11 May Semester Vs. Year Around Homeschooling
As Summer is quickly approaching, the words that constantly ring in my ears are, “I’m so glad summer break is finally here!”
From homeschool parents of course.
And then the comparison trap pulls me in. I begin to count how many weeks we have left of our current curriculum. I also find myself trying to rush my children through their lessons. This places unnecessary stress on myself and my children. All in the name of comparing.
Never mind the fact that I was out of commission for a couple of weeks due to all-day sickness in the beginning of my pregnancy. Or that we take regular breaks throughout the school year in order to stay refreshed.
All I can think about is the fact that everyone will be out of school, while we are still working. I find myself feeling behind, even though I was previously comfortable with the pace we are working at. Our current pace is one that works for me and my children.
I was reminded by a friend’s InstaGram post, that I must stop looking AROUND, and start looking UP. The comparison trap is no where you want to find yourself stuck in. And, when I look up, it helps me put things into perspective, and remember that God is in control of our homeschool schedule.
If you are a homeschool parent, you have the pleasure of deciding what your school year will look like. You can chose to homeschool according to your school district and the traditional schooling calendar. Or, you can decide to continue year around.
Many homeschool families will chose to stick with the traditional semester school year schedule. This leaves room to enjoy the summer, plan for summer vacations, and to be out of school when everyone else in your community is out of school.
Semester schooling helps to focus your lessons throughout the year, so that certain milestones are met prior to the end of the school year. Most of the times breaks are taken when traditional school breaks are taken, and the lessons are scheduled accordingly.
This works really well for many parents, and is great for organization.
As a parent and teacher, perhaps a major benefit of semester schooling is that it provides for a longer break during the summer.
Year Around Schooling
With year around schooling, there’s a bit more autonomy and flexibility involved. Vacation days are not set, and you may find yourself in school while others are on break. There is still a certain level of organization involved, because you have to plan for your breaks by making them up elsewhere.
Summer vacations may be taken, but you will either take your homeschool on the road, or like semester schooling, you make sure you’ve met certain goals prior to vacation. What isn’t met prior to or during vacation, is worked on once you return.
Although there may be goals and milestones to be met, when this happens isn’t of highest priority. The idea is that it get’s met throughout the year.
Year around schooling can be tough for young children, as it’s hard for them to understand why other children are in school while they are out and vise versa.
Here’s how I will answer the infamous end of the school year question, “Will you homeschool throughout the summer?”
Whenever I speak to other homeschool families, I always encourage them to pray. I encourage everyone to do what they feel is best for their family. What works for our family, may not work for someone else’s. And what works for someone else’s family may not work for ours.
We have chosen to homeschool throughout the summer for the following reasons:
- It allows us to take breaks as needed throughout the year.
- It gives us a larger time frame to work within for each grade level.
- We keep a consistent schedule throughout the year, and we don’t have to find extra activities to fill up our day throughout the summer or specific breaks.
- There is less stress and pressure to be finished with our curriculum by a certain deadline.
- Learning is continuous.
- It helps with information retention.
- We believe that learning is non-stop.
My children are young, and for now this is what works best for us. I cannot stress enough, the importance of doing what works for you. Also, keep in mind that what worked for one season, may not work for the next. Flexibility is key.
As you look around, you may be tempted to do what others are doing, but I encourage you to keep looking up, and allow even your homeschool to be lead by Christ. The only wrong choice you can make, is to do something because everyone else is doing it. Make a decision and be comfortable with what you decide.