When I decided to homeschool I knew I didn’t want to follow the traditional school year but I also didn’t want a full-on year round schedule… Because everyone needs a summer break.
Our state requires 160 days of instruction between June 1 and May 31 each year. But I’m an overachiever and I want us to have 180 (36 weeks). That’s how many days the public schools are in session, so we can do the same.
So I sat down with a calendar and devised a plan that (I think) is perfect! If you’re looking for something “in the middle” of year round and traditional school, see if this plan works for you!
- It starts the first full week after July 4th week.
It’s so ridiculously hot here by late July and into August that we’re staying inside and trying to keep cool anyway. Might as well do school!
- We school in 4 week blocks with a one week break until Christmas.
The break 1 week breaks fall perfectly in line with the week our local schools start back (always fun to take a week off when everyone else is having to go back), the week of my son’s birthday, and Thanksgiving.
If Labor Day Week is a big deal to you (vacations etc), you can do a 3 week/5 week split because the 4 week blocks have a break the week after Labor Day as the off week. I’ve scheduled just Labor Day as an off day because we’ll be swimming at my in-law’s house. We will make up that day the week before Christmas.
The week of Christmas (for 2015) we will school 2 days. One to make up for Labor Day and one to make up for not going back until the Tuesday after New Year’s. This is the beginning of your 20th week of school. So by Christmas, you’ll have 19 1/2 weeks of school finished.
Each year, based on when Christmas and New Year’s fall, you’ll probably find yourself dividing the last week before Christmas and the first week back on different days (just as long as the # before and the # after equal 5 – you’re good!) And once or twice every few years, you won’t have to split a week.
This year we are schooling until December 22nd (Christmas is Friday the 25th). And will start back on January 5th. This works for our family. You may find that you want more time before Christmas. If so, just don’t school any days the week of Christmas. You can make them up by schooling a couple days the week after (between Christmas and New Year’s) or just tack them on at the end of the year.
- After Christmas we school in 6 week blocks with one week breaks.
The weather is so foul in January and February that I would rather buckle down and do extra weeks in favor of being finished earlier in May when the weather is MUCH better!
This means we are most likely schooling during the public school’s Spring Break. But that’s fine with us. Our “Spring Break” will be the week after the school’s. Meaning we can go to all our favorite “fun spots” and they won’t be crowded with kids on Spring Break. 😉
- The school year ends the second week of May. This is your 36th week. Plus, since our state requires x number of days by May 31st, this leaves us wiggle room if something happens – spontaneous vacation during a scheduled school week, illness that knocks us out for more than a day or two, etc. We have 2 more full weeks at the end of the year if we need the make up days.
- If all goes according to schedule we are off for 8 weeks for “summer”. This is the 3rd & 4th week of May and all of June, and one week of July. All together that’s 8 weeks!
I like this because it’s simple (at least to me it is). I just have to keep up with what week it is. I don’t have to worry about counting days because we have 3 days some weeks and 4 another. Plus, we’re using Sonlight (on the 5 day schedule) and they do such a good job of wrapping up the week on the 5th day that it just makes sense to do Mon-Fri schooling. So we’re not stopping in the middle of something on Thursday that we don’t pick back up until the following Tuesday.
How can you figure this up for yourself? Easy!
- Go to print-a-calendar.com or printfree.com and print out the calendars for the year.
- Write out a list of important dates. Holidays you know you won’t want to school, birthdays, planned vacations, etc.
- Grab a highlighter.
- Go through the calender highlighting 4 weeks and skipping one week between. See if this conicides with dates you want to take off.
- Figure out your Christmas split. Add up your weeks. (Should be 19 full weeks by this point)
- Highlight 6 weeks, skipping one week through the second week of May. (This should add up to 36 total weeks).
Your results should look a little something like this:
I would love to hear how this is similar or different from your plan or if this idea works for you!