Tuesday 5 November 2013

Our Rhythm - Year Round Schooling

One of the things that home educating families struggle with is knowing that they do NOT need to follow school terms. For some reason most families I meet feel they need to follow school terms in order to know they are doing enough school. You have the freedom to schedule your year to best suit your individual families needs. Successfully homeschooling starts with a plan.

I've been on the home education journey now for 15 years and one of the best decisions we made as a family was to switch to a five week schedule (4 weeks of school followed by 1 week of rest) about eight years ago.  We had switched to doing ATI which follows this rotation and after the first five weeks as the saying goes we never looked back.

One word of caution when making a schedule.  Take a calendar and mark it down.  Plan it. Mark it. Then, Follow it.  I once tried winging it without scheduling it and that led to no rhythm and us falling a little behind in our school work and then we ended up on the other extreme with schooling too long and becoming burnt out.

School terms were not a problem.  We let the neighbour hood children know they could only come over to play after lunch.  During school holidays we made sure we were done by then.  It was a great incentive for the children.

  • 7 weeks of holidays at the end of the year
  • A 36 week school year breaks down in to 9 five week rotations totaling 45 weeks of the year.
  • Homeschool burnout became a thing of the past providing I practice Mother Culture
  • The week off provides time to unwind/rest.  It's long enough to rest but short enough that the kids do not 'forget' what they've been learning. I found it easy to get going again with our weekly rhythm.
  • I find that children are not left with super long holiday breaks that provide ample opportunity for boredom
  • Four weeks of school is long enough for the children and I to put 100% into our school work without running out of energy.  I do confess though I am well and truly ready for a rest after those 20 days of school. Our energy levels are never stretched to it's limit because we take the opportunity to rest regularly.
  • The 7 extra weeks gives us enough time to have two, two week breaks after each 12 weeks of school (three 5 week rotations) followed by a full 5 week Christmas break. 
  • The Flexibility to choose our schedule.  One that suits our needs, I am able to look at the big picture. Paul works as a public servant and therefore has to work most public holidays depending on his schedule.  (6 days at work 3 days at home) We also like taking our holidays when school is in session and make use of term discounts.
  • Here in Australia schools run from February to December so my schedule works well.
  • What are the legal requirements in your country (Australia)?
  • What are the ages of your children ?
  • Health concerns ? Dr appointments ? 
  • New Baby coming ?
  • Planned holidays ?
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This post is part of the Homeschool Help series brought to you by a group of homeschool Mom's from around the globe.  Do not forget to visit and read their inspirational insight.

This week


  1. I love this idea and am going to sit down with a calendar and look at what it would mean to us. We do typically take breaks here and there, especially now that we have a college daughter than comes home periodically or that we can visit, but I like the idea of more of a true schedule! Thanks for sharing!

  2. We used to do this but now that the kids have so many extra curricular activities (dancing/swimming/guides, etc.) so if we took a break mid-term I'd still be taxiing them to things. There are also so many wonderful things that the kids can now do at the museum, libraries, churches, etc during the school holidays and they really enjoy going to them and learn so much. With the kids being a little older now often you can drop and run so I get some time to myself to read or shop which I really enjoy. I love the idea of a break every fifth week but these days it just wouldn't work for us, darn those extra hobbies ... lol! We rarely enrol in any classes during first term so we can relax in summer and go on holidays though.

    My hubby also does the same work rotation in NZ working in a government job, how funny. ;) If it wasn't for homeschooling I am not sure the kids wold get to spend much time with him. So sometimes we will swap a day (ie complete work Saturday) to spend one of daddy's day offs with him doing something. Love the "mostly" flexibility in our lifes that homeschooling affords.

    1. I don't mind the taxing around during our breaks because it's less pressured ... no school as well and the time off running around while we do school works too.

      I love how homeschooling schedules can be so individual and even more when Mom's find what works best for them.

  3. That was an awesome post. I liked reading about how you schedule breaks to make year round schooling work.

  4. I quite like this idea Chareen and will be pondering it some more over the coming weeks. This year we have trialled 8 weeks on 4 weeks off (roughly) and it has been quite good, although the 8 weeks straight is still tough at times. Generally after about 4 weeks I really find I need a break so your type of structure may just work perfectly for us. Thank you

  5. I have so wanted to do a five week rotation but my hubby was not happy with such as idea. It's hard to break with tradition you know? I am going to try this year though to do 8 weeks with a week off, and work around that a bit. Might be more doable in his eyes. :)

    1. I haven't been following my own advice and need to go and start following this again. I know. My family struggled too at the beginning.


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