In this post, I’m going to share with you how I plan our year round homeschool step by step so that you can plan your year round homeschool as well.
I don’t know what it is but I just love to plan. Something about putting things down on paper and knowing what’s ahead makes me really happy. In this crazy season of motherhood and especially in our homeschooling journey, having a clear direction for the future is essential to a successful school year.
I chose to homeschool year round because as a kid, it was always hard for me to get back into the swing of school after the summer was over. I hated the transition and I did not want to have my kids endure the same. Additionally, it just seemed the most beneficial route. When you homeschool all year long, there is no summer backslide, children can advance more quickly and you can get a lot more done.
Now homeschooling year round, doesn’t mean we are schooling 365 days. We still take the weekends off and we take regular breaks throughout the year to prevent burn out. However, we never take more than 2 weeks off unless it is the summer, in which case we only ever take 3 weeks. I have found that even after 3 weeks it’s difficult to get back to school mode. I personally wanted a clear break between school years so this is the only circumstance of a 3 week break.
All that said, you are probably wondering how in the world we plan our year round homeschool year. As a matter of fact, it is quite a simple process. All you need is a year at a glance calendar, some colored pencils and a regular pencil. If you prefer a more visual walk through, I shared a video on my YouTube channel where I plan out the 2021-2022 school year. Check it out here.
This is my process step by step:
How to Plan a Year Round Homeschool Year
Step 1: Print out a year at a glance calendar
You can print out a year at a glance calendar pretty much anywhere on the internet. Just do a search for printable year at a glance calendar and take your pick. I personally printed mine off here.
You can customize it however you need. So for example, I chose to start the year in June because that is when our new school year typically starts. I set it for 13 months just so that I can see, after I have planned out the year, when our new school year is likely to start the following year. You can even customize the layout in different numbered columns if you wish.
Step 2: Mark off known holidays
Next you are going to take one of your colored pencils and start marking off known holidays and dates that you know you won’t be doing school.
In addition to the typical Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks, you might take off birthdays, or spring break. (you can strategically plan your spring break before or after the local school break so that you don’t have to compete for hotels and other things.)
For my personal situation, I do have to align much of our year with the local school calendar. My two older boys attend public school and their calendar, naturally, affects ours. So the first thing I do is go through their calendar and mark off the dates and holidays that effect our times with them.
Step 3: Mark off homeschool breaks
After you have marked off the days you won’t be schooling, you will see a lot of the work has already been done. Now you are just going to go in and starting marking off your homeschool breaks with another colored pencil. First, circle the date you plan to start school. Then, determine your breaks by counting forward however many weeks you want to school.
There are so many different ways you can plan your school year! Here are a few different options of how a school year could look:
- two weeks on, one week off, even through holidays (I did this for preschool for a time)
- shift summer break to November and December and school through the summer, following the same pattern as public school otherwise
- follow the local public school calendar completely
- 4 to 6 weeks on, one week off, year-round (my personal favorite, see below)
I personally choose to school 4-5 weeks at a time and then take the 6th-ish week off. For example, we will start the 2021-2022 school year on June 28th since that is 3 weeks from the last day of school. Our summer’s are a little unique though. We get our big boys for a time and we don’t do school when we have them. So while we officially start school the 28th, it will only be 3 weeks before we take a break for our summer with the big boys.
Your calendar will of course be unique to your family and there may be weeks where you only get a few weeks of school in before you have to take another break. This is ok because over the course of the whole year, things even out.
Step 4: Total up your homeschool weeks
Last step! By marking off the weeks and days you won’t school first, naturally, you will end up with a certain amount of weeks where you are schooling. Now you may have to work around specific state requirements in regards to how many days/weeks you need to school. Generally a school ‘year’ can be anywhere between 24 and 36 weeks.
I personally plan for a 36 week school year because much of the curriculum I use have pre-planned schedules that I like to use. It just makes things easier. In reality, we always finish up closer to the 24 week mark (this is how long Classical Conversations goes). Consequently, I enjoy the ease of the end of the year as subjects start to fall off our daily schedule.
If you need a certain amount of days or weeks to school, then this is where you would tweak the year to fit any requirements you might have to meet. (In Texas we have no such requirement so for me, it’s simply a personal preference.)
And that’s all there is to it! See, not as complicated as it seems huh?
Planning out a year round homeschool year isn’t as difficult as you might think. Indeed, year round homeschoolers don’t school as much as it sounds either. We take plenty of breaks and get a whole lot more done in half the time. When you follow this step by step process of planning your homeschool year, you can easily know what is ahead and stay consistent in your homeschooling.
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