Do your children do school during the standard school year? Or do you do school year round? Which is better? Well I guess the answer to that is determined by your individual family. For us, year round school is best–for now anyway. Why you ask? I’d be happy to share with you 🙂 .
Part of our reason has to do with our occupation. As farmers, it’s pretty impossible to take any days off from the time you plant to the time you harvest. There are no vacations at all. No overnight trips are happening no matter how badly we want to. It just couldn’t happen. So the first thing this means is that we are home during this time (the summer months) to get the school time in with the children. The second thing it means is if we want to take any trips, they have to be in the winter. This would be pretty hard to do if we had to go around a traditional school schedule.
Another reason is because I’m me. Yup. I’m not that mother. You know, that mother who has a pristine schedule Monday through Friday of school lessons all planned out. Everything runs smoothly and she is able to get everything done on her evening and weekend hours and she’s still sane. I can’t do that, and I’m not going to pretend I can. I get burned out sometimes. The kids get burned out sometimes. The Farmer gets burned out sometimes. Occasionally, I tell my kiddos, “Mommy needs a day/week off.” I wouldn’t be afforded this opportunity if I had to worry I had to get all the lessons done in the 32-35 week period. I’ve got 365 days to get it all done. And I want us all to be sane (and happy) when we’re done.
I think it’s hard on a family to go from one extreme to another. You’ve got your freedom and fun time, and then bam it’s gone overnight for the next 32-35 weeks. And then overnight again, you’re back to freedom and no schedules. I think it’s much easier for us to just keep going with the flow. When we need days off, we take them (or we take field trips, have quiet reading days, etc.). We aren’t having time-schedule “mood swings.”
We feel this is especially important in areas such as Worship and piano (music) lessons. Taking a summer off and then trying to get back into the swing of these is hard. Taking a break from music (Worship) leaves an opportunity for hearts to stray from the Holy Spirit. Taking a summer off from an instrument and then picking it up three months later is harder–and frustrating.
Sometime sickness happens. And if you’ve got a child (or two like us) that are in the nursery, then sickness happens a lot. Here’s the scenario for our family: We have two kids in the nursery Sunday. They catch bugs that incubate inside them for a few days. They are sick Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I am taking care of them, so the learning for the school kids isn’t stellar at this point. By Saturday I am usually sick. There is no learning early the next week. By Tuesday or Wednesday, everyone else who’s left in the house is sick. No one is learning–for two weeks at a time. By the next weekend, we are all well and we return to church on Sunday. Repeat, repeat, repeat all winter. Two weeks of being sick, one of being well. This means a lot of missing school time–during the winter months. Flu season peaks in October and again in February. If my kids were on a traditional school time schedule, they would miss a ton of school. When do you make it up? Do you try to shove all the lessons in together? Are the kids really learning that way? With a full year to do our learning we can just be sick when we’re sick. No one is missing anything.
I love that we can take entire weeks to learn about holidays, seasons, major events in history or current events. It doesn’t matter how sick we’ve been, we aren’t tempted to skip these units in the name of “making up the important stuff.” Every time a holiday comes around, we are having a blast around the farm house.
What better season to do all your botany lessons than in the summer? The kids have their garden area. They grow their own potatoes (because they are easy to grow in a stack of old farm tires, and hard to kill–no other reason), and flowers. They are learning botany, responsibility, character, cause and effect, growth, patience, and witnessing God’s power and control. You could do this inside in the winter, but why would you want to?
Teaching about new life, life cycles, reproduction (baby chickens in June) is all learned much better hands-on–in the summer. It’s just so much better!
I am sure other families have different reasons for homeschooling year-round. And I know many families that have solid reasons for using the traditional school schedule. What are your thoughts?
It’s been a long Homeschooling series this month. We’re finally at the end! Did I miss anything you wanted to see covered? If so, let me know. And if you’ve missed some posts, you can read them here:
- Why We Homeschool
- My Biggest Fears About Homeschooling
- How We Afford To Homeschool
- Will My Kids Be Weird?
- My Favorite Homeschool Helping Sites