Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Our Yearly Homeschool Calendar Schedule

This is our second year using the homeschool calendar year that I have developed, and it's working beautifully!

We use a modified "sabbath schedule" for our school year. This is an idea from Vicki Farris's excellent book, "A Mom Just Like You," meaning a schedule that is "six weeks on, one week off." We use this basic plan, adding in a longer break at summer and at Christmas. I have also greatly modified our starting date from the usual September back to mid-May so that we can work through our Phoenix summers and take our times off in the more pleasant times of the year.

Here's how our school year looked this year:

First Day of School: Late May

First Term - 6 weeks
    (First Break - 1 week)
Second Term - 6 weeks)
    (Second Break - 1 week)
Third Term - 6 weeks)
    (Third Break - 1 week)
Fourth Term - 6 weeks)
    (Fourth Break, a.k.a. Christmas Break - 6 weeks)
Fifth Term - 6 weeks)
    (Fifth Break - 1 week)
Sixth Term - 6 weeks)
    (Sixth Break, a.k.a. Summer Break - 6 week)

Our current summer break is during April through mid-May.

This coming year, I want to move our school year back two weeks, as April and May are usually still a bit unpleasant weather-wise around here. To do this, I am pushing hard to end our school year a week early, and am cutting our summer break by one week. This will necessitate breaking our fourth term into two parts (part before Christmas break and part after), which is a bit awkward - I like to have nice, neat starting dates. But I think it will be worth it for an earlier (and cooler!) summer.

Thus, this coming year's school year will (hopefully) look like this:

First Day of School: Early May

First Term - 6 weeks
    (First Break - 1 week)
Second Term - 6 weeks)
    (Second Break - 1 week)
Third Term - 6 weeks)
    (Third Break - 1 week)
Fourth Term and Fifth Term Part 1 (8 weeks)
    (Fourth Break, a.k.a. Christmas Break - 6 weeks)
Fifth Term Part 2 - 4 weeks
    (Fifth Break - 1 week)
Sixth Term - 6 weeks)
    (Sixth Break, a.k.a. Summer Break - 6 weeks)

We hold this schedule loosely. I often move our breaks around to accommodate our schedule - for example, moving it up a week and having one seven-week term and then one five-week term. I also make sure that our breaks are different weeks than the public school breaks, as the parks and other attractions are super-crowded during those times.

Additionally, with pregnancies and childbirth thrown into the mix every other year or so, the schedule is often moved about to accommodate first trimesters and postpartum periods. Those times (like most life circumstances) are not possible to plan years in advance, but we do the best we can. The Lord has always shown Himself faithful to make our school years work out in the end, regardless of how crazy they become with pregnancies or new babies.

One lovely benefit of this schedule is that by the time most people are starting their school year, we are half-way done with ours! It's always so cheering to have a head start.

Most (all?) families that we know utilize the standard September through May school year followed by the public schools, and I definitely see the advantages. But for our family, the year-round Sabbath schedule works beautifully, and we're really enjoying it.

What schedule does your family use? I'd love to hear about it!


  1. We used to school year-round when the oldest kids were little (as in under 10) because our schooling was very relaxed and kept us in a happy routine. Once the older ones were more aware of friends and traditional schedules and wanted to be free to play and go on outings with public schooled friends, we slowly but surely switched to a traditional schedule ourselves.

    Except for this year--which has been fraught with challenges! I'm not sure how or when we'll call this school year finished. I'm watching and waiting for inspiration. :)

    1. I've heard several moms say that, Anne - that they had a different-than-traditional schedule to start with but had to switch when their children got older. We'll have to see what happens! I imagine that a lot will change in the next few years with us.

      Your year has been absolutely nuts - but you are doing an awesome job with that sweet family of yours! That's what I meant about years not being too plannable - because pregnancies and babies and health issues don't consult our schedules before asking themselves to the party. :) However, it's all a learning experience!!


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