week or two off every several weeks. But, after thinking about it and considering our many doctor appointments, I felt like the breaks were too random and disorganized. It was not looking good on the calendar! It was not helpful for scheduling doctor/therapy appointments. I needed a better plan.
The New Plan
First, I switched us to a 5-day school week instead of the 4-day week we have been doing the last couple of years. Though it seemed that having an extra day off in the week would be nice, it ended up being more stressful since I still wanted to complete a typical week worth of school work. Never knowing when a medical emergency would come up, left me feeling like we needed to stay ahead of the schedule and get as much as possible done each week. We switched to a 5-day school week a few weeks ago and it has gone well. My oldest knows that if he finishes his lessons early, then he can get Friday off. Much better than taking Monday off and then making sure the work gets done in 4 days!
Second, we are planning to take the last full week of each month off from school (at least formal, textbook, seat work type of school, but hoping to have some fun family field trips during that week). We took last week off so that I could plan our new homeschool year and then we started our new homeschool year today! We will take two weeks off at the end of December for Christmas and New Years.
These are not set in stone and will change if needed. But, knowing that the last full week of each month is our planned break, gives me a week to schedule our doctor appointments (if at all possible). I am hoping that we can clump our doctor appointments together in that one week. It won’t be a completely stress-free week off (for me), but it will (hopefully) have a few days completely free from appointments, so I can prepare for another month of homeschool and get ahead with my online work (my blog, Lilla Rose
, freelance writing, and Virtual Assistant work). Meanwhile, it gives the kids something to look forward to.
Walk through the math with me. From the end of August 2015 to the end of August 2016, we have 52 weeks to work with. Taking 1 week off each month, and 2 off in December, we will have 13 weeks off from school. 52 minus 13 is 39. We are planning 36 weeks (180 days) of formal schooling, so that leaves 3 weeks of wiggle room.
For a year-round homeschool, working around medical/special needs, this schedule feels good! If we don’t have any medical emergencies or reasons to take extra breaks, then we will end up with a few extra weeks to use as our “summer break” in 2016 before starting the next year.
I know, wishful thinking, right?
How do you plan your homeschool year? Do you have a year-round homeschool schedule? Look for my post on how I am organizing and planning our entire curriculum, week by week. And, later, I will be sharing our official curriculum plans for 2015-2016.