Homeschool Reason # 1284 – Year Round Schooling

Usually, by this week, we’re winding things down here at Armour Academy.  We tend to spend the month of May outside in the spring sunshine, spread out with our books on a picnic blanket.  As we head into June this week, I look back and realize we broke out the picnic blanket only once in May, during a reprieve from the rain.   I don’t think any of us feel like winding down quite yet, partially because we (usually) really love learning and partially because it just doesn’t feel like it’s time. 

Last week we broke out the white board and had a great chat about the coming fall and how we wanted it to look.   

Every year I plan to do school through the summer, and every year I fail miserably.   I mean, we do a tiny bit of ‘book work’, but it’s very obvious to me that it’s not enough.  Every fall we end up doing a pile of review.  Last year in particular, the kids had a very difficult time getting back into the groove after a nice long break.  There were a LOT of tears (on all sides) and they were both we were all very frustrated, particularly with math.  They had worked so hard all year mastering tough new concepts and then had such difficulties remembering them in the fall.   

Last year’s experience made me regret not doing more over the summer. 

So this year, I decided to gauge the kids’ interest in various approaches to summer learning.  YES, if you’re living, you’re learning.  That is definitely true.  However this year, I am going to be more intentional about what we’ll be doing, and for how long.   I’m going to put together a summer learning plan to make sure that we are in great shape when we ramp things up again in September.   They are empowered to do things differently and it’s a joy to see them recognize a problem and work with me, as their Teacher-Mama, to find a solution. 

By including the kids in the discussion and laying out some options, they have claimed a stake in their own learning. 

We discussed many options, but in the end they decided to give themselves a goal of 1 hour of school work each day of the summer.   They even picked which hour they wanted to aim for!   They talked it through and decided that 11-12 would be a good time to try, so they could play outside before the peak heat, then come in and wrap up their schooling before lunch and an afternoon of fun with kids from the neighbourhood.   As an added bonus I heard “Oh, plus we can sleep in if we want.”  (I wish!) 

Though their goal is daily, we will be applying a weekly 5 hour quota so we don’t fall behind.  This means we can still have the flexibility we desire, skipping school when we feel like it, as long as it’s made up by the end of the week.  The boys even talked about what subjects to do, and how much.  I’m not a big fan of being too stringent with these things, but hey ~ if they want to, we can give it a try! 

I’ve also been thinking that it would be neat to take on the summer challenge of learning in as many places as we can.  I’ve got the idea that we could keep a log of the places we learn during the summer, whether we plan it and bring our books, or simply turn a trip to the grocery store into a math lesson.  That may be more work that desired for this hater of paperwork, but I do LOVE the idea of it, so we’ll see.  

Ultimately, this will give us more free time in our school year, and what kid doesn’t want that? 


10 Comments (+add yours?)

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  2. Leslie
    Apr 12, 2012 @ 09:13:50

    I found your blog through the Pioneer Woman’s homeschooling section when I was reading the article on homeschooling year round. I will begin homeschooling my two soon (10 yr old son and almost 12 yr old daughter). Even though I’m new to it all I have already considered year round schooling. My kids are super excited about it all and want to start this summer. My plan is to do a fun Science course (Apologia Astronomy) and let them do more on their own (my daughter wants to do Language Arts too! LOL). I want their first taste of homeschooling be all they think it will be and keep the summer fun too. 😉 I look forward to the freedom we’re going to have to choose what we want to do when we want. I know the Lord has called me to do this as it wasn’t anything I ever thought I’d do.

    Sorry to ramble on your comment section but I read your post and wanted to comment. 🙂 I agree with the frustration of having to review the start of every school year so I’m hoping we can avoid that as well. God bless!


    • Trina
      Apr 12, 2012 @ 09:35:35

      Great news! I love to hear of families excited to take the journey! It’s wonderful that they want to start this summer — a great way to capture their nautral curiosity. Enjoy!


  3. Jennifer W
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 14:10:00

    After 7 years of homeschooling we have decided to make the switch to year round homeschooling. Not sure how I should do it since we are already on day 160 for this year. I’m thinking as soon as we hit day 180 we will take a week off and then start right back in but only for 2 hours a day during summer. It’s so hot in the afternoon in Oklahoma and we aren’t doing that much so we decided to school during that time.


    • Trina
      Apr 13, 2012 @ 17:50:55

      Day 160 already? That’s great! Our typical school year ends in late May in Canada. I think I’d do the same thing. Hit the 180 mark, take a breather and pick up on a reduced schedule. I bet you’ll love it! (And the kids secretly crave the routine, I think…)


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  5. Victoria
    Apr 13, 2012 @ 22:37:01

    I am starting year round homeschooling as well. I haven’t working out the fine details yet. I’m thinking we will read one non-fiction, and one fiction book every day; alternating subjects through-out the year. We will continue to orally narrate the books as they are read, and once or twice a week complete a written narration. Once a week we will select a passage from one of the books for dictation (spelling). We will practice math with manipulatives, khan academy (free), math games, and occasionally a worksheet. For history I am thinking a few biographies, and a few books from dover I have spotted. I have the seterra (free) map drills program downloaded, and we occasionally do map drills.

    I think the secret to not burning out homeschooling is to not use “curriculum” or piles of worksheets. One of my children tells me they hate Charlotte’s Web because every day after they read a passage they had to answer questions on a worksheet. When are schooled children ever given the chance to enjoy reading? When is math not a chore? When you are not filling in worksheets.

    Today I read a public school teacher’s article about why they homeschool. One of the answers was because school is a waste of time. The teacher used a stop watch to time how much actual time was spend working on skills, they timed 10-30 minutes out of an entire school day. So our ultra concentrated literature rich environment is better than an entire school day in my humble opinion.

    I think if you are classical or C.M. homeschooling trying to cram living books into a 36-40 week schedule is insane. I know people who try to immulate Charlotte Mason’s schedule. Her schedule was for a classroom, we have more time with our students. Plus less time per day schooling is more time for cleaning and other activities. I’ve even started including the children in cleaning after doing “school”.


    • Trina
      Apr 14, 2012 @ 06:14:33

      Home schooling to some people is simply replicating school at home (hence the long school week). That’s good if it fits with their reasoning for wanting to bring their kids home in the first place. It’s not like that for me. Whenever I feel myself getting a bit too “teachy” I recall that some of my main reasons for doing this are to foster a natural curiosity and love of learning, to gear things more to the interests and learning styles of each child and to enjoy this time together, and FREE time together, learning and living and loving as a family. We can do that very effectively in 15 hours a week. It works for us.

      Good luck with your year round approach. I’m sure you’ll find it fits very well with your School of Life approach. We sure did!


  6. enela79
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 09:29:51

    Just found your blog and LOVE the idea of a reduced Summer schedule. Especially since we struggle some with Math. One hour seems perfect to keep up on concepts yet doesn’t feel like they’re not getting a Summer break.


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