Since the moment I knew why homeschooling was right for us, I also knew that I would year-round school. To many, a year-round homeschool schedule sounds more stressful, but to me it sounded way less. As a person who has often struggled with consistency, it may seem strange that I would want to give up those glorious consecutive carefree summer days and commit them to a school schedule. To me the benefits outweighed my desire for that long break, and that is why, despite my love for summer fun, I planned our school this way.
Why We Homeschool Year-Round
-To Make Learning a Part of Every Day Life-
I greatly desire for my children to not relegate learning to a classroom or a desk with a pencil in hand. I want them to understand that there is something to learn in all situations. Whether we are running errands, in a church service, cleaning the house, hosting a tea party, reading a book, memorizing Scripture, hiking a nature trail, painting in the back yard, preparing dinner, working through our curriculum, playing at a play date, helping a friend, serving at the nursing home, or whatever we may be doing, I want my children to know two things: one, that we should do all we do for the glory of God, and two, that there is something new to learn and new ways to grow as a person in each task the Lord brings into our day. Now a part of this mentality comes from the fact that I believe homeschooling should not be an attempt to imitate a classroom setting in the home. I believe that homeschooling is educating within the normal daily life in the home. Yes there is need for time of sitting, reading, writing, and problem solving, but there is also much to learn from experience! I keep records of what I tried to teach my kids in “school” that day, many times we didn’t do formal school at all, but instead I worked to teach them Biblical truths, life skills, discipline, patience, real life experience with nature, social skills, and more. The children know that each day will be a learning experience.
-To Teach Diligence, Consistency, and a Good Work Ethic-
I don’t believe it is beneficial for my children to take two months to sleep in, free play, and do as they please. Children of all ages need structure and responsibility. We also know that we are called to train up our children in the way they should go, and when they are old they will not depart from it. This also includes training them to be diligent workers. Employees, business owners, and even stay at home mothers do not get months off to do as they please. Work will go on through the summer for them as adults, and it is good to prepare them for it now.
-To Be Able to Take Breaks When We Need or Want Them the Most-
It just so happened that we needed our break in the summer this year because our fourth daughter was born in June, but it doesn’t always happen that babies are born in the summer. Sometimes breaks are needed at other times of the year. Also, there are many great vacation experiences that are much better in the fall, winter, and spring. In fact, I quite enjoy taking off-peak vacations much more than a summer vacation. It is always cheaper and less crowded.
Year-round schooling also allows us to have many four day weeks instead of five day weeks. Sometimes it seems if I don’t devote at least a full day to housekeeping, doctor’s appointments, errands, and other obligations then they will pile up too high for me to get to. Year-round schooling makes taking even a day off to attend to other duties completely fine.
-To Avoid the “Summer Slump”-
I have my Masters in Elementary Education, and something that was discussed often as I pursued my degree was the major problem of children regressing over the summer. If children aren’t using it, they’re losing it. Yes, it does come back to them, but it takes a few weeks of review to get back to where they were when they left the previous grade. Not only is this a waste of time to have to learn concepts twice, but it can also be very frustrating for a child.
With year-round schooling the students’ minds stay sharp because they do not go weeks on end without doing formal school work. They can continue progressing without having to relearn old concepts.
-To Allow my Accelerated Learners to Move Ahead Quicker-
Since we are schooling year-round, when we finish one grade (and all the concepts have been mastered) we can simply buy the next year’s curriculum and begin. Over time this can translate into being grades ahead. I was really motivated by other families I know who worked diligently every day and their children graduated much earlier than their peers and were able to get the first two years of college under their belt online right at home. What a blessing it would be for a child to get to graduate early and pursue ministry, missions, hobbies, or interests, career, or family (whatever the Lord was calling them to) while they are still young.
-To Allow my Slower Learners More Practice and Review-
I am not so foolish to think that all of my students will be accelerated and ready to move ahead, so the other benefit to year-round schooling is allowing them more time to review, practice, and really master the concepts they may be struggling with. They can do this and will not be falling behind. Essentially they will have a month or two extra on the typical school year to catch up if needed. I feel like that may take a lot of pressure off of a child who may feel stressed about falling behind.
-So They Will Not Spend Unnecessary Childhood Hours Stuck Behind a Desk-
By schooling every day, we can take the liberty to school for less hours each day. Many times we check off everything on our curriculum goal list for the day in about 2 and a half hours. After that the children can use their time to play and explore under my guidance, to pursue things they are interested in, and to simply be kids. I can remember the struggle of having to sit still and do work for 6 to 8 hours each day as a young child in traditional classrooms. I often found myself gazing out the window wishing I was climbing trees or drawing pictures of flowers or singing songs. These young years do not last forever, and I want to allow them to enjoy their childhood each day.
Not for Everyone
I totally get that year-round is not for everyone. Some moms really love and need that long break, and some kids do as well. It is what I feel will be best for our family, and that is what we are pursing for now.
How about you? Do you year-round school? If so, what are your reasons?
Stacey lives with her husband and four daughters in the beautiful hills of Tennessee. Stacey is very passionate about her walk with Jesus Christ, and her heart is to encourage other women to walk closely to Him also, and that is her main purpose in her blog, Abiding Woman. She enjoys homeschooling her girls, making music to the Lord, and taking pictures of every day moments.