One of the first steps in homeschool planning is taking a look at the big picture - or the big yearly calendar. Before I start trying to figure out how many weeks we have to cover a certain textbook, I need to know how many weeks we'll actually be homeschooling. That's where yearly homeschool planning comes into play.
3 Ways to Plan Your Homeschool Year
There are three basic ways you can schedule your homeschool year - and it's an important step in your planning process.
Here are just a few reasons to create your yearly plan (or, in fancy terms, your academic calendar!):
- Gives you an overview of your year
- Know when you can take breaks, expected and unexpected
- Determine how to schedule and adjust each program/subject
- Fit in mandatory days (usually 150-180 required school days)
Now, let's take a look at the three basic ways you can plan your homeschool year - each of these can certainly be customized and personalized to fit your family.
Related: Weekly Homeschool Schedules
Follow the School Calendar
Following your local school calendar is the simplest way to plan your year. You can even find this information online now, by looking at your local school's website.
The school calendar usually divides the academic year into quarters with various holiday breaks throughout the year. Planning with this method is simple - all the days and holidays are planned for you already.
My favorite method is the six-week on, one-week off method (also known as sabbath schooling).
This schedule is simple to create - make a plan to homeschool for six (or eight) weeks with a week off at the end of that time. Repeat this cycle until you've fit in the number of homeschool days you plan to cover that year (or are required to by law).
I love this method - that week off gives us a perfect time to catch up on household tasks and other appointments. And six or eight weeks is about all our brains can handle before we need a respite!
Here are a few more articles about this type of schedule:
- A Year-Round Homeschool Schedule from Simply Convivial (combines this plan with year-round planning)
- Homeschool Schedule - Six Weeks at a Time from iHomeschool Network
- Our Sabbath Homeschool Schedule from Faith-Filled Parenting
Another popular method is the year-round method. Instead of an official start and end date, you simply continue moving through curriculum and resources all year long, taking breaks as you want (or as you have planned).
Some people also combine this method with a 4-day school week. Since you're homeschooling year-round, it's very easy to fit in enough days, even with a 4-day school week.
Here are a few helpful articles about year-round homeschool plans:
- Why We School Year Round from Simple Homeschool
- The Benefits of Homeschool Year Round from Hip Homeschooling Moms
- Year-Round, 4-Day Homeschooling Schedule from Proverbial Homemaker
Creating Your own Academic Calendar
Once you've decided which method fits your family, take out your favorite calendar (you can print academic calendars here) and highlight those vacations and breaks that you plan to take. Use a different color to highlight your planned school days (and a few extra - just in case!).
Once you have a good idea about the number of weeks and days you plan to homeschool, take a look at your curriculum and make sure you've allotted enough time to fit them in (and to make sure you're not adding too much!).
Then, it's time to move on to weekly planning.
Related: Homeschool Planning
How do you plan your homeschool year?
Which yearly homeschool planning method works best for you and your family? Leave a comment and tell us about it!
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