Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Year-Round v 9-month schooling

Some of you may have questions about 9-month school years vs. year-round schooling. I know I did when I first thought about homeschooling. Several years ago, in fact, my aunt was teaching a public school that was year-round. I thought they were absolutely CRAZY!!!! There was no “summer vacation” for the kids, parents or teachers. However, as the year progressed and we talked about how she liked it, things began to make more sense. She noticed that with only 3-4 weeks off at a time, the kids retained SO MUCH MORE information and really started to excel in their school work. It was impressive to say the least (she worked at a low-income school w/ very difficult family situations). That has stuck with me and really played a HUGE part in my decision over this year to convert to year-round schooling. So, here’s some of the reasons and how we’re going to do year-round at our house.

First and foremost, one of my biggest reasons for converting us to year-round is the structure and consistency it provides in our family and daily routines. Tyler (as well as my other two) is a VERY routine child. He wants to know what’s coming and when, how long it will take, etc. We still have rough days, especially on Monday’s after a lax weekend, but he’s doing better. He knows that Monday – Friday are school days and he has papers and reading to do. Sometimes they get done in the morning and other times we do them when the babies are taking afternoon naps. Either way, he knows what’s expected of him. Some days our chores come first & other days school does. It kinda depends on the babies in our house too. For instance, today my babies were extremely fussy & M did not take her morning nap. So, we are doing school this afternoon. I’ve learned to be more flexible in this area, because frankly I was going CRAZY trying to make everyone fit where they couldn’t. It works for us! Some families are more structured and rigid in their daily routines and I applaud you!! I think as our family grows that will be become more and more necessary. So, we’ll see how this evolves over time.

Another reason we’ve decided to do year-round schooling is the fact that we can pretty much take off from Thanksgiving until January with no adverse effects!! This past Christmas season I began a seasonal candy making business. I was WAY busier than I thought I would be and I already have people asking if I’m going to make it again this year!! I may have to “up my game” and figure out some more recipes to add to our list!! I thoroughly enjoyed making the candy, but with all the mess in our kitchen & the constant flow of orders it was pretty much impossible for this “nearly single” momma to fit school in too! Plus, we were way ahead of anything required for Kindergarten, so I didn’t figure there was any harm in it.

I also like that we can take a “vacation” whenever we want!! We are NOT restricted to just the summer months, which are extremely difficult for my husband to take off at work. He works for a large company right now, but even with the number of people that work his same shift & can fill in there are limitations. Another reason I like taking “whenever vacations” is that the summer months are SO VERY HOT around here that we would rather go during the Spring or Fall when the weather is “less extreme” and more mild temperatures.

And, the last reason is that we are expecting baby #4 in August. Specifically, August 11th is my tentative c-section date. If we followed the local school calendar, we would be in school for about a week and then off for probably close to three!! That would not be good for our family or for the 5yo. This way, we’ll officially finish Kindergarten in May and have a week or two break before we officially begin First Grade. (Okay, writing that out makes me kinda sad! I will have a First Grader!!!)

Okay, before you think I’m a CRUEL parent by making my kid do school all summer long, let me tell you it’s not gonna be that bad!!! I promise!! For the past several years I’ve volunteered at a Music Camp that the church we attend puts on. They’ve done it for quite a few years and it has grown tremendously. We used to do one HUGE camp and now we’ve had to split it into two camps! Last year was our first year to do that and we had a GREAT turnout & wonderful feedback. (If you really want to know more about it, just ask me!) Anyway…the kids and I will be at both weeks of Music Camp this year (one in June & one in July), so that will break things up a bit. We will NOT do school during those 2 weeks. This momma will be completely worn out by the time we get home & eat lunch each day. (Remember, I will be 7 & 8 months pregnant at this point!!)

We are also enrolling him in a couple College for Kids classes at our local Community College. A couple are math related and a couple are science related. I’m super excited about him getting this opportunity to expand his “knowledge” of those subjects and possibly getting a different outlook on them. I’m also hoping it will “spark” some interest in him with Math. He is so quick to “get” math that he gets bored very easily. One of the classes is called “Hands-on Math” and I hope he really enjoys it!! So, he will have a break from the “normal” routine for at least 2 weeks each month, even if it’s only a couple hours a day. We will most likely do the other subjects not covered at his class so we don't fall too far behind, but it will be “light” work (a few worksheets, nothing major).

Another way I “lighten” the load is by doing school work 5 days a week. I know with most year-round homeschoolers they only do 4 days a week, but like I mentioned earlier routine is KEY in this house! Plus, he does not like a lot of paperwork, so rather than piling it all into 4 days, I spread out our lessons and thus, our paperwork. It seems to work well for us.

So, there ya have it!!! Year-round schooling in the Breedlove household!! Hope it gives you some ideas and ways to make homeschooling work for you and your family!

Happy Schooling!!!


Crissyanna said...

Something we are considering for next year is schooling six weeks, then one week off (or super light more fun stuff). I have a friend who does this and cales it Sabbath Week. She said that it has really helped this year in guarding against burnout and they are going to continue it. She wrote about it on her blog a few weeks ago. I think.

Besides, it is too hot down here in the summer to do much. We have cousins in OKC who school through summer and take October off.

I love having our own schedule as homeschoolers. I love not having our times available for going places dictated to by someone else. We can take a long weekend whenever and go to Grandma's. And take family vacations not during the peak season so it id less expensive too.

Melissa said...

I'm all for year round schooling! I agree that children retain more! I admire your decision to homeschool. It's not an easy one!