27 July 2011

Scheduling - the Big Picture

We're getting ready to start school in a week or so.  Already?? you say.  Yes, already.  I know the public schools don't start again until after Labor Day in September, but I like to start the the first week of August.  One of the great things about homeschooling is going by your own schedule (both daily and school year).  I start early for a few reasons.  I like to get a jump on things just in case life happens.  It sure did last year and we felt it!  But because I had started in August we were able to have a cushion before life intervened.  I don't usually take off the days the public school kids are off, no teacher work days, no Monday holidays (hubby is always working then so we might as well be doing school), we don't even usually take a snow day off.  Also by starting in August, we can take our family vacation in the fall when the places we might want to go are less crowded.  Huge advantage!  We also take a week off in February every year to visit my sister-in-law in NH so we can play in the snow, go skiing/snowboarding, and have fun with them.  While we ski and play in the snow the public school kids here are still in school.  We take a longer break at Christmas, sometimes a few extra days at Thanksgiving, sometimes but not always we take a spring break.  As for snow days...no, I'm not a mean mom.  The girls usually get up, play in the snow first thing, come in to get warmed up, eat breakfast and do some school.  Then it's back outside.  They get plenty of time to play in the snow but they also still get their schoolwork done.

So for us, the big picture of our school year is this...we start the first week of August and basically work through until a few days before Christmas.  We'll take a week or so off sometime during the fall for vacation and Wednesday - Friday at Thanksgiving.  Then the first Monday in January, it's back to school, take off a week at the end of February, a week sometime in April (maybe), and we should be done by the end of May.  We do take the random day off here and there for a break, a fun field trip (Williamsburg often is the place), or sometimes just because.  Where we live there is no requirement for homeschoolers to track the number of school days, hours, or weeks.  We do shoot for and plan for 36 weeks of school and get at least that much in.  Around here learning continues all year round although studying the books may take a break here and there.

So figure out what your minimum number of school days or weeks are that you want to get in and plan your year around the fun and life that you want to have.

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