When choosing to homeschool there are so many worries. The main one is how much to teach and how often. Mom guilt is real people! Your always worried your not doing enough. You worry that your going to fail your child by under educating them. That somehow something that you’ll do will make your child the dumbest kid on the planet. The list of ridiculous worries goes on and on.
The truth is that giving your child your time and energy is all that matters. So don’t stress. I found the easiest way to schedule my school days was to think about the average school system. On average, the normal child goes to school 36 weeks. If you take out the weekends thats about 180 days. They also get aproximately 16 weeks off.
You might find it easier to focus on teaching 180 days. But, you may also find it easier to focus on 16 weeks off. Either way, establishing a timeline really makes scheduling your year easy. I‘m a scheduler. Schedules make me happy. Let’s be real, everyones happier when moms happy. But not every family wants a schedule. There are parents who don’t do any kind of schedule. I know of parents who choose to do a four day school week with three days off. There are also parents who only do a three day schedule. I find that personally the three day schedule is not enough time for me to get everything I want to teach in.
During the day I try to only teach from the hours of 8-1:30. This is not set in stone. We schedule late days so everyone can sleep in sometimes. If we don’t complete everything by 1:30 it gets moved to the next day. I have several reasons for this schedule. One was that during the pandemic the distance learning from public school would take forever. It was exhausting and no learning really happened after a certain time each day. Just lots of arguing about getting work done. Also, because there isn’t a class of 24 students that I am trying to wrangle, work gets done at a much faster pace. 4-4.5 hours a day is more than enough time.
I have two school curriculums I follow. A summer and winter. The reason for this is because I teach in the summer. Don’t freak out! Hear me out. Where we live is crazy hot in the summer. There is no time outside and not a lot goes on except sitting in front of an AC unit or putting your head in the refrigerator to cool down. So I do a modified summer schedule. This works on so many levels. It keeps the kiddos busy without to much school. It also allows us to take vacations and longer breaks in cooler months. It also allows us to take field trips when all the other kids are in school and avoid crowds as well. So cool right?
The other big reason I teach in the summer is because of the learning gap. On average, children lose a ton of information over the summer. Most teachers spend a month reteaching lost information. Guess what? I have no desire to reteach lost information.
So my school year looks like this. During the year I do a 5 day schedule. One day is a half day for my sanity. Then every 4 weeks we schedule a break, again for my sanity. This is flexible. So no need to make it exactly 4.
At the close of our school year I give a two to three week break. Then we go to the summer schedule which is 4 days a week for 4 weeks and then another week off. I fill the summer schedule with more creative things like art and science. This still leaves us with several weeks to take other time off whenever we feel like it for anything we want. Just to be clear, none of these systems is better than the other. I adjust mine often. Do what fits your needs. If your kid only makes it 178 days literally nothing bad will happen. Most kids miss a few days a year for sickness anyways. Do what works and when it stops working, change it up.
If I can give only one piece of advice it is, take breaks. Make sure to take them whenever you feel that you need them. Homeschooling takes time and energy. If you don’t rest, you and your entire family will burn out. So rest often and enjoy the time you spend together.