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When we were eclectic homeschoolers, I didn’t worry about finishing our books each school year. We reached the end of May (or April!) and called it good.
But since we found our purpose for homeschooling, I’ve learned that some some things need to be fully done before we move on. Otherwise, I’m depriving my children of a strong foundation — while expecting them to build on top of it.
In 2018, I decided that working through the summer was the only way we could finish our studies.
It was a disaster.
We were trying to finish the current school year, in the middle of summer activities, while getting everything ready for the next year.
By the end of the summer, we were miserable and burnt out.
Since then, we’ve considered a few ways to keep this from happening:
- Sabbath Schooling
A friend of mine started doing this and I thought it was a fabulous idea. Throughout the school year, they studied for six weeks and then took the seventh week off. The off week was when they took care of doctor’s appointments, had time for field trips, house projects, etc.
At the time, my husband didn’t think this would work for us as some of our kids can be severely affected by changes in the routine.
- Summer Essentials
I don’t know if it has an official name, but this is what we tried to do last summer. Instead of trying to finish everything, we focused on only finishing and/or reviewing the essentials.
Even this plan fell apart in the summer craziness.
- Pick It Up Later
This is what actually happened last summer. Everything stopped and we just picked it back up in the fall.
This ensured we finished what needed to be finished, but we weren’t pressured by it during the summer.
It also made us feel behind.
Where We Are Now
After our unexpected late start, followed by frequent flare-ups of a health condition, our current progress looks like this:
- almost-8 year old is on Week 22 of Simply Classical Level 2 — she started that level in 2018
- 9 year old is on Week 7 of Memoria’s Accelerated Third Grade
- 11 year old is on Week 15 of Simply Classical Level 4
- 13 year old is anywhere between Weeks 10 and 19, depending on the subject. He’s working in a customized core, but we’ve also had to postpone composition and American history until next year.
- My high schoolers are mostly independent, but they got a “come to Jesus” talk last month for dragging their feet through some subjects.
So, depending on the child, they’ll be finishing their current levels anywhere between June and October.
This got me thinking about Calendar Schooling.
Over the past few years, I’ve heard several moms talk about their January to January school year:
- The novelties of a new year and new books offset the winter doldrums.
- There are 12 months to complete a level, giving 3 flex-months for illness, travel, and holidays.
Based on where the kids are right now, I thought switching to this kind of schedule would make sense.
But I like being closer to what everyone else is doing schedule-wise. That way we can share in the “new school year” excitement with our friends.
Enter: “I Don’t Have a Name For It”
We’ll give ourselves 12 months to complete a school year, but instead of pushing everyone to be ready for the same start date, each child’s rotation will start when they finish all the studies in their current level.
This rotation will keep things on an even keel for each of them (and me!) and it will create a natural stagger to their start times. That means I can introduce/fine-tune new levels with only one or two children at a time.
July will be our month off each year and we might add a week in August if July is really busy.
We’ll also have holidays, feast days, travel, and sick days.
Since my current high schoolers are in some online classes and already making future plans, they will need to stay on a traditional schedule. My oldest is also accelerating his high school track, so he’s moving on to his next level subject-by-subject.
The summer pressure is off me though because we’ve made our high schoolers responsible for their own pacing.
We still have oversight and hold them accountable week to week; but overall, if they choose to slack off, it’s their own graduation date they’re affecting.
They also know they have to be ready for the next round of online classes, or they’ll be responsible for the money we’ve already paid towards it. #growingup #consequences 😉
Our yet-to-be-named school year plan
will should look like this:
16 year old finishes his home-based sophomore classes and
starts his junior classes
Holy Week Break
High schoolers finish their current MPOA classes
8 and 11 year olds finish their current levels
High schoolers wrap up their remaining work
9 and 13 year olds continue current levels
8 and 11 year olds start new levels
High Schoolers begin new MPOA classes
13 year old begins MPOA for composition
5 year old finishes Simply Classical Level C and begins MP Kindergarten
9 and 13 year olds finish their current levels and start their new ones
Thanksgiving Break (full week)
Christmas Break (two weeks)
So…am I crazy?
How do you schedule your school year?