7 Benefits of Year Round Homeschool plus How to Schedule Your Year

Year-round homeschooling is an educational approach where you spread the learning process throughout the entire calendar year, taking shorter breaks rather than a long summer vacation.

I don’t recall a time when we didn’t do homeschool year round. If I think back to the very beginning – when I overzealously did K with my 4 year old – we likely started her first “year” in the fall. Then as I realized my go with the flow approach meant more breaks than a typical school year, I accepted that year round homeschool was a better fit for us.

I love doing school year round, because it feels like a normal flow of life. Learning is an option any day and any time, whether it’s formal school work, teaching a kid to make grilled cheese sandwiches, or participating in an online class building lego submarines.

Over the years the benefits of this method of homeschooling have become more pronounced, and I’ve shared it with several friends who have adopted this same method. Here are 10 amazing benefits of adopting a year round homeschool method:

Flexibility in Scheduling

This is hands down the biggest benefit for our family. I’ve had a baby every 18-22 months for the last 10 years, and if stuck to a traditional school schedule my kids would be so far behind.

Last year we took off a full month when our newest was born the day after Christmas, and that’s not including the couple weeks before Christmas. We ended up finishing the year with 34 weeks instead of 36. In a 9 month schedule we would not have been able to take so much time as a family to enjoy and bond with our new baby.

Year round homeschooling offers the ultimate in flexibility, because you can start your year whenever you want, take breaks whenever you want, make the breaks short or long, and customize your school to your family.

We break around birthdays, trips to visit extended families, new babies, holidays to celebrate, busy weeks in my business, and opportunities for fun activities. What would you break around if you adopted this method?

Reduces the Summer Slide

Summer slide is an educational reality where students often lose some of the knowledge and skills they gained over the long summer break. Traditional curriculums are often designed in a way to address this. The first portion of a new curriculum often overlaps with what was supposed to be covered at the end of the prior year.

As homeschool parents, we can obviously do things like summer reading programs to help address this, but you’re already basically doing a version of year round school. 

I have also found that longer breaks tend to be harder for moms as well, as we have to get ourselves back in the groove of doing school, along with dealing with the pushback of our children.

Shorter breaks not only facilitate continued learning and reduce knowledge loss, but also help with maintaining a rhythm and flow, which benefits kids immensely. 

Customized Learning Pace

I don’t know about you, but I tend to obsess a bit about “finishing” a curriculum. When I speak to other homeschool moms, they often feel the same way, but like me, seldom hit that final page moment.

Over the years I have learned not to focus on finishing the book or reaching the last page, but on doing the next thing.

For some kids, they barrel through 3 math lessons in one day and sit waiting on me for the next subject. Other kids can only handle 15 minutes of reading before they burn out. 

My third child has taught me that every kid is different, and I need to hold space for those differences, sometimes stop and adapt, instead of pushing towards a finish line. A couple years ago I had to stop our math curriculum to drill multiplication facts for weeks. 

Year round homeschooling allows you to just do the next thing, whether that’s going fast for an accelerated learner, or stopping to build necessary foundations.

Reduction in Parent Burnout

Teaching is hard. It’s a thankless profession for those in the field, but parents as teachers experience their own kind of burnout. 

We are with our kids all day. We function as parents and teachers, and often principals and coaches. We have a joke in our family that Wednesday is my grumpy day, and it’s often because I feel the burnout each week most acutely on that day. 

I can’t imagine doing school for 14-16 weeks straight; I personally would crash and burn. Between running a business and homeschooling, with the addition of chronic autoimmune disease, I have to honor what I’m capable of, while making sure that my kids are thriving.

When you homeschool year round, you are able to create a schedule that is more doable, with more breathing room, so you don’t crash and burn. This is an ultra marathon, and we need the stamina to finish well. 

More Family Time

Our family has a unique schedule as is, but doing school year round helps us really maximize our time together. With his work schedule, my husband is able to be present for much of our learning, and occasionally gets drawn into philosophical conversations.

My kids spend every afternoon playing together, building bonds with each other and exploring new games and ideas. They consider each other their “best” friends and I fervently pray these bonds will last them a lifetime.

