Now is the Time to Try Year-round Homeschooling

We are living in unprecedented times, about halfway through a year that will likely have its own chapter in future history books. Everything has been disrupted, from meat production and toilet paper availability to gas prices. Images we never thought we’d see have become daily observations. Even those living the most flexible lifestyles have found themselves out of sorts, out of routine, out of control, and that includes homeschoolers. 

At first, when the nation’s public schooled children were sent home to learn, we homeschoolers felt like champions. We offered our help, our wisdom, and our experience. We knew this lifestyle and felt prepared to face whatever was to come because we’d been home all along. We were fine. 

Until we weren’t. 

Slowly, unexpectedly, through various channels, our homeschool became affected. We took days off, our co-ops closed, recitals were canceled, museums shuttered. Even though we felt prepared for homeschooling, we didn’t realize just how dependent we’d become upon a system greater than ourselves to maintain our status quo. 

Rather than mourning our lost time and our ruined lesson plans, however, I decided to try an experiment I’d been intrigued by for a while. I decided to try year-round homeschooling

Year-round Homeschooling Is Flexible

Year-round homeschooling isn’t what the name implies. It’s not schooling on a constant basis, barreling through curriculum without pausing to take a breath.  

Year-round homeschooling is actually more flexible than a traditional school schedule. Instead of taking three months off for summer, for example, a year-round family might take a month. Or three weeks. Or whatever fits their schedule best. Spring and fall breaks may extend to a month or be skipped altogether. Basically, year-round schooling means you spread out your break and schooling times more evenly across the span of a year.

The Benefits of Year-round Homeschooling

Apart from the incredible flexibility, year-round homeschooling offers several benefits. 

Zero Summer Slide

The infamous summer slide, where students can actually go down several reading levels or forget formulas they haven’t focused on for months, becomes a non-issue. By allowing more frequent but shorter breaks, children’s brains become neither over-worked nor atrophied. 

Now is the Time to Try Year-round HomeschoolingZero Summer Sweat

If you live in a place with extreme weather, as I do, year-round homeschooling can help you make the best of bad conditions. Our summers can easily stretch for over 100 days of 110-degree weather. It’s hot, humid, and pretty much the last time anyone wants to be playing freely outside. Instead, we can learn indoors, in our air conditioning, and work our schedule to benefit us so that breaks take place during much milder (and more enjoyable) weather. 

Zero Summer Crowds

Families who school year-round can plan vacations during off-seasons, potentially saving thousands of dollars. If holidays are busy, stressful, or you just like to enjoy then slowly, then plan to take a whole month off, rather than two weeks. If a working parent has a strange schedule, perhaps working two weeks away from home or having vacation days that are dictated, a year-round homeschooling schedule provides the opportunity to adjust to the schedule and maximize time together. 

The Pandemic Provides a Perfect Time for Year-Round Homeschooling

It might seem a little confusing to attempt something new in the midst of so much unknown. The overall tendency is to cling to the familiar and maintain a sense of normalcy. But in the midst of so much anxiety about the future, deciding now to give year-round homeschooling a go gives the homeschooling parent a way to relax. 

Instead of worrying about finishing everything by an arbitrary date, there is the safety net of knowing that if you don’t finish by next Friday, you can keep going in a few weeks. If you need to take a break for mental health reasons, to pick up an extra income, or to plant a new garden, there is no guilt hanging over your head about the empty workbooks, because they’ll still be there in a few weeks. 

By making the finish line fluid, the pressure of a traditional schedule is removed, and learning can take place in an unhurried and guilt-free way. 

It looks like we may not be going anywhere for a while, anyway, so why not embrace that stack of unopened read-alouds in the meantime? 

Year-round homeschooling offers many, many benefits, and I honestly can’t believe it took a pandemic to make me consider it. Whether you’re a veteran homeschooler or are finding yourself suddenly worrying about your public-schooled child missing out on learning because of his disrupted and stunted schedule, give it a go this summer. Don’t rush to cram all the learning in between a few dates on the calendar. Instead enjoy every day as an opportunity for learning, relaxing, or anything you choose! 

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About the Author

Jennifer VailJennifer Vail proudly lives in the great state of Texas with her very handsome husband and three very funny children. All three kids are educated in three very different ways according to their very different needs, which is exhausting but fulfilling. Jen's hobbies include naps, 90's pop culture, Netflix binges, buying books with the best of intentions to read them all, photography, and extroverting. She holds a degree in counseling but has found her calling by writing for and spending time with families of differently-wired, outlier kids—the square pegs of the round world.

She stays up way too late and drinks way too much caffeine, but has no intention of changing either. She is the community manager and contributing author at Raising Lifelong Learners where she writes about homeschooling gifted, anxious, and otherwise different kiddos, but also rambles at This Undeserved Life from time to time. She feels compelled to mention that she still very much loves the Backstreet Boys and rarely folds her laundry.

   

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