Here I am, end of July, gearing up for a new school year already. One of the things I love about homeschooling is the ability to make a schedule that fits our family life, that rolls and revolves around the things we do instead of trying to fit our interests and “extra curricular” schedule into someone else's idea of when we should be learning.
Of course, learning and education take place all the time and I can't possibly slow these people down. But I do try to give them focused school time 3-5 times a week during our school year. We have our school year August-November and then January-May.
We take June and July off while we enjoy the beginning of summer and the two festivals we work at. The festivals take an enormous amount of time and energy from both me and Papa-Bug, so not having to track lessons and lesson plans and school time during those two months is important – and not going to happen anyway, so why fight it?
Because we have official-sit-down-school-time for such a brief period of the day – 20-60 minutes – I don't feel at all concerned about starting the kids up in August when many kids are still on vacation. Our August school includes camping and beach trips, hiking, canning, berry picking, and other summer events. We ease our way into the excitement of September when homeschool groups re-convene and other classes start again. By the time we need to adjust to a new weekly schedule of ballet and gymnastics and science club and whatever else, we have already gotten in the swing of our daily school rhythm.
We take the entire month of December off, focusing on the joy and glamour of the Holidays. Plenty of education still happens of course; we make gifts, learn about the history of the holidays and Santa Claus, play games, sing songs…but I don't plan any lessons and we don't do school time.
There is another post coming, someday, about how we flow month-to-month, keeping ourselves interested and focused and inspired.
This is the beauty of homeschooling. This works for my family, for now. We can change it when it is no longer a good fit or as life's circumstances dictate. Last year we took November and December off to adjust to Baby-Bug's presence in our family. It doesn't need to work for any other families; every homeschool family I know creates their own educational reality and requirements a little differently.
That said, I have some second grade planning to get done. Second grade. Already. It's going to be a crazy year.