How to Create a Homeschool Year that Works for Your Family

Did your homeschool schedule work for your family last year? Were you able to complete your homeschool year on time?

Many homeschool families find that when life’s realities strike, their lesson plans fly out the window alongside their daily routine. You might be surprised to learn that there is more than one way to schedule a homeschool year.

Choosing a Homeschool Scheduling Method

The Traditional Method

Planning your homeschool day or year doesn’t necessarily have to be structured in the traditional format. Many parents who grew up in the school system tend to follow the only pattern they have ever known. This pattern looks like a traditional method of scheduling a school year.

The traditional method of scheduling your homeschool year means that your homeschool will follow the local public school’s calendar. You will begin in late August or early September following an extended summer break, take time off for major holidays, include maybe a break in the Fall and Spring, and end your school year in late May or early June. There is nothing wrong with a traditional method of scheduling other than it just doesn’t work for every family.

If traditional scheduling doesn’t work for your family, you might want to consider some of the other methods of scheduling your homeschool year below. These have been time tested and homeschool family approved!

The Year-Round Method

At first glance, year-round homeschooling might sound too rigorous and inflexible to consider, but in reality, the exact opposite is true. Year-round homeschooling can be very freeing and actually inject flexibility into your schedule especially if you know your schedule is busy outside of homeschooling.

Year-round homeschooling is actually the method of scheduling that my family has adopted. It works very well for us. I have children who have special medical needs and we are in an out of doctor’s offices quite a bit. Some months I have kids too sick to do all their work. My husband is a pastor and that means that at the drop of a hat I might need to switch gears and tend to ministry needs. Sometimes we just need an impromptu break following a few grueling weeks. The year-round method makes all of these things possible without feeling behind in my homeschool schedule.

Instead of having traditional breaks, you get the flexibility of creating your breaks whenever and wherever you need them in your schedule. If you want to homeschool through the traditional Christmas break, you could take extra time off in the Spring. If you choose to homeschool through summer like we do, you can adjust your schedule where you choose only certain subjects to do during the summer and then you have a lighter burden during the traditional school year. We choose science to complete during summer break. There are endless ways to implement the year-round method. I sincerely believe that it offers parents the most flexibility.

The Calendar Method

If the year-round method of scheduling your homeschool year isn’t for you, you might like the calendar method. The traditional method of scheduling has your homeschool year scheduled most frequently between the months of August and May. When using the calendar method of scheduling your homeschool year, you would schedule your school year to begin in January and end in December.

When utilizing the calendar method, many families only schedule school 15 days of each month to meet state standards. This style of homeschooling might really appeal to those who enjoy taking more frequent time off from homeschooling.

Now this is definitely the most out-of-the-box scheduling method, but it does work for many homeschoolers that like to be out-of-the-box. If you have a state that requires reporting, this method might be difficult for you. I would suggest considering your state’s standards before implementing the calendar method of planning your homeschool year.

The Sabbath Method

A very popular method of homeschooling is the Sabbath method of scheduling one’s homeschool year. Just because the term Sabbath is used does not mean that it is a religious form of scheduling. It has just become the popular name for the method due to its structure.

The Sabbath method of scheduling a homeschool year has the family homeschooling for six weeks at a time and then taking the seventh week off. This allows for more frequent breaks than the traditional method of scheduling, but offers less flexibility than many of the other methods mentioned above.

It is possible to also do four weeks on and one week off if you prefer to make your blocks of homeschooling shorter and your breaks off more frequent.

Choosing a Method

As you can see, there are quite a few methods that homeschoolers around the world have created in order to fit their lives, and that is the point. I encourage you to reassess your homeschool schedule and identify those things that are working and those things that are not working for your family.

In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility it gives families. It is important to ensure that your homeschool schedule is not enslaving you, but serving you.

For many years, I was using the “fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” scheduling method for our homeschool, and that one I cannot recommend. It is a good thing to set yourself up for success in homeschooling and determining what the structure of your homeschool year will look like is one of the first steps. Happy Homeschooling!