If a child is in public school, they don’t really get an option of what the yearly schedule looks like. It is all based on how the school district likes to do things. However, with homeschooling you get the option to choose whatever schedule fits your family the best.
There is no right or wrong schedule. It really just depends on what will work best for your family. Even if you have one type of schedule that works great for your family, you may find that you need to change things due to vacations, babies being born, work schedules etc.
There are many types of schedules you can use.
Sticking with the Public School
There is nothing wrong with the schedule the public school uses. It really just depends on if you like it. This schedule does work best if you only have some kids who are homeschooling but have others who are in public school.
Nobody says you have to have a designated “summer” break. With year round schedules you will be doing school all year long but you have the flexibility to take vacations whenever you want and breaks when they are most convenient for your family.
4 Days a Week
This schedule works great for families who like to have one day a week set aside for other activities. It could be that the family wants to use that one day for cleaning, field trips, or errands. Doing school for only 4 days out of the week means that you will need 45 weeks of school (as oppose to the standard 36) in order to complete 180 days of school. This would still leave you 7 weeks for vacation/break.
Starting in January
Who says school has to begin in the Fall? While this schedule might not be the norm, there is no reason why you cannot begin school with the new year. This schedule could be used like a year round schedule where the family starts school in January and ends in December with breaks taken where needed or the family could start in January and end in the beginning of October for the standard 9 months of school and take their “summer” break in the Fall/Winter. You would get quite a nice holiday season that way!
9 Weeks On/ 4 Weeks Off
This schedule works great for families using unit studies but really anyone can use this type of schedule. You do school for 9 weeks straight and then you take 4 weeks off. This essentially works out as a year round schedule as you will end school and then have a 4 week break (much like your normal 4 week break) and then you would begin a new school year.
4 Weeks On / 1 Week Off
With this schedule you do school for 4 weeks and then you take one week off. You still get lots of breaks to keep you from going crazy but you also get 2 months off at the end of the school year.
6 Week On /1 Week Off
This is really just an extended version of the 4 on/1 off schedule. The benefit to this schedule over the other one is that you get 10 weeks off at the end of the school year. Those who like a bit longer of a summer might prefer this one.
It really doesn’t matter what schedule you use so long as it’s what works best for your family. As long as you meet your state’s requirements for schooling, you can school however you’d like. Most states require between 175 and 180 days of school but check your state’s law when you are making your schedule.
I don’t know about you but I find it extremely helpful to have a calendar of the whole year printed off and color coded so that I can see when we are doing school and when we are on break. Five J’s has taken the time to make a year calendar that any homeschooling family can print and use! Most families like to print it off and use a highlighter to color code everything. I actually keep my records on the computer (at least to start with and for easy access) and so I download the calendar and then edit it and color code in my photo-editing program.
Curious as to what our schedule looks like for this year? I’ll warn you, it’s a little crazy this year. I wanted to follow our usual schedule of 5 or 6 weeks on with 1 week off (the 5 or 6 weeks just depended on when holidays lined up). However, I know I want to take two weeks off for when this baby is born in November and I know we need to take two weeks off in January when we go on vacation. Essentially we are now looking at a 7 weeks on, then off but it's really not that simple. This is what our schedule looks like although it will probably get some tweaking as I don't know for certain when this baby will be born and we haven't finalized our vacation dates.