We’re able to travel to visit extended family on a regular basis, ensuring that our kids build relationships with their grandparents, and get to learn from their generationals wisdom and thoughts. 

Our family motto is togetherness, and homeschooling in general supports that, but a year round schedule helps us maximize our time.

Curriculum Customization

Oh the rabbit trails of homeschooling! I touched on this above a bit with learning pace, but ongoing year round school has space for these. Maybe it’s a last minute trip to the museum for a special exhibit, or a once in a lifetime solar eclipse. Or perhaps someone is really fascinated by whales, so we decided to watch a 4 part documentary on them as science time.

Learning happens everywhere in multiple modalities, but being stuck to a 9 month year often makes us feel like we “can’t” make a detour. When you adopt year round homeschooling, you change your mindset about what learning looks like, and it all becomes useful.

Near Empty Field Trips

Ah, one of the great joys of the year round homeschool life. Raise your hand if you’ve ever gone to the zoo at the wrong time of year, only to find yourself counting your own kids next to a gaggle of elementary school kids.

Homeschooling year round means you get to go to fun places while all the other kids are in school. The jumping place during school hours so you can take your new baby and not obsess over 100+ germy kids. The zoo at 10am when it’s still cool and the sidewalks are empty. Signing up for an online class and having the teacher all to yourself.

These are just a handful of the experiences we’ve had in the daytime hours with year round homeschooling. We do school in the summer when it’s too hot to have fun, and enjoy a slower pace in the fall when the weather is nice and we have a lot of birthdays. Besides…our family is so big we almost get the volume discount anyway!

How to Schedule Your Year

Now that we’ve covered WHY you would want to homeschool year round (and you definitely should by now), the next question I always get is HOW.

The truth is that there is no hard and fast method, what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. But here are a few key factors to consider when creating your year round homeschool schedule. Grab a full year calendar layout like this one, and a highlighter, and let’s go.

  1. Decide when you will begin and end. Even though you are embracing a continual learning style, there should still be a start and finish, at least on your calendar. It gets the kids excited to “graduate” and move to the next grade (even if you’re continuing with a curriculum). It also provides a place to take a longer break of several weeks, during which you can gather your supplies for the next year and do reorganization. 
  2. Do the math. A typical school year is 180 days, which breaks down to 36 weeks. If you follow this method, you have 16 free weeks to play with on your calendar. You may do 34 or another iteration, but figure out how many weeks off you will have for the whole year.
  3. Block out your “big” breaks. Christmas, birthday seasons, new babies, vacations, end of year…mark off these larger block increments on your yearly schedule. Try to make sure you have them spaced out pretty evenly throughout the year. 
  4. Decide on your rhythm. Maybe you like the idea of 6 weeks on and 1 week off, or maybe it’s 4/1…or 8/2. There’s no right or wrong answer, but whatever flow works best for your family and energy level. 
  5. Highlight the weeks you will do school throughout the entire year. You can count your weeks and space out your breaks on your calendar so your year is planned out!

Following these guidelines, our homeschool year starts in June and ends in May. We aim for 36 weeks but I’m happy with 34. We have natural slow periods in late summer and the first of the year for birthdays, and then take 2-4 weeks off between school years. I prefer a 6/1 rhythm but if a holiday like Thanksgiving falls weird that might be 5 or 7 weeks instead. We push hard in the summer when we start and in the spring when we are wrapping up as fall tends to slow us down. 

Final Thoughts on Year Round Homeschooling

Homeschool is not school at home. It’s a mantra that I always remember, keeping in mind that my homeschool is unique to my family, and as long as my kids are growing in knowledge and making forward progress, school should be a joy and not a chore.

Homeschooling year round offers flexibility that can lead to more consistent and in-depth learning opportunities for children. With this method your family can take advantage of off-peak travel times, cater to individual learning paces, and integrate real-world experiences that fall outside the traditional school calendar.

Adopting a year round homeschool schedule can create flexibility, reduce burnout, and give you more time to explore activities and family time.

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