I’ve always loved summer vacation. For me, it represented freedom.
- Freedom to sleep in.
- Freedom from instruction, tests, and schedules.
- Freedom to spend the day however I wanted.
I fully intended on giving my kids summers of freedom, but I realized it wasn’t going to work with our type of homeschooling. Luckily, we have the ability to choose how we satisfy our required number of school days, and I've found that year-round schooling works best for us.
Even if you don’t think year-round homeschooling is right for you, that doesn’t mean it won’t make sense in the future. A few years ago I was horrified at the thought of missing summer vacation, yet now I can’t imagine taking that block of time off.
Just like with everything, there are pros and cons.
5 Positives Reasons for Schooling Year-Round
If you don’t take almost 3 months off for summer vacation, you’re automatically given the gift of time — time that you can use during the rest of the year. What can you do with it?
Take breaks when you or your kids need it. If you’re all going stir crazy, you have the freedom to take a day or a week off to go have some fun together.
Help friends or family in need. Is someone you know sick, in the hospital, or needing help with a project? Lay off the school work for a bit and lend a hand.
Enjoy the holidays. Many homeschooling families (mine included) stop their lessons around Thanksgiving and don’t pick them back up until the New Year.
Whatever you want!
Does your family like to travel? By schooling year-round, you have the time and freedom to take a vacation whenever it suits you because you’re not bound to a formal school schedule. And as a bonus, when you travel off-season, the costs are much lower, attractions are less crowded, and often the weather is better.
When kids don’t take a long break from school, they have an easier time retaining what they’ve learned. Consistency is important in subject mastery, so by taking smaller blocks of time off, things remain fresh in your child’s mind.
As I mentioned, we take the month of December off. That first week back to school in January is rough! I feel like we spend too much time reviewing instead of moving forward. I can’t imagine coming back from an entire summer to face the consequences of the dreaded summer slide.
4. No Boredom
Summer vacation is great until you hear the first, “I’m bored,” a couple of weeks into the summer. Months off from your regular schedule sounds wonderful, but, in truth, many kids get restless trying to fill so much free time.
The beauty of not taking a traditional summer break is that even though you’re schooling during those months, there’s enough free time for kids to enjoy themselves without becoming bored.
For most people, once you enter the workforce, summer break is a thing of the past. When you school all year, kids aren’t programmed to take those months off, so they won’t feel like they’re missing anything.
5 Drawbacks to Schooling Year-Round
Summer gives homeschooling moms time to plan the upcoming year. Without that break, moms have to carve out time to get their lesson planning done.
2. Summer Opportunities
Most towns offer a number of fun (and educational) summer camps and classes for kids. If you’re not taking the summer off, you’ll need to limit the number of special activities your child participates in because you need to focus on school.
However, it doesn’t mean they have to completely miss out. For many years, my daughters have participated in one week of summer camp, which they’ve loved. I build that week into our homeschooling plan to make sure they have the option to attend.
3. Year End
Without a clear end to the school year, it’s easy to lose that sense of completion or accomplishment. For example, in our house, after our evaluations, we pick right up where we left off and continue on.
It can be tough plowing through lessons while your friends are throwing parties to celebrate the end of the year.
If your child loves to hang around with the neighborhood kids, it can be hard to school through the summer. It’s a challenge keeping everyone focused when their friends are outside, playing all day.
When it comes to replenishing your energy, drive, and passion, there are definite benefits to taking a long break. Schooling without the extended summer vacation can wear you down.
Is year-round homeschooling right for your family? Only you can answer that. My advice to you is never say never.
About the Author
Megan Zechman is a veteran homeschool mom of two girls. Over at Education Possible, she shares creative, hands-on learning activities for middle school.