How do we schedule our homeschool year?

We’ve chosen to homeschool all year round. We do this for so many reasons, but the main ones are:

  • to eliminate the need for 6 weeks of review thanks to a 2 month vacation in the summer
  • to prepare Peanut for real life! When we get a job/career, we don’t just work September – June
  • homeschooling all year gives us much more flexibility when we need a day or a week off
  • there is no burn-out since we take more frequent breaks. We don’t have to slog it out from September to December before we get a holiday

When I figure out our schedule, I start by printing out a yearly calendar that runs from July to June the next year. I then grab my highlighters and start blocking off all our set in stone days off – every Saturday and Sunday.

Next, I decide how many weeks holiday we want for Christmas. This year we’re going for three weeks off, so December 18 – January 5 is blocked off. Birthdays too. Those are holidays.

Now I’m left with 245 days to schedule in 150 days of school.

Since we value a slower lifestyle, I decide to take every Friday (except one!) off. This now leaves us with 198 days.

Since each MBTP unit this year is 5 days long, we can do 4 units per “chunk” before taking a break. So now I mark off every 6th week as our “holiday” week. This now gives us 174 days to work with, but then school would end mid May. So now the tweaking comes in. I need to add about 4 weeks of holidays. I choose one more week in September and one more week in March to take off, and add a week block at the end of the year for our assessment. The assessment is only for our own interest, it isn’t necessary, but I like to know how much Peanut has accomplished.

So now I have a schedule that runs all year, lots of time off, but lots of learning too. No burnout. This is our tentative schedule, the shaded boxes are the days we take off. It still may need a tweak here and there, but it allows for any illness, emergencies, or even snow days!

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Now I go ahead and do our monthly plans and print them out. I love the planner from One Stop Teacher Shop and I’m so glad I bought it! I would also be using the included weekly planner, but since MBTP already has laid out my days, I don’t feel the need to spend a few hours cutting and pasting into it.

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For our day to day schedule, I don’t actually plan it out. Moving Beyond the Page already has a plan laid out for each and every day. I don’t see any reason to copy and paste it into a planner. Instead, I use a blank planner and take notes about our day. I write what we did, how we liked it, what worked and what didn’t, and any other things I want to remember. For this I use the floral planner from Confessions of a Homeschooler. It’s so beautiful, has 8 subject boxes, and is perpetual. The only drawback is that the weekly layout only goes from Monday to Friday.

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So this is how I decide on our schedule. And being the obsessive person I am, I also banged out a second schedule that runs 5 days a week and has more scheduled time off, but to me it seems a bit too much time off for us. Who knows, I may end up using it instead of our 4 day week plan if things get too hard. Last year we took the last week of each month off, so we may need the added flexibility a 5 day schedule gives us…

Time for my second coffee… Hope your day is filled with sunshine!

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