I don’t know about you, but in our neck of the woods it’s back to school season. This coming Thursday, public school buses will go chugging down the street, ready to pick up those eager (at least for the first week) children. While we don’t have to be on the curb at the crack of dawn or make sure our children have their lunch money, we do need to plan out our coming year of homeschooling.
Just where do we start? When do we start?! How many school days am I required to complete? Should I stick to a routine or plan out a detailed schedule? All these questions and more fill the mind when planning out our homeschooling year.
Before moving on to details, it might be best to start our overall planning with a quick look at our calendar.
How Much School
Depending on where you live, or whether you are part of a PSP which determines your number of school days, you have the freedom to choose how many days of school your family will complete. Traditionally a school year is 180 learning days. However, don’t let that stop you from exceeding that number.
When to Start
Unless your school district, or your PSP, has scheduling demands, one of the freedoms of homeschooling is the ability to choose your own routine. You can choose to begin your learning year the same time as your nearby school, or whenever is best for your family. I know of a family who schools January to December, this is what works best for them and they love it.
Take a good look at your calendar and determine when you would like to start your learning year. This always seems to be the hardest step for new families, it makes the decision to homeschool very real. Trust that God will guide and help you make the best choices for your family.
When to Break
When we first started homeschooling we only took breaks when major holidays came around. Over the years we’ve eased up and taken breaks more frequently. This year, we are working on a six-weeks on – one-week off routine. We basically have a week’s break almost every month. We love it!
I would definitely start planning breaks by accounting for all major holidays and then looking to see if additional time might be needed and where it can fit into your year. You might prefer to take a shorter summer. You might also like a longer Christmas, say a month instead of merely two weeks. Pencil in a few possible dates and then negotiate your time accordingly. Don’t forget to look out for vacations!
When to Stop
For some reason, the idea of our homeschool year coming to an end is silly. We’re constantly learning something new, even when we’re on ‘vacation’ and taking a break. Nonetheless… We usually plan for our homeschool year to end mid-May. This gives our family time to finish paperwork before helping our PSP launch promotion night.
Again, determine how many weeks (days) of school you are required to complete. After figuring in your breaks, this should give you a good idea of when your homeschool year will come to an ‘end’.
When to Do School
Four days a week; five? What works best for your family? Determine how many days a week you would like to do formal learning and put it on the calendar.
Planning the homeschooling year doesn’t have to be a stressful event. Pray about how the Lord would lead your learning, and proceed as He guides. Allow Him to be the center of your home and focus all your attention on what He wants of your family.
For more details on our family’s homeschooling year, take a look at our Yearly and Weekly Routine! Prayerfully it will give you a few ideas for scheduling your own family’s homeschooling year. Don’t forget to peruse our record keeping menu and other printable documents, to help assist with your homeschooling needs.
“But all things should be done decently and in order.”
I Cor. 14:40
Time to Chime In: How many days of school are your family required to complete? Share your homeschooling year with us!