When you schedule, begin by taking a look at the “big picture.”
Know your state homeschooling requirements. Most states require a homeschool to operate a minimum number of days per year. Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) provides the homeschooling requirements for each state at their site.
Plan for the unexpected. Over the years we have had illnesses, deaths in the family, and out-of-state job transfers. Those extra weeks we plan into our schedule each year have provided a great deal of relief and have prevented added stress.
Take into account your family’s interests. Perhaps you enjoy winter vacations. Schedule your weeks off during those times. Hobbies, contests or conventions require travel during the year? Include those in your schedule. If you have children enrolled in any type of outside-the-home classes, be sure NOT to schedule your days off during that time. You’ll want to use those days to help you meet your state’s requirements.
All year long or summer break? There are 365 days in a year. On average, most states require homeschools to be in session at least 180 of those days. Typically, when you schedule those 180 days is up to you. (Again, check the homeschool laws for your state.) We are all familiar with the nine-months-on/three-months-off formula. We are also familiar with the review that subsequently needs to take place when we resume! While having the summer off may be reason enough to adopt the traditional schedule, there are other schedules that work great for home educators. Here are a few examples to consider:
- Re-arrange the three months off. For example, take June, December and April off instead of June, July and August.
- Six-weeks-on/One-week-off. In this schedule, there will be ten unscheduled weeks remaining which can be distributed in a variety of ways to accommodate the unplanned, as well as provide breaks at Christmas and during the summer.
- Ten-weeks-on/Two-weeks-off. In this schedule, the year is divided into quarters with four unscheduled weeks remaining.
- Variation of above. Obviously there are many variations on these examples. You might start with a six-weeks-on/one-week-off schedule and adjust to a longer or shorter time “on” depending on your family’s needs.
Monthly view. For many of us, our schedule will look the same from month to month. However, now is the time to look at any items that might be added to a monthly-view calendar; such as the Christmas unit study you have planned for December, once-a-month field trips, the travel plans discussed earlier, or ice hockey lessons from January through March. Any known item that doesn’t fit the normal routine can be accounted for here.