I get mixed feedback when I tell people that my children and I are year-round homeschoolers. And I can understand why! Before I used year-round homeschooling myself, I had the mental picture of spending long days hovered over textbooks all year long with no breaks.
The reality is quite the opposite!
Year-round school doesn't mean we keep the same pace day in and day out. It means we flex our studies based on seasons, weather, and opportunity—stretching out a 36 week program to fill 52 weeks of the year.
The Perks of Homeschooling Year-round
We get to maximize the flexibility of homeschooling when we adapt a year-round homeschool schedule! Here are the top four reasons why we homeschool year-round.
1. Family Travel
Of course, we homeschool for many reasons. But because we love family travel, the freedom to make our own schedule is one of our top homeschool perks. Traveling in the off-season means fewer crowds and better rates. During spring break for area schools, we typically stay home and get schooling done. When schools are back in session, we scoop up bargains for a family trip.
2. Frequent Breaks
Some days we need a break. When we get a beautiful day after what feels like months of endless rain, we put away the books and go outside. We take frequent days off just because we want to. Birthdays are holidays in our home, and we sometimes celebrate with a few days off. Year-round homeschooling gives us the flexibility to take these breaks and holidays when we choose to instead of being bound to a 9-month school year.
3. Consistency and Routine
My kids thrive with routine. They have a hard time focusing on schoolwork after several days off. I can’t imagine what their reaction would be with a full two months off! So we take advantage of shorter, yet more frequent, breaks.
My kids are still young. They tend to learn more having shorter school days. We find that keeping our days short and adding more school days helps with focus. Cutting our days from one 8-hour day into two 4-hour days is far more productive for all of us.
4. Margin for Rabbit Trails
Some days a Science or History lesson inspires a desire to learn more about a topic. So instead of continuing to the next lesson, we may spend an entire day going down the rabbit hole from one topic to another. A YouTube video may take us from learning about an octopus to learning how to drive a sailboat to learning about tsunamis.
With a relaxed year-round schedule, we don’t feel pressured to get back onto topic. Instead, we enjoy looking up whatever interests us in that moment. If there is a genuine interest, there is no reason to stop at learning about the topic!
Homeschooling Year-round Means Time for Extras
With year-round homeschooling, we are less constrained by time, so we seek additional learning opportunities whenever we can. Not every school day is a day with curriculum. We take advantage of summer programs offered at our local libraries. Visits to parks and museums count as school, too.
Some of our outside-the-home homeschool days have included:
Scavenger hunt at the history museum
Robotics competitions at a local college
Live plays at our local arts center
A summer reading program at our library
Workshops on bat ecosystems at the city park
A demonstration of the water cycle at a state park
Fire safety talks at the fire department
Daycamps about local wild animals in the national forest
We take more field trips to the aquarium, battle fields, libraries, museums, and state parks. We will take our school books with us to the campground and read through history while we enjoy downtime around the campfire. I have even found that my kids can listen to me read while they play in the sand pile.
Year-round Homeschool Means We Flow with the Weather
Schooling in the summer does involve some of our curriculum, but we enjoy much more relaxed school days than we might in the fall and the winter. We school when we feel like it.
I never dreamed the weather would have such an effect on our school schedule, but it does:
- If we are scheduled to have an off day when it rains, we might just pick up the books and have a history lesson.
- If we had planned a full school day, but it is a rare warm day in the winter, you can be sure we will put the books back on the shelf and go enjoy the sunshine.
Overall the year-round approach gives us more flexibility to take full advantage of all the perks homeschooling affords. If we stretch our school year out over 365 days, we enjoy homeschooling a lot more.
About the Author
Pamela Gann lives in Alabama with her husband and two kids where they love doing science experiments. They began their homeschool journey back in 2013 and have used BookShark Levels K -4. Pam is a former flight attendant and is married to a pilot, so traveling is not just their passion—it is their livelihood. She blogs about their homeschool and family travel journey at PamGann. Homeschooling for their family takes place on planes, in cars, and most often outside under a shade tree.