I’m not sure I initially put a whole lot of thought into year-round vs traditional school year homeschooling. There seems to be a lot of discussion about it lately though, and I want to say that I didn’t make any pros and cons lists and make this decision consciously – we just sort of fell into this lifestyle as a natural progression.
Today I’m going to share with you why learning all year works so well for us, and why you might like to consider learning this way rather than following the traditional public school pattern. Here are some of the many benefits of year-round homeschooling:
1. Learning Lifestyle
One of the things I like best about year-round education is that it promotes a lifestyle of learning. Learning is not confined to 10 months of the year –it’s something we do all the time!
Learning all year allows for so much flexibility! Just yesterday I was invited by a friend to join her crew for a beach day. While we were planning on having a regular day of studies and lessons, I felt free to put it aside and join her family for some fun instead.
We can also sign up for as many extracurricular-type activities (piano, co-op, sports) as we want without losing out on valuable learning time. Most of these types of activities are limited to the traditional school year, but we don’t feel the schedule crunch or the pressure to get it all done during those months so we are free to do what interests us.
Have you ever heard of Summer Slide? There is so much less time lost to reviewing and re-establishing routines when you don’t take a long break! It is estimated that summer learning loss is equivalent to about a month of learning time for each subject. The loss is even greater for math, as much as 2.5 months! Think of all the time wasted at the beginning of the school year reviewing and re-learning previously taught math skills!
As well as eliminating learning loss that occurs during long breaks, we have found that continuous learning is working well to allow our children to learn at their own level and pace, and not according to age/grade levels. When we finish up with a curriculum or level, we simply move on to the next. No rushing through lessons to finish up on time or waiting until the new school year to move on. My children are always asking me what grade they are in, they have no idea!
A continuous, year-long learning lifestyle is very adaptable to changing life circumstances. This is how we fell into this setup in the first place. Our first year of serious homeschooling (my oldest’s first-grade year) was very busy and full of change and instability. About a month after starting homeschooling, we learned that we were going to be moving. We had to quickly sell a house, find a house, and move while just getting our feet wet with science, history, math, reading and writing. Oh, and I was pregnant! We ended up moving temporarily into a much smaller house, putting half our life into storage, meeting new friends, finding our way in a new city, going to prenatal appointments, having a baby and then searching again for a new home all while trying to homeschool! I’m so glad we weren’t locked into any arbitrary school schedules!
This style is great for someone like me who hasn’t got a clue about lesson planning, sticking to a schedule, and making it happen. We’re able to carry a significantly lighter load by spreading it all out over the full 12 months of the year. Didn’t get that library book for your unity study in time? No worries, start it next week instead! Feeling overwhelmed and needing a break? Take the day off! Because we spread our learning out over the whole year, we can carry a much lighter daily load and have so much more time for play, cuddling or even cleaning the house. I love having the extra breathing room!
There are so many reasons why I love all year learning, these are just the key reasons. It is definitely an individual preference, and one that I anticipate needing to be re-evaluated over the years and seasons of our homeschool.
Do you school year-round? Follow the traditional school year? I’d love to hear why you love the learning schedule you’ve chosen!