Let me just start with the fact that I don’t enjoy hot, crowded places or wasting time. As a homeschooler, I am free to schedule our year in a way that is most desirable for our family without any concern for adhering to the traditional, nine-month school year.
Look at the beach images below. I have a strong preference for the experience on the left over the one on the right. How about you?
All right, let’s move onto the reasons year-round schooling is a great way to make the most of your freedom and flexibility as a homeschooler. Here are the top six reasons it works for our family.
- Experiential Learning–Instead of tying ourselves to workbooks and a curriculum every day, we like to be out in the world exploring. Knowing we have plenty of days throughout the year to complete our school work, it takes a lot of pressure off of me. So many wonderful opportunities are open to homeschoolers from September through May that I don’t want to miss.
- Summer Slide–The “summer slide, which occurs when kids fall behind in reading and math over the summer, is well-documented” according to U.S. News and World Report. Forbes asserts performance falls by approximately a month and is cumulative over successive summers. Additionally, with respect to public school, they point out “reteaching forgotten material when students return to school after the summer costs more than $1,500 per student each year, or more than $18,000 over the course of a K-12 career.” I don’t like to waste time or money. By keeping skills fresh throughout the summer, we actually have more time for things we love to do. We don’t have to do buckets of work over the summer to retain skills. Just a little bit of academic work steadily spread throughout the summer can make a big difference.
- Summer Heat—I don’t enjoy being out in the blazing heat. Rather, I have a strong preference for the more moderate temperatures when most kids are back in school. In fact, on days that are real scorchers, I’d much rather be inside our air-conditioned home doing academics. I’m grateful I don’t have to cram in all our fun during the 3 months of summer.
- Crowds–As homeschoolers know, our favorite places are packed during the summer. It is quite a nuisance to many of us. Instead of fighting the parking and throngs of people, I prefer to make progress on our school work during the summer months so we can go back and enjoy those places when the crowds die down.
- Structure–My kids do great with a couple hours of structure in the morning. I hear so many families talk about their kids fighting with one another or complaining they are bored. This is something we have never really experienced much as a family. I think the combination of structured and unstructured time is helpful.
- Vacations--We often take our family vacations in early September. The masses are back in school and work. This means fewer crowds and much cheaper prices. I don’t need to stress out about taking off a week or two from academics since we were diligent over the summer.
While we don’t do a full load over the summer, we continue to plow through on and off June through August. Sometimes we take off a full day to go have fun. Additionally, we’ll nix school for a week or two for camps, vacations, visitors, etc.
For the days we do school, math is non-negotiable. My kids love to read, so I don’t need to assign that. We alternate between other subjects like grammar, spelling, and writing. A natural and enjoyable part of our lives is the reading, discussing, and experiencing of science and history together. This is a year-round pleasure and does not feel like school work.
It takes discipline to school during the summer.
It takes discipline to school during the summer. Knowing that so many people are off relaxing and playing all day makes it tempting to slack to off. However, I know well the reasons we make this choice. We push through, and it pays off.
Do you school year-round? How does it look in your family?
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